Feminism is not Misandry

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*Disclaimer:  These are my own thoughts and opinions–please understand that this article is not intended to start an argument, political conversation, and is absolutely, under no circumstances, meant to undermine men (since you know, the whole point of this article is to reaffirm that feminism is not synonymous with misandry).  This is just something that truly needs to be understood.  If you do not have feminist ideals, this article is probably not for you.  Furthermore, if you don’t have anything nice to say, tell your teddy bear or write it in your journal, because I’m not interested in your negativity.  You’ve been warned!*

First, let me start off by saying that I am proud to be a woman.  I am independent, confident, strong, but I can also be stubborn, opinionated, and impatient.  I believe that, together, women and men have the ability to change the world, and I hope for equal opportunity for all people.  I believe in the equal treatment of every race, religion, sex, and body size.  I dream of a world where people of all shapes, sizes, colors, and cultures are seen as beautiful and can be celebrated.

Unfortunately, not everybody thinks as I do.  I understand this, and I also accept other peoples’ ideas and opinions.  I keep an open mind when listening to other parties speak their minds.  I try not to judge others for their opinions, even if they do not align with my state of mind.  I do a fairly good job at this, until, you know, somebody becomes irrational, or worse, is just plain wrong.

If you are unaware of what intersectional feminism is, no worries.  To be honest, I did not know what it was until a little while ago.  Turns out, I was an intersectional feminist all along, and I didn’t even know it!  It is important to understand what intersectional feminism is in order to truly understand what we believe, and why true feminism is not misandry.

Unlike Brandy Melville, intersectional feminists believe that one size does not fit all.  What I mean is that there is not one type of feminism that can cover all the different types of oppression.  Racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, fatphobia, etc. are all connected together and should therefore be examined together.  For more information, here’s a handy dandy link with more details on intersectionality!

That said, I know that there are all types of negative feminism and nonfeminism.  Feminazis, TERFs, and antifeminists are all real, but that does not mean that they are justified or correct in their actions.  Rather, they have taken a positive thing, and turned it a complete 180.  And of course, instead of focusing on the positive side of feminism (Equal pay!  Body positivity!  Loving and supporting other women!  Safe abortion/access to birth control!  Sex equality!), society and our media tries to target all their attention on the adverse aspects (re: negative forms of feminism listed above).

But luckily, intersectional feminists are bonding together in order to truly establish who we are and try to rid of the idea that feminism is the idea of equality for all!

It breaks my heart that there are people, especially women, who do not support my decisions for my body.  That there are fellow women that do not want me to have access to birth control and that some women do not even accept that I deserve some jobs that I am qualified for.  I know that not all women support other women, and while I do not necessarily agree with their choices, I choose to support their opinions because that’s what feminists do!

My main goal here is that people stay informed on the truths regarding feminism and the ideals we support.  That will not always happen (for example, people still believe in the Planned Parenthood hoax even though David Daleiden admitted the videos were fake).  However, ignorance only prohibits those who practice it.  Choosing to believe lies only sets those back farther in life.

This is precisely why I am so shocked with the backlash against positive feminism.  If you’ve read recent news stories such as the murder of Grace Mann, the countless stories regarding college football players raping women (while victim blaming *but what’s new?*), and even instances of women proudly declaring their antifeminism, then you know what I’m talking about.

What is so difficult for me to comprehend is the horrible things people have to say in relation to feminists.  While regarding the vicious murder of Grace Mann, one antifeminist blogger stated, “One day a feminist wearing an “ironic” KILL ALL MEN t-shirt will walk down the wrong street, enter the wrong room and encounter the wrong man; a man that does not value her as a woman and chooses not to treat her as an equal. The man will not see the t-shirt as ironical humor, but be offended and beat her savagely, laughing as he licks the tears from her crying eyes”.  I have chosen not to state the name of the writer or blog, because frankly, he is not worth my time.  But you can find more info here.

Other antifeminists claim that feminism is outdated.  They claim that feminism does not support conservative, or traditional, ideals.  Amongst many other reasons, they also claim that feminists do not believe in the victimization of men.

While I can see why they’re concerned, I also believe that they are majorly mistaken regarding what feminism really is.

For starters, a real feminist would never wear a KILL ALL MEN shirt, because that it not feminism.  It is misandry.  Feminism is about the equality of men, women, trans, different races, cultures, etc.–wearing this shirt would completely go against our ideals.  That is not to say that a Feminazi would not wear this shirt–she might.  But she is not a true feminist–she is a misandrist, and they are just as bad as misogynists.

