“I believe in equality for women, but I’m not a feminist, because I don’t hate men.”
“I don’t believe in God–thus falling very clearly under the definition of the word ‘atheist’–but I’m not an atheist, because Hitchens was a douche.”
I mean, fair enough, he WAS a douche. As is Dawkins. As are most of the “antitheists.”
But, check that shit out! THEY HAVE THEIR OWN WORD. Their hatred for religion does not fall under the category of “atheism.” Nor does the hatred of men fall under the category of “feminism.”
Just. Like. STOP SHITTING ON MY WORD, okay?
Every time you say you believe in equality for women, but do not believe in feminism, YOU ARE SAYING TWO THINGS THAT MEAN THE OPPOSITE OF EACH OTHER.
“But I like to bake cookies and make dinner for my husband!”
Sweet, SO DO I. I mean, I’m not married and I can’t cook for shit, but more importantly, FEMINISM DOES NOT BAN THESE THINGS FROM HAPPENING.
You wanna be a housewife? BE A FUCKING HOUSEWIFE. Feminism is about being allowed to do WHATEVER THE GODDAMN HELL YOU WANT, including stuff we generally associate with femininity, like cooking and cleaning and throwing together some sweet curtains! If it makes you feel good, do those things! DO ALL THE THINGS!
Feminism just means that if you wake up one day and wanted to become an engineer, you can do that too! You can go to The Engineery School and get An Engineery Degree and do Engineer Things, and if you have the freaking time, come home and make some goddamn great cookies and draw some flowers on the top in icing that you learned how to make on Pinterest and then go back to work tomorrow and ENGINEER SOME MORE SHIT.
If you fucking feel like it!
(Feminism ALSO means that men can cook and clean and make curtains and do whatever the fuck THEY want, without fear of judgment or condescension. FEMINISM IS GOOD FOR EVERYONE, Y’ALL.)
ALSO. Being allowed to, like. Choose a life path, and vote, and contribute 50% to the building of the society we’re all living in together, is not “taking power away from men.” It’s just being like, “Yo dawgs, can we have a slice of that pie? Or maybe half of it, cos we kinda make up half of the world’s pie-eaters? Yeah? Alright, COOL. P.S. WE DON’T HATE YOU, WE JUST WANTED OUR FAIR SHARE OF THE GODDAMN PIE.”
Cos dat lemon meringue, am I right?
RELATED SIDE STORY: I’m an apathetic atheist, and somewhere around 2006, I found myself on the receiving end of defensive cringes when the word came up in conversation.
Before, it was just like “Oh, she’s an atheist? Kinda sucks that she’s gonna burn in Hell, she seems aight to me.”
Suddenly, thanks to Dawkins and Hitchens, the reaction became, “Shit, she’s gonna condescend to me for an hour about all of my thoughts and beliefs, and probably throw in some convoluted anti-Muslim shit as icing on the Asshole Cake.”
Which, at the time, was KIND OF A FAIR ASSUMPTION.
If your only exposure to a word–or your MAJOR exposure to a word–is associated with assholes? Yeah, man. You’re gonna assume, subconsciously, that anyone who self-identifies with that group is a douche canoe. It’s just… a thing our brains do. We categorize, we miscategorize, and often, we cling to those assumptions until death.
People are pretty bad at stuff.
And assholes sure as heck know how to be louder than everyone else, don’t they? THEY’RE REAL GOOD AT THAT.
There’s something about being certain of your opinion before ever discussing it that turns you into an indignant buttface, unwilling to hear or learn or understand anyone but yourself. You don’t even care how many people hate you for it, because you’ve ALREADY DECIDED THEY’RE DUMB.
And, let’s face it. The internet’s not gonna blow up over someone having a calm, respectful discussion about opposing beliefs.
The internet blows up when people say awful, disgusting, controversial bullshit that makes a large percentage of the world want to hurt them.
They say this shit, and then they call themselves an Atheist, or a Feminist, or a Sandwich Lover, and people are like, “THAT guy loves sandwiches? And he feels the need to MENTION that he loves sandwiches while actively pissing on other food groups? This must be what sandwich-lovers are all about! Quick, THROW AWAY THE BREAD, DELI MEAT IS THE DEVIL, BURRITOZ 4 LYFE.”
