Friday, September 26, 2014

Why I Won't Call Myself a Modern Day Feminist

I've been putting off this blog post for a while, mostly because I didn't want to deal with the backlash of my perspective on the feminist movement in today's society (because it seems to be quite frowned upon haha). However, this week has been the tip of the iceberg for me, so here I go...the top three reasons I won't consider myself a modern day feminist.

1. Let's Talk About Real Inequality
I'm going to start by explaining something: if feminists in America today were truly pursuing the original definition of feminism (having equal opportunity under the law), I would absolutely 100%, proudly claim the title of a feminist. However, this is not the case. Based on the original definition, American women have truly reached the desire of the original feminists. I can vote, I can own land, I can go to college, I can choose my own career, I could choose to never get married or have kids and now that would be socially acceptable. The truth is, women in America have it better than women anywhere else in the world. The reason I refuse to associate myself with the feminist title today is because of western women whining in comparison to the true suffering that is happening for women all around the world. I rarely hear American feminists say, "We need to fight and stand up for the women in Saudi Arabia who are not allowed to DRIVE A CAR or go anywhere without a man" or "We need to do more to stop the abortions/killings of baby girls in China simply because they are girls!" or "We need to do more to stop the selling of girls as sex slaves all over the world!" THAT is true suffering and gender inequality! I have asked some feminist friends of mine about these things before and they didn't really know what to say besides, "Well that's the Muslim culture" (about women that can't drive, show their faces, go somewhere without a man, etc). I cannot take people seriously that believe women are suffering in America because people are trying to stop abortions or make them pay for their own sex lives--it is actually repulsive to me. We live in an amazing country and I have yet to see true inequality as I see and read about in most places outside of America. Let's do more to stand up and fight TRUE gender inequality! Sign me up for that kind of feminism!!!

2. Modern Feminists & the Hate
Original feminists have helped me immensely--I have exercised my right to vote, to go to college, to move all over the place, etc. and I am so grateful for those brave women who paved that road for me. However, modern feminists and their ideology have hurt me, simply because I think differently from them--it's as if I am not a good enough woman because I don't agree with their logic. I have found that many feminists today have come to a far extreme. Instead of the original goal of feminism, which was essentially to allow the opportunity for women to make their own choices based on equal opportunity, it now seems that it can only be the choices that feminists find to be the correct choices.

Let me illustrate this for you:I want to stay at home with my kids until they go to school, because I believe it is extremely important. I don't condemn those who would rather work and drop their kids off at a daycare--that is their own decision to make (and often finances can play a role in this decision, so I understand). I have always wanted to be a mom, as long as I can remember. When people asked what I wanted to do when I grew up, I knew: to be a mama! This is still my response! In my last semester of college, I sat in a small classroom and my teacher asked us various questions that accidentally singled me out haha. One question she asked was, "How many of you are going to graduate school?" Everyone but me raised their hand. She asked me, "Why not?" Like the debt I will be paying off for decades getting my bachelor's wasn't enough haha. Another time she asked who wanted to be a stay-at-home parent--I immediately (and proudly) raised my hand. The summer before, I had spent ten hours a day, each day, for four months, watching my newborn nephew and had come to learn the extreme work, sacrifice, and dedication this requires--dang straight I'd be proud! Nobody else raised their hands. I guess I wasn't extremely surprised, but I was taken aback by the response of my peers. They all kind of looked at me with confused looks and the teacher asked me why I wanted to do this...THAT was shocking!

I explained that I found it extremely important in the development of children and for me personally, it would be very rewarding--that was the end of that discussion haha. Similarly, I have faced a feeling much like the one I experienced in my class recently. I have had quite a few interviews in the last week or so and every interviewer asked similar questions: "What are your career goals?" or, "How does this job fit into your career plans?" or my personal favorite, "Where do you see yourself in five years?" Every time this question (or one similar) was asked, I felt guilt. I had to lie. You see, in five years, I hope to have at LEAST two kids (going on more) and be raising them and working my butt off to do so! After I left each interview, I got mad at myself--why am I made to feel like my career goal of being a mom (which I think is seriously one of the hardest and most selfless things anyone can do) isn't good enough? I was afraid to answer the truth, as to avoid coming off as "lazy" or "unambitious." So, I lied in hopes of getting a job until I can get my dream job (as a mama). It wasn't until the past few years that I started to realize how SAHMs (stay-at-home-moms) are often frowned upon by many modern feminists (this began when the third-wave movement started, when feminists declared getting married/having kids was like living in a concentration camp). I don't think it's AS extreme today, but I definitely don't feel that it's encouraged or even applauded. I have vowed to be honest and proud in my next interview if this questions comes up!

