A lot of people get this wrong. Right off the bat, when they hear or see the word “feminist”, they automatically think of an obnoxious woman who is trying to twist a situation around, to make themselves out to be a victim. That is what popular common media shows you – the worst of every situation, especially if it does not share the ideologies you believe in.
So here’s the thing. At the very core of feminism, it’s actually quite simple.
In society, women should have the same rights, freedoms and liberties as men do. This means that women, like men, should be given the same opportunities as men do within context of the situation.
If there is a woman out there, who believe she should have special privileges because she is a woman, then she isn’t a feminist. She is an entitled asshole.
This is how feminism basically works:
At the very core of it, women and men should be given the same opportunities for entry and advancement. However, to gain entry and to advance, it solely depends on the skills and abilities of the individual, regardless of their gender. Of course, this is contextual which I will explain later in this post.
The extension of this, is that women and men have different physical traits. For example, women can get pregnant. They also get periods every month. If you’re a neutral company, then women in your company are responsible for keeping themselves clean. If they are pregnant, then as a company, you should give them maternity leave without fear they would lose their jobs. If you’re a progressive company, then you would obviously make it so washrooms carry pads and tampons. You would also give pregnant women paid maternity leave. If you’re a traditional company, you might have problems then. You might have to consider moving your company to China or Ghana. ;) I jest of course. As a traditional company, would should learn to adapt to modern times. We no longer use leeches to treat colds. ;)
That is actually pretty much it. With that said, I want to show you a really good example of equal opportunity, regardless of your gender and orientation.
This is one of many videos my friend Patrick has done for the Academy of Lions in Toronto. As you can clearly see, its members make up both men and women of all sorts of sizes. They also make up a broad range of ethnicities, skin colours and no doubt, different ideologies. They work out together in the same area, respecting each others spaces, as well as keeping the shared spaces clean and organized. In short, you shouldn’t look down on men or women, just because they are men or women.
I mentioned context earlier. In today’s age, unfortunately, we still have a lot of people who think and behave like we’re still in the dark ages. So, this means there is still a lot of the population that feel they should be protected from these toxic abusers of society.
For example, a women’s only fitness gym would exist today, because many women feel safer in a women’s only establishment. Some men might revolt and say that’s unfair that there are no men’s only gyms, but the reality is that for literally centuries, men aren’t the ones being harassed persistently and consistently. Men being harassed by women is a fact of life, just as it is in vice versa, but men being harassed by women at a gym is an exception, not a rule. However, even with that said, I believe that there should be men only gyms as well, regardless of the reasons. If there are women only gyms, then it should be a no brainer that there should also be men only gyms.
Another example is maternity and parental leave. In Canada, women are allowed paid maternity leave for 15 weeks and up to an additional 35 weeks for parental leave. Men can apply for parental leave in this context as well. So while it might initially seem unfair for anti-feminists that women get an initial 15 weeks of paid maternity leave, it should be fully understandable because they were the ones who were pregnant and gave birth. The fact that in Canada, men or partners can get paid parental leave is an amazing progressive idea.
Anyway, there are many situations in which there are slight imbalances of opportunities and advancement for men and women. This is primarily due to the way society was conditioned to this day, and how men and women are expected to be a certain way. I read a comment earlier on Instagram, where a male firefighter is currently helping his female friend train to become a firefighter. Being in a dominantly-male profession, she will face challenges and an uphill battle, if her male colleagues give her a hard time, especially, if the chief is a sexist asshole. Fortunately, many men can be supportive. There exist weaker men, just as there are weaker women. There are stronger men, just as there are stronger women. To say that women shouldn’t be firefighters, because they are generally weaker than men, is like saying all women are weaker than me, because I am a man. Guys, I weigh 152 pounds and while I can lift more than my wife, my wife certainly can outrun me and has a very solid hardiness, that many men I know do not have. So until your fire department hires men of all equal extreme stature in physique, you cannot tell me that there is no woman who can beat your ass in, if the opportunity was given.
Now, what is NOT feminism?
- Hating men.
- Having special privileges over men.*
- Believing women are superior to men.
*This obviously discounts the fact that women can get pregnant and can get periods. Their special privilege is a privilege of giving birth and caring for their own bodies, as well as their newborn. Until men can do the same, you can’t say this isn’t fair. ;)
If there are feminists out there that believe the points above, then they aren’t feminists. They are assholes. Call them out for being assholes. Don’t call them feminists.
In another blog post, I mentioned I don’t call myself a feminist, because I consider being a feminist the same as being an activist. I am not an activist. I talk about equal opportunities as a reading piece in my blog, and at times, with other people, but I am not an activist. Alas, I actually got some slack for that when some militant feminist sent the following to me in a PM at a different website:
My answer was as follows, paraphrased.
In relative modern times, people categorize themselves into labels, so they can collectively show and receive support from like minded members. There is nothing wrong with that and I am genuinely happy that many of my friends are of that like minded collective. However, the only two labels that are important to me is my name: Leeman and my nationality: Canadian. Everything else is either historical or a nuisance. It’s like signing up to multiple social media platforms, or using dozens of different email addresses. It’s annoying as fuck.
I will treat you the same, regardless of your gender, regardless of your colour, regardless of your language. If you are of good character, great, we might become friends. If you are neutral, awesome, no one steps on each other. If you are an asshole, get the fuck out. Simple as that. There is nothing wrong with me. If in your inflexible world view, you feel there is something wrong with me, just because I do not wish to join your collective of labels, then perhaps it is you that have a problem.
Just so you know, for context, being a member of something or being a part of a social circle is totally fine. I am not trying to be unique. I am just me and I like being me. I will still treat you as thus. It’s not like I am treating you poorly because you’re a woman, or you’re black, or you like Hawaiian Pizza, which by the way, is very yummy. ;) So just because I don’t want to join your club of like minded folks, don’t cast me aside as someone who has a problem. Perhaps, tolerance is less about group thinking and more about acceptance of the individual. It only seems like group thinking because many individuals make up that group. I am an individual, so address me as thus.