It’s not even one in the afternoon and I’ve already had three of those “I don’t need feminism” images float across my screen.
Three is all I can take, you guys. Three's my limit. Normally I'd click away and stop looking for reasons to sit here, seething at my desk, but today I’m going to go for a different approach. Instead of ignoring the anger that just bubbled into the back of my throat, I’m going to let it spew for a second. Just as these women had to get their reasons off their chests, I too need to share so that I can go on with the rest of my day without a burst blood vessel in one of my eyes.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with the “I don’t need feminism” crew, here are three examples for your reference:
Before we start, can we all take a big ‘ol deep breath? C’mon, inhale and then exhale, one time with me.
The ridiculous notes of ignorance and misunderstanding, which these ladies are so proudly displaying, make me want to break people and things. I want to snatch those signs from their pixilated hands, crumple them up and set them on fire. Essentially, when you post one of those, you're broadcasting to the Internet—and thereby the world—that you've no idea what feminism is actually about. Sure, other people who are also misinformed will agree, but then you just have a whole rack of dummies that didn't bother to do their research—it’s not a good look.
I only have one real question for the anti-feminists: Have you ever taken the time to explore this issue--really? I’m not talking about sitting around with a bunch of dudes and/or like-minded ladies, mocking and bashing “feminazis." What I want to know is, have you ever actually contemplated the concept as a whole and not just how it relates to the feminist extremists? It’s fine if you haven’t, it would explain a lot. However, if you have and you’re still convinced that you don’t need feminism, check out this article: Quinn: Is Silicon Valley's growing gender wage gap a boomtime byproduct? – mercurynews.com
Here are the Cliffs Notes for the all the slackers out there:
In Silicon Valley where I currently live, “Men with bachelor's degrees make 61 percent more than women with the same degree, according to [a] Joint Venture report. Compare that to the San Francisco gap, where men earn just 20 percent more than women, or statewide, where men see a 41 percent boost, ” and that's just California. The outlook doesn't look too pretty for the ladies of tech, does it?
If you're breathing a sigh of relief because you don’t live in Northern California or because you're not in tech, you might want to cut it short. There’s likely a gap where you live and it's probably not shrinking any faster. Check out this publication from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research for more detailed information: The Gender Wage Gap 2013
That’s a lot of negative news resulting simply from being a woman and we’re still only talking about a woman's paycheck. We haven’t even touched upon the fact that a lot of folks still don’t think rape is a big deal. What's more, there’s all that legislation that’s in place, which limits the rights women have to their own bodies. Yes, I’m talking about abortion, y’all. To be clear, feminists don’t want women to run around getting abortions all the time. What we do want is to protect a woman’s right to do with her body as she sees fit.
Finally and for the record, feminists are not man-haters. As a matter of fact, even men can be feminists and none of us are about hate. We don’t shame women for dressing differently or for being sexually adventurous. Instead, we reserve that hate for injustice and we focus our energy on the bigger picture.
The “I don’t need feminism” crew might feel liberated enough to shirk the responsibility of ensuring future generations of women inherit a more equal and balanced society, but I don't. I'll throw that feminist issue onto my stack and into my baggage and I won't mind because ultimately we're all on the same team, we could all use a little help, and someone’s gotta clean up after their misguided asses.
To the lady with the bangs & glasses in the first image:
You’re right! Being a woman isn’t a disadvantage. Hopefully everyone you encounter for the remainder of your days agrees with you. If, however, you run into someone that does think being female is a disadvantage—like, a boss or a supervisor—don’t be afraid to look to your nearest feminist for guidance.
To the chick in the striped shirt:
I hear you, girl. I don’t want to politicize my gender either, but turns out politics already did that for us. Hell, we weren’t even allowed to vote in politics until 1920 and, in the grand scheme of things, that wasn’t very long ago. Face it, ma’am. Your gender has been politicized since your conception. Stay strong.
To the man-lover in the last pic:
A lot of feminists love men too. Of course there are man-haters out there, but they don't make up the majority. Also, the fact that all your friends are men, says way more about you than I bet you want it to. It's OK though, because I'm not trying to judge, I'm trying to help. Oh and I realize this is purely anecdotal evidence, but I’m sharing anyway: The biggest drama queen I’ve ever met was a dude (and I know some crazy folks), so don't count the men out when it comes to emotional upheaval. It's infinitely easier to weather the male drama storm if you've got a girl in your corner.
To everyone else:
Don’t let the misinformed weave a false sense of security for you. There’s no solace in knowing that you stand alone. On the contrary, when the world is set up in someone else’s favor, it helps to have a little backup. Feminists aren't about tearing things down and ripping them apart, we're about creating equilibrium and supporting one another. Inaccuracies and distortions aren't flattering, but I'll tell ya what: Gender equality looks good on everyone.