I didn’t think a statement like that could still be shocking in 2012, but, judging by Google’s auto-complete search, it looks like it still is.
Today, I saw a BuzzFeed article with this slightly altered image:
The joke’s (most likely) referring to the delightfully entertaining Feminist Ryan Gosling Tumblr, which was created by a grad student and teacher in the gender studies program at the University of Wisconsin. She originally created it to catalog fun, ironic feminist flashcards for herself and her classmates to study, and then the blog caught on fire because, hey girl, it’s Ryan Gosling.
What put me off, though, about the BuzzFeed article was the fact that the first auto-complete search term says, “Why do feminists hate men?”
And then I double-checked to see if that’s really what pops up, and sure enough, it does:
The only altered element of that photo is that I cropped it so that it wouldn’t be a shot of the entire screen. This is really what pops up.
The other stereotypes that pop up aren’t great news either, but I’m most unnerved by the fact that, apparently, enough people think I hate men to make it the number one search term that pops up. Hate is a terrible thing, and it’s pretty much the opposite of what the feminist movement is trying to accomplish. Also, I don’t hate men. I feel like I just found out about a rumor about me or something; it’s like high school all over again!
So, although articles of this sort have been written over and over again, it looks like we might all could use a refresher on the literal definition of feminism, taken from Merriam-Webster itself:
1. The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. 2. organized activity on the behalf of women’s rights and interests.
Note the first definition. We don’t hate men. We want equality for the sexes. Yes, the word can be a bit misleading with its emphasis on “fem,” but that’s because it wasn’t all that long ago that we women couldn’t vote or work or be legally treated equally. And, in many countries, that’s still not the case. Hence the second definition.
But being a feminist does not mean we hate men. We don’t think women are better than men as a rule. We just want equal treatment for both sexes.
Which brings me to another point. Nothing breaks my heart more today than when I hear a woman say nervously, “I mean, I’m not like a feminist or anything…”
It shouldn’t be shameful or extremist to say you’re a feminist. When you say you’re not a feminist you’re basically saying you’re not for equal rights for the sexes. In no way should it be taboo to say you want equal rights for your own gender.
It’s 2012. Feminism has been around for more than a century. Can we please all start understanding it, now?