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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Feminist Rant: The Myth About Feminism

    As the end of the semester draws near, I find that many readers still holdmisconceptions about feminism. Despite all my best efforts to explain third-wavefeminism, visions of burning bras and lesbian separatists still plague the mindsof readers. So today I will try to dispel the greatest misconception about modernfeminism–that it is anti-men.

    Feminism is about women’#146;s equality with men, not superiority over menor living without them. There is no feminist agenda to the kill off the malepopulation and create a neo-Amazonian utopia. Nor is there a conspiracy to overthrowdemocracy and institute a matriarchal dictatorship.

    The goal of feminists is to give the greatest freedom and power of choice toall people, be they male, female, transgender, gay, straight, bisexual, African-American,Hispanic, Christian, Muslim, or anywhere else on the continuum of human diversity.

    When I say feminists, I refer to anyone who believes that women and men shouldhave equal social, economic, and political rights. That competence, rather thangender, should determine where and how far a person can go in life. Who youare is more important than what you are.

    So yes, men can be feminists too. Any man who values the women in his life–hismother, sisters, girlfriend, classmates, and friends–should be a feminist.Any man who recognizes the abilities and contributions of the female sex isa feminist.

    Women who vocalize feminist beliefs are often criticized for male bashing andbeing anti-male. How is being pro-female automatically anti-male? When did women’#146;ssearch for equality necessitate the degradation of men? Feminism is not an either/orsystem of politics; it does not say that if women are in power, then men mustbe oppressed. Feminism seeks a world where equality reigns supreme, where neithermen nor women are oppressed. To some this may seem like a pipe dream, and toothers it may seem like a contemporary reality. In truth, it is a current process,a facet of our evolving society.

    In writing this column I have occasionally been criticized as male-hating.My discussions of feminist issues and current events, cannot, should not, beread as anti-male. I have tried to include men and issues that affect both womenand men equally. Even though some topics are more focused on women (such assexual violence) I never fell into male-bashing. My critiques have been designedto inform and create discussion, not demonize the male sex.

    Women’#146;s empowerment is about seeing and telling the truth about women’#146;splace in history and current society. It is about acknowledging past oppressionand transforming it into equality.

    I’#146;m sure everyone is enthusiastically counting down the days until May15 and simultaneously dreading finals, so I shall end this column with a quotefor further thought: ‘The issue is not freedom to be treated without regardto sex; the issue is freedom from systematic subordination because of sex.”#150;Ann C. Scales

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