An Open Letter From A Feminist

I can almost guarantee that you will change your mind about feminism by the time you’re done reading this.

I don’t believe in the superiority of any gender. I believe that genders are arbitrarily constructed categories of socially-rewarded behavior that we are socialized to adhere to as soon as a basis for it can be determined. This basis is often based on what we might consider biological differences, but there is not – and likely will never be – a consensus on this basis. Sex is everything and sex is nothing.

Feminism isn’t about female superiority, and you’re wasting your time by arguing with people who think it is. Every perception of reality lends to a clearer image of the truth. There will always be people within schools of thought that may misrepresent it, misunderstand it, or use it for their own gain. We can acknowledge these kinds of people, but arguing with them doesn’t work because they do not prescribe to a logical thought process. Sometimes it’s better to accept that some people never will and move on.

I think the confusion about feminism comes from the word itself. Even it’s thought brings up images of hippies in the 60s burning bras atop Volkswagen vans. If you get off of social media and actually look at the literature on feminism that is coming out now, you might notice feminism has changed. It’s not an excuse for women to act butthurt about the drawbacks of being a woman. It’s about celebrating a spectrum that seems to exist across time and space instead of letting it define and bound us from one another. It concerns itself with the unique struggles we all face in ways which are organized by gender; as a feminist, I’m just as interested in all the ways we can flourish.

Understanding how men and women are socialized differently is a key part to understanding this. We face different challenges and receive various advantages depending on which gender category we are apart of, whether that inclusion is voluntary or not. What our culture arbitrarily defines as “men” and “women” feel the same emotions and similar constraints on their socially-rewarded behavior, but their experiences are organized by gender.

In my society, boys and girls are rewarded for different kinds of behavior. As a girl, you’re encouraged from a young age to seek and maintain a boyfriend. Whether we want to admit it or not, women pressure eachother to have one of these for some reason and we look down upon eachother when we don’t meet this requirement. I cannot speak as clearly for the male experience, but I think a lot of it has to do with a lot of pressure to have sex with as many females as possible before the immense pressure of financially and socially maintaining a family settles in.

The only way to truly understand is with an empathetic point of view. I will probably never experience what it means to be a man in this society. The closest I can get is by listening to the experiences of others, taking them in, and reserving as many judgments as possible. I try every day to be as open-minded as I can when it comes to the validity of the arguments of others, regardless of gender.

It is absolutely devastating to see something very important to me be misinterpreted and purported all over the internet. Feminism shouldn’t be about the ways we’re different – to me, it is and always has been about the ways our gendered experiences can bring us together. Feminism is about empathy, and unless you’re a sociopath, you have a little bit of this regardless of what label you put on it. It’s about seeking to understand first, and tell our stories second.

4 thoughts on “An Open Letter From A Feminist

  1. > I think a lot of it has to do with a lot of pressure to have sex with as many females as possible

    As a man I can tell you that this claim is actually incorrect (just another miscomceptions about malehood).

    Great post otherwise 🙂

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    • thank you! im really interested in what pressures do exist in malehood, but unfortunately these things are rarely clear-cut. Thanks for the feedback!

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  2. Me again, answering your question ()by the way, English is not my first language so sorry for the imperfections

    > im really interested in what pressures do exist in malehood, but unfortunately these things are rarely clear-cut.

    Ok, so from my own point of view (which, I admit, might not necessarily be representative), I would say that for men it is less about pressure and more about a sense of responsibility.

    You see, I am under the impression that female pressure to conform (for instance looking ‘feminine’ through a well defined standard of makeup or the need for it in the first place) is imposed by the outside world (I feel that the disapproving look of her female friends is far more shaping than, at worse, the fact that men might ignore her — keeping things simple).

    On the other hand, male pressure comes from within. We have thousands of years of Duty to Provide ™ hardcoded in us.

    So when I wake up in the morning and need to act “like a man” (be the leader of the family, that kind of stuff), it is less because society wants it, than the fact that I *know* (in a very strong sense) that I have to.

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    • Wow, excellent answer. You’re very accurate on a lot of the “feminine” standards, the insights in to the masculine ones are great! Thanks!

      Like

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