Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.
Happy International Women’s Day! In honor of the day, I’ve taken a page out of Chimamanda Adichie’s book and have come up with three reasons we should all be feminists. Spoiler alert, hating men isn’t one of the reasons.
Equality isn’t oppression
We’ve all heard a million feminist slogans. Women’s rights are human rights. Feminism is the radical notion that women are people. Girls just wanna have fundamental human rights. There are a plethora of signs with these phrases at every women’s march and gender equality rally. We get so used to seeing them that we forget their significance. One common argument against feminism is that it’s about superiority rather than equality. All feminists are oppressive man-haters who shouldn’t be trusted. The same argument is used when looking at racial and socioeconomic equality. There’s a belief that oppression rather than equality is the goal of equal rights movements. Patti McNeil’s article critiques this best by pointing out that “equality is about bringing UP the people who have been oppressed … not about bringing DOWN those who are privileged.” Feminism is about women being equal, not better. It’s about fighting for women’s most basic rights. Feminists don’t want to overthrow men, they just want to level the playing field.
Feminism benefits everyone
Feminism recognizes that sexism disadvantages everyone. The world sets up unrealistic expectations for both men and women and shames them when these expectations aren’t met. Men who aren’t considered masculine enough are ridiculed. Women are underestimated and berated for not being feminine enough.These narrow views limit both men and women. Feminism recognizes the harm that these limitations can cause. It attempts to dismantle the systems which perpetuate these stereotypes and move towards “social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.”
The pay gap hurts everyone
Women are more educated than men yet continue to be paid less. For some reason, paying women what they’re worth is a foreign concept. Women have to work twice as hard to get half of the recognition. They are also more likely to live below the poverty line. Once you introduce issues of race and class, the problems multiply. By disadvantaging women, society as a whole suffers. Supporting equal pay and opportunities is vital to social and economic growth for everyone.
Of course, there are a million other reasons to be a feminist. We’ve made noticeable progress towards equality but there is still a lot of work to be done. I don’t understand why feminism is considered controversial.Men and women may have fundamental differences but they deserve the same rights and opportunities. Feminism helps bring to light challenges so that we can work on them. Its significance shouldn’t be diminished and being called a feminist shouldn’t be an insult. If you believe in equality, empowerment, and respect, you’re a feminist (congratulations!).