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Feminisms Fest Badge

When I heard that Preston Yancey, Danielle Vermeer, and  J.R. Goudeau were hosting a three-day blog link-up discussing feminism, my first thought was “Damn this timing.” See, I was planning on dedicating these very three days to finishing the literature review for my senior research project.

So, yesterday I was too busy to contribute because I was staring at a blank Microsoft Word document thinking “Fuck it, I’m going to go watch Fullmetal Alchemist.”

Tomorrow, I’ll probably be too busy to contribute because I have stayed up all night writing my literature review to make up for the time I spent writing today (and watching anime yesterday).

But today? Today, I’ll be doing my part. Wasn’t planning on it, but I couldn’t stay away.

You see, my project is on how rape and sexual assault are handled in four different Christian dating books (spoiler alert: not very well), and so I’ve been researching cultural attitudes toward rape and rape victims.

As I studied and the facts popped out at me…

“25% and 35% of respondents (both male and female) agree with the majority of these rape myths”*

“…Although individuals are not likely to directly blame a female rape victim, 53% of college students agreed that her actions led to her assault.”*

“In a study conducted at a Christian liberal arts college, men higher in religiosity…compared to less religious men were more likely to believe that women who are promiscuous or who dress in a provocative manner deserve to be raped.”*

“Qualitative analyses demonstrated that clergy take into account the woman’s resistance, provocative behavior, decision making, marital role, and unusual behavior when assigning responsibility for rape. The results indicated that most clergy blame the victim and adhere to rape myths.”**

…I realized that all of these quotes are why we need feminism. Why I need feminism.

A common stereotype about feminists is that we hate men. Feminism causes that hatred, according to these stereotypes. And I’d like to admit something.

I used to hate men.

…before I became a feminist.

And why not?, I think to myself as I research for my project and read about the rape that occurs and the public attitude toward it. Why not hate men?

The world is not just. And, according to bell hooks, “without justice there can be no love.” 

Before I became a feminist, before I began to demand justice, in my politics, in my churches, and in my relationships, I could not love men. And the men in my life who were upholding patriarchal traditions–often without even knowing it–could not really love me.

Now, I must add that I don’t think one has to identify as a feminist in order to love or be loved. I’m simply telling my own story.

But I agree with hooks that there can be no love without justice. Where unfairness, inequality, abuse, disrespect, victim-blaming, and rape exist, there is no love.

And feminism is one movement that fights for justice for women. 

So why feminism? 

Love. That’s why. 

I wrote in my last post that a man at a Christian college that I went to believed that relationships between men and women–romantic relationships, friendships, parent-child relationships, etc.–were broken. He believed that they were broken because of women not adhering to gender roles.

I agree with this man on one thing. Relationships between men and women are broken.

But they’ve been broken for a long time. Longer than second-wave feminism. Longer than suffrage. They’ve been broken for centuries and it’s not because of gender roles.

It’s because of injustice.

I want to love men because I want to live in a loving world. I want to love my fiance, yes. But also my brother, my father, my uncles, my cousins, and my coworkers and friends.

But I cannot do this when I fear them. I cannot do this when they exercise power over me or when they disrespect me. I cannot do this when they ignore their privilege and continually hurt me–whether intentionally or on accident–because of it. I cannot do this when they believe and perpetuate rape myths. I cannot do this when they are rapists or abusers themselves.

So I need feminism. Because I need justice, and without justice there can be no love. 

Sources: 
* Edwards, Katie, Jessica Turchik, Christina M. Dardis, Nicole Reynolds, and Christine A. Gidycz. “Rape Myths: History, Individual and Institutional-Level Presence, and Implications for Change.” Sex Roles 65.11 (2011)
**Sheldon, James P., and Sandra Parent. “Clergy’s Attitudes and Attributions of Blame Toward Female Rape Victims.” Violence Against Women 8.233 (2002)
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Fear or Love?

Growing up in a Fundamental Baptist high school, I heard some ridiculous arguments against feminism. My favorite goes something like this:

Feminists secretly hate women! That’s right! They hate women, and let me tell you why! They want women to be equal to men. That means, they think women don’t need men. Feminists won’t let men hold doors open for them or pay for their dates. And they won’t let men protect them! Chivalry is DEAD because of feminists. That’s right.

