I identify myself as a radical feminist, and I thought that I would take a moment to explain what this self-identification means to me.
Firstly, it does not mean that I hate men nor do I believe that women should rule the world and men should live in contained underground. I wear a bra and makeup, shave my legs, and generally participate in all “girly” activities (painting my fingernails, curling my hair, wearing dresses and skirts)….shocker for everyone, I’m sure.
To me, radical feminism means that I believe in true equity between men and women. It goes far beyond “equal pay for equal work” and towards society conceptualizing men and women as equitable. I acknowledge and understand that men and women have physical differences, different strengths and weaknesses, and different concerns. My argument revolves around how we conceptualize those differences in society and how we prioritize those differences as more or less deserving of our attention and care.
For example, the 2nd wave feminist movement led by Gloria Steinem declared that to all women that “you can have it all.” Women can have a career and children…Yay! I’m so excited that I get to have two full-time jobs. I don’t want to “have it all” because I want my partner to “have it all” with me. Men need to consider themselves as stakeholders in the family and responsible for its success or failure. Take the issue of maternity leave…men should also have paid-leave when having children because they are equally responsible for the care of the child.
Violence against women remains prevalent in society because our society does not value women and treat them as equals to men. A society that valued women as men would ensure access to healthcare for all women (including contraception), prosecute perpetrators of rape, and protect women’s rights as human rights. Unfortunately, these are radical ideas, so that’s why I’m a radical feminist. I hope that some of you will agree with me and declare yourselves radical feminists too.