We can embrace the ‘F word’

Carly Besser, Assistant Sports Editor

I had an interesting experience in my sociology class last week. Our professor asked how many of us would consider ourselves feminists.

He didn’t define the word. He simply asked. Not surprisingly, I was the only one among three other female classmates to raise my hand.

Next, he asked us how many of us believed that women should have equal pay in the workplace along with equal opportunities for career advancement.

Everyone in the class raised their hand with the exception of one.

After seeing our reaction, he said, “this means you would all be considered feminists.”

There is such a stigma attached to the ‘F word’ that even fellow women are reluctant to admit they believe in gender equality.

People readily assume that a feminist is a woman who backlashes the patriarchy with a shaved head, unshaven legs and an agenda to make women the superior gender.

We think of extremist ‘feminazis’ who feel oppressed when someone compliments the way they look and refuse to step foot in a kitchen without having to say something about it.

Is that fair to attach that stereotype to the word? I hate to break it to you, but anyone who is a feminist believes that women serve more of a purpose than pleasing their husbands.

If you don’t believe this, you advocate the idea that women don’t deserve to attend Murray State and get a degree. Why would they need to if they shouldn’t have a career anyway?

If you believe that a woman who works hard deserves to have a fulfilling, high paying career with leadership opportunities, you might just have to consider yourself a feminist.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be a traditional housewife, but do not restrict this one role to all women and believe that it is the right thing to do.

Social roles among women are not the only roles damaged by our feelings towards the ‘F word.’ Men, this is why you will probably be chastised for being a stay-at-home dad or someone who likes to cook. Our social constructs require men to be a breadwinner. If men cook and raise children, they are not considered real men.

These cookie-cutter ideas for the roles of men and women are becoming thinner as time progresses, but I see examples every day of how we are still a product of our time.

Society is changing, but why do we have to advocate the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009? Call me a feminist, but I figure that two equally qualified people should receive the same pay for doing the same job, no matter what their genders are.

Humans are so different, which makes it difficult to categorize them into two distinct sets.

These are basic beliefs in feminist theory. What I am explaining is not groundbreaking, but so many people forget what the word feminist really stands for. Is the ‘F word’ really that bad?

 

Column by Carly Besser, Opinion Editor