Ms. Geek Speaks: In favor of feminism

Ms. Geek by her very chosen moniker implies that she is a feminist. For those who might not know, in her real life, she has been known to disagree with her husband in public, particularly now that the honeymoon phase has fade into history. Ms. Geek quite happily has kept her last name which is much more interesting than her husband’s.

Rest assured that Ms. Geek is not headed toward being the kind of cat woman who spends her days trying to shovel kitty litter in and out of unnumbered boxes as the toxic fumes of cat piss perfumes her small apartment and this is not because Ms. Geek is a dog person and she is opting to become a dog hoarder.

Like Amy Poehler, Ms. Geek has often been mystified by the distaste that women have shown, not just now, but for several decades for the word “feminist.” Yes, she has heard women moan, complain (and usually do nothing but) whine over the injustice women face. The whine cellar is closed and women and men should be refrain from imbibing in this pit of self-pity. Ms. Geek prefers speaking out and actually doing something over whining while dining.

This has not made life easy for her, but her life is easier than that of her foresisters and foremothers and even forefathers who were also feminists.

It occurred to Ms. Geek after ready Marisa Meltzer’s 12 May 2014 article in the New York Times Fashion and Style section “Who Is a Feminist Now?” that Ms. Geek was quite lucky that her working-class parents invested in a weighty tome known as an unabridged dictionary. Turning to Merriam-Webster online makes life much easier and less expensive, but Ms. Geek would like to thank her parents for the investment. It has served her well and perhaps if some modern women and men could take the time to search on their smartphones for the definition, they might be surprised to know that they are indeed feminist.

The NYTimes article was inspired by the article quoting Shailene Woodley who tells us why she is not a feminist.  Woodley states, “I think the idea of ‘raise women to power, take the men away from power’ is never going to work out because you need balance.” Woodley might not be aware that the imbalance is not in men being out of power, but being in power in what is statistically speaking not representational with the population. Strictly speaking women are not a minority, but we are treated as such.

Woodley goes on to say “I’m very in touch with my masculine side. And I’m 50 percent feminine and 50 percent masculine, same as I think a lot of us are…I also think that if men went down and women rose to power, that wouldn’t work either. We have to have a fine balance.” Ms. Woodley needs to get in touch with a dictionary.

For Woodley, “My biggest thing is really sisterhood more than feminism. I don’t know how we women expect men to respect us because we don’t even seem to respect each other.” respected the issue enough to put is under “Living” (which also includes topics such as “Why You’re More Stressed by Home Than Work,” What Do All These Female Villains Have in Common?” and “Here’s What to Say to That Jerk Who Corrects Your Grammar”) while the NYTimes put the topic under fashion and style. Is being feminist a matter of fashion? I doubt that feminism was ever the new or old black.

Of course, it isn’t just Ms. Woodley. Lady Gaga is a celebrity and is proving herself something of a monster in the sense of “a powerful person or thing that cannot be controlled and that causes many problems.”  Lady Gaga reportedly told a Norwegian camera crew “I’m not a feminist! I love men! I hail men.” Someone please provide Lady Gaga with a dictionary. She is obviously confusing misandrists with feminist.

According to Merriam-Webster, feminism is a noun that means: “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities” with a second possible meaning of “organized activity in support of women’s rights and interests.” By merely voting, women are supporting the right that first wave feminists fought for. By voting for a woman, men and women are supporting the first wave feminists. By attending college and getting something beyond an MRS. degree, women are supporting the rights and opportunities that second-wave feminist fought for.

Now you all might be confused with what exactly misandry is and what misandrists are. Even your spellcheck will not appreciate those words. One is surely more familiar with the words misogyny and misogynists and, particularly those familiar with French theater, misanthropy and misanthropes. A misanthrope is a “person who hates or distrusts humankind.”  Misogyny is “a hatred of women” and a misogynist is therefore a person who hates women.

Misandry is “a hatred of men” and thus a misandrist is one who hates men. There was and is probably still a patriarchal (dare I say misogynistic) propaganda that attempts to equate feminists with misandrists. When being a lesbian was even less politically correct than it is today, wasn’t that one of the older and sillier explanations for women wanting equal rights: They hated men and loved women? While some lesbians might hate men and be misandrists, this is not  the actual definition of lesbians.

Proof of this old husbands’ tale is found in the comment section for the NYTimes article provided by a Cezar.



Hating men or attempting to oppress men is not the definition of feminism. So for those voting women, who want equal pay for equal work and who want to attend college and want to or are working in fields that had previously been dominated by men (before women won the vote in 1920);  for those women who want their opinions to be taken seriously by men and women, please look in a dictionary. You are a feminist by definition and you’d seem much more intelligent if you understood the words you are using.

Of course,  someone like Katy Steinmetz who wrote “Here’s What to Say to That Jerk Who Corrects Your Grammar” for, might consider me a “preening pedant”  but she does end that article advising us to “take time to think about it rather than judge.” I’m simply asking people to think about the true meaning of words and mean what you say. By embracing and using the word misandrist, perhaps we’ll create a better understanding of just what a feminist is.

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