Aug 202009
 

What difference does it make whether or not you identify as a feminist? As long as you support women’s rights, that’s enough, isn’t it? One could argue that being a supporter of women’s rights makes you a feminist, whether you identify as one or not, but let’s assume there’s a lot more to being a feminist than that. So why would any sane woman want to call herself something that earns the scorn of so many people? What exactly are the benefits of being a feminist?

  1. You can feel good about being a woman.
  2. You don’t ever have to apologize for being a woman.
  3. You’re not limited by being a woman.
  4. You don’t have to conform to society’s ideas of womanhood.
  5. You know how to stand up for yourself.
  6. You have more self-confidence and courage.
  7. You can do things because they’re right for you.
  8. You feel capable of making your own decisions.
  9. You embrace your masculine as well as feminine qualities.
  10. You’re not afraid to put your principles on the line.
  11. You accept people for what they are, not what they can do for you.
  12. You see the world, and yourself,  more clearly.
  13. You are supported by the sisterhood.
  14. You are supportive of other women.

I’d be foolish to say that feminism solves all of life’s problems. But knowing that there is more to life than living up to society’s expectations helps a lot when it comes to making a life for yourself. Being a feminist is a statement; it says that you belong to no one and you can think for yourself. That alone is empowering.

But let’s turn this on its head: what are the benefits of not being a feminist?

  1. Men are not intimidated or alienated by you.
  2. You don’t have to make decisions.
  3. You always have society’s–and men’s–expectations to guide you.
  4. Men will take care of you.
  5. No one will call you ugly, hairy or man-hating.
  6. You will know exactly how to treat little boys and little girls.
  7. You can embrace your femininity.
  8. You don’t have to act like a man.
  9. You don’t have to buck the system.
  10. You can work or not, part-time or full-time.
  11. You can stay home with your children.
  12. You will be upholding tradition.
  13. You don’t have to break new ground.
  14. You don’t have to compete with men.

You’ve probably noticed that not all of these points will hold true for all women all of the time. But most women who refuse to call themselves feminists draw a lot of comfort from them. You may have also noticed that a lot of these points illustrate misconceptions about feminism: that they insist that women work, for instance, or act like men, or deny their femininity.

These are not perfect constructs, but they may make you think about how you view feminism.

  6 Responses to “The Benefits of Being a Feminist”

Comments (6)
  1. For a man, the benefit of feminism is not worrying about treating feminist women like ladies, with all of the overhead and forethought required. It’s easier to just treat them no different than I would treat a man. It’s also cheaper since they want to foot their own bill if we’re out together. Being out with a feminist woman takes no more effort than hanging out with the guys. It simplifies things.

    • That’s probably why some women don’t want to be seen as feminists. They WANT to be treated like ladies. I would hope that you have a little different response to a date than to hanging out with the guys.But I agree that you shouldn’t have to go crazy trying to figure out what women want. They’re people after all and basically want what all people want: to be accepted and appreciated for who they are, and to be treated with respect and kindness.

      • I agree with everything you said. I do dress better when on a date than I do when hanging out with the guys and I probably do different things.

        In a dating scenario, the advantage of feminists are that they reject traditional gender roles in favor of gender equality. So, she wouldn’t (or certainly shouldn’t) expect me to be the one to ask her our, foot the bill for her meal, open most of the doors or things like be expected to be the one to drop her off at he door and then slosh through snow to park the car just because I’m a man.

        By contrast, non-feminist women prefer and expect such behavior and feel that if you don’t do them, as a man, you are rude and ill-mannered.

        Accepted, appreciated, and treated with respect and kindness. Of course, all of that can be accomplished without chivalry. Afterall, men have been given such forever without recieving chivalry. So, it’s certainly possible.

        some women are feminists but most are not. Feminists are more predictable in some regards since they reject defined gender roled behavior such as chivalry. So, I know I’m not expected to be the one to ask her out or foot the entire bill or be the one to ask be the one who’s expected to open the doors or drop her and then slosh through snow to park the car just because I’m a man.

        ‘m happy to treat a woman like a lady but, of course, that’s ascribing to traditoinal gender roles which is anti-feminist.

      • Sorry for the late response. I do agree with you. Regarding the difference between a feminist date and hanging out with the guys, I do dress and probably groom better when on a date and often do different things/go to different places.

        In a dating scenario, the advantage of feminists are that they reject traditional gender roles in favor of gender equality. Because of gender equality, she wouldn’t (or certainly shouldn’t) expect me to be the one to ask her our, foot the bill for her meal, open most of the doors or things like be expected to be the one to drop her comfortably off at he door and then slosh through snow and slush after parking in a bad weather JUST because I’m a man.

        By contrast, non-feminist women prefer and even expect such behavior and feel that if you don’t do them, as a man, you are rude and ill-mannered. That may be more familiar territory but it’s also more expensive, labor intensive and more pressure to perform. It’s certainly possible to treat a woman with kindness and respect without chivalry. Afterall, men have never gotten chivalry.

  2. the wording of your website makes it sound like you think only women can be feminists (forgive me if I’m misreading) – do you not think us men can (and should) identify as feminists as well? I mean, I do, hahah, and I’m not looking for validation, I’m just wondering for your thoughts…

    • Whoops! You caught me there. Shows how even feminists can have sexist thinking. Of course men can be feminists, too, and thank you for pointing that out (and for being one). I’d love to know more about your experiences and motivation.

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