This semester I took a class called 'The F Word', and it turned out to be a good decision.
First off, 'The F word' is not the word you're thinking it is. At least not in this case. Lol. The 'F' actually stands for Feminism, a movement that has been associated with a lot of negative things in the past, hence the decision to call the class 'The F Word'. But as I have learnt over the past few weeks, those things don't define what feminists truly stand for.
Some people think that feminists hate men, and that feminist women think that they don't need men, but that's not true; true feminist women are actually less hostile towards men than other women are, and feminists actually have healthier and more stable romantic relationships 💑 - at least according to studies.
By definition, a feminist is a person who believes that women and men are equal, and that they should be treated equally, which means that men can be feminists, too!
There's a lot about feminism that I really liked from the onset. For example, when we started discussing the traditional gender roles that society had assigned to men and women, I found myself agreeing with most of them. However, when we started talking about how these gender roles are no longer relevant today, I didn't fully agree.
I understand that the arrangement of women staying at home and men going out to work is a bit outdated; and that, in turn, it is unrealistic to expect men to take care of all the financial responsibilities on their own. However, when people started saying things like, "A man shouldn't have to be the one to always carry bags if they are heavy" and "A man should not only be the one expected to give a woman his jacket when she's cold. She should also offer him hers if he's cold, too," I felt like we were taking this equality thing a bit too far...
Personally, I almost always carry a sweater or a jacket whenever I'm going out; but if I don't, I see the man I'm with offering me his sweater or jacket as a courtesy. And until recently, I never even thought of offering him mine if he was cold. Honestly speaking, I don't think I know a man who'd be comfortable walking around in my jacket no matter how cold he was feeling. Lol!
But the conversations we had in class got me thinking; and I realized that there were some flaws in my own personal view of feminism. I'm all for women being treated equally to men, but I haven't really given much thought to what that would look like in an ideal world. I guess the real question that I was asking myself was, "Am I really a feminist?"
Although I'm not yet at a place where I can give an answer to that question, I must say that learning what feminism is really about has opened my eyes to something: I believe that some gender roles are flexible, but that doesn't mean that they all have to be.
I mentioned in my last blog post that I don't like it when we, women, compare ourselves to men - and that's true. I believe it's not only a losing battle - as we'll always be different from them - but it also prevents us from appreciating those differences. It prevents us from appreciating our uniqueness as women.
In addition to that, I shouldn't have to offer a man my jacket for me to feel equal to him - or for him to feel equal to me. There's actually something beautiful about men playing specific roles (like offering a woman his jacket when it's cold and opening the door for her) and women playing specific roles, too. It's our differences that bring us together. They are what makes us need each other. And they don't - and shouldn't - make us any less equal to each other in aonyone's eyes - especially ours. Neither should they make either of us feel more important than the other in any way.
Taking 'The F Word' class this semester not only made me think about gender roles at a deeper level; but it also made me realize that, as a woman, I don't need to do what a man does to feel equal to him. If anything, I should learn to embrace and cherish the things that make me different from him.
I should learn to embrace the things that make me a woman.