I have been thinking a lot about why I don't identify as a feminist lately. I do believe in equality between the genders. I don't think girls are better than boys or boys are better than girls. I do celebrate their differences. I am deeply saddened by the horrible atrocities women throughout the world are subjected to, such as female circumcision, being unable to attend school, and denied certain freedoms that in the US we don't even give a second thought to. I am so grateful to the suffragettes who helped secure my right to vote. And the women who went into fields dominated by men and paved a way for me to go into science.
All these things would have you thinking that I am a feminist. But I can't take on that label when I read articles written by feminists and find not only the articles but the comments on the articles full of vitriol and bitterness from other feminists. I am even told that I can't be a feminist if I don't support a woman's right to choose abortion. But I cannot and will not ever support that. (That's a post for another day though.) I can't stick up for the men in the comments who offer a different perspective, because I'm "enabling the patriarchy." I can't think periods are gross, or I have been conditioned to think that by "the patriarchy" and I'm some one to be pitied. I can't offer a different take on something that is supposed to be offensive because again I'm conditioned by "the patriarchy." And I'm supposed to take offense to so many things.
Side note: I think periods are gross because they are messy and bloody. I don't like blood. (I can't be a nurse or a doctor because it just grosses me out). It ruins perfectly good clothes. Yeah it's natural. You know what else is natural? Poop, pee, and boogers. All things I find gross and all ways of expelling waste from the body just as your period is doing with the wasted lining of your uterus. I'm not stupid or brainwashed, I think things leaving your body should not be shared with others because it's gross. That's not to say I think it should be a secret or something you never talk about, but I can still think they are gross. I mean obviously I just wrote a whole paragraph about it.
If you are wondering what articles I'm talking about. Just pick a random article on Buzzfeed that has feminist tones in the title. Or even one that doesn't. Buzzfeed is a horrible place to get your news from, but their articles get shared so much that I end up reading it a lot. I also read articles from Salon, Hello Giggles, Feminist Mormon Housewives and other random things that come up in my feeds.
Not very often do I find an article I agree with on a whole. And when I do there are still people in the comments that take feminism to a whole other level than I can handle.
Look, I understand the concept of what feminism is supposed to be. I get that their are radicals in every group and extremes. But It just seems like in the feminist community most people I hear are extremists. And also condescending.
I want the best for both genders. I want to listen and learn from men and women. I believe our differences can bring us together. I don't think two wrongs make a right. So just because women have been historically subjected to being sex objects in the media, I don't think we should turn around and do that to men. I don't think we should say men shouldn't have a voice at all when it comes to reproductive issues. It takes two to tango you know. I don't think it's right to say only women experience being afraid to walk places, or holding your keys as a weapon. Or when you write an article about sexist things that happen in a relationship but every example you give is what a man does to a woman, you can't be mad when men comment that they have experienced those things from their female partners. And you can't tell them they deserve it because "patriarchy." Or that they still don't understand because most women have experienced these things multiple times.
And those comments are getting tons of likes. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
But it started before the internet too. I remember in elementary school not wanting to get into all the girl power stuff. I've never had issues of being told I can't do something because I'm a girl. I've never been told that. If anything I've felt the opposite. I remember there was a big sleepover for girls only at my elementary school and we all got to sleep in the cafeteria and we watched "Ever After." It was fun. But I also remember a lot of the stuff that was said made me feel like I was being told I was better than boys simply by being a girl. And that's the first time I felt like I don't agree with that stuff. And over the years that feeling has grown.
I think this all stems from the fact that I first think of people as PEOPLE. Every person is deserving of love and respect in my eyes. Every person, no matter what, has the potential to succeed and do well.
I will continue to fight in society for equal rights for all people around the world. I will continue to support those who are willing to work for success. I'll continue to fight against idiots who have superiority complexes. But I think I can do all that without labeling myself as a feminist. I'm a humanist.
*And no, you don't get to comment "But by saying all that you are a feminist because that's what feminism is." No! Because as I've explained in my post that is not what I've seen or experienced, and as many of feminist likes to say "You don't get to invalidate my experiences."