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UPDATE: I wrote this as a high school sophomore. While I stand by many of these points, I do think that many of them could have been expressed in a much better fashion. Furthermore, I should have been more upfront about my white, male, and wealth privileges. That being stated, take a gander at the article; it's still thought provoking, even today.

The following is a incomplete list of my many thoughts, objections, and suggestions concerning the current state of feminism and where we should be headed. All of the following points could be expanded upon. They are listed in no particular order.

1. There must be a widespread understanding that feminism does apply to men. Therefore, men who stand up for feminist issues may, and should, be identified as feminist. It is counterproductive and hypocritical to discuss gender equality while simultaneously creating a double standard towards males who share feminist values.

(I think that the phrase "feminist male" should be dropped, as well. A feminist who identifies as female is never addressed as a "female feminist". A man who advocates for feminist ideology should have the same title as a woman who does the same. By buying into the system of calling a feminist who identifies as male a "male feminist", we reinforce the concept that there is something wrong with being a male AND a feminist.)

2. While transsexual acceptance and rights are an important aspect of third wave feminism, it must understood that not every person is as educated on the topic as some are. Unless clear transphobia (a bigoted attitude transsexuals) is exemplified, ignorance should be contacted with empathy and, bluntly, education. Feminist infighting only hurts the cause.

3. Fox "News", World Net Daily, CNS News, Drudge Report, and The Fox Nation are all unreliable, far-right, anti-feminist sources. While some feminists legitimately speak out against the mainstream media's approach to feminism (which is more times than not negative), we must understand that these sources are beyond saving. While more feminists should be encouraged to appear in these sources arguing for the benefits of feminism, feminists should simultaneously discourage the use of them for anything else.

4. Applying make-up, nail polish, shaving legs, and most other sexist, cosmetic double standards are NOT antitheses to being a feminist - the motivation behind the products are. While these products are all derived from the sexist ideal of a "perfect" woman, many women (and men, for that matter) enjoy these items; there's nothing wrong with that choice. However, there is an inherent problem when there is no choice involved. Feminists should be strongly encouraged to consider the motivations behind their habits but not castigated for living them out.

(This logic applies only to minor, mainstream cosmetics. Feminists should be weary
concerning breast implants, skin whitening creams, and vaginal rejuvenation.)

5. Feminists can be from any religion, race, creed, gender, socioeconomic class, country of origin, sexual orientation, relationship status, height, status of ability, experience or lifestyle. While some religions and lifestyles have very anti-feminist sentiments, accepting individuals of these communities will allow us to spread our message to even the most unlikely repentants. Feminism is about equality, not discrimination.

6. As feminists, we cannot allow sexism or objectification to happen to males, like it has to females. As embarrassing as Rush Limbaugh, Micheal Savage, or Bill O'Reilly and their visions of oppressed, white, straight, Christian males are, we must remember that white, straight, Christian, males need to be treated with the equality they deserve.

7. All women who are politicians, actresses, singers, CEO's, or in any position of power are NOT necessarily feminists. While feminism has enabled most of these women to suceed, that does not mean that they currently identify with it. Sarah Palin, Tila Tequila, Michelle Bachman, and Lady GaGa are not feminists due to their success.

8.  Despite the Republican party's strong anti-feminist stances, being a member of the Republican party does not mean that one is inherently anti-feminist. Many economic conservatives hold strong feminist values. It hurts the feminist movement when possibly dedicated people are needlessly excluded.

9. Feminists must remember that men are sometimes the victims of sexual assault; not just women. Also, men are not always the assailant. While, statistically, women are usually raped by men at a much greater level, one must never forget that unconventional sexual assault is still sexual assault.

10. While one can be a feminist and personally oppose abortion, taking away a woman's right to choose is an inherently anti-feminist position. There are many people that are pro-choice, but would personally never condone or undergo an abortion procedure. This is a very controversial subject, however an extremely important one as well; feminists cannot be silent or waver on the issue of abortion.

11. In cases of rape, victim blaming is always unacceptable. However, over time, there multiple cases have occurred in which the "victim" has lied about being raped for personal gain. While these attacks are very, very infrequent, feminism must not be blind to their existence.

12. Feminism must be unafraid to call "fakers" out. Every time that Sarah Palin would call herself a feminist (before promptly contradicting herself), every time Tammy Bruce agrees with Bill O'Reilly, and every time plastic surgery is marketed as a "liberating" thing to do, real feminists must speak up! How can the true message of feminism reach the people if it is drowned out by all of these fake feminists?

13. Making sexist comments against men, in favor of women, is a directly un-feminist action. Whether it be a joke from a progressive, Dana Perino discussing the Mark Sanford affair, or anything else, these comments enforce gender stereotypes and are still sexist.

14. There is nothing wrong with choosing to live in a traditional lifestyle (being a stay-at-home mom, wearing a burqa, having the male in a heterosexual relationship be the breadwinner, etc.), but there are major problems with expecting it and castigating those who do not fit into it. This being said, people who choose to live in traditional lifestyles must respect others choices as well.

15. Reaching out to younger people is one of the most important actions that third-wave feminists need to accomplish. Many myths about feminism - "feminism is irrelevant", "feminists are sexist against men", "feminism is only for women", etc. -are accepted as truth to an alarming number of young people. If feminists hope to keep the movement alive, then young people must have exposure to feminist ideologies.

Originally posted to fgbm27 on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 12:31 PM PDT.

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