In honor of International Women’s Day, I have to say this: feminism is not about “hating men.” It’s also not about hating women who act within typical gender stereotypes. Feminism is about gender equality. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman or both or neither, it doesn’t matter if you like to cook and clean or if you like bugs and cars, it doesn’t matter if you have short or long hair or hate skirts or love pink or wear makeup or don’t. If you think that women deserve equal pay and empowerment, you are a feminist.
The fact is that people don’t fit into neat little categories. I’ve yet to meet a “typical” woman. In fact, I’ve yet to meet a typical anyone. There is always that one little catch, that interest or talent you wouldn’t suspect, a quirk, a strength or weakness or trait. People are people, they don’t fit into boxes you check off on an exam or personality test. You can’t summarize the human condition like that, but somehow, our patriarchal society does.
Imagine a world in which gender is as relevant as being blonde or brunette. Of course, there are traits typically associated with being these things, but deep down, we’d all know that women aren’t really weak the way blondes aren’t really dumb. You could change your gender expression the way you might dye your hair, and a few people might grumble about “accepting what you naturally have” but no one would really think much of it. We’d all just be people, and we could mix and match different traits as we pleased.
What I’m trying to say is, you can be whatever kind of woman or person you want to be. Feminism is about fighting for equality, whoever you are. You could be the next Betty Crocker or a short-haired, tattooed black belt or a transgender yoga teacher or a football-loving man or a makeup artist who studies entomology on the weekend. I don’t care. No matter what you’re all about, if you just believe in gender equality, you can be a feminist. Because that’s what this is all about. You are not a neat little category. You are not a piece of meat. You do not have to rise to anyone’s expectations. You’re a human being who deserves to be treated as such.