Emma Carpenter, Staff Writer
Ideology: Liberal Democrat | Writing From: George Washington University
I am proud to be a feminist, and for years, feminists have unfairly been given a bad reputation. The media has unjustly painted us as evil, bra-burning man haters. Some of the stereotypes about feminists are fair, but most are just myths. Let’s take a look at some stereotypes facing feminists today, shall we?
We are bra-burning maniacs: In fact that never happened. Women never burned their bras, in mass anyways. In protest of the 1968 Miss America Pageant, women gathered, threw their “instruments of torture” (aka high heels and eye lash curlers) and waved angry protest signs. But at no point did they actually burn bras; in fact, they adhered to the local authorities request that no fire be used in the protest. Unfortunately, the “bra-burner” is a stereotype that plagues the modern feminist.
We are all lesbians: Just because we support women does not mean all of us want to have sex with them! Yes, there were some radical groups that emerged from women’s liberation that focused on lesbianism as a political choice. But these were a few radical groups that chose to express their objections to marriage and male oppression in a unique way. In fact, Betty Friedan, one of the leading second wave feminists, feared lesbians would be the end of the feminist movement. Most of us like men. A lot. Why would we spend so much time fighting for contraception and sexual liberation if we were just going to waste it on another woman?
We are angry and bitter: Okay, fine. A lot of feminists were bitter – but who wouldn’t be after enduring thousands of years of oppression? Just because we are angry doesn’t mean we can’t be funny. Take the Guerrilla Girls for example. They took their anger and twisted it into humor. They attacked the injustices of the world with humor and irony, and gorilla masks. A little off color? I’ll give you that. But they definitely have a good sense of humor about it. Feminists can be funny, and we can laugh. We aren’t all angry man haters. I would say that most of us are driven by a passion for equality, not immense anger.
We think we’re the SAME as men: Women and men are not the same! We are, however, EQUAL. There is a big difference between the two. We never fought to be the same – just to be considered as equals. We want equal protection, equal pay, equal rights. However, many of us do not believe we should be considered the same. There are certainly things women can’t do because of their biological make-up, and the same goes for men. We are a biologically different gender and have very different roles, but that doesn’t mean we don’t deserve to be paid the same as a man.
Feminism has hurt women: Okay ladies, if you think that your feminist mother have made it harder for you to be a woman, let’s think about all the benefits you enjoy because of previous women’s rights advocates: the right to vote, equal access to education, the right to serve in the military, domestic violence laws, rape laws, contraception, the right to work (that includes you Ann Coulter, if it wasn’t for the women before you, you wouldn’t even be able to write such things as Women Who Make the World Worse), to be a mother, to not be a mother, and the right to wear pants, just to name a few. The radicals may have painted a bad image, but they are in the minority. The hard work and persistence of the older generations of the first and second wave of feminists gave the women of today so much. If it weren’t for feminists we women would still be sitting at home, uneducated, waiting for a husband to come along. Instead, we have the ability to experience the world in a real way.
Let me remind women everywhere that most of you are feminists, even if you refuse to identify yourself that way. Are you pro-women, pro-life even? Then you’re probably a feminist. Don’t run away from the “f-word,” embrace it! In the mean time, thank the feminist in your life for all they’ve given you. We are not lesbians, sluts, bitches, ball-breakers or crazy; we are just women who want equal rights. And if standing up for my rights makes me a feminist, then I’m proud to call myself one.