Feminist vs. Pro-Feminist: Thoughts On a Trend In Gender Politics

To call this guy “Pro-Feminist” would be an insult to my 3rd favorite game, one of my top ten favorite voice actors, and the noble sportsman’s hobby of EXPLOSIONS!
Source: thevirtuallyunreal.tumblr.com

Recently, I was introduced to a fascinating new idea in the fight for gender equality. Apparently, there are some fresh young minds out there that are attempting to use language to strengthen the fight for equality between the sexes.

In essence, some people feel that by having men call themselves Feminists, it detracts from the efforts of women in the Feminist community that the school of thought was intended to help and empower. However, they also don’t want to take away from the men who actually try to make things fair for everyone. To that end, some people have started encouraging male Feminists to start calling themselves “Pro-Feminists” instead.

Before I get into my usual criticism, I’d just like to say that I understand the thinking here. People want to celebrate the women that Feminism was made for. That’s a perfectly noble cause and I feel their hearts are in the right place.

However, I can’t help but see a few potential problems with this new set-up.

First, for all of the concern about language diminishing the efforts of women that started this movement, supporters of this change seem to have missed how they flipped the issue 180 degrees on to men now. By using the phrase Pro-Feminist to describe male Feminists, a person seems to be implying (however unintentionally), that men can’t be useful to the cause and be a part of the team. It makes men look like an other in society and creates the atmosphere of “no boys/girls allowed” that Feminism was meant to challenge and destroy.

Also, I feel like the word implies a sense of laziness or apathy to a person. A Feminist sounds like someone who actively tries to fight for equality; a Pro-Feminist sounds like someone who’s into the idea, but can’t be arsed to actually do any work for it. And remember who’s saying this; as a creative writer, radio personality, journalist, public speaker, and stage performer, I know how important it is for a word to sound just right.

Lastly, this new language ignores how much good Feminism does for men as well as women. For example, every time a guy gets bullied and taunted by being emasculated with feminine slurs (i.e., being called a bitch, a p***y, a c***, ETC.) or is criticized for being “too girly”, that throws every woman under the bus as well by implying that feminine is bad. It may be called feminism, but it’s meant to help EVERYONE be equal to each other regardless of their gender or the gender roles they choose for themselves.

In short, I personally feel there’s nothing wrong calling yourself a Feminist regardless of your gender. All that title means is that you believe in striving for a society that doesn’t judge a person’s value or force roles on them based on their gender. Perhaps what we really need is to change the word “Feminism” to reflect that belief a little better.

Of course, this movement in language is still young and anything could happen. I await your thoughts on the subject, world.

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The Free the Nipple Movement: Good Idea With a Long Road Ahead

Does anyone else feel like they might be missing something?
Source: Instagram: caradelevingne

It’s been far to long since I had a discourse on a social issue, so let’s talk about something I’ve known about that I’ve been meaning to get to for a while.

For those out of the loop, Free the Nipple is a gender equality movement that seeks to eliminate an inequality between men and women that most people over look; the fact that men are allowed to go topless while women can be charged with indecent exposure.

Full disclosure; I never got that even as a kid. Why do women have to stay covered up when men don’t. I mean, barring size, shape, and the amount of hair, male and female boobs are exactly the same. Hell, men are even capable of lactating under the right circumstances.

Which brings me to the issue of public breast feeding. Here’s the deal, babies have no concept of “there’s a time and a place for everything.” A baby simply does as it needs to do when it needs to. It eats, sleeps, and poops at the whims of nature. As such, poor mom isn’t always in a position to find a way to hide herself to take care of junior. And before you suggest bottle feeding, there are already several lists about why store-bought formula is crap compared to breastfeeding for baby and mother alike.

So, yeah – women should be allowed to release the ta-tas without fear of legal ramifications, judgmental stares from conservative women, and drooling men who can’t keep it in their pants.

The problem is that the actual process of getting to that point will be slow and painful.

Let’s be realistic; social evolution, like Darwinian evolution, is slow as January molasses. People have been living with preconceived ideas and notions for generations and don’t take kindly towards people rocking the boat. It takes a great deal of time for new ideas to take hold when they have to contend with history – in this case, the history of the exposure of breasts being a dividing mark of class throughout much of western history.

Also, there are some difficulties in getting people to jump on the bandwagon. I’ve spoken to many women who can’t see themselves without a top to provide some support (I honestly can’t imagine how difficult it must be to carry a pair of chest-mounted 5-pound weights). People like that might not be so keen on the idea and may not stop to think about others for whom that isn’t as much of an issue. After all, nobody’s FORCING anyone to go topless; it’s just an option to consider.

