My four year old son.
He loves to play with action figures and watch Ninja Turtles. He's rough and tumble and can take hits that would mortally wound children twice his size. He is undoubtedly a boy's boy. Except when he decides that he's not. Sometimes he wakes up and is a princess. He plays Barbies with his sisters and talks in a higher octave, clumsily clomping around the house in transparent, plastic princess shoes. He clutches a play purse and begs me to paint his nails.
I'll be honest, it took me a couple times of deep thought before I finally was compelled to drop those last shreds that I had held onto about the male stereotype, and now I oblige. After all, he's right; Why should I treat him any different than I do my girls? So I paint his nails too.
I do not hold my son to a different standard because he is a boy.
That is Feminism.
My son understands, at four, that there should be no difference between "boy" and "girl" and views the two as interchangeable. There is no power dynamic in our household that suggestions that one sex should be viewed as favorable. No benefit derived from having one particular set of sexual organs. This is the true heart of Feminism-- Equality for both sexes.
I signed on to Twitter today and was greeted by the #WomenAgainstFeminism tweet rampage, and have decided to weigh in. If you have not yet seen this, a tumblr page exists where women are stating reasons why they "do not need Feminism". The first thought is, of course, how can you be a woman and be AGAINST Feminism?
I'm not actually going to make a case for this, because long story short-- You can't.
The thing that I feel like I need to speak to is an actual issue that the undercurrent of drivel has pulled to the surface. The fact that people put a blanket on all types of Feminism and lump them in with the loudest of us: The RADICAL FEMINISTS.
This version of "Feminism"-- the "man haters", those who would tell you that conventional marriage sprung from the roots of patriarchal rape, that you cannot call yourself a feminist and be a stay at home mother, which I personally disprove-- those "Feminists" have strayed from the mission statement. This is NOT your average everyday "Feminist". Their actions are self defeating. It's like decrying slavery, breaking free and capturing your own slaves. It advances nothing. All it is is a furthering of a flip-flopping power struggle, which leaves us all on opposing sides. "Patriarchal", "Matriarchal"-- Someone is always in power; always an oppressor and oppressee. When one talks about Feminism, they generally do NOT mean this.
When I say that I am a Feminist, I do NOT mean a Radical Feminist.
When I say that I am a Feminist, I am saying that I believe that women and men should have equal rights. When you say you are a Feminist, I bet my ass you mean exactly that. The equal rights schpeel is what I got in my Sociology classes, my Feminism 101 and Feminist Psychology lectures. Sure, they cover Radical Feminism for a second, mostly to discuss why it has no practical relevance in everyday practice. Saying you hate Feminism and meaning Radical Feminism, is like saying you hate all books because you once read a book you didn't like. Radical Feminism is just those hard little pineapple pieces in your fruit cup; the ones with the weird brown spots that get stuck in there as a cautionary tale to those who would just take a heaping spoonful and wolf it down. Just set them aside and move along.
Look, I'm sure, if hard pressed, the women of tumblr would also agree that they do believe in equal rights. Surely they do not want to give back the right to vote, or be treated as property. To argue that anyone, man or woman, can thrive as a functional member of today's society and be "against" Feminism is inherently moronic.
And, I'm sure we can all agree, for the most part, that not all Feminists are Misandrists, and that Misandry is bad, m'kay?
Feminism is NOT bad. No one should be against it.
Feminists are not bad. I am a Feminist. My son is a Feminist. My daughters are Feminists. My husband is a Feminist. I wake up each day, with an appreciation for the fact that I live in a world where, not only can I see my daughters prosper as people, without regard for gender, but I hope that I will see my son do the same.
I want to live in a world where all three of them can stand toe to toe, shamelessly donning their superhero capes and glitter polish. Where all our children, male and female can grow up and become anything and any person they feel in their heart that they want to be.
How could anyone be against that?