Women are inherently powerful. We create life, art, fight for our rights and the rights of our communities, and add beauty to the world with our simple presence. This is exemplified by timeless women such as Frida Kahlo, Rupi Kaur, Angela Davis, Marsha P. Johnson, and many many others. Unfortunately, the world has not always viewed women in this light. As mentioned, women had to fight to receive many basic rights, such as the right to vote during the first feminist movement of the 1920s. We have and continue to fight for our right to reproductive healthcare, equal pay, and to be taken seriously in the court of law. The fact that women have to work harder for many basic humanities, and that we still do not have many, is the reason why feminism is important.
Yes, "feminism." A word that has became a label and a defining word in history and our present culture. Some may see it as a political scam or simply women complaining, but that could not be further from the truth. According to Oxford, "feminism" is defined as "the advocacy of women's rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes." Further, this means that someone who describes themselves as a feminist is "a person who supports feminism," (Oxford).
Feminism should be vital to everyone, worldwide. The feminist movements are of extreme importance because for millenia, women have not been equal to men. This unequal balance of men and women is problematic and hurts everyone. In America, this is seen in the pay gap where women earn 79 cents to every dollar a man makes. Even more wretched is the fact that the pay gap is larger for women of color. Black women earn 61 cents for every dollar that a man earns (National Partnership, 2019) and Latina women are paid 46% less than white men and 31% less than white women (Lean In, 2019). The pay gap alone is proof of the importance of feminism.
“Feminism should be vital to everyone, worldwide”
Feminism is all about equality between women and men. The feminist movements of the past and present have all been led by powerful, important women who are passionate fighters. And this is the way it should be! I would like to propose an idea though: Feminism needs more men.
Yes, the gender that has created a culture of viewing and treating women as less, the gender that has prevented and revoked our freedoms, the gender that has caused women so much turmoil, are needed to push the movement forward and give us the equality that we deserve. The explanation is rather simple too. The lack of equality that we presently live in an issue of shared humanity. Humanity includes men, therefore men are needed to propel the fight towards equality.
The inspiration for this piece initially came from Twitter. Time and time again, I would see tweets about hating men, such as "I hate when men breathe like STFU" and "I stopped having sex bc I just hate seeing men happy" and many many more. The people who sent these tweets and the many others like it also included the word "feminist" in their biography, presumably as a label to define themselves. While I also agree that men can be stupid, and perform horrid acts against women, that does not change the fact that not all men are horrible and deserve the worst. This idea is harmful because it excludes men from the conversation, which in turn excludes men from the fight for equality. Additionally, the idea that anything is only black or white with no gray area is harmful. In psychology it is actually known as a thought distortion called "all or nothing thinking," (Beck 1976; Burns 1980). The solution to this issue is understanding and accepting that two realities can exist at once. This means that we need to understand and accept the fact that while some men truly are the scum of the earth (see Brock Turner), there are also men who are wonderful and do many amazing things for the world and women (see Nicholas Snow, Jase Peeples, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and more).
This does not mean that men should not be held accountable for their wrong doings, or that women should "lighten up" their fight towards equality. It doesn't necessarily mean that women should be less merciful, but it does mean that women should be more gracious and include men in their work for a better world. As ridiculous as it sounds, we need to teach men what they are lacking (while still holding strong boundaries- this doesn't mean women are free therapists), and also call them out on ideas that are sexist and damaging. Women have proven time and time again that they are powerful, bold, and assertive. Its time that we let men use the power given to them to aid in pushing the world towards a better humanity, where we are all viewed and treated as equal, despite our race or gender.
Maren Hoflund MT HHP, is a massage therapist and holistic health practitioner based in San Diego. This her self created space where she explores topics such as mental and physical (holistic) health, self care, spirituality, and child development; in addition to her poetry and prose.