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“Identify yourself as a feminist today and many people will immediately assume you are man-hating, bra-burning, whiny liberal. (…) Even among more moderate crowds, feminism is still seen as too radical, too uncomfortable, or simply unnecessary. ” (www.whoneedsfeminism.com)

I identify as a feminist. But I rarely use that word or voice my views simply because there are so many negative connotations that come with that term. I don’t hate men; I do want to be proposed to and get married in a traditional ceremony and have children. In fact, I would say I’m rather conservative in many ways. However, I fully support homosexuality, sex positivity, and abortion. I just don’t see why that has to be considered so radical.

To me, feminism means having the choice to do whatever we want without being called out on it. I love to cook, especially for the people I love. I get pleasure out of doing my nails, dyeing my hair, and showing off a new dress. I also love being involved with leading and planning. I like to be busy and I would die of boredom if I were confined to housework all my life. Feminism means that we can have whatever lifestyle we choose. I disapprove of radical feminists who go to extremes and start hating on all men and criticizing housewives because there’s nothing wrong with stay-at-home mothers if that’s what they want.

I don’t think men and women are exactly the same because we biologically aren’t, and therefore, we will always have innate differences in interests or abilities. I just think societal matters should be treated objectively of sex and gender. If a man and woman are doing the same job equally productively, they should get the same pay. If a female firefighter doesn’t pass the necessary physical requirements, she should not become a firefighter. Feminism isn’t about getting all up in someone’s face about how women are better than men or should be given preferential treatment. I don’t think gender needs to interfere with whoever we are as individuals and whoever we want to be.

For me, the point of feminism is to spread that unquestioning acceptance and respect of people as individuals worldwide. We may be on a good path now in North America, but it bothers me when people say feminism is no longer needed in 2014 (see my previous post, for example). If you were fortunate enough to grow up in an equal household, lucky you. But that’s not the way most of the world works. How many girls have been catcalled at walking down a street at night? It’s not a compliment. How many have been told, even jokingly, to “get back in the kitchen”? How many have been criticized on the personal choices they make about relationships and work? If I want to get married young, that’s my choice. And that’s barely scratching the surface of gender inequality in North America. For many women in different cultures, it’s never their choice. Men where I come from (Hanoi) are ostracized, regarded as a failure, if their wives make more than they do. Husbands leave their wives if they aren’t “blessed with sons.” Women cook and gossip in the kitchen and men sit on the living room couches and talk; it’s not an unfamiliar picture. I want to cook when I want to, just as I’d want to make the first move or “text him first” if I feel like it. That should all be okay.

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