Before we begin, let’s talk about the importance of intersectional feminism. For those of you who don’t know, in the activist community, there are two different ways to refer to feminism. There is white feminism, which doesn’t have anything to do with race. White feminism is supported by women who are ignorant, racist, and man-hating. These women don’t seem that there is anything wrong with what they are preaching. They don’t speak for everyone, they don’t encourage total equality. This is the feminism that is too often portrayed in the media. Many men I have encountered believe this is the only type of feminism. It is not, and I don’t even believe it should be referred to as feminism. The type of feminism that is truly about equality, is called intersectional feminism. This feminism loves all races, sexualities, genders, and men!
There has been a great debate about why it’s called feminism and not something else that is more inclusive of men. Many male peers of mine have asked why it is called feminism, and I only have one response: because it wasn’t originally created for you. Centuries ago, men didn’t need women fighting for them because men were fighting against them. Should the feminist movement change their name? Sure. Let’s call it something more generic, I suggest we call it common sense. But don’t ignore the idea because you don’t like the name. That is ignorant.
Women deal with many problems, workplace sexual harassment, rape, unequal pay, sex-trafficking, the loss of reproductive rights, the glass ceiling, and that is just to name a few. These issues can range in severity depending on what kind of woman it is, a White woman, a Black woman, a Native American woman, a transgender woman. It all differs.
But men deal with some problems too. Men are sexually harassed and raped. Men are sex-trafficked. Men are discriminated against. No true, intersectional feminist will deny this. Women like Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought to end gender-based discrimination, that fight wasn’t just for women. You benefited from it too, boys. It was women who helped change the legal definition of rape to include male victims. It was black women who fought for gay rights. Feminists have led the movement that accepts male femininity. Many people believe, like your beloved ‘meninists’, that men do not cry or feel insecure. This is an absurd belief, that promotes toxic masculinity. Not that all masculinity is bad or toxic, but the idea that every male has to be aggressive and dominant is what is toxic. Women have fought for men for decades.
You may think feminism is bad for you because feminism holds men accountable for their wrong-doings. The notion “Boys will be boys,” is no longer a viable excuse. The #MeToo movement is proof of this. Should you consider this a disservice to you, odds are you have done something wrong.
Giving women basic human rights throughout history has been a struggle, it has been debated against, it has caused national outcries. Yet, giving rights to women has never taken away from men. Fighting for women has never been fighting against the rights of men, typically just fighting against the men in positions of power who continue to speak for us.
Intersectional feminists don’t disregard the significance of men in their fights for equality. Intersectional feminists want to dismantle the patriarchy, a sexist system that believes men are superior. Demolishing this idea isn’t establishing a new system where women are superior, it is simply to rid our government, our workplaces of a male hierarchy. Women belong in power just as much as men.
“Feminism is Cancer.” If I had a dollar for every time I heard or read those three words, I would have enough money to instate a class on feminism in every public school to educate every ignorant person I had ever met. Feminism isn’t the new F-word, it is not dirty. Supporting equality isn’t vulgar, last time I checked. Being a feminist is a wonderful thing. Being a feminist means you are part of something larger than yourself. Feminists fight for people who don’t look like them. Feminists want women and men to be equal. Feminists support a lot more too. These are not “radical” ideas. These are ideas that are necessary for humanity to thrive.
I say I am a feminist with no shame. If you are ashamed to say you support equality, you don’t. Next question, please.
To all the boys reading this, you should be an intersectional feminist too. But if you can only support an idea because you get something out of it, that should say a lot about you and how you value women. Educate yourselves. I’ll even let you in on a little secret: if you click this link right here, you can ask any question you have about feminism and get an answer. It’s so cool. Who knew it was that easy?
Be a good ally. Nobody here is asking you to march on Washington. Feminists ask you to step up when you see a man abusing his power. They ask you to say something when you see your friend take advantage of someone. Not to make a woman’s decision about her body for her. Listen to women when they talk. Respect them. Human decency doesn’t cost you a penny.
(All photo credits go to respective owners. Final picture credit goes to @florencegiven on Instagram.)
My final question: Why do you continue to allow the men/women in your life to be blatantly sexist/racist/misogynistic? Are you ashamed of supporting positivity and inclusivity? If so, why?