No, I am not a feminist, but I have to watch where I say that. I have faced more backlash from self-proclaiming feminists than any sexist or belittling comment a man has spoken. Yes, my folks raised me to be strong and independent. I remember my father telling me “Now Audra, you need to work hard for your education because you should never fully rely on a man to provide for you.” Before I get stormed by an army of angry activists, let me say… Yes, I believe in women’s empowerment. Yes, I believe in gender equality. What I don’t believe is that merely because of my gender, I must follow a movement that pushes one-sided beliefs and teaches young girls they are natural-born victims. But I guess that makes me a sexist.
A common misconception about the feminist movement is that it is simply about equality.
The International Women’s Development Agency claimed, “It’s about respecting diverse women’s experiences, identities, knowledge and strengths, and striving to empower all women to realise their full rights.” Although the movement claims to be welcoming to all women, they proved their hypocrisy in 2017 when pro-life feminists were kicked out of the Women’s March on Washington. The march claimed, “The Women’s March platform is pro-choice and that has been our stance from day one.” In reality, the feminist movement is targetted toward women with liberal beliefs only, proving that it is not a movement for equality, but an opportunity to push an agenda.
Historically, there are many examples of the feminist movement achieving steps toward equality including gaining the 19th amendment and the Equal Pay Act of 1963. I will not deny, feminism was necessary while women were facing discrimination. Now, with equal rights and equal opportunities, the feminist movement is working to gain higher levels of privilege by focusing on free hygiene products and the ability to terminate unwanted pregnancies. With my disagreement with the movements present beliefs, I cannot allow myself to represent a group of women who do not represent me.
Third-wave feminist groups have often been described as radicals or extremists. Since the 2016 election, the movement has gained a substantial amount of media coverage with their marches, rallies, and protests. The issue I see with this is how feminists are portraying themselves. I hope one day my daughters can find strong, classy, female role models, but I feel as if the leaders of the movement are insufficient. To earn respect as equals, women must respect themselves. Marching with vagina hats, practicing bad hygiene, and holding vulgar posters is not the representation that will earn respect. Instead, issues should be faced with grace and class to show a mutual understanding for one another.
Now, I understand my stance on this issue is not necessarily popular. Don’t worry, I will not personally shame you for standing with this movement. I just needed the opportunity to explain why I choose not to take the title of a feminist. They represent only certain women but claim to be inclusive to all. So before you claim the name of feminism, understand that the feminist movement is not a push for equality, but rather the democratic party in disguise.