Written by Charlotte Wall

Women called “feminists” advocate for equal pay, identical civil rights, and equivalent educational opportunities. However, individual males are also capable of being underpaid, discriminated against, and sexually harassed. When we compare women’s treatment to that of men, we openly object men as the benchmark for how women should be treated.

The fight for feminism today is dependent on the ethical treatment of men, rather than what general treatment could mean for everyone. Society advocates equality, but overlooking equality could make the situation equally bad for all humans. We should not accept that women are equal to men by default. Instead, society should work to achieve more ethical and fair treatment overall. Society should embrace fairness, as well as unique weaknesses and strengths regardless of whether a person declares his or herself as “she,” “him,” or “they.” Rather, humans should be regarded as unique beings with unique needs and desires.

I declare myself as a person with distinct character traits, skills, and a unique identity that should not be dictated by those of another.

When I say I am not a feminist, I mean I do not want the label “feminist.” Stating I am not a feminist does not imply I believe females do not deserve equal education or pay to males. Further, it does not mean I believe females should be objectified. Those who choose to declare themselves as “feminists,” make a concious decision to do so. Likewise, I deserve to choose whether or not to declare myself as one.

When we construct labels and adhere them to people such as “male,” “female,” and “feminist,” we see the world as merely red or blue. In doing so, we overlook the color purple entirely, all the other pink and baby blue shades in between.

In Western society, it has become standard to believe that women who fight for feminism are “empowered,” while on the other hand, women not fighting for female rights are categorized as “incapable, dependent, weak, and ungrateful.” I question these labels among all labels in the same spirit of questioning why society is inclined to divide human beings according to titles, labels, classes, and genders when all humans should feel free to embrace one another regardless of classifications stigmatized as “normal.”

By definition, feminism refers to equality. However, as pro-equal rights as I may be, I do not self-declare as a “feminist” because it is a definitive label that would confine me to being known as one thing or for one cause. The declaration “feminist” and topic of feminism itself are touchy due to history’s treatment of inequality and its assumption that if you are not with females, you are against them. In turn, such treatment has led many to associate feminism with male hatred.

Males exist because men are vital aspects of society. Therefore, the cause to ‘raise women to power and take it away from men’ is an unrealistic extreme. Society, by nature, needs balance. Taoist philosophies have preached balance for thousands of years and Santa Clara Pueblo Indian philosophies preach the notion that every human has both masculine and feminine sides—sides I feel many humans have, regardless of over-arching labels and preferred pronouns. Universally, preferred pronouns are held as “accepting,” but what about those who do not fall into any category (even if only at times)?

Women expect men to respect them although women frequently do not even respect one another. What’s more, jealousy is prevalent among women and causes them to constantly compare themselves to one another. This habit divides people and perpetuates segregation of people among different classifications.

The idea of being a female is beautiful, similar to the idea of being a “feminist,” and being male. Feminism advocates for both equal civil and social rights, meaning feminism advocates for rights to all, regardless of any preferred gender label. In sum, feminism should move all people toward liberation and the same rights to a chosen future, lifestyle, and body.

At the end of the day, each individual is a person who deserves love, consideration, and respect. Instead of declaring ourselves as races, sexualities, genders, or “feminists,” we should instead embrace who we are  and our biology as human beings.

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