I’ve spoken about feminism before, but after a day of reading comments from people who clearly have no clue what it is, let me just post a Webster’s dictionary definition:
Feminism: 1) the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. 2) organized activity of behalf of women’s rights and interests.
Where is all this coming from you might ask? Skepchick blogger Rebecca Watson posted this video, where she discusses what she considers anti-feminist conduct:
If you don’t want to watch the whole thing (as it’s not all relevant to my point), start a little after 4:00. Otherwise, this is what she said that concerns me:
(After being at a bar with people at a conference where she spoke), “…so I walk to the elevator, and a man got on the elevator with me and said, ‘Don’t take this the wrong way, but I find you very interesting, and I would like to talk more. Would you like to come to my hotel room for coffee?’ Um, just a word to wise here, guys, uh, don’t do that. You know, I don’t really know how else to explain how this makes me incredibly uncomfortable, but I’ll just sort of lay it out that I was a single woman, you know, in a foreign country, at 4:00 am, in a hotel elevator, with you, just you, and–don’t invite me back to your hotel room right after I finish talking about how it creeps me out and makes me uncomfortable when men sexualize me in that manner…”
It’s possible the man actually just wanted to talk and do nothing more, but I’ll even give that point to her; I obviously wasn’t there, and don’t know what sort of vibes he was giving off. Fair enough. My concern is that she takes issue with a man showing interest in her. What’s wrong with that? How on earth does that justify him as creepy? Are we not sexual beings? Let’s review, it’s not as if he touched her or made an unsolicited sexual comment; he merely asked if she’d like to come back to his room. She easily could have said (and I’m assuming did say), “No thanks, I’m tired and would like to go to my room to sleep.”
Watson is upset that this man is sexualizing her just after she gave a talk relating to feminism, but my question is this: Since when are respecting women as equals and showing sexual interest mutually exclusive? Is it not possible to view to take interest in a woman AND see her as an intelligent person?
Someone who truly abides by feminist principles would, in my view, have to react in the same manner were the situation reversed; if a woman were to engage a man in the same way, she would probably be creeping him out and making him uncomfortable and unfairly sexualizing him, right? But of course no one ever makes that claim, which is why I see Watson’s comment as so hypocritical.
If you really want social equality for women, which is what feminism is, why not apply the same standards to men and women, and stop demonizing men for being sexual beings?