November 6th, 2011

Bruce, Caroline

Why I Am Not a Feminist

I am not a feminist. A first reading of this statement might conjure up in your mind a testosterone-soaked, beer-guzzling jerk who believes women should be in the kitchen making food, when not serving it.

So is this me? Do I oppose gender equality? Absolutely not: I'm all for it. I believe very strongly that men and women are equals, that women have long faced discrimination and unfair treatment at the hands of men, and that there is still a great deal of work to be done.

So why will I not call myself a feminist? It's because of the word. To me, the word "feminist" does not suggest equality: it suggests replacing one kind of opression with another. I would advocate for some kind of gender-neutral term to describe the much-needed equality between the sexes. I don't care what the word is, particularly, just so long as it doesn't seek to suggest one form of inequality to replace another. We need to show our children that men and women truly are equals, and this won't happen by an overcompensation which in the end, will not solve the problem. True gender equality must be taught, demonstrated, enforced; it must be meaningful and without exception.

To change the word feminism to something more gender-neutral does not negate anything that feminists should be fighting for. All the things being fought for in the name of gender equality are a part of true equality. But if you truly want equality, a most laudible goal, it needs to start with the title you give your cause. If that title is already biased, you've hammed a nail into the coffin of equality before you've even started. Let's make a word for ourselves that is truly equal for all of its people and peoples.