By Becky Ejupi
So, can we talk about the F-word?
No, not that F-word.
The new F-word that’s recently been deemed even more offensive than the 4-letter one: FEMINISM.
If you haven’t heard, there’s a current movement, backed by men and women alike, from politicians to celebrities to not-so-famous housewives, who have declared war on feminism. Even well educated, professional women have bought into this new anti-feminist strategy hook, line and sinker.
When I first read about it, I was appalled, perplexed, and completely flummoxed. Then I learned about the warped definition of feminism these people were using, and I’ll tell you what, it’s just wrong. It fuels hate-mongering and willful misunderstanding, and doesn’t even bear repeating here for fear of perpetuating the cycle of negativity.
Plain and simple, here’s the real definition of feminism: Men and women should be treated equally. That’s it. Nothing more. It’s not rocket science. There’s no man-bashing secret code. There’s no desire on the part of feminist women to dominate the world, kidnap all the men, and stash them in a penile penal colony in Borneo. Simply put, men and women are not superior or inferior to each other, and are entitled to equal political, legal, sexual, educational, economic, social status and cultural treatment, which, by the way, still isn’t happening in our country. Not by a long shot. As a matter of fact, there isn’t a single country in the world that can boast that it has achieved complete gender equality.
This is such a basic human rights concept, that it seems ludicrous to me that we continue discussing its merit in 2014. So, as politically incorrect as it might be these days, let me just say that I consider myself a feminist. That does not mean I hate nor do I want to suppress men in any way. I adore men and support them. I live with three whom I love to the moon and back. I have a lot of male friends and acquaintances as well, and I think they’re all swell.
I merely support gender equality.
Do some women and even men call themselves feminists and bash men? Yep, and they’re wrong to do it. Do some men and women buy into sexist ideals, ads, and rules that negate women’s dignity and quest for equality? Yep, and they’re wrong to do so too. “Okay, so what can we all do to actively support this equality?” you might ask.
Well, for starters you can:
- Use your voice. Speak out. Don’t sit back quietly, thereby condoning misogyny. If you remain quiet, it will never go away.
- Don’t bash men.
- Teach your children that girls are just as worthy, in every way, as boys, and vice versa.
- Make sure your kids know that demeaning or disrespecting someone due to his or her gender, or for any reason, frankly, is wrong. (“Quit crying like a little girl.” “Buck up and be a man.” “Hey, Doll, can you bring us our check when you get a chance?” Sound familiar?)
- Encourage your daughters and sons to be the best they can be regardless of gender stereotypes. (Girls can and should become engineers if that’s where their interests lie, and boys can and should become elementary school teachers if that’s their calling.)
We’re all equal. Stop the hate. Live with love in your heart. And give every human being every right that you claim for yourself.