What Feminism Is and Isn't

Updated on August 12, 2018
Crystal Bennett profile image

Crystal is a Christian, Wife, Mother, Novelist, and former Behavior Specialist with an education in History and Religious Studies.

Male/Female Equality

One Feminist's Take On What Feminism Means

A huge pet peeve for me is hearing a woman say she wants to buy or do something but "can't" because her husband won't "let" her, or worse, that she needs to ask for permission. I'm over here like, "Whaaaat?! Is the item or activity in question legal and socially acceptable? If yes, then why on earth would you need to ask anyone for permission to do/buy something? For that matter, why would an adult accept someone saying they can’t?"

Even if a woman is a stay at home mom/wife, and the husband works, a marriage should be 50/50. In the state of California, the law defines community property – aka money and material objects – as “any asset acquired or income earned by a married person while living with a spouse. Separate property is defined as anything acquired by a spouse before the marriage, during the marriage by gift, devise, or bequest, and after the parties separate.” The only justification I can see for a wife asking her husband for permission for anything is if the husband also asks for permission to make a purchase or engage in a legal and socially acceptable activity.

Here's the thing... In my marriage, we talk. We go over the big purchasing decisions together and make decisions together based on whether or not we can afford it or if there are other options. But there's no giving or getting permission. For example; I collect typewriters and have about twenty of them. If I want another typewriter in my collection and can make the purchase without causing financial harm to our lifestyle, I will simply buy the darn thing and act like a kid on Christmas Day when it arrives. I don’t have to ask permission, and there is no him telling me I can't have it or me telling him he can't have something, because that would be a parent/child relationship and it has no place in the adult relationship.

My husband always laughs when he sees an ad on Craigslist or eBay and some guy is saying his wife is making him sell this or that, because it just sounds ludicrous. We always wonder if the guy really does have to bend over backward to his wife’s opinion of what he can and cannot own, or is he just saying that because selling his motorcycle, hot rod, tools, etc needs some sort of justifier in front of the other guys? Lets face it, dude… if you’re telling the truth and she’s really bossing you around, you need to grow a spine and stand up (politely and non-violently) for yourself. If you’re just saying it to save face in front of the other guys, then you’re just making your wife look like a real bitch, and you still need to grow a pair.

When my husband and I were young and he had long hair and a hot rod car, my mother and her friends would ask me, "Why don't you make him cut his hair and get rid of that car?!" I'd tell them, "Because I'm his wife, not his mother, he's a grown man and I wouldn't want a man who lets me boss him around." They'd shake their heads and talk about how naive I was and how I’d learn one of these days, but that's okay, they were all divorced before they hit their 30's, and I've been married to the same man for almost 30 years now.

Marriage is about teamwork and give and take. I cook the meals, and usually fix up my husband's plate because I'm going into the same room with my plate, and it doesn't hurt me to be nice to him - quite the opposite actually. It's good for us to treat one another with respect and kindness. That's why he always washes the dishes for me. We both do our share of the odd jobs and we don't assign gender to those jobs. We do things for each other out of mutual respect and consideration for another human being. We are not "The Little woman" or "The big man" _ we are a husband and a wife and we work together.

There are a lot of women out there who consider themselves Feminists and feel strongly that to do anything for the males in their lives, somehow makes them less of a woman, or a servant of some sort. There are many Feminists who believe being dependant on a man in anyway is abhorrent and diminishes the strength of a woman. These things are simply not true. I am a strong, opinionated, independent, free-thinking woman who has held jobs, raised five terrific sons, and still – after thirty years – rely and depend on my husband for many things, not the least of which is emotional support when I need it. He also depends on me for all the same things for the same reasons. Why? Because we are more than the sum of our parts. We are more than a person with a penis and testicles and another person with a vagina and breasts.

Interestingly... And most women forget this... Feminism is defined as; “The advocacy of women's rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.” Feminism is not about being a bitch. It's about being strong enough to stand up for yourself AND for your man. There is a saying I like to remember and it applies to so many of life's situations. "The lighting of another's candle does not dim your own." In other words, doing something nice for someone else doesn't detract from your own strength. In fact, I really believe it helps you both become stronger people. After all, do we not thrive under positive attention and affection and wither under heavy scrutiny and criticism? Then why should we think we would become more powerful by treating a fellow human being – man or woman – with less respect, kindness, love and compassion than we ourselves would want to be treated? Not to mention the benefit to ourselves when things we do are appreciated. It's a win/win situation. Give it a try.

© 2018 C A Bennett

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    • Crystal Bennett profile imageAUTHOR

      C A Bennett 

      9 months ago from Somewhere in California

      Well said, thank you for your input! And I have to say, another thing about the whole Feminist thing that bugs the daylights out of me is the walking naked or flashing various body parts, and the wearing of ... and I apologize for this... vagina hats. Because really... nothing says, "Show me respect and give me equality!" like wearing a bad replica of the female genitalia on your head. If the males of our species were to wear a hat in the shape of a penis, the women would call them a d***head and roll their eyes. UGH.... no wonder we haven't found intelligent life in space. They're hiding from us! Can you blame them??

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 

      9 months ago

      " if you’re telling the truth and she’s really bossing you around, you need to grow a spine and stand up (politely and non-violently) for yourself." LOL!

      The same could be said about women who give men an "ultimatum" to either marry them or they're leaving.

      I suspect in those instances what is actually taking place is the man is making a compromise because (she) means more to him than the "thing" or "issue".

      However everyone has their boundaries and "deal breakers".

      Nevertheless there are those who are "passive aggressive" and (act) like they're giving their mate her/his way while secretly finding ways to continue to do what they want.

      As you noted feminism is simply equality between the sexes.

      Unfortunately with many "movements" there are those who seek to hijack them. For example some women actually HATE men and view the feminist and #MeTOO movements as an opportunity to clobber their "enemy".

      There are also some "die hard feminists" who look down on other (women) for not being as angry or wanting as much change. Some career women look down at stay at home wives and mothers or any woman who is "Pro life".

      The term "gender traitor" has been bantered around when "progressive women" argue with "traditionalist women" who are not screaming: "I don't need a man!"

      Life is a (personal) journey.

      Any "movement" that does not allow for or embrace "individuality" will face backlash within it's group.

    • Crystal Bennett profile imageAUTHOR

      C A Bennett 

      9 months ago from Somewhere in California

      Hi Bill, thank you! I thought that was apparent in my marriage as well, lol. I suppose it's all in the interpretation. :-)

    • profile image

      Bill M 

      9 months ago

      Great points Crystal. Other than the 50/50 you two seem like us. Our belief though is that each must give 100% of themselves to each other in marriage.

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