I’m probably going to get absolutely crushed for this one. Most will read the title and skip straight to the comments section with their weapons drawn. War is about to break loose, but I have to say it.
Feminism drives me nuts!!
Okay. Not feminism per say. The actual meaning of the word per Merriam-Webster is as follows:
1: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
2: organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests
I’m down with all of the above. Get paid as much or more than me. Lead the country. Be respected. All of that. I’m not against it in any way, shape, or form. I am not threatened by a woman’s ability to be independent. You should be. Truth be told, I WANT you to be independent! I don’t want to marry someone who has no aspirations or life goals. So, please, be you. I don’t want to stifle that.
I’ve been in several conversations lately where women have spoken of their experiences. Their fears. Their downfalls. The way it is for women across the world. They talked about their encounters with men catcalling them. Walking through the parking lot with keys tightly gripped in their hands in case a man pops out to assault them. Being fearful. It surprised me how many women have had, or know of, another who has been Sexually assaulted. Stories of rape and domestic violence flood Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram comments sections. Too many to count. Truthfully, it’s opened my eyes.
Men, we need to do better. A whole lot better.
After conversations with some of these women (and being told all the way off in the process), I reflected on my actions. How do I treat women? I don’t participate in the actions that leave women fearful. In fact, I’m well aware that I’m a tall, sizable, African-American male, and people are conditioned to be scared of me. So, it hurt me to hear that a random woman would be fearful of passing me in a parking lot because (insert reason). I left these conversations on my soap box, but they stayed with me. The experience of these ladies are significant. So, I couldn’t dismiss them.
My mother and grandmother are strong, Godly women. They raised me to treat women with respect, and I adhere to their teachings. They would knock me out if I disrespected them, and they had no trouble relaying this message to me during my youth. They were/are successful, knowledgeable, intelligent women that I learned from. I still call my mom when I need to talk about life. I wouldn’t want her treated less than because of her gender. So, maybe the original meaning of feminism doesn’t drive me nuts.
It’s the attitude of extremists that irk me to no end.
It’s the ladies that hop in these conversations with valid stories, but hate in their heart towards me because I’m a dude. The women that say “even the good guys don’t get it” and fail to acknowledge the good men around them (should they be there). The women (AND MEN!) who think I want a pat on the back because I reiterate not every guy you encounter is a monster. I am one of those nice guys. It’s the women who get mad when a man pulls out a chair, opens the door, helps carry groceries, or any other act of kindness (affection if you’re in a relationship). The women who think because a guy smiles at you, then he wants you. Or, will subsequently do you harm. The sexual assault and domestic violence advocates that tell me change can only happen on a grand scale. So, it doesn’t matter if you are already doing the right thing.
YOU are the reason why feminism drives me nuts!!
The conversation has turned from equality of the sexes and the advancement of women to bashing men. Somehow, I don’t believe that is the point of true feminism. These flippant, men are trash attitudes overshadow women’s fight for equality. Taking one small gesture and blowing it out of proportion only makes those who are not receptive to the movement even more guarded. Because your dad did not do anything to help your mom out at home does not mean all men are lazy. What is the dynamic of the relationship? Maybe they know something you don’t? Because people ask you why are you not in a relationship, having children, or married yet does not mean they think you need a man. I get asked those questions all the time. It isn’t gender exclusive. One could argue the different implications towards gender, but I will refrain from going the sociology route.
While I was taking inventory of myself, I became discouraged. It actually irritated me in that I no longer felt I could smile and speak because it will be taken wrong. A lady might think I’m trying to hit on her. I could no longer compliment a woman’s clothing because it may make her feel uncomfortable. Since I’m a male, the only reason for complimenting a woman is because I’m trying to spit game (*eye roll*). It doesn’t matter that my mom is a fashion guru and she dragged me to the mall for hours on end as a kid. It doesn’t matter that I dig argyle print, so I’m going to express my gratitude for it (Super stylish!!). Said receiver of the compliment doesn’t know me. So, she can get defensive with me if she wants.
I had to snap out of it. I couldn’t let the weight of these negative attitudes stop me from being me. So, I will continue to smile, speak, compliment, pull out chairs, open doors, call you ma’am or miss, and treat you with respect. For those women who are screaming, “MEN DON’T LISTEN!!”, I will try to do a better job of being part of the solution.
I will try to be more open, so feminism doesn’t drive me nuts.