*A Feminist: A person (male or female) who believes that men and women should be equal on a social, political and economic level.
*A Misandrist: A person (male or female) who despises or is strongly prejudiced against men.
These two terms represent two completely different believe systems and they speak to two completely different approaches to the way we view men in society. Now look, I’m a proud feminist, to quote the late Maya Angelou: “I’m a feminist. I’ve been a female for a long time now. It’d be stupid not to be on my own side”.
As human beings we change and evolve everyday and with that change a change in mindset happens, our beliefs evolve and our frame of reference expands.
I recently had the misfortune of meeting a man, who strongly believed that I do not have the proper mindset to be feminist, because as he says: “you have a broken heart and you’re bitter so you can’t possibly be a feminist”. On a random Saturday morning we were having a discussion on the man bashing tendencies women have online and how it has somehow turned into a way of bullying men. Yes I agree that some women take it too far. What I don’t agree with is them hiding behind the “feminist flag” to fuel their agenda of breaking men down and diminishing their character. A lot of these women online talking about how “men are shit” are heartbroken girls with a bruised ego and they just want to vent and have their stories heard. They have no idea what generations of women have been fighting for and the values that accompany being a feminist.
Now before you get your knickers in a bunch, I have always tweeted “men are trash” (and I’ll get back to that).
Being a feminist is not about making the man feel small or taking away from his masculinity or even his social status. It’s not about decreasing his salary, or bad mouthing him in public. Being a feminist is not about trying to act like a man by being sexually promiscuous (if you are sexually liberated, good for you! There is no judgement here). It is not about replacing them in society or diminishing his role as the male. It is simply about uplifting women, making sure that they are given the opportunity to provide for their families, get an education, and be viable for that job they always wanted. It’s about making sure women remember that they are beautiful and important and valued. It’s about making sure women are protected, that we are taking care of ourselves and each other.
There are so many other reasons why being a feminist is important to me, but instead of going there I would like to tell you about a conversation that I had with a friend. She told me that she doesn’t agree with “the whole feminist movement”, as she put it, she said that “men and women each have our separate roles to play and that being a feminist takes that away and leaves us with a generation of men and women who don’t know their place”. Needless to say this infuriated me, because I don’t want to be a man and I don’t want to take a man’s place. I just want to be valued, as most women do.
Now, for the “men are trash” topic. I have ranted and raved many times about how men have broken my heart and made me feel worthless and, and, and… but the idea behind “men are trash” is not a broken hearted little girl sulking in a corner about a boy who kissed her and stole her candy shortly after. It’s about the high numbers of rape and domestic violence we face every day in this country. Every day we see headlines like “husband shoots wife and two kids and kills himself after” or “man stabs woman for refusing to give him her number”, we are faced with stories such as “older cousin rapes three year old baby girl” and horrific stories of drugged girls at parties being raped and left for dead. Incidents like these are the reason behind the “men are trash” movement.
So back to a man telling me how I’m not a feminist, he told me that I’m a misandrist, because I hate men. I do not hate men! Never have, never will. I am however angry at the way they treat us women and the cruelty they show us every day. Now as a multifaceted woman, who might I say, is well read and has been alive for a quarter of a century, I would hate to think that I only have one mindset regarding “men”. I’m curious why people think that I can’t be a feminist and be absolutely furious at men at the same time? Like I have to pick one, “you can either view us as equal or be mad at us”. But I want to be mad as hell, cause I’ve been hurt by men who I have loved, I have seen my friends and family get hurt by men they love. I have seen men leave and damage and destroy. I have also seen men build, and love, and protect. I have seen men encourage women, when even our own have torn us down, and for these reasons I cannot possibly only love or hate men. I can be a feminist and believe in what it stands for and take on the tasks that come with carrying that title, but I can also sympathise with the pain my “sisters” have endured.
So in conclusion: stop trying to label me a “man bashing feminist” because you see women on the internet using “feminism” as an excuse or a screen to hide behind while venting about broken hearts and empty promises. Not all of them are feminist and some of us are, but we are still angry and sad and disappointed in the men around us.