Not that long ago, some women on Facebook were agreeing with an essay written by a 20-year old in which she stated that she wasn’t a feminist because she liked men. Feminists hate men, she said, and some readers were quick to agree. In fact, the opposite appears to be true. It’s been studied. The study should have shocked the nation into its senses. Feminist women are less likely to hate and have resentful attitudes towards men than are non-feministists.
It makes sense though. If you see yourself as a whole, autonomous person with agency, you are more likely to see men as real people. You are less apt to stereotype them and more apt to like them and appreciate individual differences. You don’t see them as benevolent oppressors. You don’t see them all as boys who never grow up and can’t keep their evil urges under control. You expect that they are mature. You respect their intelligence and ability to be rational. You don’t see them as animals lurking to get women, animals that can’t even be left alone with a woman. You even know things such as only 6% of all men are rapists and that dressing provocatively doesn’t increase your chance of being raped. You know that men can and do control themselves. Just as women can be misogynists, men can speak and think ill of other men. Let’s not blame it on feminists. Even Shakespeare did it.
Traditionalists (the non-feminists) have more benevolent attitudes towards the opposite sex. However, we need to ask ourselves if that’s good. The anti-feminist women on Facebook said that they wanted “real men.” But what does that even mean? They were seeking some sort of stereotype, maybe a Ken or GI Joe doll. Benevolence comes with hidden sense of superiority and stereotypes. It often overly inflates the value of a partner based on looks or physical attributes. These women are more likely to be judgmental towards other women and towards men. They expect other women to always look young and keep a tidy house. They see men as sloppy, smelly brutes that need cleaning up after as if they were naughty children. In fact, in the aforementioned Facebook post, the women were saying things like “I love men, I want them to open doors for me. But their farts smell so terrible.” The truth is, women’s farts smell worse than men’s.
When you are young you might try on this benevolent sexism and the Mars vs Venus thing. However, it can be a terrible trap. If you like someone, they become more attractive to you. If you constantly see a battle of the sexes, you are missing an opportunity to know someone and see their attractiveness. All you need to do to realize it’s not an us vs them thing is to know some gay couples. They have the same problems! I will never forget a friend calling and complaining to me about his boyfriend and realizing that my husband and I were having an identical spat. In fact, feminists have long spoken out against this type of sexism, the idea that men and women live in two different worlds. How old is that plea to stop the gender wars? Over 100 years old.
Most people surveyed these days do not want a traditional partner. However, when babies come along, it’s mom and her hormones that make her more in-tune to the cries. Here’s where feminism lets moms down, right? They expect that all women will work outside the home. Well, not exactly. The National Organization for Women has long advocated for homemaker’s rights and respect. There are plenty of stay-at-home feminists. Yes, that’s right, you can find them on that link from Ms.magazine. And it was feminists who elevated motherhood as being worthy of scientific study. You know what else they found? Human motherhood is damn hard. Being a female is damn hard. Being a feminist is damn hard, too. But if you can’t be one, consider backing off on the criticism. In fact, let’s cut each other some slack.
All feminism is saying is that people have the right to chase their dreams and to be equal in they eyes of society. No matter what your sex, dream chasing is hard, so why make it tougher with false notions about each other?
In a nutshell, there’s no reason not to be a feminist and certainly no reason to speak ill of it and certainly it’s irresponsible to pass along false information. Sorry Facebook “anti-feminists”, but your farts do smell. Fortunately, wearing pants stops the germs.
Now if we could only cover up silly ideas about feminism and get people to stop seeing Facebook posts as news.