Guest Post: Brace Yourself, You May Already Be A Feminist!

Bentley Garner is a small business owner living in Salt Lake City. He is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a lover of Oreos, audiobooks, and Guy Ritchie films. 

It has been a few years since my brilliant girlfriend introduced me to the true definition of the word “feminist.” Not the scary “man hating movement that is out to castrate the future leaders of America” definition we hear so often. Before we met, I, like most folks, was unfamiliar with the feminist movement and had little to no idea what the word actually meant. Webster’s Dictionary defines feminism as, “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes,” or “organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.”

That definition leaves a lot of wiggle room. The fact is, there are different types of feminism and various feminist traits that makeup the whole of that word. While one definition doesn’t fit for everyone, let me tell you a little secret I learned: whether you know it or not, you are probably a feminist.

When asked the question, “what is a feminist?” What is your answer? My goal when faced with that question is to remove some of the negative stereotypes associated with the word, and recruit some feminist newbs like myself. How you ask? Should we all go out and  buy black suits, sweet ass little name tags, ride bikes door-to-door, and bother our neighbors?

Probably not. That market is pretty well cornered.

I suggest attempting to change the definition in the minds of people close to you.  For example, the next time you hear a friend or family member ripping on the latest feminist news bulletin, instead of kickin’ that sucka in the ear hole…try having a few clever questions on hand, to entrap them in a swirling vortex of fantastic feminist facts. No confrontation or heated debate, no line drawn in the sand, and especially no feet embedded in your uncle Ted’s frontal cortex.

Ask some polite questions that allude to your personal definition of a feminist. These questions must be simple, apply to all sexes equally, and have simple answers.

Here are some examples:

  • Do you believe that all human beings have a right to fair pay based on their work performance? Correct answer: Yes
  • Do you think your boss should have the option to hire/fire you based on your sex? Correct answer: No
  • Do you think that another human being should have the right to tell you what you can/ can’t do with your body? Correct answer: No
  • If you were an NFL coach, and the best player in the NFL was a woman, would you let her play? Correct answer: Hell yeah!

If the person in question answers contrary to any of the answers provided, walk away. That wacko is clearly beyond help. That,  or they are an evil alien robot. And as we all know, the only thing that can defeat an evil alien robot, is an even tougher alien robot, from the future. So unless you’re a futuristic robot reading up on feminist musings of the present, err, past… walk away, it’s not worth your time.

But let’s assume they do answer like a normal human being. Now you get to excitedly explain that they already belong to the feminist community whether they knew it or not. Explain that you don’t need to be able to quote the mighty bell hooks at the drop of a hat, or have a bra to burn, or even have breasts to be a feminist. It doesn’t matter if you have a PhD with a black belt in Advanced Fem Theory, or if you’re a high school dropout, everyone should feel welcome to identify as a feminist, because  feminists want the same things as everyone else. We all want respect, equality, and a chance to live our lives in a safe, friendly environment, pursuing happiness as we see fit, and that is feminism.

Let’s all try to find common ground with someone who is afraid of the word “feminist” by illustrating how broad and inclusive that word is. In a hope that they may one day be as proud as we are to list their name among that definition.

[Ed. Note: Bentley is also the most amazing, supportive partner in the world. He listens to me talk about rape culture and surprises me with guest posts for my site.]

Comments

  1. Maverick says:

    I agree with most of your statements here. However, I feel as though one of your questions is oversimplified. Should someone be able to tell another person what they can/can’t do with their body? Why should that answer be no? I think it should be no, with exceptions.

    For example, if someone decides they want to commit suicide, should we not be allowed to tell them no and stop them? Or is it their choice, even though they are not in a frame of mind that lets them think clearly? Let’s say there is a minor or an elderly person with senility that wants to do something extremely dangerous and will probably hurt them seriously if not mortally. Should they also be allowed to ‘control their own body’? And to the point that question almost always leads to: abortion. Whether you argue that a fetus is a baby or not, it IS a human being (in the same way that an acorn, sapling, and tree are all oaks). So why is it okay for the mother to choose what to do with the FETUS’S body? What gives the mother the right to do something that if she had waited until the baby had been removed from her stomach nine months later, would be constituted as murder?

    I love the idea of women being treated equal. I also believe that we have to be careful that we don’t make men inferior when we do. Look at Title IX in schools. It was supposed to offer equal opportunity for males and females to play sports. What has it become? Most schools have MORE females sports while garnering LESS interest from them. We need to enforce that people are treated fairly, but not necessarily equal.