Oh, and don’t forget. Feminists are also responsible for the wide availability of The Pill! Because of The Pill, men now see women as sex objects! Because men don’t have to worry about having babies, men think they can rape women left and right without suffering the consequences.

So, because of feminists, men are raping women. Also because of feminists, these women have no men to protect them from men who want to rape them! See all these problems feminists have caused?!?

I used to wonder how anyone could come to such faulty conclusions with this argument. How can these people not see that men who rape and hurt women, not feminists, are the problem?

But now when I hear these arguments, I’m not surprised. Not one bit.

I should not be surprised that some Christians believe that women need men to protect them from men, because these same Christians also believe that people need God to protect them from God.

It’s the exact same philosophy, really.

People wanted too much freedom, so instead of The Pill, they ate the forbidden fruit. And now God is mad. Now God can unleash God’s wrath on people…

…unless, of course, people stop trying to be so independent and put themselves under God’s leadership so that God can protect people from God’s wrath.

Inherent in both of these philosophies is fear. 

According to this philosophy, women need men, not because of love.

Not because we love our friends and fathers and brothers and possible romantic partners.

But because women should be afraid of men and their uncontrollable sex drives.

Because women need men to protect them from fearsome men.

And people need God.

Not because we love God and because God loves us.

But because we should be afraid of God and God’s uncontrollable wrath.

Because people need God to protect them from the fearsome God.

It’s all about fear, but there is no fear in love. So, which is it Christians? Are we about love, or are we about fear? You can’t have both.


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How does inequality hurt men?

My previous post was a release of all the sarcastic comments that I have been holding inside since I became a feminist. It was a response to every negative comment that I received because of making that decision. I wanted to express my frustrations that so many people don’t believe feminism is relevant, that so many people think that women are now equal to men or even the new oppressors of men. That so many people believe equality is a zero-sum game.

And I think some people missed the point.

I won’t blame them for that. I will blame myself. I probably could have accomplished my goal using a better vehicle than a sarcastic rant.

I apologize. For those of you who thought that my post was an attack on any and all men’s rights movements, I am sorry.

The truth is, misandry (sexism toward men) is closely related to misogyny. We cannot successfully eradicate one without successfully eradicating the other. They are often both results of rigid gender roles.

And because of this, both women and men suffer.

We suffer in different ways, but oh, we both suffer.

Since I am a woman who hasn’t had to experience being a man, I don’t have much insight on this issue. But I want to end the “oppression wars.” I want to stop the fighting over who is “more oppressed.” I want to acknowledge the fact that both men and women have been hurt by gender inequality.

So, let’s have a conversation! Men (or women who have observed men being oppressed), how does gender inequality hurt your kind? How can we feminists assist you in fighting that inequality?

I’ll start the conversation with my partner, Abe Kobylanski’s thoughts on the subject: “[Gender inequality has hurt me] by assuming I should be a leader just because I’m a man and then me feeling inadequate because of that. [Also,] Christian women assuming I should be a leader if I want to date them, and then me not living up to that standard.”

Also, I have personally witnessed a relative, who is a junior high boy, open up to his immediate family about being sexually harassed by girls at school, only to be told that “When a girl harasses a boy, that’s GOOD sexual harassment!”

It hurts me that these people that I care about have been hurt by rigid gender roles in this way. Let’s end inequality. Join the conversation!


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Crisis Alert! Men are doomed!

Note: Some people have spoken to me about being confused about my intent in this blog post. I would like to clarify that this is not an attack on the legitimate struggles that men face because of inequality. This is an expression of my frustration toward a culture that claims female advancement must be suppressed because it is contributing to the “downfall of men.” For more information, read my latest blog post. Thank you, and I’m sorry for any lack of clarity! 

CRISIS ALERT!

That’s right. We’ve got a crisis on our hands–one which threatens to shake the very foundations of our society. Which could mean an end to life as we know it!:

Women are becoming less and less dependent on men.

As this cover of The Atlantic, July/August 2010 suggests, ambitious, liberated women don't turn men on

Women are earning more college degrees than men. Their making up the majority of the work force. They’re making more money than ever–they already make 79 cents per every dollar that the hard-working, all-American men make! If we don’t stop this madness, those numbers could rise! They might even eventually start making the same amount of money as men!

