I have noticed that no matter how the topic is started that the topic of feminism brings about a tired, negative reaction and connotation to any conversation. A large part of feminism that people overlook is that feminism, by its actual definition, is the movement or search to find equality between all people, no matter their gender, race, age, etc. Many people associate feminism with the aspect of radical feminism of being anti-male and only about the exaggeration of female discrimination. The surprising point of the matter is that although there is female discrimination, there is also male discrimination. Men and women are held to a standard of modern day society that has not been seen before.
As was stated in a comment to one of my other posts, men are expected to have lived in a way that emphasizes their masculinity, whether through excessive drinking or excessive sexual partners. In contrast, women are expected to have lived a chaste, “prudish” life, while also being promiscuously available to men. This ties in nicely with this weeks readings and topics through Bell Hooks’ definition of post-structuralist feminism which states that feminism is an anti-sexism movement which seeks to dissipate patriarchal structure, to further demonstrate equality among the sexes.
Suzanne Kelly emphasized in her book, “Women’s Images and Realities,” that feminism doesn’t express a need for men’s subordination but for equality among men and women, whether it be through physical, emotional, or academic/work treatment. Feminists are not those who just “exaggerate discrimination against women” and “hate men or want to be like men and selfishly want to create new systems of power over men” (Shaw, 16), but rather they are those fighting for equal opportunities to fight these stigmas and unjust discrepancies within the associations on the actual definition of feminism. Rather, as Hooks stated in her work, “Feminism is for Everybody,” feminism is actually a “movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.”
What continues to perplex me is why people are continually associating feminism to the idea of radical feminism presented by Tong in this initial week. I understand that they may be the loudest and most radical demonstration of this movement, but it is not, in my opinion, the most accurate depiction of it. This radical idea is the issue that most people have with it, which is why I believe it to be so absurd that others solely recognize it as such. I wish to ask my peers a few question on this absurdity (in my opinion).
Why is this the most thought-out aspect of feminism that people think of first-handedly? Does our modern day society just like the extremes of any movement to make it seem absurd, or is it that society is so against equality that it has decided that an egalitarian mindset would bring our society into utter chaos?