A Dirty Little Word…

***Don’t go any further until you vote please***

I’m not a feminist, but…

How many of you have started a sentence in that way?  How many of you shy away from using the f-word in polite conversation?

Many of my readers are Christian so you understand me when I lament that, in media, the loudest voices of our faith tend to spout hatred, bigotry, and intolerance.  How frustrating is it that such people somehow come to define us when they don’t even represent our most basic truths?

The very same frustrations can be made by mainstream feminists as a result of the shrill cries of their more radical counterparts.

I doubt that many of you would truly find yourselves at odds with the pursuit for gender equality but the very same people, particularly the males, might balk at the idea of being labeled feminist.  When did gender equality stop being synonymous with feminism?

I hit you with the f-word and you suddenly have images of man-eating feminazis dancing above your head… right?

Treating the concept of feminism as the butt of a joke or worse something to be ashamed of is an insult to the great efforts made by both women AND men during the first and second wave of feminism.  Instead of being celebrated it is a punchline.  That’s disgraceful.

Feminists have brought the women of today so much fortune: the right to vote, the right to equal pay (theoretically),freedom from physical/sexual/verbal abuse in the home and in the workplace and more…

But there is still a need for reform both in the legal and social arena.  Taking a cue from radical feminists as a license to paint all feminists with the same, dismissive, brush is counter-productive to the needs of both genders.

“Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.” Rebecca West

Truly, it is that simple.  Strip away the sects of feminism that have developed in recent decades and return to the purest of definitions.  A feminist is a person, male or female, that believes all people (regardless of gender) deserve the same rights, protection, and opportunities.  Is this near or far from your own views?

In a previous post (https://browneyedamazon.wordpress.com/2008/09/25/the-wife-of-noble-character/) I broke it down a little more:

“A feminist, before he/she is influenced by political, religious, and personal goals, is simply a person who campaigns for or supports the campaign for equal rights and opportunities for both men and women.  In this case the word could easily be replaced with egalitarian.  You do not have to be a woman to be a feminist and the word may not be a comfortable fit but many of today’s men, Christian or otherwise, meet the criteria.  As far as referring to myself as a third-wave feminist, I am referencing the third in historical feminist movements.  The first-wave refers to the suffragists, the second-wave to feminists from around the 1960’s until the 1980’s who championed for rights in the workplace and addressed issues such as pay and sexual harassment, and the third-wave began around the 1990’s and refers to the most recent efforts to address social equality.  This is the new generation of young feminists who are looking at today’s issues in society which affect gender issues.  Some of those areas are race, social class etc…”

Do you expect ALL people to be treated in a fair and equitable fashion?

Do you expect ALL people to be free from government-sanctioned abuse?

Do you believe ALL people have a value/purpose that is not limited solely by their gender?

GASP! you, my friend, might be a feminist… breathe your way through the initial shock ;)

Let’s try this one more time and see if we land in the same place:

(If you voted for the first poll please vote in this one as well, thank you)