My niece, M, just started middle school. M is a sweet and sensitive child. She is also the only girl in the Gifted and Talented program at her school. (I am also surprised. She lives in Eastern Tennessee, which I thought was more progressive, but what do I know?)
The only girl thing doesn’t bother her; she likes being smart. One boy at her school has accused her of being a Feminist, and if she doesn’t watch out she’s going to turn into one of “those” women.
Take a moment to absorb.
I come from a long line of “those” women. I’m actually quite proud of it.
It’s starting to bother M, because this child says “Feminist” as if it is the worst possible swear word. M, being the smart child that she is, printed out the definition of “Feminist” to show him what it really means. He scoffed and said that the media has influenced the information distributed on the internet.
This whole incident got me to thinking.
What is Feminism?
“Identify yourself as a feminist today and many people will immediately assume you are man-hating, bra-burning, whiny liberal. Perhaps a certain charming radio talk show host will label you as a “Feminazi” or “slut.” Even among more moderate crowds, feminism is still seen as too radical, too uncomfortable, or simply unnecessary. Feminism is both misunderstood and denigrated regularly on a broad societal scale.”
I think feminism means something different to each person. I don’t know why we need an ism to label the act of treating everyone as if they are important and valued as human beings.
For some reason, it seems that females of all ages and races are somewhat less than (fill in the blank.)
The litany of crimes against women in other countries is horrific and I do not mean to take away from the nightmare of what is becoming a regular occurrence in India. It is common knowledge that girls (and some boys) are trafficked for sex worldwide. A lesser known horror is the number of female soldiers who are sexually assaulted by their fellow soldiers because they dare to commit the crime of wanting to serve their country.
Urban dictionary provides an excellent definition of feminism:
The belief that women are and should be treated as potential intellectual equals and social equals to men. These people can be either male or female human beings, although the ideology is commonly (and perhaps falsely) associated mainly with women.
The basic idea of Feminism revolves around the principle that just because human bodies are designed to perform certain procreative functions, biological elements need not dictate intellectual and social functions, capabilities, and rights.
Feminism also, by its nature, embraces the belief that all people are entitled to freedom and liberty within reason–including equal civil rights–and that discrimination should not be made based on gender, sexual orientation, skin color, ethnicity, religion, culture, or lifestyle.
Feminists–and all persons interested in civil equality and intellectuality–are dedicated to fighting the ignorance that says people are controlled by and limited to their biology.
Feminism is the belief that all people are entitled to the same civil rights and liberties and can be intellectual equals regardless of gender. However, you should still hold the door for a feminist; this is known as respect or politeness and need have nothing whatever to do with gender discrimination.
I’m still puzzling about this. I wish I had answers for her. I wish I had answers for me. I wish I could actually punch Robin Thicke in the head for thinking that his Blurred Lines video is anything but a prancing advert for objectifying women and I wish that so many girls were not going to get the idea that they have to fit some kind of type in order to be considered attractive. Even more terrifying, girls might get the idea that they have to march around half naked in order to get male attention.
I am concerned about M. I hope that she doesn’t lose the desire to learn or try to disguise her intellect because “girls aren’t supposed to be smart.” (yes, someone actually said this to her.)
I hope that she can ignore this kind of talk.
I just hate that she has to.