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What's In A Word? … Feminist

As you probably have seen, I’m into words…their origin, correct meaning, and usage. I admit I get it wrong on occasion. When I relocate, I will have about five different dictionaries on my desk, with a number of other reference books at hand.

I’m noting here that as I get farther into this article, it could be a trigger for some…nothing graphic, but how my discussion turns a bit.

So, this word, feminist. Hmmm. This is a very misunderstood word today. I started thinking about this last night.
A friend shared a post that the young lady started off with…  I am Not a feminist. She then went on to explain why. She stated some very good points, but none of them gave a reason for her not being a feminist.
Her argument was that men and women were not created the same so they can’t be equal. Each gender has different strengths, abilities, and perceptions..so it is impossible for women and men to be equal.
She is absolutely correct, but this still has nothing to do with feminism or being a feminist. If men and women were created with the same strengths and abilities…then why should there be two genders? Procreation? We could be hermaphrodites, like seahorses.
Women and men were created differently so that each is a complement to the other. To be a complement means to make complete, to make whole. Haven’t you ever said… That dessert was the perfect complement to that awesome meal. That dessert fully completed the meal…made it a complete dining experience.
The same with men and women…they form a balance due to their unique differences.
I am a feminist and proud of it. This reminded me of one of the first chats I had with Terri. She signed off with something like… Thank you. I love you, my sister.  Uuumm, Terri, you do know I’m a man, don’t you? Yes, I know. It is a very high compliment. You treat women and men the same and are always very respectful.   Okay. Thank you.
Webster’s defines feminism as (paraphrasing here) the belief that all should be treated as equals, being accorded the same rights politically, financially, in employment, etc. (Emphasis mine.) Webster did not say it is the belief that all ARE equal…it’s how we ALL should be treated.
But if you look at today, that is not how many view feminism. The definition has become distorted. I saw this history happen. Remember, I grew up about three miles from the UConn campus. I had a front-row seat. In the mid-60s, women began protesting that they should be paid the same as men for the same work. I agree. UConn, as an official branch of the State of Connecticut, had a retirement policy that women had to work five years longer to be eligible for their pension…related side point.
After much protesting, some in Congress put forth the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to address these inequalities. It would become an official Constitutional amendment upon ratification by two-thirds of the states. About this time the National Organization for Women (NOW) was formed to promote, lobby for, and get this amendment added to the Constitution. Around the same time, Helen Gurley Brown became a household name with her new publication… Cosmopolitan magazine.
Helen, through Cosmo, took a somewhat militant stance. Men were pigs or dogs, depending on the day. There were articles explaining to women how to use men as sex toys, how to control them, how to dominate them in the workplace, and the like. She also believed that marriage was a trap to be avoided.
I believe it was in the late 70s, that some in NOW thought they needed a new leader because ERA still wasn’t an amendment. Something more radical had to be done, and that could not be done by a heterosexual woman. They pushed for and elected an open and avowed lesbian to be president of NOW. She took a much more aggressive stance.
How a very few making a lot of noise can change things. In their push for a new kind of leader, they seem to have forgotten that Congress was almost all male, many of them with intransigent views. Now, over 50 years later, the ERA still has not been ratified by the required two thirds. It should be noted that Helen has softened her stance. She even got married a few years ago.
All these aggressive, militant actions have served to provide an incorrect view of feminism to many. The result is that many want to be separated from that label.
Truth, that label, with its correct meaning, should become spoken of and popular again. There is still so much improper treatment of one gender by the other, or of the same gender when there is an imbalance of authority. Some executives, or business owners, both male, and female continue to force various sexual acts upon those working for them. And it really isn’t the sex itself they want… it’s the domination.. a form of rape.
You know why a doctor or therapist can be censured for having sex with a patient by their ethics boards? Do you know why teachers can be fired and may be arrested for having sex with a student? It’s not really the sex act unless it is physically forced or they are under the age of 16… the ethics boards and the law call it an abuse of power over a vulnerable individual.
Yeah, we have more work to do to reach that harmonious and equitable balance. That young lady wanted to know what happened to chivalry. Somehow she connected the loss of chivalry with the rise of the distorted feminism.
I will tell you openly and proudly, I follow the code of chivalry. I will open doors for ladies, men too. I prefer a Lady to walk on my right…from the days of knights. My right arm is stronger, my dominant side, so if a danger of any kind appears, I have my right arm around her instantly to move her out of harm’s way. I will physically defend the honor of a lady…not being chauvinistic cuz some ladies can whoop my butt… right T? I maintain it is the proper thing to do. I do all the gentlemanly things…the code of chivalry.
And, I’m a feminist. You know another well-known man that is openly feminist? Former President Jimmy Carter. Pretty good company in my eyes.
Again, I’m a feminist. How about you?
Tim James
Tim James has had a number of life experiences that provide a broad base of knowledge.
Tim is a friend to all. He enjoys learning and helping others.
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