“Feminist” seems to be a title most women label themselves today.
From the movement’s beginnings in the early 1920s to when it picked up momentum during the 1960s and 1970s, feminism has become a widely held and practiced ideology, especially among women.
The prevalence of feminism today causes many women to feel pressured into feeling and acting a certain way in order to promote their equality in society.
Often, I feel that, as a woman, the feminist ideology is forced upon me simply because of my gender.
Why is it that men aren’t expected to be feminists?
Some say that the feminist movement, which encourages female equality in the social, political and professional realms of society, has made enormous strides towards a more level playing field.
While complete gender equality has not yet been fully achieved, our situation is far better than that of the 1960s.
However, in being a woman myself and an outwardly inactive feminist advocate, I think it is necessary to give voice to the “unfeminist” female.
Many people mistakenly believe that all women must be feminists.
Clearly, it would make sense that a woman would want to advocate for her own gender’s equal standing in society.
However, the term “feminist” is a little more complex than that.
In answering the question as to whether I am feminist, my answer is usually that I am not.
This does not mean, however, that I promote the inequality of women or look to demean my own gender, but rather that I am not actively advocating for the perfect balance between the genders.
In fact, personally, I do not feel much discrimination and therefore, do not harbor disapproving feelings toward men and their supposed unwavering patriarchal power.
To me, society is no longer structured in a male-dominated sense, and while nothing is perfect, the progress that has been made is tremendous.
At Union, I am given the
same opportunities as men, as much agency to voice my own opinions and as much freedom to pursue my talent, in any field ranging from math to English.
Though my stance on feminism could be a result of my own particular life experiences, and while I acknowledge that others may not be as privileged, I disagree with women who, label themselves as feminist, denouncing any progress by the feminist efforts that have been made throughout history.
In comparing the landscape of gender equality between the past and today, I argue that our progress has allowed my generation to reap the many benefits of those feminists who advocated so willingly for future generations.
I, as well as other women today, am a product of a landscape.
I agree that efforts still need to be made in the areas of equal pay for example, but the discrimination is minor to me and not something to force down the throats of women that aren’t necessarily “feminist.”
What does it mean to be a feminist then?
Well, to some it means an outward portrayal of feminist ideals.
To others, it means to constantly wear a sexist lens when viewing a situation.
While I agree with the feminist movement in the effort to create an equal world, I refuse to play the role of the discriminated victim.
Surely there are narrow-minded men who live in the past, but society is far different than it was years ago.
I appreciate the work that active feminists do, and hope too that one day the world will in fact be equal. Until then, I am going to live my life not as a woman, but as a person.
Maybe if women stop victimizing themselves, then men will take them more seriously. Isn’t that what we want anyway?