So here we are. Talking about feminism. Thank you for being here. This is a confusing topic for both men and women. A lot of people are even a little scared of the word feminist. Number one reason for this? Confusion and lack of education about this topic. I’m here to offer some clarity.
Sometimes when we want something really bad, we take it a little too far. And back when equal rights for men and women were so not happening, we didn’t even know what the ideal scenario would look like. That’s why the beginnings of the women’s rights movements were a little bit messy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so grateful for the women that came before me, thanks to whom I can live the way I live and feel like an equal part of society with equal rights and equal worth.
I just believe that now we’re at a stage where we can do the fine tuning. Back then the solution seemed for women to just be like men. Women started dressing like men, acting like men, and in some way giving up their femininity in the name of feminism. Their hands started turning into claws, they got overly aggressive and this is where some of the negative connotations we still have with feminism came from.
WHAT IS A FEMINIST
Before we do anything else I just want to clarify the definition of a feminist. Because sadly, a lot of people who have no inhibitions talking about feminism, don’t even know what a feminist is. Here goes:
A feminist is a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.
I thought after Beyoncé put it in one of her songs, and in her tour, everyone would get it, but no. There are still so many people who don’t even know what a feminist is. And so many people who are somewhat afraid of that word precisely because they don’t know that definition.
There are still people who think that only women can be feminists. But a person who wants equal rights for men and women can be male or female. It has nothing to do with that.
THE SAD REALITY
Just recently I had a conversation with a guy who said that feminists are unable to have romantic relationships. So I asked him what the definition of a feminist was and he said, “Being a woman.” WHAT??? First of all, that’s not the definition of being a feminist, but of being female. Secondly, by that definition his statement would read that women are unable to have romantic relationships. Thirdly, by that definition, how could men ever be feminists? And finally, by the correct definition of a feminist, I actually think being a feminist is a requirement for being able to have healthy and happy relationships. Especially in relationships between men and women. Think about it. Would you like to be with someone who doesn’t want equal rights for you and your gender? How could you ever have a healthy relationship with someone who doesn’t see you as equal?
This is the kind of thing that really gets under my skin. People talking about feminists without even knowing what they’re talking about. And sadly, many people’s definition of a feminist is an aggressive, bitter, complicated woman. So not true.
YOU’RE A FEMINIST TOO
Again, a feminist is someone who wants equal rights and equal opportunities for all the sexes. Nothing more, and nothing less. If you’re a woman reading this, and you want equal rights for men and women, congratulations, you’re a feminist. If you’re a men reading this, and you want equal rights for the sexes, guess what, you’re a feminist. Welcome to the club! And if you’re transgender and you want equal rights for all of us, yes, you’re a feminist too.
But it’s not just men who are hesitant to call themselves feminists, it’s women too. Just a couple of weeks ago at the W-20 summit in Berlin, german chancellor Angela Merkel was asked whether she was a feminist, and she was hesitant to answer, saying that there are so many different definitions of feminism. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands then said that a feminist is someone who wants equal rights for women and men. To which Merkel responded, “Then I’m one too!”
I believe if more people knew the correct definition of feminism and feminists, and they weren’t so scared of that word, most of us would define as feminists. As well we should.
FOR THE LOVE OF GENTLEMEN
So why did I put the word gentlemen in this article’s title? Because, in my experience, there’s a lot of confusion in both men and women these days about gender roles. There’s a lot of men afraid to come across as macho when engaging in typical gentlemanly behavior such as taking a woman’s coat, holding the door for her, helping her up the stairs, offering to carry a heavy bag for her, and so forth. And there’s a lot of women afraid to come across as weak when accepting those kinds of gestures. And I think that’s very sad and unnecessary.
Listen, we all know that in the past there were a lot of things that we had wrong regarding women’s rights, civil rights, and so forth. But it would be unfair to say that we had everything wrong. And instead of getting rid of everything, including the things that were already working, we want to make sure that we correct our mistakes, while at the same time preserving all the bits we had right all along. I believe the archetype of the gentleman is something so beautiful. And it would be really sad if we gave that up.
FOR THE LOVE OF INDEPENDENT WOMEN
When a man offers to do these gentlemanly things I described above, he doesn’t do so because he thinks you can’t do it by yourself. Of course you can take off your own coat, of course you can get up the stairs by yourself, of course you can carry your luggage. You know, he knows, everyone knows. It’s not that he offers his help because he thinks you’re physically incapable to handle it by yourself; it’s something he does for your nervous system. Think about how you feel when you’re with a true gentleman. Think about how it feels to have someone take your coat, hold the door for you, pull out the chair for you, offer you his jacket when you’re cold. Think about how calm, relaxed and happy those little things make you feel.
That’s the point. Not that you needed someone to do these things for you. Obviously you’re a strong, intelligent and independent woman. And that’s beautiful. But just because you can do everything on your own, doesn’t mean you have to. You can be strong AND accept help. You can be fierce AND gracious (see Beyoncé). You can be independent AND receive kind gestures.
JUST SAY THANK YOU
It’s the same with accepting compliments. Accepting a compliment doesn’t make you a narcissist. And deflecting a compliment doesn’t make you humble. It makes you annoying and rude! Think about the way it feels when you give someone a compliment and they’re like, “What? No! Shut up!” Makes you feel like shit. It’s like you’re giving someone a beautiful present and they’re throwing it back in your face. And think about how good it feels to pay someone a compliment and seeing their face light up as they say, “Thank you!” That’s the same way it feels to watch someone unwrap your present and light up with joy. Whether someone’s paying you a compliment or offering some other nice gesture, JUST SAY THANK YOU. Allow yourself to receive that beautiful offering and just say thank you. It will make you feel good, and it will make the other person feel good. Win-win!
Archetypally, in relationship between masculine and feminine, the masculine takes care of the physical plane (carrying luggage, opening doors, …) while the feminine takes care of the emotional plane (giving you a safe space to express your feelings, get in touch with your emotions, and so forth). And most men and women feel most comfortable when they reside within those archetypal masculine and feminine planes. Most people; not everyone. If this doesn’t resonate with you at all, that’s fine. As with everything that I write, take what you like and leave the rest. I’m not trying to convince you of anything. I’m just sharing.
But if this does resonate with you, take this to heart. If you’re a man, don’t be afraid to reach out and be a gentleman. If you’re a woman, don’t be afraid to accept those gestures. I know we’re all a little screwed up and confused when it comes to these things, but we can figure it out. We just gotta come back to what’s natural, listen to our hearts, and be kind.
FEMINISM IS LOVE
We gotta reclaim the archetype of the gentleman and we gotta reclaim the word feminist. It’s not a dirty word. Every loving and kind person is a feminist because every loving and kind person wants equal rights for all genders. You can’t call yourself loving but be against equal rights. Feminism is love. So if you’re not yet comfortable calling yourself a feminist, you better change that.
If you’re not a feminist, you’re missing the point.
SPREAD THE GOSPEL!
If you resonate with this message, please use the share buttons below to share it with your friends. I feel so strongly about this so I hope this message gets shared far and wide. Honestly, I think it’s long overdue.
If nothing else, I hope the correct definition of feminists will finally get out there.
Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes. (click to tweet)
Thank you for reading!
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