But, y’all. Even during this time when my atheist peers were having hours-long, insult-driven arguments with strangers in the comments section of thunderf00t videos, insisting they were doing it for “the good of mankind” rather than their own sense of self-righteousness, I still didn’t stop defining myself as an atheist.
Because fuck you, YOU CAN’T HAVE MY WORD.
My word still means the thing it meant before! The dictionary definition is the same! Just because you’ve been exposed to some jerks doesn’t mean you can just repurpose MY word to mean “overeducated douche who didn’t get enough hugs as a kid.” Not unless there is some newfangled word meaning “non-God-believer” to replace it. WHICH THERE ISN’T. So. Fuck off my word.
If you want YOUR thing to be a thing, MAKE A NEW FUCKING WORD.
And they did! Antitheism! Thanks, guys! That’s how you do new concepts! YOU USE NEW WORDS.
That’s probably not a new word, is it? Whatever. My point is, it’s a DIFFERENT word, because it’s a different fucking thing.
During this time, I still called myself an atheist, and when I got the predicted cringe-response, I was like, “Yeah, so, those guys you associate me with? The ones shitting on everyone? That behavior has nothing to do with the definition of atheism itself. It just means I don’t think there’s a God. That’s it, bro. THAT’S IT.”
My opinion about sandwiches does not in any way define my opinion about burritos. (Protip, both are delicious.)
Don’t get me wrong, I defs fell into the atheist douchebag trap sometimes. When people who agree with you are suddenly given a platform after a long time of being relegated to the kiddie corner, it’s pretty hard not to be like, “Fuck yeah! People might actually listen to me for a minute, instead of just assuming I’m a soulless husk?!”
The change in myself happened gradually, and I didn’t notice when I crossed from simply defending my beliefs to disrespecting others’. I had to make a serious, conscious effort to reel that shit in. It’s still challenging sometimes.
When enough people tell you it’s okay to shit on each other, you start shitting on each other. It’s a thing that happens. People are dumb.
It happens in feminism, too. You can work yourself into a self-righteous frenzy every day, if you want. There’s so much stuff on Twitter and Tumblr and Facebook that highlights all the injustice of the world.
You see yet another article about a campus rape being swept under the rug by the higher-ups to save their reputation. Right below it, a friend is saying stuff like “BURN ALL THE MEN IN A BURNY BURN-PILE.”
Sometimes, when you’re exposed to these things in tandem, it can be hard not to be like, fuck, I don’t know. A BURNY-BURN PILE WOULD MEAN LESS RAPE, AT LEAST?
It’s so easy to slide into self-righteousness. It’s a thing that EVERYONE does, about ANY belief. Ain’t nothin’ special about feminism, y’all. This is a human trait. You believe in equality for a group, you see constant evidence of the lack of equality, YOU GET PISSED OFF SOMETIMES.
And, yeah, being angry makes you an asshole. It can cause you to make sweeping statements about entire groups–ironically the exact thing you’re hoping people will stop doing to you.
Interrupting every goddamn conversation about feminism with “but not all men are like that” is a dick move.
Making statements about how you hate all men, or want to kill all men? That’s ALSO a dick move.
It’s also–and this is really important, so pay attention–NOT FUCKING FEMINISM.
Sure, self-identified feminists do that stuff sometimes.
Just like self-identified Catholics sin sometimes. Does that mean the definition of “Catholic” is now “sinner”?
If a Jewish person eats a ham sandwich, does that mean the word “Jewish” now means “ham sandwich eater”?
If Taco Bell comes out with a hamburger… Okay we’re done with examples, I’ve lost the logic thread.
Point is, feminism is a fucking WORD. It means a THING, and that thing is “EQUALITY.”
Nobody’s spot-on with shit all the time. Everybody gets mad and fucks up. That doesn’t change the definition of the term. It just means that we all suck at living up to our own beliefs sometimes.
GOD, JESS, TYPE MORE PLZ.
Inspired in part by my friend Carolyn, bee tee dubs. All the <3s to her.