“i hope you’re training him well”

bringing up the argument of feminism and how to define said word in today’s culture isn’t exactly something you expect when you come to “ashli with an eye”. i’ve been wanting to get this off my chest for some time though and since i recently applied to a writing competition on the subject, and was declined, i’m now able to post my thoughts on here. all thoughts and/or criticisms welcome.

feminism anchors its roots in the fact that, at one point in history, women truly didn’t have a say, both at home and in the workplace. if you Google 1940’s women’s advertisements, you’ll receive a plethora of images objecting female attire, my favorite being “Women Lose Natural Charm When They Ape Man’s Attire”. feeling discouraged, women banded together to influence change, slowly progressing to a time when they could vote, wear shorts, and begin an actual  career. feminism stood for female equality to men because we were thought of as the lesser gender, which is both unfair and juvenile.

fast forward to present day, when women are CEO’s, equal partners in parenthood and now, potentially running for President. the feminist goals of the past, in ways, have been achieved and greatly surpassed thus instigating a new feminism of now that, in my opinion, drastically needs changing. everyday I hear women around me disrespecting the men in their lives for the sake of “feminism” and so I have to ask: at what point does feminism cross the line into blatant sexism?

i know many women that i view as strong and independent; making their own money, intelligently researching current topics, forming unique opinions, working hard, staying inspired creatively and so on. some women i do view as feminists. others misuse the word and are honestly just haters. and sad.

here’s where it becomes an issue, for me.

statements such as “there’s no good guys” “i hope you’re training him correctly” “a man should always cater to his woman”, these negate any sense of feminist pride and should embarrass our gender. if my boyfriend came to me and told me to do xyz for him, women everywhere would gasp at the thought that a man is ordering a woman around. but it’s now okay for women to do that to men? i hear it everyday, and i know you do too. statements like “my boyfriend knows he’s not allowed to do that” or “don’t worry i plan to change that about him”. even so far as hoping your husband/boyfriend/date conforms to your cookie-cutter expectations…  these would be outright offensive if the genders were reversed.

you can’t claim to be independent if your belief is that you need to be taken care of by a man (or anyone). a strong woman doesn’t use manipulation to mold a person into what she deems appropriate because she’s confident enough in herself to allow others their own independent path. most importantly, an empowered woman is one who accepts and exudes love. all of these “kick him to the curb” pictures on social media sicken me quite honestly, because they discourage compassion, understanding and forgiveness — 3 main ingredients in my recipe for strength.  even further than this attitude of “better than thou”, we must notice that by stating men are disgusting degenerates, we set quite a low bar for men to live up to.

i’m not perfect, don’t get me wrong. i do, however, strive to be a strong feminine supporter of the female gender. i eat well so my body will keep up with all of the adventures i want to take, not to lose 4 lbs in order to impress anyone. i work hard so i can push myself and be proud of what i achieve, not to prove i, as a woman, can earn a well-paying salary. i enjoy makeup because i like what i see in the mirror, not to please a man (or woman). it’s about saying, “i want what i want for me. not to rebel against the male species. not to fit in with a female stereotype. i want whatever inspires me in this moment, and i want love for myself and others”.

where does the line begin, so we can make strides to reverse it? for one, I question all of this “he better treat you right!” “he better respect you!” “you do you-if he has a problem he can walk!” — where did this nasty attitude come from?? there’s a vast difference between the chivalrous opening of doors to the degrading mindset that men should abide by the females rules. why don’t we ask ourselves- are we treating the men in our lives right? are we respecting them? are we telling them how to live? seriously. i’m asking.

we need to treat the men in our lives as equals instead of the lesser gender. a strong man in a woman’s life can help lift her up to greater places she never expected she could reach. that’s not offensive, women. that’s beautiful. and the truth is, we can do that for the men that we love. the woman i work to be allows the men in her life to be fully themselves, while both accepting that person and challenging their beliefs. she allows him space to do what’s best for him while also cherishing his presence… because he is good. and you know how i know he’s good? because she’s intelligent enough to spot the bad apples.

i don’t have a problem with the word “feminist” because i believe it represents the idea of equality. i do have a problem with those who support beliefs that are blatantly sexist under the guise of “feminism” or being “strong”. as far as feminism goes for now, i stand by what i previously stated; i believe women should be confident, independent and empowered. what’s missing in this generation, in my opinion, is the importance of also being kind.

.

-ashli

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