To further clarify, in case you still don’t quite get it, feminists promote the equality of men and women.  It is also about women supporting women.  Therefore, we accept all choices that women make.  The reason we do not openly talk about women who choose to get married, have children, and be stay at home mothers is because they face little criticism from society.  But working women?  Women who may not want to get married, or have children, or who do not like to cook, or dress up?  They face criticism every day.  We are not putting down women, we are encouraging them to follow their path and make their own decisions.  Another thing that Women against Feminism do not understand, is that we, as feminists, are supporting the equal treatment of men and women across all races, cultures, sexual orientations, ages, etc.  Women against Feminism are quick to state their position on equality between men and women, but completely disregard other types of oppressed people.  This is why feminism is still relevant.  We support everybody.

Lastly, we do not believe that men are never victims.  Men can absolutely be victimized.  Men are raped, men are abused, men can be mistakenly accused as sex offenders.  I, as a feminist, support their rights, but I do not believe that women have more rights than men.  In some areas we are equal, in many we are not.  The idea is to get to the level where we all have the same amount of rights, the same voice, and equal love.  The reason we try so hard to support women is because we have been oppressed for a long time, and historically, men have not.  Women are told that we should not have a say regarding our bodies.  We are told we do not deserve equal pay to men.  We are told that we are worthless without men but that we are sluts if we spend too much time with them.  However, we would never think of disregarding men in the process of attaining equality.  Remember: feminism is for everyone!  (I have many feminist men in my life, and they are just as wonderful and appreciated as the feminist women in my life!)

What absolutely sickens me is that, in the act of opposing feminism, real people are getting hurt every day.  People get raped, murdered, harmed, and physically/verbally/emotionally abused fighting for their basic fundamental rights.  Nobody deserves this under any circumstances.  Ever.  Say what you will about feminists, but a true intersectional feminist would never harm somebody to get what they want.  The same can not be said for those against feminism and equality.

Feminists are not out to get one another.  I mostly believe that we are misunderstood.  I believe that antifeminists are either misogynists or they are misguided concerning what real feminism is.  We want equality, we want our rights, and we want the love and support of other feminists.  Don’t like abortion?  Don’t get one.  Don’t agree with easily accessible birth control?  Don’t take it.  Want to be the CEO of a corporation or be a stay at home mom?  Follow your own path.  We are not trying to take anyone’s rights away, but rather increase the rights of all groups of people.  Overall, I want to make my own decisions regarding my body, my lifestyle, and who I choose to be as a person.  I do not want to be judged for my decisions.  Nobody does.

Feminists face a lot of opposition, but we are still going strong.  Unfortunately for those against us, they are fighting a losing battle.  There will always be men and women who choose equality over all else.  We are louder, because we are willing to fight for what we want.  We are leaders.  We are strong.  It’s time to do your research, and learn what real feminism is all about.  Those who face the facts will soon realize…

…Feminism is not misandry.

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*Song of the Day: Been a Son–Nirvana

*Want some recommendations on some great feminist blogs?  Just ask!*

Sweaters and Insecurities

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Hello friends.

Today (tonight) (at midnight) I will be talking to you about bodies!

Mostly your body (or my body in my case) and insecurities and confidence.

But first, about these pictures……

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I decided that I wanted some updated piano pictures of me.  The only ones I have are old, and since playing piano (and music in general) is a huge passion of mine, I wanted some for general uses.

As for my outfit: I decided to stage the pictures to look how I would in every day life.  Generally, if I’m at home, I’m wearing comfortable clothing.  I especially love sweaters, socks, leggings, flannels, etc.  Hence the sweater and socks.  I also decided to keep my piano how it looks like if you walk into my house.  I decorated it a little differently than I normally do, but this is what my life looks like on an average day.

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(I also tried pictures with nothing on my piano, which turned out pretty boring.)

Now on to bodies!  While taking these pictures, I was kind of nervous.  1. My hair was a mess and kind of wavy from having it in a ponytail all night.  2. My makeup was not as perfect as I would normally like for pictures, and 3. I wasn’t sure if the outfit would end up looking like I was trying too hard to be “sexy” (you know, in that way you see girls looking on the Urban Outfitters website like they’re so nonchalantly sitting in a meadow or something wearing a t-shirt and their underwear).  I was worried that having thigh high socks on with really short shorts would seem slutty, or if I would be judged by others based on my looks.  I’m not a model, after all.

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In addition to be worried about my hair/makeup/outfit, I was worried about my body.  Under no circumstances have I ever felt that I am overweight, or thought that I had anything truly wrong with my body.

But like most people, I have wanted to change some things about my body.  I have wanted my legs to be longer and my midsection to be curvier.  My body in general to be curvier.  I have wanted to be taller, bigger boobs, prettier skin, skinnier thighs.  Even though I am small, I have still had insecurities.

Every time I have expressed these, I always get things like, “But you’re so skinny!” “You’re so little!” “You’re like, what, 100 pounds?”

