Tuesday, November 3, 2015

"Meninism" and Redefining Feminism

     My first complaint about "meninists" occurred a few weeks ago. While completing my daily (or, let's be honest, hourly) scrolling through Facebook, I noticed my boss had shared a photo that came from the page "Meninists Unite." I had heard the term "meninist" before, but thought it was simply an exaggerated joke about feminism. In doing more research, I found that many people - a vast majority of them being men - refer to themselves as "meninists," who believe in equal rights for men. Later, I had a conversation with my boss about something unrelated when he brought up the term "meninist." He said, "I hate feminists! Women want the ability to have equal rights, but don't actually want to be equal. And what about men? That's why I believe in 'meninism.'" There were so many things wrong with what he said; I thought to myself, "Wow, has this man not read a dictionary?" I have been mulling this over in my head for a few days and would like to share a list of reasons why I despise this word "meninist."*
     1. "Feminism" is just a word! Yes, it is called "feminism" because women originally sought out equality, but like most words in the English language, we adapt to the current issues and needs of our people. Feminism is defined as "the social, economic, and political equality of the sexes"(1); nowhere in the definition does it say that feminists want women to be better than men or that men don't suffer!

     2. By separating women's issues into "feminism" and men's issues into "meninism," people are furthering the point that equality is needed. Everyone is suffering from equality issues here, and instead of worrying about the word used, we should focus on makes the sexes equal. In fact, I think that this actually belittles women's issues by implying that men don't want to be categorized with women.

     3. Why are men so afraid of a "female-rooted word"? Masculinity is so over-exaggerated in this country that men are afraid to even associate themselves with a word that has a "female" root. Could this be because men are aware of how feminists - regardless of sex - are treated, and are afraid of this happening to them?

     4. Feminists are not without blame here. Today, many people see feminism as a "woman's issue" and that we need to fight to rise women up. Again, this goes against the true definition of the word.  How about we rise everyone up to the same levels? For example, we should raise the salaries of women, but bring awareness to domestic violence against men. As feminists, we need to be aware that men suffer from issues too and that no one's battles are unimportant.

     So let's take a stand. Let's get back to the basics and use the word "feminist" for its intended purpose. We should be focusing on the thoughts and ideas behind equality of the sexes and feminism and not on the "labels" associated with them.

Works Cited:
1. http://www.britannica.com/topic/feminism

*I'd like to add that some of the "meninist" posts I've seen are funny and actually bring up good points. I like that young people are bringing a sense of humor into the issue of equality. However, my feelings still stand at using "feminist" for its intended use.

No comments: