There are several common misconceptions about feminism out there. One is that feminists want to become men and/or usurp their places. Now, I can’t speak for anyone else, but I don’t at all want to be a guy. I enjoy being female, and I’m quite comfortable in my own skin. Another common one is that feminists think men are useless and should either be treated as second-class citizens or not exist at all; basically, that women want payback. I’m not happy about the way women have been treated throughout history, but you know that saying about how two wrongs don’t make a right… And anyway, I don’t think men are useless. I mean, there’s a biological reason why there are two genders, and though even beyond that, you could make the argument that there should be only one gender or the other, how could you make that choice? In a phrase, misandry is not the same as feminism. (Nor, in my opinion, should feminism involve misandry to begin with.)
I consider myself a feminist, but not everything I do is based in a distaste for complete patriarchy. I don’t wear makeup often, but when I do, it’s usually very light. That’s not because I think makeup is a social construct based on making women objects—it’s because I have sensitive skin and don’t like the caked-on feeling it leaves on my face. I like that it enhances beauty—really, I do. It makes me feel confident and sexy, which are things I want for myself. In other words, I don’t put on a dress and makeup because I want to impress men. I do it for me. And I take total umbrage at the thought that, if I do these things, I’m “asking for it”. Um, no. I’m not even going to say “nice try” on that one. Men and women alike can control their urges, and what I’m wearing or drinking or doing in general does not make your rights trump mine. It does not mean that a “no” means “yes”, or that I’m just playing hard to get.
I’m also perfectly okay with being romantically attached to one of the male persuasion. I know that this one’s a touchy subject for some people, so I’m going to reiterate here and now that this is just from my perspective, and I really don’t care who likes whom outside of my relationship in terms of gender identity. (An asshole is an asshole, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, so that’s a completely separate issue.)
I’m not attracted to my boyfriend for money. I don’t expect him to support me while I make sandwiches and pump out babies and shop for shoes, nor do I aim to make him financially dependent on me. My boyfriend’s personality is attractive to me, as are his looks. (Hey, I never said people couldn’t appreciate each other’s looks—I just dislike it when looks are the only thing that matters in any relationship!) We have a relationship based on trust and love, not on gender roles. I think that’s quite all right. We have taken a lot of teasing about my wearing the pants, me being rather more extroverted (and thus outspoken) than my boyfriend, but believe me, if my boyfriend thinks I’m wrong (or just has a different opinion), he will call me out in no uncertain terms. He won’t do things that make him uncomfortable, even if it’s me doing the asking. And that’s something I love about him. I don’t want a guy who bends to my every whim; it’s boring and very bad in terms of selfishness. Along with trust and love, relationships involve compromise, no matter the identities of the parties involved.
As far as jobs go, I’m of the opinion that each gender can hold any job that the other can, so long as that job does not involve the use of the other’s reproductive organs. (For instance, one who is biologically male cannot donate eggs or carry a baby to term—let alone at all—as a surrogate, and one who is biologically female can’t be a sperm donor. Facts of life.) Any woman can train to bulk up and heft weight around in a job, or learn how to program, and any guy can train to be a nurse or elementary school teacher. And don’t even get me started on how women are perceived as too emotionally delicate to be in politics.
I’m a huge believer in equality. I believe that, all other things being equal… well, we’re all equal. So maybe that’s not me being feminist, but me being… I don’t know. Not egalitarian. That doesn’t quite fit me, I think. I just believe that regardless of skin color, religion, gender, age (to some degree, obviously—with age does come the ability to do certain things), hair color, language, phone type, astrological sign or anything else, we’re all born with the same stuff—the same basic human essence—and so we all have the ability to think and do the same things. However you call it, whatever you think about it, that’s what—that’s who—I am.
I might be an unconventional feminist. I’m really not sure. Tell me what you think! (Why yes, I am going to start shamelessly begging for comments now!)