I’m of two opinions about the term and movement title “feminism”. One being for and the other against. For those of you who know me, you know I love words and believe that word choice is important. Sticks and stone can break my bones, but words can last forever.
We’ll start with my problem, since that will give the post a general upward trend. The biggest part is how it excludes men. I understand the past reasons for it and they are part of my positives, so that will come later. For me and the dictionary, feminism is about equality. It is true that men have the upper hand, but there are still plenty of things that suck for the dudes. Feminist is a very gendered word for a movement that I think is (or should be) less gendered than the general population believes. This may not seem like a big deal, since it is really my only complaint, but to me it is very big. Masculinity can be as big of a prison as femininity. It just has nice guards and better food*.
With this term, though, men are forced, linguistically, into a supporting role. Men can call themselves feminists and they are that, but are they fairly represented? An important, arguably the most important part, is equality of the sexes. Not just women becoming equal to men. There are some aspects of manhood and masculinity that I want to go nowhere near. The fight should be for people‘s freedom.
I like the word, though, because of its history. It is a word that invokes the image of women fighting for themselves and of women doing something without and often against the permissions of men. It is a word that honors our feminist foremothers and that history is strong. There is a lot of meaning in the word that I don’t want to just cast aside. Women have been the focus of feminism for a very good reason: we got the most crap.
I don’t have an alternative that doesn’t sound stupid. I mean, “equality” is already a word and “equalism” sounds dumb. For now, it is just something to consider. I feel that the male feminist gets left behind. Don’t forget that feminism can benefit men and not only by making their female friends/partners/family members happier.
*If you couldn’t tell, I was not quite sure what makes one prison better than another. Those two things sounded like a good bet, though. Minimal beatings and a fresh PB&J can go a long way for morale.