My first guest post of 2020 comes from my current social media intern, and smart, thoughtful woman, Jessica Mack…
When I was a child, I heard the word feminism. I was never told what it meant: it always had bad connotations attached to it. People in the news always referred to it as women who hated men and anything associated with the male race. Feminists were never happy with equality and always wanted more and more people said.
One day I was watching the news with my parents about a feminist rally when my father said, “I hope you never become one of those crazy feminists, Jess.”
This conversation made me look at him and ask “Why? What do you mean crazy?”
He just shrugged and focused on the TV again, not sure how to reply.
Because of this interaction and media presence, I’ve felt like I had to be passive about my beliefs my whole life, creating a docile version of myself. Whenever women are too “outspoken,” it becomes a critical hit to our image in the face of both men and women – “Why can’t she be normal?” or “Why can’t she keep her opinions to herself?” or “Why’s she so loud and noisy?”
But why is that? Why is it that most men can be themselves, and women can’t?
If women act confident, then they’re overconfident. If men act confident, they’re seen just as that – confident. If women are angry, it backfires and makes them less approachable. When men are angry, it could be seen as sexy or even give men more power over a group. It’s a sad but solid truth – that even if a woman expresses the same anger the same way a male would, a woman will face negative consequences while a man will receive praise.
But it’s not just men who are at fault. Women are to blame, too. Society as a whole has limited our thinking and constructs, making this the societal norm of sorts.
Maybe this is why feminists seem to be angry all the time. We can’t be ourselves, and to admit being a feminist makes us seem like we’re “crazy” like my father put it.
But how can we forget what feminism has done for women?
Because of feminism, women were able to finally have an education, obtain equal pay, possess rights over their own bodies, and even be involved in politics. Feminists in early America have changed women’s lives.
We should never forget that feminists are the reason America has changed for women for the better. But the fight isn’t over. Equality is still an issue even today, although less pronounced.
Where feminism is considered, we should think of empowerment, not anger or craziness. If you believe in women’s equal rights, you are a feminist in some regard. You just didn’t know it.
That doesn’t mean you’re angry. It just means you believe that women deserve equal rights, and there’s no fault in that.