My Twitter buddy, Lalo Dagach, said it best: There is a need for feminism because there are issues that relate specifically to being a women. A man receiving an online threat isn’t the same as a women receiving a rape threat. Lalo’s right. It is different. There is a specific OB/GYN medical category for women because we face unique biological and medical issues. We experience different things than men, and they from us. Women may be more complex, but we are not any less. We are unique in our own right. However, there’s a distinct radicalism in feminism that, as Lalo honestly pointed out, drives men to side with chauvinism.
Women’s issues are often regulated to the back-burner; and, if you object to being marginalized, you’re a labeled one of those radical feminists by conservatives and misogynists. We all know the type. Yes, radicals do exist in every group. The regressive left brand of feminism worries about what kind of panties the average women is wearing, protests Princess Leia’s slave get-up (it’s fiction, okay?), and is concerned with making transgenders feel like “real women” even when we all know they weren’t born with ovaries, a uterus, and a vagina.
The same misogyny of Galen, Aristotle, and Augustine is still very much with us. It’s just been rebranded “meninism” as well as redressed in the rhetoric of Islam. The creepy phenomenon of “meninism” (I call this neo-misogyny) and radical sexism of Islam are both different sides of the same coin. Neo-misogyny is an often passive-aggressive dehumanization of women, whereas Islam is very overt.
What is unique to the female experience is menstruation and all its effects on the body, pregnancy, and birth. Men experience none of these. And you’d think they’d be grateful. But nope. They’re not. Too many men globally either support political systems, cultural and religious practices, and/or are outright brutal to girls and women. When a man cares more about an embryo – a collection of cells inside a host body – than a living, sentient, autonomous human being, you know he doesn’t see girls and women as autonomous and fully human. This is a problem. My Daughter’s Army posted a particularly haunting tweet:
The article this quote is pulled from witnesses detailed accounts of the ugly, hate-ridden protesters, reportedly mostly male, lashing out at girls and women seeking treatment and abortions at clinics. As the author recounts her experience volunteering as a body shield, she observes:
Watching the debate around reproductive rights is hard for me. So much of it happens between people who have never stood on a sidewalk shielding the body of a child from people who insist they are screaming at her out of love. So much of it happens in a volley of statistics. So much of it happens in the abstract, away from the reality of our bodies and the choices we have made and the stories we tell about our own experiences — 95% of which, by the way, are not about regret.
We talk and we talk and we talk and a bunch of people, many of whom who do not have the ability to bring life into the world, disregard what we have to say. They hang onto their beliefs with a tenacity that exhausts and sickens me, that makes me sure that the root of the beliefs is that we are not really people, that we cease being people the second a pregnancy test says “yes,” that our humanity is second-class, second-rate, silenced.
The people – the men – who harass, threaten, and abuse these girls and women tell us one thing about themselves: they are abusers and rapists. Yelling at a girl, “A pregnancy from a rape is a gift!” is not only gross, it’s a tell-tale sign of a rapist. Just like rape, restricting our reproductive rights is all about power and control. Secular ethics, human rights, and science is on our side. It should be common knowledge that a fetus doesn’t begin to show signs of brain waves until the seventh month of pregnancy. In too many states, rapists can even sue victims for custody of a child. (Yes, Alabama is very much one such state.)
The abortion “debate” can be broken down into four motives: 1) Control over the threshold of life. Womb envy and misogyny. 2) Control over half the world’s population. This makes domination easy and a continued “flock” for religions and regimes. 3) The corrupt trafficking industry of adoption is a multi-billion dollar money-making industry just in the United States only. Agencies, charities, social workers, attorneys, and judges make bank on selling babies. 4) The psychopathic desire to use and dehumanize girls and women by really sick men. Hence, custody battles for children who are the product of rape.
The wage gap is on issue both chauvinistic men and women try to deflate. I’ve quoted Pew Research Center in my previous blog posts. And I’ll post a link here: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/04/14/on-equal-pay-day-everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-gender-pay-gap/ Despite statistics and peer-reviewed research, there’s still this special brand of science denying. Like the transgendered individuals who want to hijack scientific nomenclature, neo-misogynists dishonestly skew numbers, or outright deny these statistics exist.
