Quick update, again because I just posted on FB a whole bunch of times and I don’t want to anymore. So: first I read this, which was great (although primarily aimed at a younger audience), and someone in the comments linked to this, which I have read before and generally do agree with. But then I got to this line:
“Masculinity” is as damaging to men as “Femininity” is to women. Neither is something to aspire to. Women who understand this are called feminists. Men who understand this aren’t called anything yet, but maybe they can just be called feminists too.
At first I was like “Yeah!” and was going to post the quote on FB, but then I paused and had to question what exactly they mean. Do they mean rigid ideas of what is masculine and what is feminine, and that deviating from the gender role assigned to you by your biological sex shouldn’t be socially punished the way it usually is now? Or do they mean what I feel some people mean when they say things like that, that the gender roles are inherently bad and that conforming to them even if that is who you are is bad? If it’s the former, then yes, I completely agree. Forcing people into cookie cutter stereotypes is incredibly harmful to everyone, not just women.
However, if it is the latter, I strongly have to disagree. I am SO GODDAMN TIRED of this mistaken idea that some people seem to have that if you are a woman that presents with a lot of traditionally feminine characteristics you’re somehow not really a feminist, or you’re letting the movement down, or setting the movement back, or whatever-the-fuck-else. Sometimes, I even find myself thinking this way–my current chosen career path, teaching, is an extremely feminized profession. Am I letting women everywhere down by not going into a more “masculine” field? Should I at least have tried for being a math or science teacher (even though I don’t enjoy those subjects at all)? Even worse, do some people think that I am going into teaching because I am a woman, and not just that I am a woman that happens to be going into teaching?
I don’t know, maybe only people that don’t know what they’re talking about think that way, but I have seen a lot of hate on femininity and personal expression that isn’t “I’m going to quit shaving my legs and become an engineer!” and I just don’t understand. Feminism is supposed to be about CHOICE and INCLUSION, and that means that the woman in the mini-skirt that loves make-up is JUST AS WORTHY as the woman that calls herself a “tomboy” (shouldn’t even be a word) and plays football and every other woman out there, for that matter.