The following is a guest post by Juggernaut, where he shares his thoughts on feminism. While I may not agree with all he says, I do think it is thought-provoking:
I think feminism is often misunderstood, and no matter what stance you take on feminism, there is a degree of controversy. Hardcore feminists will probably see me as a chauvinist or misogynist. Hardcore anti-feminists will probably see me as an emasculate wuss indoctrinated by leftist propaganda. In the end though, there are merits to feminism, but some feminists do go to unhealthy extremes in their beliefs.
There does seem to be an aura of belittlement and disrespect toward women in our culture (a.k.a. much of our movies and music). When feminists mention a human history where males have forcefully dominated and cultural barriers have prevented women from excelling in careers by giving them the expectation to be stay-at-home mothers, I listen and openly accept these criticisms. The guys who automatically write off feminists and see these concerns as silly, do seem to be in an overall state of justified ignorance. A person who doesn’t feel threatened or guilty will gladly welcome even more questioning and probing.
Men, instead of taking offense and immediately jumping to conclusions and saying something like “well, if it were a man, then ____”. Openly listen, and who knows, you two may actually be on the same page. This is in the same way that some feminists need to be more open in taking criticism.
There are gender roles in our society. And there are two kinds of traditions. Some traditions are useful. Other traditions are not so useful. My belief is to adopt the useful traditions and abandon the less useful traditions. Everyone has different needs and a different lifestyle. If women want to adopt male gender roles and men want to adopt feminine gender roles, I have no problem with that. In some cases, it’s best for a woman to work and in other cases, it is best for a woman to be a stay-at-home mom. In the end, it’s a woman’s choice (as well as a man), in what she wants to be and what she wants to do with her life. Whether the traditional gender roles of women cooking/cleaning and men doing handiwork are adopted into a family or not adopted into a family, I respect their decision. Live and let live. Everyone has their own choice, and I won’t judge them.
Keep in mind that feminism is not a church. There is not one set of tenets you have to believe in order to be a feminist. And there are different kinds of feminists. Some of them happen to be the most extreme feminists (and I’m not condemning their lifestyles at all; but I will start to ask questions when they start condemning others). Some people believe in feminism and support feminism, but it isn’t their entire life. Other people eat sleep and breathe feminism. They spend a lot of their spare time protesting and they study feminism in school. A good amount (but not most) of the latter kind are found in colleges. And some of them are very extreme. If you go to college, you may hear a lot of feminist protests and feminist professors, and therefore conclude that most or a lot of women are like that.
But the most hardcore feminists are only a minority, and don’t represent most women at all!
I have a lot of respect for feminism, but not the extremists. That is in the same way I have respect for people in pursuit of their religion, but not the extremists.
Here is what I don’t like about the most hardcore extreme feminists:
1. They are more judgmental on women than men are. If a woman likes to live a lifestyle that is in line with what women have traditionally living, they will see those women as being brainwashed, as if they didn’t have the capacity to make a decision themselves. Basically “all women should be like ____. if you aren’t like ____, then there is something wrong with you.”
So, if a woman actually likes living within the gender roles, and actuallys want to be a stay-at-home mom, she should not be seen as brainwashed or too intellectually inferior to make her own decision. Her decision should be respected because she is intelligent enough to decide what she personally wants.
2. They are overly politically correct, take things too literally, and have no sense of humor. If they hear a joke that is mildly inappropriate, they will act uptight and decide the joke to be misogynistic. These people are much harder to have fun with, especially if you have a broader sense of humor. You can’t have casual small talk with them about having a long philosophical discussion about feminism. Everything leads to feminism and they sound like a johnny one-note. You can’t listen to the radio without them giving you a complete dissection of every lyric.
They don’t grasp the difference between words and actions. Actions matter more than words. If you say an off-color joke, it doesn’t represent who you are or what you think of women. It’s how you treat people that truly matters.
Again, these aren’t all feminists. Just maybe the minority of the most extreme feminists, who are ironically the most vocal. Most people who believe in feminism, believe in it, but they don’t commit the time to attend feminism events every week, they don’t study feminism and they don’t talk about feminism constantly.
Why is this bugging me?
Because some men are being trained to tailor themselves to the most hardcore feminists, thinking that those extreme beliefs represent ALL women.
Generally, I’d say dedicated feminists are no more than 10% of women, but 90% of women don’t subscribe to all of the things that hardcore feminists believe. That’s what angers me. A minority of women can’t speak for all women! The same way a minority of black people can’t speak for all black people. Or the same way a minority of muslims don’t speak for all muslims.
Most women do generally believe in feminism, but they are far from the hardcore extreme branch of feminism.
Most women actually don’t feel like them being a woman is restricting them in any way.
Most women actually like an inappropriate joke now and then. A lot of women will laugh hard at them. They can laugh at a “thats what she said” joke. They like being teased every once in a while. They do not mind at all having the passive role of waiting for the man to call and wanting the man to set up the date. Most women expect all of that! They don’t want a man who is boring, play-it-safe, over-apologetic or politically correct all of the time.
When it comes to sexuality, some women are more sexual than others. Some women resent the idea of pre-marital sex (and the idea of one night stands). Some women are perfectly okay with pre-marital, if it is with a guy they are attracted to. Women neither deserve to be labeled as a slut or a prude.
I say this to both men and women, don’t ever feel like you are doing something wrong by feeling attracted to someone. Don’t ever feel guilty about wanting sex, if that’s truly what you want. There is a huge difference between treating someone like a sex object (with no regard to anything else) and appreciating someone as a whole (including sex).
Most women WANT a man who is traditionally masculine, rather than boring, neutral or effeminate. They want a masculine man who is assertive and acts in a leadership role. This does not mean bossy, intrusive and manipulative. What I’m saying is that they want men to be the initiator, a protector that can provide a feeling of security.
A guy may talk to or get to know a woman who is a die-hard feminist, and therefore tone down his masculine qualities, in belief that he is belittling or insulting a woman by being traditionally masculine. But in the end, that is what most women like and are attracted to.
If you are surrounded in an isolated atmosphere of a vocal minority, it is easy to see a distorted view of what women are like. But in the end, each woman is different. There is no one formula that can be agreeable with all women. Some women are non-traditional and other women are more traditional.
In the end, accept people for who they are and let them make their own choices. And don’t get pressured into making a lifestyle choice just because someone doesn’t like what you are doing.