    Oh and a side note, if the best female can play in the NFL, then why can’t guys play in a female league? If you argue they are better, that’s fine. Then why don’t we make the leagues separated by skill rather than gender. As it stands, men cannot play in a female league (regardless of if they are not good enough to play in the male league), then women should not be allowed to play in the male league. That IS equality.

    • Bentley Garner says:

      Maverick this is Goose. Read a book.
      Over.

      • With Maverick being my real name (and it being based off the movie), I would say that is beyond unoriginal.

        As for the ‘need to read’ comment, I think I read enough as it is one of the ways I enjoy my leisure time. Although I’m guessing your goal was to insult my intelligence, which is ironic really. I try to have a legitimate conversation, and you come back with “Duhhhh…you’re stupid!” (paraphrasing of course).

        You see this is what the United States is supposed to be about – public discourse. We have the ability to share ideas and let them stand on their own factual ‘feet’ if you will. The goal was to allow our words to spar, but you went for the proverbial ‘cup check.’ The problem with the United States stems less from people’s views, but rather the lack of time, thought and research behind those views. I respect you and your views, but I do not agree with them completely. You, however, have shown you do not respect me and, most likely, my views. If your views are well thought out and researched, then use that backbone to support your argument rather than kicking the proverbial dog only to claim its vicious when it finally bites.

        I heard you were a friend of a friend of mine (Chase) and so I expected a little more acumen and a little less…obtuse behavior.

  2. Bentley Garner says:

    Obtuse?
    Lighten the fuck up Mav, jesus!
    Try this next time,
    Goose, this is Maverick… suck it.
    Over.
    See, that’s funny.

    • Maverick says:

      I love to joke around don’t get me wrong, and I was a bit harsh. I apologize. However, I also very much believe there is a time and a place for it. When you are on a public and controversial debate and do not know the other person, you should hold back on the jokes until the person knows you are of sound mind and are merely joshing.

      If I had started off my comment with a reference to your last name (say called you Jennifer) or mentioned how rich your first name is (Bentley haha….lame I know), you could have very easily been offended, and with good right. I had given you know reason to say I was just having some good-natured fun. That’s the very perspective I wrote my previous comment on.

  3. Hey Maverick, I think your first comment regarding Ben’s post is valid. And it is super complicated! I definitely don’t have the answers to your questions about equality in sports leagues, but I would agree it would be best to go off of skill and have one giant league with different tiers. I would watch that!
    I can speak a bit to your comment regarding abortion. I am pro-choice and while that is not synonymous with “pro-abortion” I think that the woman’s choice is the most important aspect of the topic of abortion. I think there is often the argument made that a fetus is human, and has a right to life. However, I believe that the woman’s life is the most important life in question and if she decides that she does not want to bring a child into the world, then I will respect her decision. I will be assuming she has already weighed her options and it is not my place to try to have someone change their mind about bringing a baby into this world that I have no plan of helping out with. I am a supporter of wanted children. And most women who have abortions already have children. They believe they need to provide their resources and energy to their children they already have, and another mouth to feed would be difficult, if not impossible, for them. These women have decided not to carry a fetus to term and place it in an adoptive home. And that is their choice too. I truly feel that if it is not your body, it is not your decision.
    Granted there are some serious nuances in that argument and I may be called a hypocrite when I decide to not let my children drink soda, right? We’re human – we do the best that we can and everyone will do better if we support one another in what they feel is best for them.

    • Maverick says:

      I don’t necessarily think you are a hypocrite for not allowing your kids to drink soda, mothers/fathers have that prerogative. They have the right to shape and mold their children to help them best succeed in life. However, just as we would not allow the mother/father to kill a born child simply because they feel the world is too cruel or that they cannot support them.

      I would also say that the woman’s choice is most definitely NOT the most important IF the fetus has the right to life. While all rights are provided equally, they are not equal among themselves. Someone’s right to ‘happiness’ does not allow them the ability to remove another’s right to life. Someone’s right to free speech does not provide them with the ability to slander or endanger others (right to ‘happiness’ and right to life). We are allowed our rights as long as they do not take rights from others. If the fetus is a human than the mother does not have the right to take the unborn child’s right to life simply because she cannot care for it.

      • I’ll respectfully agree to disagree with you on this. I’m clearly not going to change your mind, and you will not change mine. In the mean time, I will continue fighting for the rights of women – and you can fight for the rights of the fetus.

    • Maverick says:

      Kyl, I’m glad we had the discussion, even if it ultimately lead to no change in either’s opinion. I enjoy a debate no matter how short-lived. Besides, at least be both better understand the other’s side, even if we do not agree.

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