The consequences of this “rise of the women” have been severe.

For instance, women now make up 3% of all the top CEO positions in the United States. Women are no longer on the ground, holding the corporate ladders steady as their valiant men climb them. Now, women are climbing the ladders themselves, and kicking deserving men down a few rungs on their way up.

It’s women like these who are at fault for the high divorce rates in this country. They complain about women’s rights, but where are men’s rights? Men in this country can’t even have a good old fashioned affair anymore without their wives filing for divorce! And men in this country used to be able to exercise their role as disciplinarian and smack their women around when their women stepped out of line. Now, if men do that, society will tell their women that they should break the holy, sanctified marriage covenant! Next thing you know, they’ll be telling fathers that they can’t hit their kids because children have rights too!

Some women are using birth control so that they can pretend to be men! They think they can have sex without having to worry as much about pregnancy. Some of them are even starting to enjoy sex! What happened to the days when women were ladies–chaste, and naive, childish? Now women are starting to act like men, and by that, of course, I mean they are starting to act like adults.

Some of these women even go so far as to get abortions. How selfish! I mean, you make 79 cents for every male dollar–don’t tell me you can’t afford to take care of the child that you’re carrying because you were raped. Wearing a mini skirt has consequences, and now you need to own up to them. That fetus is a human and has rights, until, of course, it grows up to become a woman. Then she shouldn’t even have the right to get an abortion when carrying her pregnancy to term would kill her.

Perhaps we should take away these abortion rights and go back to the days of our good founding fathers, where women died early due to complications with child birth, since, now-a-days men, on average, die much earlier than women. Where’s the equality in that? This just proves that feminists don’t want equality! They want superiority!

Photo via singlemindedwomen.com

Even the media has been taken over by women. That’s why our sitcoms are filled with stupid men. This is obviously not a byproduct of a patriarchy that insists that men are the heads of the households, even if they are lazy and incompetent. Nor it is a byproduct of a rape culture that tries to alleviate men from responsibility for their actions. It’s obviously a sign that feminists control the media. Why else would the majority of leads in television shows and movies be males? Why else would these shows be followed by commercials featuring air-brushed, photo-shopped women whose sexuality is being used to sell products to men?

We need to put a stop to this. The women have gotten a taste of freedom and now they’re out of control. Pretty soon, they’ll be equals.

Yes, men are doomed (and by men, we mean, of course, patriarchy).

And feminists say women don’t have equal rights. Psh.

I tried my hand at satire (which I’ve never actually written before so sorry if it just sounds like sarcasm!). I hope it wasn’t too angry-sounding, but, you know, sometimes you just gotta get it all out there. I’m tired of hearing about the “end of men.” The rise of women does not equal the downfall of men. The rise of women helps men. It is something to be celebrated, not feared! And we women still have a long way to go. Anyways, read this great article on Forbes if you’d like to know more about why we should stop “bemoaning the end of men.” 


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Here’s to the men!

Picture from BGSU's Organization for Women's Issues facebook page (click for link)

Last week, I participated in my university’s “Take Back the Night” event.

We held a rally and a march in which we spoke out against rape and violence against women. Then, we held a speak out in which women shared their stories and their reasons for participating in “Take Back the Night.”

It was a poignant, sobering, empowering, comforting, enlightening, beautiful night.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed marching through fraternity row carrying signs and shouting, “Stop the silence, end the violence,” I think my favorite part of the night took place during the rally. After a few women gave a speech explaining the history and purpose of “Take Back the Night,” a group of men took the stage.

Picture from BGSU's Organization for Women's Issues facebook page (click for link)

They gave a pledge–a pledge acknowledging that they were completely against trends in society that tried to tell them that to be “masculine” is to be dominating.  To stand up for us and fight for women’s rights along side us. To treat women as human, even if the rest of the world treats them as objects.

I’ll admit it–I teared up a bit.

So, here’s to the men!

Here’s to all you men who refuse to rape or hurt or belittle, even in the face of society’s glorification of rape culture.

Here’s to all you men out there who treat us women like humans, even though some people may think less of you for that.

We women appreciate you.

This fight is NOT about men vs. women.

This fight is about humans vs. inhumanity.

So, thank you for being willing to stand along side us as equals and as fellow humans. We love you guys!