Last week, The Arbiter published an article called “Sportsball” which resulted in an active debate over the definition of feminism and it’s current implications. Because of this attention, we decided to write an editorial discussing where we see the current role of feminism playing into society.
Women can vote. Women can serve in the military in increasingly more dangerous positions. Women can play collegiate level sports.
Scholars attribute the birth of feminism to the 60′s, which was a time of radical civil rights movements. Women broke the societal norms of the 50′s, shedding the Leave-It-To-Beaver housewife in a modest dress and pearls for a more powerful role in society where they can stay in step with men.
But now, a new problem has arisen.
Some branches of radical feminism have evolved to the point where they are counter productive. Instead of striving for equality, they have retrograded into a group that paints women into a different corner and belittles the opinions of men. To these more radical “feminists,” allowing a man to hold the door open is a sign of weakness and shaving armpits is a sign of submission to a social norm in a despicable way. And having a phallus automatically disqualifies a person from posing any argument to these ideas because they have been oppressing women for the greater part of human existence.
And some of this is true. Yes, women have faced a long battle for equal rights. And yes, we are still making progress (women still only get about 77 cents to a man’s dollar). However, rebelling against female stereotypes to the point where “girly girls” are made to feel like they are betraying their loyalty to their gender by dressing a certain way or by having or not having certain interests is not productive in the battle for equality.
The feminism of today should reflect an acceptance of all women; women in the kitchen, women at work and women who aren’t interested in either. The idea behind feminism is to disregard gender norms completely.
The same ideology should hold true for men.
Men who discuss feminism should not be dismissed by extreme feminists. In fact, during the original battle for women’s rights, the Declaration of Sentiments of 1848 had 32 male signers in addition to the female support. It was passed with the help of Frederick Douglass (a man) to secure civil liberties to women, such as political, social and religious rights and freedoms. These men supported women in their struggle for equality then, just as many men support women’s rights today. Women appreciated those opinions then, and should not take them for granted now.
Nor should men and women find themselves targeted by self-proclaimed feminists over issues that really have nothing to do with women’s liberation. The idea that anything a woman does automatically reflects on the rest of the female population of the world is ridiculous and archaic. If a woman doesn’t know anything about cars or loves to bake and is proud of it, that doesn’t mean she is not a feminist. On the contrary–for some women, embracing the “girly” side of herself is part of being a feminist. The ideals of what “feminist woman” should look like–whatever that means– should not interfere with effeminate women’s desire to pursue their own interests even if means loving pink or wearing makeup. Conversely, women who rebel against these stereotypes should not be condemned for their own self perceptions.
But women shouldn’t have to be worried about being attacked by other women for behaving in a manner that is alledgedly disgraceful and embarrassing to women everywhere. In fact, arguably the strongest feminist would be one who fights for her fellow women’s rights to express themselves however they choose and additionally supports a man’s prerogative to do the same, regardless of where it falls on the scale of “masculinity.” Who is one person to tell a woman or a man that he or she is not a feminist?
Feminism, at its core, is meant to give women equal rights.
Women should be able to have a cake, and bake it too. But only if they want to.
The Way We See It is based on the majority opinions of The Arbiter’s editorial board. Members of the board are Editor-in-Chief Rebecca De León; Managing Editor Haley Robinson; section editors Wyatt Martin, Lindsey Hileman, Suzanne Craig, Tasha Adams, Eva Hart, Tony Madonna; multimedia editors Cody Finney and Ryan Morgan; and Copy Editor Katie Johnson.