There is an Internet meme that is making the rounds right now of women holding signs explaining why they don’t need feminism. This makes me so sad that women would freely walk away from a movement that has given them so much. I think a great deal of this is because people confuse feminists with femi-nazis which really are two different things. I’m a feminist. PERIOD. ALL CAPITAL LETTERS – I AM A FEMINIST. And I’m pretty gosh darn proud to call myself one. I would love to write some sort of beautifully phrased post supporting my decision but frankly the best I can do right now is provide you with a partial list of the reasons why I need feminism.
1.) Because in 1920 women FINALLY got the right to vote and that was LESS THAN A 100 YEARS AGO.
2.) Because there are still over 20 countries in the world that forbid women from getting an education
3.) Because 28 countries in Africa still practice female genital mutilation.
4.) Because in 1971 women were finally allowed to practice law IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
5.) Because I want my daughter to have CHOICES. The choice to work, to stay home, to be president, to fly to the moon. And unlike my younger counterparts I REMEMBER a time when women were still heavily marginalized in the work place. I REMEMBER a time when a woman was still expected to dress like a man if they were going to work in a professional place. (watch any movie that was made before 1960 and you’ll see what I mean)
6.) Because I want my daughter to know that if she is raped or sexually assaulted she can report such a crime without fearing that she will be accused of “asking for it”.
7.) Because I hope and dream that one day men will be held accountable for their sexual purity and actions as strongly as women.
8.) Because I hope and dream that one day we will stop relegating men to mindless sexual animals that are on one hand incapable of any intellectual thought but sex, and yet simultaneously better suited to run the world because they don’t have periods. Men are incapable of controlling their minds when presented with scantily clad women but somehow can still be in charge of nuclear warheads. If this was actually true then all we would need to do to win a war is send a bunch of naked women into battle and all weapons would be dropped. Alas, that doesn’t really work.
9.) Because I believe that both men and women should be granted longer than 6 weeks to be at home with their newborn/adopted child
10.) Because when you are a minority you must always be vigilant about guarding your rights and freedoms.
These women who are so quick to give up feminism are actually using the very rights the feminist movement gave them – the right to have an opinion that they can voice openly in a public forum. If you doubt this then I suggest you turn to the beloved Jane Austen — do you know why all of Jane’s heroines were strong willed and unhappy? Because they refused to be forced into a marriage based on dowry and financial prospectus — a very common habit. Women were chattel, property, things that were married and sold (dowry) for the betterment of the family. Jane craved education and freedom for women — Jane Austen was a feminist. So before you toss out feminism as being unneeded and outdated because you have already won the right to vote and can go to school, I suggest you spend a bit more time thinking about what feminism REALLY is and what it has already given you.