Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What Feminism Really Is -- And What It Isn't

What do you think of when you think of feminism? Do you think of bra-less women in pantsuits singing angsty rock songs about sticking it to "the men" or how they haven't shaved their legs in years? I'm sure these women are probably wonderful people with good intentions, but are misunderstood. People seem to respond badly to this form of feminism, and it gives them a bad taste in their mouth about the feminist movement in general.

Since feminism is immensely misunderstood, I'd like to set the record straight about what feminism is and what it isn't. 

Feminism is, at its core, about feminine qualities being as equally valued as masculine qualities. Feminine traits are widely described as: 
  • emotional 
  • sensitive 
  • graceful
  • nurturing
  • patient
  • compassionate
  • empathetic 
By contrast, masculine traits are:
  • non-emotional
  • aggressive
  • competitive
  • strong
  • logical
  • direct
  • confident
Many women think that by acting like a man, they are achieving equality. Nothing could be further from the truth! Feminism is about achieving equality by changing society so that feminine qualities are regarded as important as masculine qualities. Think about it: which women do we regard as "heroes" in our pop culture? Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Lara Croft, Wonder Woman, Black Widow, and Sarah Connor from Terminator come to mind. Think about how they solve problems: through violence and aggression. They aren't examples of feminism at all. A true feminist would solve problems like Pocahontas did: through compassion and understanding, and a willingness to sacrifice her own life to save another's.

I'm not at all arguing that some women don't possess some masculine qualities. Physical gender is not necessarily a manifestation of a person's dominant gender energetically. There are, of course, very masculine females in the world just as there are very feminine males. There's nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is that many women think they won't be valued or achieve greatness unless they adopt masculine traits.

The vast majority of us are not 100% masculine or 100% feminine; we have a mixture of these qualities. For example, I am very logical while making big decision. I make charts, spreadsheets, and perform statistical tests before coming to conclusions. However, I am also extremely empathetic. That duality of feminine and masculine qualities is present within all of us!

Thus, feminism is not just for women. It's for everyone. Think about how the world would change if everyone embraced their feminine qualities just as society adores the masculine qualities. The entire world balance would shift completely. For too long, we have been stuck in a patriarchal system because masculine qualities have forced their way onto a pedestal while feminine qualities have been belittled and beaten down. If we all accepted that our feminine traits are just as important as our masculine ones, we would truly achieve gender equality once and for all. 

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