I have not always been a supporter of “equal rights,” not because I didn’t want equal rights for all people, but just because I had no idea how important they really were. Once I got out into the real world as an adult, I realized that many people still don’t see women and men as being on an even playing field. Women are traded, sold, objectified, forced into marriages, roofied and raped, belittled in the workplace and abused… On and on the list goes and if you think about how women are treated for too long, it can really make you hate the male gender.
On the flip side, being married has taught me that men deserve equality, too. Not all men are rapists and abusers and every human being on the planet has feelings and rights. If men were “allowed” to express their feelings openly as much as women are, they might not harbor so much anger and resentment against women. My husband and I have faced shifting balances of power in our marriage but our goal is always the same: equality and freedom of expression. I want him to express himself and feel valued and I want the same for myself. It’s not always easy, but the alternative (one person dominating the relationship) is simply unacceptable.
I look at the world the way I look at my marriage. Women and men should coexist in harmony and everyone should have the right to the life they want to live. If a mother wants to work outside the home and make the same wage as her male counterparts, it shouldn’t even be an issue, it should be a given. If a father wants to be a stay-at-home daddy and support his wife’s career from the home front, I think that’s awesome and should be encouraged and accepted. Alternatively, mothers should be encouraged to stay home with the house and kids without guilt if that is their calling and purpose in life. Just because you’re a stay-at-home mom doesn’t mean you can’t still support the equality and freedom of women everywhere. (of course equal rights aren’t just for moms and dads, but that’s the example I’m the most familiar with right now)
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines feminism as:
“the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities; organized activity in support of women’s rights and interests; the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes”
I always thought that feminism was more complicated than that, or that it meant exalting women above men and trying to make us the “dominant sex,” but it seems to be more about equality and freedom for all. I really wish we had a different word for this idea since it’s not just about “female equality” anymore. I guess “gender equality” is the best term for the idea but “gender egalitarian” is just too much of a mouthful. So until they come up with a better label, I guess I’m a feminist.
Happy Wednesday readers!