Before you start reading this post in my Blog, I would like to underline that these are just some of my points of view on feminism and although I completely believe and defend this perspective I also respect other points of view on feminism that are different than mine.
A few weeks ago someone from the PNR (a Portuguese far right party) commented on my last Blog post (On Dating a Socialist Man) the following:
“Your ideology smells like shit, go back to the kitchen and make me a sandwich, you understand fuck all about politics”
(free translation – It was written in Portuguese)
I have never been insulted like this in all my life. Actually what really offended me was not the idea that my ideology is not good, I also think that their ideology is awful. What really hurts me is the idea that in 2015, in Portugal, there still are people that think it is ok to send a woman back to the kitchen to make them a sandwich.
To be honest I was very shocked because I am lucky enough to say that I don’t suffer from sexism that often. Since a young age that I haven’t conformed with the girly-girl stereotype and I can’t say that it has a struggle for me. I quit my ballet classes and started doing Karate with my father when I was 10, I always prefered blue to pink and jeans to dresses and skirts, I don’t wear makeup on a daily basis and I really hate shopping and I definitely prefer action movies to romantic comedies. I do believe that there are women who self identify with the girly-girl stereotype and are better advocates of feminism than I am, so please don’t misread me. What I mean is that, although I have made different choices than most girls I know, luckily I can’t say that I have been judged or mistreated because of it. Unfortunately, I know that a lot of girls suffer from a different fate.
I believe that we are reaching a very delicate point regarding feminism movements in which we should be careful to not overstep the line of the fair and necessary fight for our rights. In my opinion, if our movement wants to be taken seriously and be seen as fair and right, we should not demand a kind of treatment superior than the one we provide men. It is true that for many years (even centuries) women have been mistreated and denied their place in society, but to wish that for men today is not a payback, it is being unfair. I believe that this way of thinking feminism (to wish for women to have more power and more rights than men to over-compensate our past history) is hurting the overall movement and turning some men that could be our allies into our enemies.
In my opinion, men also suffer from sexism and their support to the feminist cause is not only necessary, but it is also their right. Expressions like “Man up” or “Grow some balls” are also said in an offensive way to men, as they also feel pressure to be as manly as they can because they are also afraid of not fitting the role that a sexist society believe is the one they should play. It is important to have safe spaces for women to share their experiences and feel free to speak about their daily struggles on a sexist society, but it is also important to create moments in which men are welcome to join our fight. Movements like the #heforshe are a step in the right direction and welcoming men in our fight will only make it stronger and fairer.
However, I feel that there are still a lot of men that don’t understand the struggles of women in a sexist society. Concepts like sexual harassment, emotional violence or even the overall concept of sexism are way too often unclear to both men and women. As I said before, some men also suffer from these issues, and, as the women that suffer from it, they usually don’t report it because they feel ashamed for being victims of something that is associated with “women problems”. Nevertheless, I truly think that part of the solution is a true discussion of these concepts and stronger legislation that protects both women and men.
*I intend to write a second post about this subject to share my opinion on how I think the current position of women in politics.*