Women have a long way to go before they are treated as equals in America. They don’t get paid enough, most maternity leave policies in this country are a joke, date-rape is actually winked at by most in law enforcement, abortion is under legitimate attack in many states, and the list goes on. The problem is, feminism has run its course, and it is time to retire it so we can usher in a movement that can finish the job.
There are two glaring problems with feminism, one linguistic and one cultural.
The name “feminism” is not very inviting to men, and that’s putting it politely. I can proudly wear a dress in public in front of people I know, but I cringe a little at calling myself a feminist from time to time. I agree with feminist goals, but the name is just not doing it for me.
I remember the first time I would say I was ideologically exposed to feminism. It was in a Junior year English class in my high school, and the teacher was explaining feminism in literature. She spent a good length of time fielding increasingly hostile questions from male students, most of whom took issue with her definition of feminism. I raised my hand and asked something to the effect of, “Does it have to be called feminism? Why not gender equality?”
I think by that point she was just sort of tired, so I got a smirk and a nod, and some flippant comment about how that might be more fair. Seeing her basically get bullied just trying to explain feminism sort of cemented my empathy for the movement from then on.
In fact, I married a feminist, a bona fide, professional feminist. I mean, she’s a professor of sociology, but I like to think of her as a professional feminist, though I still don’t like feminism as a whole.
And really, what does it matter?
'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a [feminist].
What's [feminism]? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a [wo]man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet […]
If it was name alone, I would say that men should just sack up and climb on board the feminist-train to Equality. The problem is… a few feminists are sometimes really annoying cunts. And I mean that in the crudest possible way.
Seriously, I have slagged off plenty of individual feminists for being absolutely repugnant human beings. Some women in feminist communities are just man-haters, and if you have a Y chromosome, they treat you like you’re Rush Limbaugh. There is no pleasing some of them, and the small minority who engage in this sort of behavior make feminism a very hostile setting for men (thus ruining the reputation of feminism unfairly). No guy wants to fight for the rights of someone who is accusing him of flaunting his privilege every five minutes.
Yes, I get it. I have a dick and I’m white. I honestly had nothing to do with it. I’m not sure what you want me to do about it, but you should know that while you were barking that lecture at me on the “evils” of my gender, you started developing some foam around your mouth. I’d get it for you, but I don’t want you to think I’m trying to rape you, since that seems to be the only thing on your mind.
There just isn’t any self-policing in the feminist community, and why should they? They are facing tough odds, and the last thing you do when outnumbered is start kicking people out. The problem is, from a long-term perspective, it would be better to shed the extremists in favor of wooing men into the cause.
So, I think feminism should be relegated to the status of an archaic social movement that is kept alive by whackjob extremists. We’ll call it a success and just acknowledge it’s time to move on.
My wife likes the term, “Equalitarian,” and I am inclined to agree, but I don’t think the specific name is as important as the goals. As long as no male or female designation is attached, I’m sure it will be fine.
As for what needs to be done in this “new” movement (I guess academics might see it as another wave of feminism, so be it), I think the primary aim needs to be including men in the gender debate, and for women to make a few concessions.
First of all, men have been butted out of feminism, so they’re bound to be rough around the edges. Don’t misinterpret ignorance for hostility.
Second, you need to stop shaming men for their gender. You won’t hurt our feelings (our egos are way too big for that to be possible), but you will drive some of the less patient among us to pontificate at great, boring length… and no one wants to deal with that.
Third, women need to give up some of their privilege. Women should have to register for the draft, and if a boat is going down, I want an equal chance on the life raft. Prostate cancer research funding should at least equal breast cancer research funding, and if we can figure out how, I think women should give men some extra years on our life-expectancy… I’m being told that the last one is impossible, but frankly, that’s just how I negotiate.
Basically, I don’t think there are many advantages women have to give up, but maybe putting a few on the table would drum up some support for what are more meaningful measures in the other direction.
Ultimately, women have done their part. With the support of men, I think it's possible to see an end to systematic gender discrimination in America, then it will be down to individuals. It’s really up to men to catch up at this point.
Ladies… please… *wheezing* slow down. I’m so out of shape… no wonder you live longer…