I didn't write this, but I agree with most of it. (On #4: I don't think a straight feminist necessarily needs a man to be happy).
- 1. Gender equality = not making any difference between the genders.
Although it sounds like it could be right, it isn’t. Most feminists clearly distinguish the difference between the role of a woman from the role of a man. Our goal is not to erase the difference between genders but to give women choices and equity, while acknowledging the differences.
- 2. A woman can’t be feminine and a feminist at the same time.
If that were the case, this community wouldn’t exist. :) Fundamentally, feminism is about giving women the right of choice, not limiting self-expression. As long as we realize that our choice to act in a ‘traditionally feminine’ way is just that – a choice – it’s all good!
On the whole, femininity – or lack of it – is just a personal nuance that has nothing to do with the feminist movement. Men can be feminists too – my husband is one of them.
- 3. Feminists must just be bitter and hate men!
Bitterness a feminist does not make; anyone can be bitter. :) Although we do acknowledge the oppression that women have suffered historically, feminists generally don’t hate men (exceptions are men who exhibit sexist behavior). Nor do we think of men as the source of all evil – in my experience, women can be just as big a pain in the ass as men. :)
- 4. Men are disposable.
Who needs men, right? Wrong. Feminists acknowledge that a woman (a straight one, at least) does need a man to be happy, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s called love, baby! :)
- 5. Feminists don’t believe in marriage.
I’m sure some radicals don’t, but most do. We just don’t believe in rushing into marriage for all the wrong reasons (like social pressure to get married and have a child by a certain age). Come the right man – we’ll marry him. Eventually. ;D
- 6. A feminist will get offended by any gesture of gallantry.
The ‘Don’t hold the door for her or she’ll smack you!!’ types are mythical creatures, I’m ‘fraid. It would take an extremely unhappy person to react in such a violent way to such an innocent gesture (haha!) – and feminism has nothing to do with that.
- 7. What about paying for a her dinner?
It’s perfectly acceptable to offer. Whether she goes for it or slaps a fat Jackson on the table is a whole different story, but there is no harm in trying. Most feminists will appreciate the gesture.
- 8. All feminists have a lot of sexual hang-ups and issues with sexuality.
While feminism does study female sexuality, it doesn’t singularly focus on it in a negative way. Rape is one of the bigger issues; but there are also others, such as how women can have more gratifying sexual experiences. Here’s a short & sweet explaination about sex-positive feminists and their beliefs.
- 9. Feminism might have been necessary in the past, but now that women have been made pretty much equal, there is no need for it.
Women are still not equal (just look around the world), and as long chauvinism abounds, I say our work is not done. Also, feminism focuses not only on the equality between men and women, but also equality between every gender, race, class and sexual orientation.