That’s me and another woman on our staff, at least according to an old employee. And yes, it drifted back to me.
My first thought was, thank god! Thank god as in, this came from a former employee; reassigned to the workforce. Something wasn’t right there.
I’m pretty sure we’re not the first women he’s referred to as “angry, man-hating feminists,” and sadly, likely not the last.
But nonetheless, I decided to deconstruct this a little bit. (But first, let me address name-calling; that’s not something my parents let me get away with…) But then, what does it really mean?
Google: What is a feminist? A person who supports feminism.
Me: Well, what is feminism, then? Miriam Webster says:
1: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
Hmm, really nothing to see here. So, if you are not a feminist, you could say that you do not believe in the theory of the political, economic and/or social equality of the sexes.
Pause: We should talk if you’re feeling stopped up by any one of those. And actually, not just for women, but for any human being. I’m an American, and I truly believe that everyone has the right to an equal shot. That’s it; not superior, just equal.
So, yes – I am a feminist. I hope you are too.
That term makes some people uncomfortable. But I’m done with seeing inequality for anyone and staying silent.
Can you be a feminist and stay home with your children? A feminist and not have children? A feminist who is pro-life? Pro-choice? Male, female, or other? Gay, straight, black, white, liberal, conservative, Christian, atheist? Yes. A resounding yes.
So, a warm welcome to any of you reading who just realized that you are, indeed, a feminist.
Now to the angry part.
Back to Miriam.
Anger: having a strong feeling of or showing annoyance, displeasure, or hostility;
Pause, again. Listen: not all anger is bad. Sometimes we must be angry to take action; it’s a natural response to people being mistreated, or if there’s a lack of equality.
I feel angry at what I’m hearing about families being separated at our borders; children being taken miles away, often by airplane, from their parents. I can be sad – and I am – but anger is natural and has certainly brought people to action so it can change.
So, am I an angry feminist? Sometimes! When it is apparent that women do not have equality in any sense, then yes, I get angry. I don’t live there; I don’t get up every day feeling angry. But my overall response to any human who experiences inequality simply due to gender, will in fact, be anger.
And now the rub. The man-hating part. Do I hate men?
Nope. Almost feels silly even writing that. But, no. How do I know? First, I’m married to one of the sweetest men you’ll ever meet. Sure, we butt heads and argue, but we love each other and have a ton of fun together, still going strong after 35 years. I do not hate him.
My dad and brothers all modeled what it was to be a kind and good man. I honestly never saw an iota of chauvinism or sexism in our home; and truthfully, I didn’t learn what those were until high school. My dad and brothers? No, I do not hate them either.
I probably have more male friends than women; always did. Whether they’re cousins, coworkers, friends, I’ll say it clearly: I do not hate men. They are for me; fun, spontaneous, frank, a little silly, and a blast to hang with. All of the men I love so much have one thing in common: they have no issues with women, they aren’t insecure, and they believe women are strong, amazing, and capable.
So where does the man-hating part come from?
It’s a myth. Put out there by guess who? Men who aren’t secure; men who don’t believe that women are capable. And men who are threatened by some myth of position they must feel will be taken from them if women are finally given an equal shot.
Do I hate those men? Nope. Just sad for them that they are missing out on friendships and relationships with women who don’t make them feel strong by projecting weakness.
Boom. That’s all I got. So yes, I am a feminist, and I am angry sometimes when it’s called for. But I am not a man-hater. To the ex-employee and anyone else who thinks being a feminist means hating men, be careful there. It’s a dangerous slippery slope to think that women who support the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes cannot lift each other up without pushing someone else down; that’s stuff you learn on the playground. Hey – we can BOTH enjoy the monkey bars.
To my ex-employee and everyone else who thinks feminism means man-hating: maybe your mama didn’t teach you that you don’t have to put others down to be lifted up. But mine did. And I’ve been happily playing with both guys and gals ever since.