According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary Feminism is “the belief that men and women have equal rights and opportunities.” The word feminist has been misused and misinterpreted throughout the past two decades. A feminist is not a man-hater, or necessarily a lesbian, and being a feminist is not a joke. Like any equal rights movement, it is the hope for equal opportunities for both genders.
The Blair Feminist Movement started last Spring, returned this past month of April, and will continue until the end of the year. Blair students Helen Mercedes ‘18, Sade Johnson ‘17, and Salley Baxter ‘15 are leading the movement. This year the plan was to see how people on campus feel about feminism. There were some packets that said “Describe a Feminist in 2-3 words… no names needed, just your honest opinion”. Positive and negative opinions were welcome in this social experiment. As was expected, the dorm Locke (a girls dorm) had 100% percent positive feedback. Girls wrote things such as, “strong”, “powerful” and “equal rights”. The Senior/Junior Boys’ dorm Mason had few positive comments. They wrote things like “egalitarians”, “proud”, “leaders”, “sensationalistic” but there were also shocking responses, Some boys wroten things like, “A joke”, “feminists believe the ridiculous notion that women are people… lol”, “lesbians”, “wage gap myth”, “sexist, male bashing” and “no more announcements please”. While these were the expected results of this social experiment I can’t help but wonder if some of the boys at this school actually believe these things or that they took the experiment as a joke.
The point of this movement is to clear misconceptions of feminism and to show people why being an advocate of the movement is so important. Feminists can be men and women. All lesbians are not feminists. Feminism is not a joke. The point of feminism is to fight for equal rights between human beings. To the person who suggested that women are not people, you came from a woman, your father came from a woman, you must have a had a female teacher at some point in your life, you may have a sister, so you should call a woman in your life and let her know that you think she does not deserve to be considered a person. The women in your life deserve to know how you feel about them. Then look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if you are worthy enough to be considered a person. Not all feminists are sexist and bash men. I believe that a feminist who does this does not deserve the title. Feminism is all about equal rights. This is not about a fight of the sexes. To the person who said, “no more announcements please”… Sorry, but this is only the beginning. The mindset of avoiding the problem is unacceptable. Face the issue and it will be solved, avoid it and you will continue to hear advocates fighting the fight that will eventually be won.
Women are not sex objects. The length of a womans skirt does not mean she is asking for it. Women can be just as talented in the classroom and in the field as men. Men and women deserve to show the same kind of emotions without neither one of them being bashed. A boy should be able to cry without being called a “pussy”. A girl should be able to play sports and get dirty without being called a tomboy. Doing something “like a girl” should never be an insult. A girl should not be told how to dress because other men feel uncomfortable seeing her in certain outfits.
If it is acceptable for you to say that my breasts, my shoulders, my butt, or my thighs make you uncomfortable and that I have to change then it should be acceptable for me to say that your face makes me uncomfortable and that you should change. I am a feminist because Feminism is not about figuring which gender is stronger, smarter or better. Feminism is about disregarding all of these things and being okay with the idea that men and women should be treated equally.
Stop looking for the negative things in positive movements. Join the movement and fight for human rights.
(Copyright 2015 Helen Mercedes)