I had a hard time sleeping last night because of how angry I was over the treatment that these young ladies had gotten for standing up for their rights. I get furious over the blatant disrespect, harassment, and verbal abuse that young women are routinely subjected to. The tired old excuse of 'boys are just that way' makes me so angry that I have a hard time seeing straight.
I get furious when I hear people say that feminism is a 'finished' thing. (I have the same response when I hear that said about racism too, by the way.) The fight for equal rights is not going to be finished until people are judged on the merits of their work and behavior, rather then their appearance. It's not going to be finished until harassment of women under the guise of flirtation is no longer tolerated. It's not going to be finished until women are getting equal pay for equal work. It's not going to be finished until people look at a stay at home mom and acknowledge how much hard work she does, and the value of her contribution to society, rather then saying she's 'just a housewife.'
When the subtle and gross insults that insinuate that one gender is less then another are eradicated from our language, perhaps then we can begin to engage in an open discussion of what gender is really about. When people stop upholding the double standard that men can be bare chested in public with out criticism but women being bare chested is obscene, perhaps we can begin a real discussion about what is decent dress and manner of behavior for a setting. I could keep listing off injustices subtle and gross until I'm blue in the face and I wouldn't begin to scrape the surface of this pervasive problem.
Feminism is not about decrying men or putting them down. It's about creating a culture where gender matters about as much as your toenail clippings. It's about creating a society where people are considered on the merits of their behavior, actions, and ideas. I'm not a feminist because I am angry or because I hate men. I'm a feminist because I see a fundamental problem in how our society operates and that I must take action to correct it.
I want my sons to grow up in a more just world. The only way that is going to happen is if I take steps to make sure it is in my home and in the people we associate with. Boys are not born misogynistic. They are taught this. We need to teach them a better way.