| 03.17.2018

My father is a feminist – Feminism meets apprehension because the movement is misunderstood


My father is one of the most influential people in my life.

He supports my endeavors – he”s always one of the first people to text me when one of my articles comes out. He wants to discuss my plans for the future regularly, and he trusts me to choose what is best in my eyes. He never fails to remind me that I can do whatever I set my mind to.

Lyndsie Kiebert

The man helped raise four daughters to be independent young women. So one day, I informed him that he was a feminist.

“Don”t say that,” he said. “I don”t think that”s the right word.”

And yet, my dad is definitely, irrevocably a feminist. The trouble is the interpretation of the words “feminism” or “feminist.”

These words are admittedly intimidating – they imply drastic political demonstrations and the demonization of men and housewives alike. But, like with all social justice movements, the radical few seem to become the face of the movement, leaving feminists like myself with a bad reputation.

If I say I”m a feminist, I must cringe at the concept of the stay-at-home mom. As a feminist, I obviously think men are entitled pigs who deserve to take a backseat to women. As a feminist, I must believe minorities deserve to be favored in all circumstances, no questions asked. I”m also clearly a lesbian, a bra burner and a Hillary Clinton supporter.

Yet, every single one of those assumptions about me is wrong.

Feminism, as I have been taught, is about equal opportunities for all. This is not confined to women having an equal opportunity to be the CEO of a massive corporation. Feminist ideals also say a woman has the absolute right to be a stay-at-home mom without the disapproval of so-called “feminists.”

Women who gawk at another female”s audacity to choose to raise her children from home – an extremely difficult and underrated job – are not feminists. They are rude, and they clearly miss the point.

Feminism is also not a movement that”s confined to women – it applies to all people. Every gender, race and sexuality benefits from feminist ideals. Yes, even men. This stereotype that feminism is anti-man needs to end now. If feminism were anti-man, it would negate the entire point of feminism.

It”s simple really. Feminism is about breaking down gender barriers – those things that say women, men and every other gender on the spectrum are expected to do certain things, act certain ways, choose certain careers – the list goes on. Feminism is about eliminating these limits altogether, not aggressively transcending them by expecting all women to be lawyers and all men to raise children. While this is not all that feminism embodies, it seems to be where most of the confusion lies when apprehension toward feminism surfaces.

The true downfall of feminism is not the radical few members of the movement who wrongly represent the rest of us. The true issue lies in the lack of widespread education on what the word “feminist” really means. The problem with feminism is that a nearly 50-year-old man who embodies the movement is in denial because “feminist” just can”t be the “right word.”

Let”s reclaim the word for what it is – nothing to fear, and everything to gain.

Lyndsie Kiebert  can be reached at  arg-opinion@uidaho.edu  or on Twitter @lyndsie_kiebert

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  1. The narrative that feminism’s bad reputation comes from a few bad apples is amusing because it doesn’t give the same lattitude to the Patriarchy. The Patriarchy (especially the western one that the author implies is responsible for race discrimination) has produced comfy office jobs that feminists want equal opportunities for (but not so intersted in working in the fields picking crops or as a garbagewoman). The seeming opportunities to become a doctor in the latter half of the 20th century has been balanced out by the economic reality that men now earn less due to wage stagnation meaning that women who want to become housewives cannot because that’s not a one sided unilateral decision just as men who “benefit from feminism” cannot become househusbands for the same reason. The vast majority of Patriarchal men have been wonderful fathers, husbands, providers, and protectors. They certainly have done a better job than feminists who either blow their money as unwed mothers, go on welfare and produce violent criminals (who disproportionately attack women), and require special protection and privileges in order to be “equal”. My male patriarchal ancestors who didn’t have a pot to pee in (as the expression goes) were more independent and strong than most educated western women.

    Pick up the check more than a few times and then you’ll have a right to criticize the Patriarchy!

    Most women, including most feminists, are not interested in supporting a househusband. And that illustrates how even “nice” feminism is anti-male: Because it makes men invisible as an afterthought when not bashing them altogether. Most women don’t want equality the second that it means obligations rather than goodies. Not everyone can choose to be a doctor, scientist, comfy housewife with a bevy of appliances, etc. Most PEOPLE, man and woman, have to WORK for a living. Someone has to mine those pretty blood diamonds or work in a Chinese sweatshop to produce Louis Vuitton bags for privileged white career women to blow their mad money on.

    “Walk a mile in my shoes, you’ll stumble in my footsteps” — Depeche Mode

  2. A rose, by any other name, would smell just as sweet

    -Bill Shakespeare