Feminism: Is there a middle way?
Vivien Slíž / February 20, 2019
(3 min read)
Every once in a while you cross paths with someone you do not agree with. It might be just one person with different perspective, someone who encourages you to rethink your own ideas and sometimes even beliefs. In this case, I have had the chance to meet various types of people who made me think through the whole idea of feminism and its benefits and disadvantages. For several years I was convinced that feminism could not have a negative side or a negative impact on society. I would define feminism as an incredibly strong way how to empower women in every way, not only socially but also politically. Not long ago, I realized how naive I was and understood that almost everything we do or see affects us.
One day I had the chance to have a deeper conversation on this topic with a woman who I consider to be very intelligent and independent. When she claimed to be an anti-feminist I was genuinely shocked. I had never heard that word before and could not believe that such thing existed. Some people hearing this word for the first time might assume that the goal of anti-feminism is to promote the idea that men have a superior and dominant role in society. However, that is a misunderstanding, which is not entirely true. From personal experience, and this woman’s explanation one can become an anti-feminist when they believe in gender equality but still are against the idea of modern feminism, which they claim is exaggerated. Anti-feminism understands modern feminism as something supporting misandry and no better than patriarchy, which does the same with the opposite gender. In a sense, they are right. The superiority of women brings the same problems as the superiority of men. It is gender inequality in a reverse.
The main reason modern feminism is looked down upon is the negative attention drawn by the so-called radical feminists
Anti-feminists, however, took their fight to the next level when they decided to create organizations, which often consist of conservative, primarily religious, women. One organization in the US, ‘Stop ERA (Equal Rights Amendment)’, is not only against any feminist movements, pornography, and abortion but, surprisingly, gun control as well. It is generally believed that anti-feminists are against feminism because those movements might threaten male-dominated positions, not only in labor but also in religion. According to the anti-feminist societies, clubs and organizations, the dominant role of a man should not be questioned. It would seem this is the root of the problem and at the bottom of the disagreement between the two ideologies.
The main reason modern feminism is looked down upon is the negative attention drawn by the so-called radical feminists. All around the world, women who support the idea of extreme feminism seem to forget the real meaning of this movement. The original belief in equality has, in their minds, been completely transformed into hating men and abolishing patriarchy. Radical feminists promote the idea that misogyny is absolutely unacceptable and yet misandry is tolerable. They focus on discriminating against men’s basic human rights. How is that progressive for feminism or even society? Feminist men, after hearing about this goal of radical feminism to degrade them, decide not to back up feminism at all. In general, it is putting a bad image on something that should have been positive. It takes away voices that should be heard.
Feminism is not about making women strong, because they are already strong.
How can we find the middle ground? Is there a way to be a proper feminist without stepping on anybody’s rights? People will always be offended or judgmental no matter the ideology.
The feminism of the 1840’s was not created to degrade men. It was not about women being above men. Feminism was the belief that wanted to define and establish equal political, economical, personal, and social rights. The idea was not to immediately indicate that women should be superior but that women had to break out of the bubble where they were practically invisible.
Feminism is not about making women strong, because they are already strong. It has the goal to open the eyes of the unaware world in order to respect each other.
I personally think that one does not have to be an anti, radical or modern feminist. You do not even have to label yourself. Simply, I let other people be who they want to be, respect what they’ve achieved, and try to be a decent human being. Everyone should have the right to be appreciated regardless of their gender. Now, I proudly call myself a feminist because I stand behind the theory that every human being should be respected and given the same opportunities to fulfill their needs and desires. It does not matter what nationality, religion, skin color or age someone is, to me feminism is a belief that supports not only women but diversity in general and proves that everybody should have the same life chances.