Are You Man Enough to be a Feminist?

M. Grabowski, Editor-in-Chief

Popular culture often portrays feminsism as something negative–maybe that’s why students at Green Level have made fun of others for being feminist. In reality, feminists are strong girls and women who simply want equality, but some boys at this school–and even some girls–put them down. I talked to Green Level girls and unfortunately heard that some of them feel ashamed to identify as feminists at school. That’s why today, I want to explain how I think feminism has acquired a bad name.

It’s radicalism that people are really afraid of. Radical feminism is a philosophy that calls for the “Social domination of women,” according to ThoughtCo. But feminism is about equality. That’s it. It may be hard to wrap your head around it but feminism is wanting women to be EQUAL to men. So shouldn’t we all be feminists? 

According to the results of our survey, about 80% of girls at our school agree that women should have social, political, and economic equality with me. To share some of the opinions of girls on The Gator’s Eye staff, Assistant Sports Section Editor Nia Patel says feminism is, “Giving females the same rights as men.” Staff writer Mara Brinton agrees that feminism means, “Equality for both men and women,” and ended the response with two cowboy hat emojis! Staff writer Simran Manku says, “I believe that everyone deserves equal rights regardless of their gender. I feel like feminism means advocating for basic rights that we may not have already…Feminism does NOT mean men are the enemy to me.” So, if feminism is just wanting men and women to be equal, why are our peers making fun of feminism?

Freshman Aaryan Raj explains his feelings this way: “First of all, rights for women aren’t perfect but it’s a lot worse for so many other groups. You say there is a wage gap and they pay women less for the same work–but then they would only hire women. And many women say that men are unfairly above and they try to get equal rights, but in reality trying to bring down men for something that isn’t their fault is worse than issues for women … it’s actually oppression. Like manspreading. It’s really not our fault it’s because of our anatomy.” While I welcome all contributions to the conversation, and thank Raj for his willingness to talk to me, I have to say that I find his argument unpersuasive. First and foremost, the wage gap isn’t a theory, it’s a reality. It affects all women, and it affects women of color most of all. Check out this article with a helpful visual aid from CNBC. Or Google to find, like, a zillion more. I admit that “manspreading” seems like a comparatively small problem, but … really? You guys have to do that? It makes you feel oppressed to confine yourselves to a single seat?

 Males and females who make fun of girls and women at Green Level for being feminists help to create an environment where feminists are uncomfortable expressing who they are and what they stand for. And really–should it even be about gender? The answer is no. Men should be feminists too, considering that everybody, regardless of gender, should believe in equality. As Sophomore guy Mason Coon put it, a feminist is anyone who believes in “equality of men and women. So I am a feminist.”

I ask you, women, don’t you want to be treated equally to the man on your right? Embrace your feminism, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it! Be a powerful woman who fights for the equal rights she deserves! Men, are you brave enough to recognize your privilege and use it to empower others? As Justin Baldoni says, “Are you man enough to be a feminist?”