And while all of those things are true (because I am naturally that way), I still have had insecurities about my body.  There seems to be this misunderstanding that being small/skinny/little means we do not have insecurities.  But being small/skinny/little oftentimes means having no boobs/butt/curves.  It oftentimes means that we have bodies similar to that of 13 year old girls.

And listening to somebody complain about their flaws they have for themselves while undermining the flaws I have for myself is a little bit annoying.

And while taking these pictures, all I could think was, “Will these look okay?”  Because I knew that I would not look like those models on the internet, whose legs go on forever.  Who have meticulously applied eyeliner and mascara to look like they aren’t wearing any at all.  Whose hair is perfectly tousled because they “woke up like this”.

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But when I actually took a look at the pictures, I didn’t care at all.

Because I loved how I looked in the photos.  I loved my wavy hair.  I loved that my body looked like mine.  I loved how my legs didn’t go on forever, and my sweater was baggy, and my makeup wasn’t perfect.  Because I’m not a model.

I love how if any of you were to see me in real person, you would still recognize me from these pictures.

For the last year or so, I have become so incredibly confident about my body.  I find myself judging my “flaws” less and less.  Because they are not flaws.  They’re made up problems that I have in my own head.  They’re not real.  They’re only real to me because I let them be that way.

I’m not sure where it came from exactly, but I have some ideas.  For starters, at the beginning of last year, I broke off a couple bad relationships (one in particular that made me feel especially bad about myself).  I formed some new great ones.  I had people in my life who made me feel beautiful and empowered.  They reminded me that I was beautiful and liked me for things I didn’t even like about myself.  They encouraged me.  Out with the negative, in with the positive.  Some of those people aren’t really in my life anymore, even just a year later, but they still had a huge impact on my confidence, and I am so grateful to them for that.

I also just decided that I was fed up with the discouragement I was giving myself.  I was tired of the bullshit that I kept telling myself over and over.  I decided to learn to love myself for who I am.

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So while I’m sure it’s nice to be tall with perfect curves and long legs, I don’t care because I am who I am.  I love being the cute small girl with bangs and oxfords.  I like that I am different.

And I like that these photos came out kind of sexy.

Not lingerie-in-your-face-obvious kind of sexy, but subtly sexy.  Like how girls actually look when we’re hanging around our house (because unlike girls in movies/ads/perfume commercials, we don’t just hang out in lacy underwear all day with a perfect chignon and red lipstick).

Ever since I have started loving my body, I have been so much happier.  Every time I think about something I would like to change, I can so easily ignore the negative thoughts.  Of course, I still have my bad days.  But I always know that I’m still pretty in my own unique way.

I’m fit, I’m healthy, and I like who I am as a person.

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Sweater: Forever 21 Shorts: Old Socks: American Apparel

And I love these pictures, dammit.

The whole point of this is that we cannot change the way we were made.  It’s easier to learn to love your body than to obsess over how much it bothers you.

I ♥♥♥ my body.

I hope you love, or can learn to love yours too.

Because as cliche as this seems, everyone is beautiful.

XO Sara

Song of the Day: “Body”–Karen O (more about relationships than anything, but empowering nonetheless).

13 Responses to an Incredibly Sexist Article

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As I’m sure you’re aware, there’s this post, “13 Things a Woman Can Do to be More Attractive to Men“, that has been going around since July.

If you have not, I will give you a few minutes to read it right now.  Go ahead.  It’s right here.

Are you speechless too?  (If you are not in utter shock right now, maybe just give up on reading this while you still can.  You don’t belong here).

 It was originally posted on Thought Catalog by a man named “John Smith”.  I say “John Smith” because I cannot find any information on this guy, which tells me that he’s using a (very unimaginative) pseudonym.  So Mr. John Smith, you had enough gall to post something called “13 Things a Woman Can Do to be More Attractive to Men”, but you don’t have enough balls to post your actual name?  Okay.

Anyways…

I thought I’d go ahead and write a little response to the 13 “requirements” he has for the ladies he dates.  There’s actually quite a few on the internet already, but most of them are titled something along the lines of “13 Things a Man Can Do to be More Attractive to Women”, which is just as sexist as the original post.  In order to not be a hypocrite, I decided to take a different approach.

Read on…

1. Stay in Shape: In a world where women are objectified and judged every single day for their appearance, it’s time that we had somebody on our side telling us that we’re beautiful and worthy, regardless of our appearance.  It is not your boyfriend’s or husband’s job to tell you to work out or eat well.   It is not any man’s job.  How you choose to live your life is up to you.  Yes, I like working out and being fit because I like how I look and it makes me happy.  However, I do not do it to be more appealing to men.  If your guy is telling you to work out now, what will be his response when you have a little baby weight leftover in 10 years?  If I want some greasy potato chips, I’ll eat them dammit.

