Thursday, September 11, 2014

On Feminism

For months I have been planning a post like this one. I've gathered all the facts and tried to figure the nicest and most eloquent ways to say things. But then again, when am I ever one to settle for that which is politically correct?

My name is Charity Grace Segovia and I am a feminist.

I recognize that the above sentence is enough to make many people hate me. I also recognize that I don't care.

Let me begin by clearing a few things up.

Misogyny - the belief that men are greater than women.

Misandry - the belief that women are greater than men.

Feminism - the belief that men and women are equal.

My being a feminist does not mean that I hate men. It does not mean that I view them all as mindless slaves to their primeval, carnal desires. It does not mean that I think women should just take over the world already. My being a feminist means that I think it's about damn time that we all started treating each other like we're worth the same.

Laura sent me this video today and it was a lot of what prompted the rant that will follow.

*mini-disclaimer* He swears quite a lot and uses some phrases that may be offensive. It doesn't bother me at all but I will talk about most of the same things that he does for those of you who would rather not watch it because of that.

As much as I love it, I can't help but be frustrated with how much traction I'm sure it will gain because it was made by a man.

But anyway. Cue the rant.

I went to an Escape the Fate concert on Tuesday. I don't even listen to that genre of music really - I was there to support a friend whose band was opening for them. I went with my friends Monica and Haley. I had so much fun. But it was the first time over the course of the past six-or-so months that I went somewhere in public and didn't feel like I was going to be sexually harassed in some way.

That's a problem.

Not to say that every time I step into the world I have an issue. I am one of the fortunate few who has not come close to being raped. I thank Jesus for that. But the fact that I have begun to expect some idiot to whistle at me or make a stupid, slurred comment really bothers me.

The fact that I wouldn't dare go anywhere after dark without a male friend at my side really bothers me.

The fact that I am used to this really bothers me.

I went to Village Inn with some friends a few months ago. We all drove separately. I walked up to go inside on my own with - unbeknownst to me - a male friend walking a few yards behind me so it didn't look like we were walking in together. I noticed two men sitting around outside, clearly watching me walk in, and so I put my eyes down to avoid making conversation with them. One of them said hey and as I try to assume the best of people I smiled and nodded as I reached to open the door. The two of them then started asking me questions - if I was alone and things like that. I wasn't entirely sure of what to say but (praise the Lord) my male companion came up behind me, nodded at them, and took me inside.

I didn't think anything of the encounter until the door had closed behind us and he asked me if I was okay. I shrugged like it wasn't that big of a deal. Nothing actually happened to me, after all. He, on the other hand - a normally cheerful and friendly fellow - was clearly livid that someone would dare talk to me like that.

The fact that he was more pissed off than I was really bothers me.

See, I (and women in general) have gotten used to living this way. We have become accustomed to being catcalled and spoken about like we are objects. We hold our keys between our knuckles when walking through parking lots and never go jogging at night by ourselves. We take self-defense classes and mind how much skin we show and make up excuses when guys ask us to fool around with them because we know that just "no" is not enough of a reason for them to leave us alone.

We also shame each other for sleeping around, compete with each other in the arena of "pretty", and define our worth by how many men think that we've won in that respect. We wear special nail polish to make sure our drinks haven't been drugged and we go to the bathroom in pairs and apologize for taking up space.

Have you ever noticed that? Women apologize for taking up space. Go into any coffee shop or dentist waiting room and look around. Men will have their feet firmly planted and their arms stretched out, bearing their chests. Women will have their legs crossed and refuse even to use the armrests so as not to "get in the way". Maybe I'm crazy, but I think there's something seriously wrong with that.

Then there's equal pay and rape culture and gender roles. How women do two-thirds of the worlds work and receive ten percent of the world's income. How, in cases of rape, the question is still asked, "What was the victim wearing?" How, for whatever reason, kitchen jokes are still being made. Seriously, let a woman be a CEO, let a man be a homemaker, don't effing shame people for doing what they want to do because it isn't traditionally "feminine" or "masculine".

My word, I am just so tired of this. I'm tired of living in a world where men buy condoms before college and women buy rape whistles. I'm tired of living in a world where I have had to coach myself not to turn when someone whistles at me because I am a woman and not a dog. I'm tired of living in a world where women are portrayed as weak and hysterical and men are portrayed as brainless machines who will stop at nothing to get sex.

Ladies and gentleman, we are all so much more than that. We are all so creative and so beautiful, so intelligent and so capable of changing the world. I'm convinced that we have all the answers to do so, we just get so caught up in seeing each other as a shade of lesser or crueler that we haven't been able to work together to paint this broken universe with all the light and color that we have inside of us. If we could just take a second to breathe and understand that while we are different we are still equal, things would really start to shift.

To men - thank you so much to those of you willing to treat women like they matter. Thank you for protecting us, not because we can't protect ourselves but because we shouldn't have to. Thank you to those of you who respect us, who take no for an answer, who encourage us to chase our dreams in a world that tells us that we can't. You are the light of God. He designed you with the greatest of intention, to be the strongest leaders and the most tender fathers. I ask you only to continue to do what you know is right, to be respectful and to be kind and to never treat a woman like a decoration or a slave. Your power and love is awe-inspiring. Do not waste it.

To women - I am sorry for anyone (male or female) who has made you feel inadequate. You are so beautiful and so brave. I am sorry to those of you who have received the worst of the misogynistic views and been taken advantage of or refused a job or an education. Please never give up on the seemingly unattainable desires of your heart because you are of the so-called "weaker sex." I only ask that you have grace for men. Not all men are horrible and want to hurt you. Trust me, I have met far more upstanding gentlemen than disrespectful pigs. They have only been conditioned to view you as less. Most of them see you as you are and adore you. The Designer has crafted you with all of your charm and your fire for a purpose. Find it. And then never let anyone take it away from you.

Beloved friends, my prayer is that we all can learn to move past prejudice and shallow mindsets and just love each other. This is the second greatest commandment. Oh fellow revolutionaries, I call you to arms.

Let us change this world together, for we certainly cannot do it any other way.

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