Feminism: equality not oppression

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A student lifts weights from the weight racks in the UD gymnasium during her workout. Photo by Kaity Chaikowsky.

There is a negative societal stigma surrounding feminism, but I think when understood properly, feminism is something that deserves a presence at the University of Dallas. By feminism, I’m not referring to the stereotypical man-hating women who enjoy bra burnings that many have been taught to believe are feminists.

When some people think of feminists, they think of  “misandrists,” hose who dislike, have contempt for or ingrained prejudice against men; but misandrists actually have nothing to do with feminism. Misandrists want to destroy what they see as a patriarchy and replace it with a matriarchy, which is equally unhelpful.

Misandry acts as a response toward misogyny, the dislike of, contempt for or ingrained prejudice against women. Both stances are completely unhealthy and unrelated to true feminism.

As students dedicated to truth, we are rightly concerned with defining and discovering the true meaning of things. Misandry should not be confused with feminism: The Merriam-Webster dictionary offers the definition of feminism as “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.”

Feminism advocates for equal rights regardless of sex. It allows women the right to choose their own fate and live life in a way that makes them happy, rather than choosing lifestyle because others characterize it as one for women.

However, feminism is not about disparaging women who want to have children and be homemakers. Homemaking is a difficult task, and I have nothing but respect for the women who are strong enough to do that. I simply argue that it shouldn’t be assumed that women don’t deserve to follow whatever path they choose, whether it be a career in the corporate world or as a stay-at-home mother.

Women should not be judged for wanting to work outside of the home, for going back to work after having a baby, or told that their worth comes from how many guys they are able to attract.

Feminism is not an evil cult that wants to destroy all men. In a true feminist world, the sexes can have a mutual respect that allows them to exist and thrive in communion with one another.

I am hopeful that one day women will be treated with the respect that they deserve as human beings created in the image and likeness of God.

A main influence in Jesus’ life was a strong woman who risked being shamed for becoming  pregnant before she was married. God chose a woman to raise His son and prepare Him for all the trials He would go through.

Mary chose to accept God’s will in taking on the role of motherhood; God allowed her to exert her free will and to make a choice for herself. If God gave Mary a choice for what she wanted in her life, we too should allow other women the power to choose their own path.

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