And no, that does not mean that I hate men, or that I think women are better than guys who are all stupid idiots. I don't think women must act like a man in order to get ahead in life. I don't believe a woman’s "right to choose" what to do with her body includes choosing to kill an innocent unborn child, a child who from conception is its own person with its own DNA. I don't think women need to flaunt their skin and act in a provocative manner in the name of "female empowerment." None of this is why I consider myself to be a feminist.
So why am I calling myself a feminist? Isn't everything I said I didn't agree with about the movement the reasoning behind?
Well, yes and no.
Feminism started out as a movement to help society to realize women are equal in dignity and intelligence to men. That is a movement that I can fully get behind, because it is the truth. What feminism has morphed into, however, is a contest to prove that girls rule and boys drool and we need to remind them of it every single day and do whatever the heck we feel like because we are women damnit. And that, I do not support.
Men and women are different - I fully accept that God created the genders with differences, and that there are certain roles that men are called to and women are not, just as there are roles that women are called to and men are not. But just because we were created with differences does not make one sex better than the other. God didn't create only men in the image and likeness of God and women kind of, but a little less than men, in His image and likeness. He created us ALL in His image and likeness.
Women were created to be mothers - either in the spiritual or physical sense. But that doesn't mean a woman can't get an education, that she can't have a job and a career, that her ideas and opinions aren't as important or as valuable as a mans. Men were created to be fathers, in either a physical or spiritual sense. But that doesn't mean they can't show care and compassion, they can't step into the role of a caretaker if they need to take care of their children, or they have to be all about sports and beating people up and being tough and dominating in order to "be a real man."
I believe a woman can do anything a man can do, but when she does it, ought to do it as a woman. It's alright to accept that women are inherently more sensitive and more emotional than men. Having sensitivity and emotion doesn’t mean we can’t be tough, or resilient or intelligent or hard working. If we do all the things that men do but we adapt ourselves to act just like the guys - tell me, where is the feminism in that?
Yes, if a woman and a man are doing the same job, they should get paid the same. Yes, women can be engineers and play sports and be scientists and mathematicians - I fail to see how those are fields that women cannot succeed in simply because of being a woman, nor do I see where any religious argument could find solid ground to say women should stay out of traditionally male dominated fields. We can do these things and still be proud of the fact that we are women and that femininity is a beautiful thing.
The mentality that says: in order to be a feminist, we have to act like a man and stomp on men in the processes, has helped lead to a lot of the problems that are still in society. We complain about the objectification of women, but we have done that to ourselves by one minute insisting it is anti-feminist to wear skirts and dresses and act like a lady, and then the next minute turning around and flaunting every inch of skin we can get away with in a desperate attempt to remind everyone that we are, in fact, still women.
At this point, I think both sides have done a pretty good job of royally messing everything up together. It's not just the women’s fault... and it's not completely the men's fault either.
Because then, there is the whole huge issue of how women are sexually harassed and attacked and the deplorable fact that when a woman is raped or assaulted, far too often the blame is cast upon the victim or we brush it off as “drunken college sex”. Especially when celebrities are concerned we shy away from placing blame fully on the perpetrators, and rather imply that the woman must have encouraged the assault, or was asking to be raped based on what she was wearing the time and how she was acting. Every day, women are on the receiving end of lurid jokes, asked for sex in return for good grades or a job promotion, and touched in inappropriate ways and then told to take it as a compliment. Sexual harassment is massive, ugly ball that is too twisted for the blame to be easily handed off to either the men or the women.
There are legitimate problems in the way our society treats women, and in the way we as women treat ourselves. And, I suppose, that is why I am a feminist.
I am a feminist because, I love being a woman and everything that being a woman means. I love guys too, and I think they are pretty awesome. And yet I love the fact that I'm not a guy, that I was created to be different from a man, that I was created to be a woman. So I will be a feminist until society realizes that women have the same dignity and value as men do, but we are not the same thing. We shouldn't be the same thing and we don't have to be the same thing in order for that value and dignity to be recognized. We have the same worth, but we are beautifully and gloriously different.