Another way I see the hate from many modern day feminists is against anyone who disagrees with their ideology/political beliefs. For example, take any conservative woman in the media--let us look at Sarah Palin. Sarah was on the ticket as a Vice Presidential candidate. As a woman, I was SO proud. Even if I disagreed with her politically (which I didn't haha), I still would have been proud and thought, "WOW! Look at how far women have come!" (Similar to how people viewed Obama for being black). For some reason, I am constantly considered to be racist because I think Obama is the worst president in our country's history (which has everything to do with his policies and nothing to do with the color of his skin), but somehow, nobody yelled sexist at anyone who wouldn't want Sarah Palin to be VP (there goes that "only if you believe what we believe" mindset). Now, based on the original idea of feminism, I would completely consider Sarah to be a feminist--she has it all! She is extremely successful, balances work with her amazing family, and worked against odds to get where she is! Despite this, many modern day feminists automatically hated her, just because she is pro-life. People called Sarah the most horrible things, like the c word, the b word, made horrible sexual comments about her because she was a woman, attacked her family, you name it! I waited and waited for the National Organization for Women (NOW), who I assumed stood up for and cared about ALL women (as it doesn't say "National Organization for Women Who Only Think Like We Do"), to make a comment about how disgusting these comments were, but they said nothing. So it goes with Michele Bachman, Michelle Malkin, Kate Obenshain, and pretty much any other female conservative politician. In fact, I went onto the "NOW" website to see what they were promoting just tonight, and I was repulsed--a girl is smiling holding a sign that says, "I love my birth control!" Wow, how this brings me to my next point...

3. The Vagina Monologues and Free Birth Control Don't Make Me Feel Empowered
When I think women empowerment, I don't think FREE BIRTH CONTROL! Like is the main banner on the NOW website, much of what I hear today about "the war on women" and the like is how awful conservatives are for not wanting to pay for women's sex lives/abortions, how women shouldn't be afraid to talk vulgarly about our bodies (reference the disgusting play "Vagina Monologues"), and how we can and should be promiscuous--because abstinence is a trap and why should men have all the fun--that's sexist! (Not so much). If the original feminists could see feminists today, I think they would be extremely disappointed. Those women wanted equal rights and equal opportunities, which we have today. They were classy and respectful of all women. I am so saddened at how far we've fallen--what happened to promoting hard work and classiness? Values and morals? Why did we exchange that for claiming it is an injustice to not have our government or employers pay for our sex lives? Why did we tape "my body, my choice" over the truth of what abortion truly is, murder, and demand that this is our right as women? When did we stop being grateful for the true equality we have as women in this country, look the other way to the true inequality the rest of the women in the world face, and continue to complain about things like a false argument of women making less money than men (read this) or how when a guy winks at you on the street it's because of gender inequality (no, that guy is just creepy).

You might completely disagree with me and think I'm a woman hurting "the cause," but based on true feminist ideals, I have equal opportunity, as you do, to voice my opinion and to live life according to however I see best fit. When I have kids, I won't tell them how much women suffer in America. I will tell them how privileged they are to live in a country where there is equal opportunity for them, regardless of race or gender, and that there are less fortunate people throughout the whole world who need us to advocate for them. I will teach them to be grateful for what they are able to do and to be compassionate towards those who truly do not know opportunity because of their gender. There is so much to be grateful for, and if we all focused on the truth and looked at our history in light of the rest of the world, I think there would be a lot less complaining and a lot more advocating for those who are truly facing inequality. When feminists return to fighting for the true and original definition of the word for those who actually need it, I will gladly take on that title! Until then, you can simply call me a grateful and privileged woman with equal rights!

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