Radical feminism not representative of ideals

Ashley Martin

I am writing in response to the “Point/Counterpoint” columns in the Tuesday, Sept. 26 issue of the Stater. Although I appreciate Christopher Taylor’s “rebuttal” to Matthew White’s narrow view, I strongly felt I needed to offer another feminist’s view.

The definition of feminism, according to the 2006 Merriam-Webster online dictionary, is “the theory of political, economical and social equality of the sexes, and the belief in the advocacy for women’s rights and interests.”

Most educated females I have encountered share in the belief that they are entitled to the same rights as men in our society. However, last year, when a professor asked my 25-student class of primarily females which of us considered ourselves feminists, only three raised our hands. This was before she read the definition of feminism, which all females in the class subsequently supported.

Why the discrepancy? It is because so many females in America are still told and shown that feminism is bad or wrong, that all belief in feminism is “radical feminism”, like the example of the sexist female professor whom White referenced in his column. Radicalism, within any belief (such as radical Islam), does not represent the whole of an ideology, but an extreme. And when an ideology is only portrayed as the extreme case, especially to those who would constitute its most logical and fervent supporters, something is terribly oppressive and wrong.

White suggests that females should acquiesce to the current status quo and that “a better definition of feminism would be equal rights for equal responsibilities, such as what exists now under the law.” I am afraid that White may be uninformed.

In America, women make 76 cents on every dollar earned by males, are raped at a rate of 1 in 4.5 (those are reported rapes) and battered at a rate of 1 in 4 (that is reported domestic violence), may lose control of their bodies and reproductive rights to the government, and make up 83 percent of caregivers in single parent homes.

No, we cannot fight in the front lines, but this escape of inevitable rape and physical overpowering by men may be our one saving grace in the sex war.

Women and men have different roles in life, which I was taught partially by my father, a man who put away boyish notions of a “weaker sex” and raised me with the same opportunities and belief in myself that he did my brother. I now live in a world where there are still gender inequalities, but I feel I can help to make a difference, working alongside my fellow feminists to improve the world for future women and men.

The change that comes from “overly intellectual feminist theories” may not be easy, but it is necessary for progress. I guess that’s what happens when females start thinking. Scary, huh, boys?

Ashley Martin is a senior deaf education major and guest columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].