2. Lay Off the Body Modification: If I want tattoos, piercings, and pink hair, I sure as hell am going to do it.  Who are you to tell me how I should look or live my life?  Who are you to speak for all men?  (I know quite a few men who are into piercings and tattoos).  How I change my body is up to me.  Not any other person.  Ever.

3. Make Your Own Money: Oh trust me, John.  I plan on it.  God forbid any poor woman have to rely on some small-minded asshole like you to get by.  Yes, I’m getting an education.  Yes, I plan on making my own money.  No, I am not doing it to attract guys.  (Sorry to burst your bubble).

4. Be Feminine: Oh really, John?  Men date women because they want to date women?  That’s revolutionary!  I’m so glad that you’re here to point that out to us!  Thank you.

In other words, are you serious?  If I want to do a stereotypical “male” activity like going to a football game with my girlfriends instead of having a naked pillow fight (which I’m sure is what you think happens when I hang out with my girlfriends), I sure as hell am going to.  (You might want to stay away from me, John.  I might have a hidden penis somewhere).

5. Be Submissive: Sorry if you’re reading this grandma, but are you fucking kidding me?  You’re telling me that I have to be submissive?  I truly have no words for this one.

Wait, yes I do!  Being submissive has not turned into a negative word, Mr. Smith.  It has always been a negative word.  Couples do things for each other because they love each other, not because they’re “giving in”.  At this point I’m assuming that you have not actually been in a single healthy relationship.

6. Sex Life: Oh, so you are allowed to sleep with as many women as you want, but women are not allowed to do the same?  Thanks for telling me what I can and cannot do with my body!  I love it when cowardly assholes hide behind their computer screens and tell girls how many people they can sleep with!  Thank God you’re here!

Once again, what I do with my body is no man’s (or person’s) business.  And you’re right, Mr. Smith.  Life isn’t fair.  The fact that we have to deal with people like you proves that.

7. Be Intelligent: That’s a lot coming from a guy who is (quite obviously) not intelligent.

8. Be Childfree: Sorry ladies.  John Smith has spoken, and if you have children, you are screwed.  No boys for you.  Contrary to Mr. Smith’s beliefs, there are plenty of single men with kids that are looking for you.  There are plenty of single men without kids that are looking for you.  If they have a problem with your kid, then they probably don’t have any business being a part of your life anyways.

Also, can we acknowledge that he actually put the sentence, “The bottom line is that you have a child, and it does not belong to the eligible bachelors out there” in his post?  If any man says this to you, give him a good kick in the balls.  We don’t need any mini “John Smiths” running around.

9. Be Willing to Cook at Least 3 Times a Week: So as a woman I have to work, get an education, stay in shape, and cook at least 3 times a week for you?  And what are you doing exactly?  I cook because it’s one of my favorite things to do.  I cook for boyfriends because I appreciate them and love them and want to show that .  It is not my job.  If a lady doesn’t like to cook, she damn well doesn’t have to.

10. Put Down the Phone: As an educated lady with a job, I sometimes have to be on the phone.  I may be waiting on an important phone call from work or school.  Sometimes, while on a date, a boy hasn’t said anything to me in 17 minutes so I reply to a text message real quick.  Are you really blaming this on girls as a whole?  Do you know how many boys have picked up their phone while I was in the middle of a sentence?  (And thanks Mr. Smith.  I know that red light is ahead of me.  I have eyeballs and they sure as hell aren’t on my phone while I’m driving).

11. Ease Up on the Makeup: Oh great!  The “less is more” thing that some guys like to pull right before they tell you how hot Kim Kardashian is.  I wear my makeup how I wear my makeup.  If you don’t like it, you don’t have to.  I’m not wearing it for you.

12. Stop Cussing: Fuuuck you.  Just because I cuss does not make me any less of a lady.  Being a lady is being a good person, and having respect for others (which I’m sure is a foreign concept to you).  I can be a lady and say whatever the hell I want.  (Nice double standard by the way).

13. Stop Hoarding Guy Friends: “9 out of 10 of your guy friends just want to sleep with you anyways.  Men know how other men think”.  Mr. Smith, do you know how many times I have heard this?  Do you know how much I want to punch your goddamn face in every single time I hear this coming from your mouth?  I will be friends with whoever I want.  If it’s that big of a problem, you really do not belong in my life.

As for the “6 Preemptive Answering to Counterargument Sound Bites”:

Thank you so much for proving how small-minded and unintelligent you are.  I feel truly and deeply sad for any woman who has the misfortune of dating somebody who is as awful as you are.  But as for you, I’m sorry about the rest of your life.  I can only imagine how insecure and desperate you are.

But thanks for giving me something to laugh at anyways.

*Thought Catalog posted another article with women’s responses to John Smith’s, which is also pretty amusing.*

Thanks for reading guys.  Let’s just remember that gender equality is an issue for everyone, not just women.  The more accepting we become as human beings, the more peaceful our lives will be.

XO Sara