No witty title. I’m being straight to the point with this. I’m sick of dilly-dallying around this topic, and not actually having the courage to properly express my feelings about it.
Feminism is something I try and stay away from. Not because I’m anti-feminist (I’m really not), but because I know if I’ll start going on about it, I won’t stop. Also, whenever this topic comes into the light conversation-wise, I have this irrational fear that something I will say will cause me to get beaten to death by words and angry feminists. The fear that comes from something I do support, kind of puts into perspective both where I and it stand.
Over the past couple of months, yes, I’ve been one of those people that have shyed away from Feminism because the word itself brings negative connotations blah, blah, blah- I’m past that. I still believe that’s true in the perception of some people, but I stand the other side now. I’ve ‘grown up,’ and put it behind me. My problem now, is something more important. To me, anyway.
Representation. I’ve moaned and moaned about this before, but never would I have thought that I would moan about a stereotype this generalistic. Men. Men are completley welcome within feminism. I mean, it involves them too! It’s not all about Women because of ‘Feminism’ yadda, yadda, yadda- bleh, boring. Also past that, even though, I admit, it could be more neutral. Anyway, I ‘enjoy’ scrolling though feminist blogs, websites, twitter pages, etc. mainly because it fuels my fire. It reassures me that what I’m about to say isn’t just me overthinking things.
I do not at all feel represented within the world of feminism.
I will explain. One hundred percent of Women are ‘seen’ under the eyes of Feminism. All Women can be feminist. All Women should be feminist I believe irritates me more than what I’m going on about now. When Men are at all mentioned within feminist social media presences, only a few ‘iterations’ of Men appear to be represented.
These Men are not me.
Gay. Bisexual. Transgender. Men who are now Gender-Neutral. Men who feel opressed by the ideologies of the ‘perfect’ Man (much in the same way Women are opressed by their ‘ideal’ Woman). Men who have anxiety issues. Men who have this, Men who are that, these are the Men I see being ‘understood’ by femist values. I feel being straight, having no genuine bi-curious experiences, not cross-dressing (at least not seriously), and not having severe anxiety or something that will set me aside from the sexual/physical norm, means I am just a Guy. These are the guys not ‘protected’ by the ideals of feminism, so when I see any attack from feminists towards Men in general, I don’t see it aimed toward that list at the beginning of this paragraph, I see the, aimed toward the rest, I see them aimed toward me.
This fundamental problem I have, is what denies me to fully appreciate feminism to the extent that I will run around saying “Yes, I am a feminist,” if anyone asked me. This isn’t the only evidence I have around not being represented, I have experienced not being allowed to be feminist, or even have any opinion on the matter.
If you either know me personally, or you’ve been an avid reader of my blog, you will know, a huge part of my past revolves around being a trained dancer. Long story short, I was bullied no-end, as it’s a girls thing. Therefore, I am ‘Gay’ (Slightly longer story here). Back to the point, I was in a student pub only a few months ago, and the topic of feminism popped up. All of a sudden, a transvestite was stood before me. Now, to save confusion, I refer to them as ‘he.’ He was Male (of course, dressed feminine), and I should refer to him as ‘her,’ but after this ‘conversation,’ I’m not giving him the satisfaction of calling him ‘her’ like I should.
He told me his story. He said he was feminist because he is transgender. I could’ve gathered that really, seeing as he threw himself between myself and the person I was talking to, itching to get a word in. He said he was taken to court due to being beaten half to death etcetera, his parents practically disowned him and so on. I was sympathetic. I have nothing against transgender people, and I am not uncomfortable around them. Coventry University have quite the lively LGBTQQ+ (I think that’s right) scene, so it’s hard to be uncomfortable when they’re prominent around where I live. I then proceeded to tell him my story. I danced from a young age. Lycra, Ballet shoes, occasional make up etcetera, and how I was beaten up, stabbed in school, and had a good ten-or-so years of torture. I appreciate feminism more so now because I never really experienced the gender divide while growing up. I had a lot of male friends, and a lot more female friends. I never realised it existed until Sixth Form, only really when it was pointed out to me. Even being at an all boys school, the ideology of Men above Women was never acknowledged, taught, or anything like what I see on some feminist sites. Back to the point, this transgender gentleman proceeded to not appreciate my background, and downright told me that ‘I hadn’t been through enough to really understand what is going on about feminism,’ and that ‘I hadn’t been through what he’d been through, so I had no say, or opinion.’
Now you see why I refer to him as him.
I’d seen this idea that I’m not ‘worthy’ on social media, but never would I have dreamed to have it said to my face. This is why I don’t fully support feminism. If I don’t feel included, why should I? It sounds petty I know, but if I’m not appreciated, why would I be interested? I feel left out. I mentioned this on twitter. To that, I received a reply saying: “aw do you feel unfairly treated by society? well now you know how it feels to be a women.” Not only was that tweeted rather hastily in attempt to shoot me down as soon as possible (which I have observed to be a trend among social media-dwelling feminists), I turned to my girlfriend and asked whether she felt she was unfairly treated by society. She promptly said a blunt and truthful, ‘No.’
Vain attempt to generalise all Women’s views toward society to try and ruin a Man’s opinion? Denied.
‘She wasn’t trying to generalise Women together’ I think I’ll hear, well if that was the case, why don’t you stop doing it to Men too? One thing I have deduced over the past few weeks, an observation (including my one about not feeling represented) that has been backed by two firm feminists, one being a Woman, and the other being a Gay Man, is that the reason why the gender divide still exists today, is because we keep putting it there.
This constant bickering between genders on places like Tumblr and Twitter is what keeps separating Men and Women. Or in reality, feminists and everyone else. As much as in their ideal world, every Woman is feminist, they’re not. Putting Men down 24/7 really won’t help getting equality here to stay, as we’re too busy slamming bollocks statistics and generalising each other so much, we’re not focusing on actually doing anything.
I perceive the war on equality online as all Women being feminists, and all Men being rapists or some derogatory douchebag, or at least, that’s how both sides put things. We’re putting that boundary there.
This needs to stop.
As soon as I can safely appreciate myself calling myself a feminist, I can join the resistance against unfairly treating both/all (whatever your opinion is on that front) genders equally.
Until then, I’ll sit on the sidelines, and still get grenades thrown toward me, because I have my arm round my girlfriend’s waist, and I have hair on my chin.