Dear Jacob Smith,
On March 15, 2016, you posted a tweet tagged #IDontNeedFeminism, and I have attached that tweet for you to reference. I am writing you this letter as a response to your tweet saying you do not need feminism. I am happy to see that you care enough about feminism to make a post about it, but I am here to give you the real facts and information behind why feminism is for everybody.
First, I would like to define feminism for you, because you seem to think that only certain people need it and others (like yourself) do not need it. According to Bell Hooks, feminism is defined as a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression (Hooks, 2000, p. 1). This definition addresses the needs of all genders, as everyone is vulnerable to sexism (boys and girls!). I understand you are a male and think that men do not need feminism; however, I think you think this because you do not understand the true definition of feminism. Feminism fights for equality among the sexes and highlights gender equality.
Next, I would like to show you the reasons feminism benefits men, like yourself! In Katy Kreitler’s article titled, Why Men Need Feminism Too (Really, You Do!), she highlights some of the harmful consequences men face due to sexism and enforcing the traditional gender system. Kreitler says that “all men have been hurt by the traditional gender system” (Kreitler, 2012). The traditional gender system encourages men to be macho and strong, while the same system urges women to be thin and submissive. What if a man does not have the time to put into health and fitness, because he is working two jobs to support a family or going to school to get a degree? Or what if he simply does not value or desire a body full of strong muscles? The pressure of what a man should look like and act like make men feel that they are incapable if they do not meet those standards. In turn, when individuals feel inadequate, they tend to perform worse in all areas of their lives. So, regardless of your gender, feminism helps bring people together instead of dividing them based on stereotypical roles making it important for everybody.
Lastly, I would like to address a few different types of feminism in order to clear up any previous confusion. In Rosemarie Tong’s Feminist Thought, she goes over some important qualities of different types of feminism. Radical feminism claims “the patriarchal system is characterized by power, dominance, hierarchy, and competition” (Tong, 2014, p. 2). Unlike liberal feminists, radical feminists believe the entire system needs to be thrown out. Radical feminists also “focus on sex, gender, and reproduction as the loci for the development of feminist thought” (Tong, 2014, p. 2) In contrast to radical feminism, Marxist and socialist feminism focuses on the class-based society that we live in. They believe that it is merely impossible for anyone in society to reach freedom due to the class-based society we live in, “where the wealth produced by the powerless many ends up in the hands of the powerful few” (Tong, 2014, p. 4). Marxist and socialist feminists believe the oppression of women stems all the way back to when men were first allowed to own their own private property. The only ones allowed to own property were all male, initiating the works of a capitalist, male-favored society. Marxist and socialist feminists imagine the only way to provide true freedom to everyone, our entire system needs to be replaced by a socialist system.
I hope that I was able to provide you with some new, enlightening information about feminism that you may have been unfamiliar with when you originally tweeted that tweet. Again, I am pleased to know that you are thinking and tweeting about the topic of feminism, and I hope that you will continue to do so! This letter is merely an attempt to raise awareness and understanding on what feminism actually is, as most individuals base their opinions on false information and definitions.
Thank you for your time and I hope we can communicate in the future about human rights and equality!
Hooks, Bell. Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics. Cambridge, MA: South End, 2000. Print.
Kreitler, K. (2012). Why Men Need Feminism Too (Really, You Do!). Retrieved May 28, 2016, from http://everydayfeminism.com/2012/08/why-men-need-feminism-3/
Tong, R. (1989). Feminist thought: A comprehensive introduction. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.