Last weekend, I watched with pride the fabulous speeches at the Women’s March on Washington. Celebrities such as Ashley Judd, Scarlett Johansson, Alicia Keys, and Madonna spoke passionately about equal rights, rising above tyranny, and not allowing government to control women’s bodies.
Soon after, there were images on social media comparing a toddler throwing a tantrum to the ladies who protested, claiming these women were throwing hissy fits just because they did not get their way.
To compare intelligent, politically-informed, mature women to a toddler who does not understand the world or his or her emotions is incongruous. The protests are not about someone not getting their way; they are about standing up to misogyny—to actions and words aimed to destroy equal rights for all people. They are about being heard and refusing to be silenced by a new president with an old agenda.
In addition to comparing the Women’s March on Washington to a toddler throwing a tantrum, articles appeared completely misunderstanding and misrepresenting feminism. A few years ago, Emma Watson, Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women, gave a moving speech, chronically events in her life leading her to become a feminist. At the age of eight, she could not figure out why she was considered bossy because she wanted to direct plays yet the boys who wanted to direct were never given that title. At the age of fourteen, she was sexualized by the media. At the age of fifteen, she saw her female friends quit sports out of fear they were becoming too muscular. And, at the age of eighteen, she was saddened that her male friends felt they could no longer express their emotions.
She then went on to say that, unfortunately, the term feminism has become synonymous with man-hating; while by definition, feminism is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.
Articles misrepresenting feminists as man-haters upset me. I am a feminist, and I do not hate men. Sure, I do get frustrated with the behavior of some men at times, but I also have some great male friends who are sensitive and help me to view the world from other perspectives. I appreciate them, especially because they also believe that women should have equal rights and opportunities.
It is sad that there are still women in our society and around the world who make less money doing the same job as a man. I am fortunate to live a privileged life with the opportunity to receive a good education that has led to a great career where I do not have to worry about being paid less because I am a woman. And, I have employers who did not overlook me for a promotion when I was pregnant.
As a single mom, I can support myself and my kids; I do not need a man for financial support, and that is liberating.
As a mother, I have always stressed the importance of education to my daughters, so they will be able to make their own decisions and support themselves. Furthermore, I feel blessed and honored to have the opportunity to raise strong, intelligent, well-informed women.
The protests will go on, and society will continue to progress as women and men stand against archaic policies and attitudes.