We really should all be feminists.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said, "We should all be feminists." But really? We should.
Come on. Come to our side. It's cool. I promise that we do not hate men.
However, there are a few things about the society in which we live in that we could do without:
There's the pay gap, which is very truly real and not in some imaginary "meta sense."
Some argue that this is because women gravitate towards lower paying jobs or that women don't like money as much as men.
Yes, it's true that there are more men present in higher-earning, STEM-related careers. It's also true that the STEM field has a history of exclusivity and sexual harassment, which is a plausible reason for a lack of women. It is not true that women dislike money.
What is most poignant is that when one controls for the specific job and qualifications, men make more money than women. And specifically, as a black woman, the difference in wages is even wider for me. Guess I'll just have to pull myself up by my bootstraps, eh?
Then, there's rape culture.
On this very campus, I've heard this said: "Sometimes, you're both just out of it, and you don't really know — she's not really saying anything — but you just go for it because she probably wants it, you know?"
No, I really don't know.
There's the notion of "asking for it" and slut-shaming that runs amok in our culture. If a woman is raped, the blame isn't placed on her rapist but on her.
In this society, the burden of responsibility falls on the back of the victim rather than the perpetrator. Also, because of the patriarchal tropes of rape culture, there is often no room for the discussion of sexual assault in the LGBTQ community.
The pay gap and rape culture are only two of the injustices that feminists aim to deconstruct. We also strive for reproductive health, education and mental health — for everyone.
Many errantly synonymize feminism with misandry, but feminists don't seek to subjugate or emasculate men. Feminists support the empowerment of all genders.
Being a feminist doesn't mean you have to burn your bra and divorce your husband and stop shaving. You can be a stay-at-home mother and still be a feminist. The main point is that you have the agency to choose what you want to do with your life, when historically women have often been denied this right.
I personally identify as a feminist for a plethora of reasons. One of them is that I know many men who refer to themselves as "men" but to women as "females."
A female what? A female dog or snake or something?
That may seem small or petty, but I think it is a reflection of our cultural values. There are those who are truly persons with ambitions, dreams, ideas, and values and then there are just "females."
Feminism, as with all things, has its flaws. For a long time, feminist academics excluded the working class and women of color. Betty Frieden, author of "The Feminine Mystique," was homophobic in some of her writings. However, the many popular misconceptions of feminism are mostly untrue and derail important discussions.
We should all be feminists.
Andrea Richardson is a sophomore in anthropology. She can be firstname.lastname@example.org.