My View

Re: “Challenging the feminism movement”

In regards to your editorial piece by Kelsey McNeely published on July 7, 2014, I find the author grossly misinformed and in publishing such a piece, The Poly actively misguided their readers.

When I first read the headline, “Challenging the feminist movement,” I thought perhaps the article would be addressing the issues of the mainstream feminist movement and advocating for a more inclusive view from feminists. Instead, what I found was a woman who “[could] not support the current feminist movement.” Why? Because it had “become about hating men.” What a bunch of nonsense.

This is not to say that the feminist movement is without flaws. It definitely has some big ones. One large problem of the mainstream feminist movement of today is its lack of inclusivity and its propensity to focus on the issues of able-bodied, non-queer, white women. For example, 83 percent of women with disabilities will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, as compared to the 20 percent of general women (Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs). You’ve often heard that women make 77 cents to every dollar a man makes, but that’s women across the board. According to the Information Please Database, white women are significantly better off than their black and Hispanic counter-parts, making 81 cents to every dollar a white man makes, whereas black women earn just 70 cents and Hispanic women earn just 60 cents.

But your editorial spoke nothing of inclusivity issues, and instead focused on how “men are … being attacked.” One example used was “posts online saying … ‘real men like curves’.” McNeely then goes on to lament over how men are being attacked for having opinions. First of all, “real men like curves” is a terrible statement for feminism, because it places women’s morale in what men like (not to mention that not all women are attracted to men.) A better saying would be, “Who cares what ‘real men’ like? A woman is beautiful no matter her size or shape.”

Another “example” is of feminists persecuting women “for not being ambitious” and how women should be allowed to pursue their dream whether its “pursuing politics to just raising a family.” That’s some contradictory word choice. It’s true, some feminists do attack other women who choose to be homemakers. But even McNeely’s choice of phrasing has placed such a choice as lower. “Just” raising a family? That certainly sounds condescending to me.

McNeely could have set out to point out some issues and then better the feminist movement, but instead, she put it down saying, she “cannot support it.” One would hope that a female attending a school that is only 29 percent female would understand the necessity of supporting feminism. But no. Apparently all that feminism attempts to accomplish (in McNeely’s own words, “social, economic, and political equality”) is undeserving if men’s feelings get hurt in the process.

None of this mentions the incredibly, disgustingly inappropriate timing of this piece. Less than a month and a half before this editorial was published, a man killed six people in a rampage because “girls gave their affection, and sex and love to other men.” In his final video blog before he went on to kill six people, injure 13 others, and then kill himself, Elliot Rodger, the thus dubbed Isla Vista gunman, stated, “If I can’t have you, girls, I will destroy you.” I can tell you personally, as a female at RPI where “Ratio-Induced Bitch Syndrome” is used liberally to describe a woman who rejects a man, I was frightened. I was scared out of my wits. I was afraid to be on my own campus for fear that another Elliot Rodger lurked here.

To put it bluntly, I do not care if the feminist movement hurts men’s feelings. All my life, I’ve been told to mind my appearance and my mannerisms because “guys don’t like it” (e.g. “guys don’t like girls who curse,” “guys don’t like girls with short hair,” “guys don’t like girls who are loud,” etc.) “Stop looking for sexism where it doesn’t exist,” proclaims McNeely. To assume that sexism has not permeated every corner of our society and culture is naïve. Women are vastly under-represented in politics, in businesses, and in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields of which RPI fixates. McNeely accuses feminists of treating men as if they are incapable of “feeling emotions and critical thought.” Funny, because society’s view of women is that we are overly emotional and cannot think critically. If you need any proof of that, listen to any conservative pundit about why a woman can’t be president.

I need feminism. We all need feminism. Sexism is still rampant in this country, in every country, and I want to work to dismantle it. Sure, misandry exists. But so does misogyny, and misogyny is the one more permeated and accepted in our society. If we want things to get better, we need to all work together. We cannot just reject feminism because it hurts someone’s feelings. Certainly, feel free to point out the issues that are there. But do not reject an entire movement for equal rights simply because it steps on a few toes.

Jocelyn Griser