Why I’m A Feminist

I am a man, and I am a feminist.

One of the clearest memories I have of my childhood is also one of the saddest. I was about six years old, living with my mom, who lived with her parents. My aunt was visiting that day as well. I remember sitting on the sofa in the living room, playing Pokemon on my Game Boy when an argument broke out. To save time, I’ll just tell you flat out that my grandfather has a history of being violent. I recall hearing glass breaking; a drinking glass had been thrown to the floor. Soon after, my grandfather had one of his daughters pinned against the wall of the kitchen area, and much yelling and crying was going on. Being helpless, I remained where I sat as silent tears streamed down my face.
I am a feminist because circumstances like this are common in Hispanic households.

Fast forward to when I was about 20. I had a friend I hadn’t spoken to in a while, so I made the effort to catch up with them over Facebook. The biggest headline in her life was that she’d recently been raped. She would be due in court to testify soon thereafter, and I would come to find out the rapist was sentenced to one year in prison. It is common, however, that men who rape women get equal or less jail time for this act.
I am a feminist because of this.
Because men who get raped are told things like “men can’t get raped,” or other statements which undermine their experience.
Because what is considered “okay” for women to wear is dictated by men, and God forbid a teenager in high school can’t focus on his work because he sees a bra strap peeking out from under a classmate’s shirt.
Because phrases like “look at what she’s wearing. She’s just asking for it!” are still commonplace.

I am a feminist because in a world of increasing single mother households (like mine was), women are still being payed less than men and are being treated as less human than their male counterparts.
Because “boys will be boys” is still being used to excuse male behavior.

I am a feminist because women’s bodies are so sexualized that men traverse nations and continents to lay their hands on them.
Because young women and girls are sold like pieces of meat into a life of sex slavery.
Because a woman’s weight overshadows her skills and talents.

I am a feminist because men are told they have to have a certain body type to be appealing.
Because Photoshop sets an impossible standard.
Because nations still debate whether or not a woman is as fit as a man to lead.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am a feminist because equality is on my heart.
Because people who claim to love God and love people treat women more poorly than Jesus ever did.

I am a feminist because it’s 2014 and I still have the need to type up a post like this.

There is a stereotype that feminists are all about bra-burning and the mindset that “women > men.” In reality, feminists are people, both men and women, who support gender equality. Anyone who supports freedom, love, or even just basic human decency should be a feminist.

Are there differences between men and women? Undoubtedly. But we are equals in personhood, and therefore I proudly state that
I am a man, and I am a feminist.

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5 thoughts on “Why I’m A Feminist

  1. I also experienced abuse by my father while growing up, although I did not witness as much as my older brothers. My father would come come drunk, yelling and cursing at anyone. He was also a womanizer. My mom separated from him several times before finally divorcing him. I always saw my mom as a fighter and as the head of the household. Which is probably why I also have perceived women to be strong and assertive. My mom had to be strong in order to raise four boys in spite of the abuse. Now I know more than before and it baffles me to know that my mom endured so much, just to try to keep the family intact. I am married and have two children now. And I am will be damn if I repeat what my father did. So I am raising my children and treating my wife a lot different. Not just because I want to prevent the same history, but because, like you, I see others as equal human beings. Thanks for sharing your story.

  2. Thanks for sharing , Noel! The hurdles my mother had to overcome to raise me gave me endless respect for women. In the culture we live in, the “macho” mentality still prevails, and it’s really heartbreaking.

  3. Nicely written David! I too am a feminist, as I’ve had my share in some of those experiences growing up with a single mom. Thanks for sharing! Good to see you writing and doing so well. Blessings always! Please say “Hi” to your mom for me.

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