There’s also the issue that most social movements suffer from, people who use movements like this as a platform for showboating and gloating about their moral superiority. These people always hurt well-meaning movements by making everyone else in the group look like self-important butt holes.

I guess what I’m trying to get at here is that Free the Nipple is a worthwhile endeavor and that those who have never heard heard of it until now or rejected it originally should consider or re-consider supporting it. As for those already on board, don’t lose faith; keep sticking with it. You’ve already made great progress.

Debate Time: Agent vs. Anti-Feminism

Source: SparkSummit.com

You mean women aren’t just animate slabs of beef that clean the house and you can put your willy inside of? Preposterous!
Source: SparkSummit.com

Edit as of !0/25/2013: Due to the author need to check multiple sources simultaneously while working on these articles, a link to a misleading article regarding women’s pay in the work place was posted in place of a more reliable one. The author apologizes to anyone who might have been confused or offended by this.

One of my favorite past times is to take a topic and debate or disprove its theory in order to test the thinking of the other party or show the holes in their logic. I may not even particularly disagree with them; I just want to flex my brain power and keep others on their toes.

This time, however, I’m actively trying to fight the party in question because Anti-Feminists are some of the most narrow-minded and personally offensive people I’ve ever encountered. I rank them among homophobes and racists as people responsible for holding back social progress. Today, I’ll take my stand by taking some of the most common arguments and philosophies I’ve heard and spiting them back into their slack-jawed open mouths so they can eat their own words.

“Why Is This Still Even An Issue?”

This is a common argument mostly heard from people who think that, just because an issue started years before their time, it’s not their problem and it was thoroughly solved by their parents/grandparents/et cetera.

What you’re displaying here is what I call ‘unperceptive bigotry.’ It’s the notion that just because we’ve made great strives against a problem that it no longer exists. Yes, it’s true that we’ve come a long way in woman’s rights – they can vote, work, and have more reproductive freedom. The problem is that you can’t touch up the paint on wrecked car and call it fixed and you can’t do a little legislation on a generations long social problem and call it a non-issue.

Women still only make 77 percent what men do in the work place, terms like ‘legitimate rape‘ are still being used in common parlance, and people who don’t realize these and other issues still exist are only hurting the process of fixing them. It’s the classic coda of, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

“Don’t We Have Other Things More Important To Work On?”

Okay, we do have wars, foreign policies, and an economy to work on. I understand that and I try to make allowances for that. But isn’t multitasking (and, of course, insuring even distribution of power) part of the reason we divided our government up into multiple branches and offices ran by large numbers of people?

Even on a personal level, are you saying that you don’t have time to worry about this? Do you know how ineffective I’d be if I couldn’t keep several metaphorical irons in the fire? I wouldn’t be in school, working on the family farm, AND writing this blog if I didn’t have the capacity to share my empathy with multiple issues.

In short, I think we can all sacrifice an hour a day from our daily Facebook binge to consider how an issue affects us and share that thought with someone who can help do something about it. Speaking of how issues affect us…

“Gender Equality Isn’t An Issue That Affects Me.”

Really? Are you suggesting that you have NO gender? Even if you identify as gender neutral, that’s still a gender.

Or perhaps you mean that your gender is unaffected by this debate because you’re a man. Well, wouldn’t that suggest that you don’t care about the well-being of your mother? What about your wife? Your daughter? Are you so content to let them suffer?

Every issue has an effect on EVERYONE – directly or indirectly. Understanding that long web of connections that we call ‘The Big Picture’ is the key to solving any challenges we experience in society.

“Feminism Emasculates And Victimizes Men!”

… How? Tell me it makes you less of a man. You brought it up; now give me your well-thought out factual data, Mr. Unga-Bunga Zug-Zug Macho Man.

This is easily the stupidest argument for anti-feminism I’ve ever heard. I’ve asked the above question of every man who uses this defense and not a single one has given me a reasonable, fact based answer.

Men, hear me now: the world will not end just because you have to share it with the other kids on the playground. Please try to keep things in perspective.

Last thoughts

Before anyone asks or tries to throw my own sex back at me as a counterpoint, no, I’m not saying this just to ‘get in good with women.’ My Coming Out Day Article should have made it clear that I don’t have that particular motive.

I’m just so honestly tired of fighting about something that should be obvious to even the least observant people. Let’s try to be a little more fair in our treatment of people regardless of what our 23rd pair of chromosomes looks like.