A fallacious argument I’ve heard regarding the wage gap is that women choose different career paths. Um, yeah. That’s part of the problem. Girls and women, globally, still do not have the same access to education and opportunities. STEM and STEAM careers are largely occupied by men. It’s still controversial – in the 21st century – to educate girls in much of Africa and Asia. From teachers’ favoritism of male pupils, to the extreme threat of acid attacks, girls and women still have to fight for the inherent right of an education. Furthermore, women have babies. Very few countries have federally protected maternity leave. Women are penalized for having children, as they are encouraged to be breeders. The world is a hypocrisy of extremes for us.
The most obvious sign of the dehumanization of women in the West is the absurd notion that birth control as controversial. When IUDs and The Pill is considered controversial in first world countries, it is no wonder we live in a world that allows atrocities, such as female genital mutilation, to exist. Neo-misogynists and radical feminists both stymie progress with false dichotomies. By waging competition between various women’s issues on one side, and superficially imaged sexism on the other, both extremes are trivial and unscrupulous.
Neo-misogynists attempt to make women feel guilty for demanding our inherent, reproductive rights be protected as they pretend to empathize with the plight of women in the Muslim world. What is obvious to the rational: Neo-misogynists are the equivalent of their Muslim counterparts. Most are religious. If we didn’t have separation of church and state, the United States would be like Saudi Arabia on a bad day. And on a good day, like the theocracy of Ireland.
Extreme feminists, from the separatists to the social justice warriors, create non-issues and drama. While they scream about the appropriate attire to launch a space probe in, or indulge in a jealous rant regarding Victoria Secret models, girls and women are kidnapped, raped and held in slavery by ISIS. While the whining university student plays at feminism, little girls are held down and mutilated. While that gender studies “professor” enjoys her joke of a job, women in the Mideast are attacked with acid, bullets, and knives for attending school. Why aren’t these radical feminists speaking out against FGM instead of taking up for burkas and Islam? They are cowards. It’s much easier to yell and bitch about make believe drama than address very real international injustices.
I’ve had my own negative experiences with regressive left feminists. Whether it’s picking on the pretty girl in class, or blaming every human male for their morning bout of constipation, these bitches are some kind of fierce anti-woman women. Part of being a decent feminist and human being is recognizing that not every woman will make the same choices you do. I’ve watched militant regressive feminists casually disregard the challenges and tragedies girls and women face in the second and third worlds to bitch about leggings and yoga pants. I’ve been branded as anti-feminist because I wear dresses and lipstick. I’ve seen classmates ridiculed for wanting to be a stay-at-home mommy, which is a choice I would make as well.
During undergraduate at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, I founded a campus organization (Women’s Action Council) that became a Frankenstein. Radical leftists invaded the club, claiming the guy members I invited could not be involved. Before I give up and resigned, I met Jan Kuka. Kuka is responsible off the movement against female genital mutilation in Uganda. As a victim herself, she is the truest example of courage I have ever met. And I had the honor of meeting her. Did the rest of the organization show up or care. No. What were they doing with their time? Drawing portraits of their vaginas to hang in the university cafeteria for Valentine’s Day. I am not kidding. Yes. They. Did.
My graduate school experience with regressive left feminists was even worse. In my mid-twenties, I didn’t identify with the label of feminist. I was too feminine. It didn’t matter than I was educated, pro-choice, and globally aware. What mattered was that I didn’t hate men. Granted, I’ve seen a lot of chaos in my life, and it’s been tempting at times. But hating an entire population is truly juvenile and accomplishes nothing. Try explaining that to a group a rabid, regressive left bigots. Now, in my thirties, I refuse to allow a group of silly extremists eschewing deodorant and shampoo to completely hijack the movement.
I am a feminist. I’m also an English teacher, wife, cat-lover, volunteer, humanist, atheist, daughter, sister, best friend, artist, Pilates instructor, and one day I may be a mother. Unlike extremists, there’s not just one label or category that solely describes me. Yes, there’s a lot of bad men. But there’s also quite a bit of bad women too. And we cannot allow embittered, mean people to hijack and define a desperately needed movement.