A humble opinion by a humble person
By Brittney MacDonald, Life & Style Editor
I would consider myself a fairly accepting person. As long as what you believe, enjoy, or advocate isn’t derogatory or harmful to anyone else without their consent, then my motto is pretty much “live and let live.” There is one exception to this, however: As harsh as it sounds, in my opinion if you’re not a feminist, then you’re an asshole.
Before you get all up in arms, I’m not saying you have to be a radicalized man-hater. I love men. They’re so versatile! They can go from being the greatest of companions to an amusement park ride you don’t have to pay for (well, maybe you do; I don’t know your life). My point is, you don’t have to hate men to avoid being an asshole. Feminism is intersectional and as a result has a lot of sub-groups within it.
As an individual I have claimed space in some of these groups while leaving others alone. This is because I have my own identity and I don’t necessarily agree with the ideology of every group—trans-exclusionary radical feminism can go to hell, for example. What unites most feminists is the idea of equality between the genders, or at the very least, that women should not be considered second-class citizens.
To me, and most feminists I know, it isn’t about claiming superiority over men. That idea is what I think gets confused the most. Society uses a wide brush to paint all feminists as a group of trolls, keen on luring all the sweet, innocent women of the world into a life of lesbianism and ball-busting. In actuality, most of them simply want what cis men sometimes take for granted. I’m talking about stuff like increased wages and bodily autonomy. In essence, we want to be treated as valued assets to society, and not compromised ones.
That desire for equality bridges the gender gap as well. Though I cannot speak for the entire feminist population, I can say that, for myself, equality doesn’t stop at promoting women. I want the men I know to be able to express emotions, to not feel pressured to have kids or outperform each other in sexual conquests, to never be judged or questioned for taking paternity leave, and to never feel inadequate or believe they’re failing if they’re not the breadwinner in their household. I consider all of these notions unfair and unequal.
Saying you’re a feminist is not dismissing more stereotypically “traditional” values. A housewife can be just as much a feminist as a corporate CEO. Simultaneously, it is perfectly fine if you are a man who wants that family ideal—2.5 kids in a house with a white picket fence and a housewife. Good luck affording it in Vancouver, but as long as your life partner wants the same thing, then go for it. Desiring that doesn’t make you anti-feminist. Devaluing your partner and believing that she has to want that is where that line is drawn. Equality means women can make whatever choices they want, as long as it is their choice.
Denouncing feminism, however, is the same as telling your mother, sister, wife, friend, or girlfriend that they are not worthy. That for the pure and simple reason that they weren’t born as cis men, they will forever be subpar and not good enough. That their opinions and thoughts are inconsequential compared to any man’s—not just a man in power, but any man—because compared to her, they are all more powerful.
That denunciation is a stinging slap across the face of all women—and that makes you an asshole.