This morning I saw one of my favorite organizations post a quote via social media, similar to quotes I see quite often from women’s rights type organizations.
“Women are willing to reinvent themselves, & I think that’s one of the secret ways that women are luckier than men.”
This is just one example of language that seems to try and empower women, but putting down men. Who says they can’t reinvent themselves? As much as I believe in fighting for the rights of women, and am very involved in many initiatives to take action for the, I have a hard time agreeing when these organizations put out quotes and ideas that undermine men such as this. It sometimes seems that the message is women have the only ability to change themselves, be sensitive, and have the ability to change the world. We work with the idea of women making up half of society and therefore dismissing them we can not move forward. This is absolutely true. I realize that right now men are in the majority of power positions, but with thoughts like this aren’t we dismissing their gender all the same? How are they supposed to gain these positive traits and also be relied on to do the right thing if we in our minds are assuming that they cannot and that it is women’s turn to essentially take over? Wouldn’t it be most beneficial to work together? To have the program and initiatives give the empowerment to both kinds but in the right away?
Making assumptions about groups of people such as some are about “men” seems hypocritical. Here we are as human rights activists saying that we can not judge all Arab groups as terrorists, as some people unfortunately do, but yet many organizations stand there and put out quotes that group all men together and cause people to jump to negative conclusions as well. Isn’t this doing the same thing? We should not characterize anyone in a group of people based on traits of which they cannot control. We should only look at the individual. The idea of feminism should not be based on ganging up on a particular side, but it should instead be based on making sure that women’s rights and opportunities are equal without dismissing men because some of them have been oppressive.
We have come to be in a world where women aren’t given these equal rights, but if the initiatives that are working so hard today succeed in making the difference for this to change, will this language cause the future to hold men as being looked down on instead? If so, we still have not won even if women do gain these great roles. I am a fighter for women’s rights, but when I see certain quotes that are so 1 sided and filled with assumption, it frustrates me and makes me disappointed that they shed light on the stereotypes that feminists are extreme and blame men. Do gay rights advocates assume that they are better than straight? Do those advocating for those who are disabled assume that anyone who is not will not be on their side? What is with all the labels? We are all our own unique individuals who deserve our own representation and chance to show who we are without being looped into a stereotype. We are all people and need to work together for those groups who are being denied all of their human rights without causing unnecessary negative connotations around another group in the process. If we do, we will never be able to have the best of all people to in turn reach their full potential collectively for a better world.