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The Silent War

Man is an incomplete female. The Y-chromosome is simply a remnant of


the X-chromosome. It cannot exist without the X-chromosome. The Xchromosomes are fully developed structures; the Y-chromosome is the merest
comma (Montagu 9). For centuries, women have been viewed as second best in
western Societiesor sometimes just invisible. They have lived by the rules of
men and the ideas of a patriarchal societybut women have been fighting; They
have fought for their rights to vote, for their rights to join the workforce, and they
have slowly over the decades fought their way to the top spots at companies to
now even being the head of some. Yet with each victory, their goals became
unclear, the lines they wouldnt cross became fuzzy, and what we have now is a
mess. Feminism isnt fighting for our right to vote anymore. Feminism has
become an ideology that many men and women do not fully comprehend
because it is no longer what it always has been: a fight for women. Instead,
feminism is now defined as a fight against men and other non-feminist women.
Feminism began with women protesting their right to vote. They felt that if
the constitution said all people were created equally then they should also have
the right to vote, the right to own land, and the right to be considered a full
citizen, not just men. Interestingly, that approach backfired on them and black
men and men who didnt own land both received the right to vote before women
did. This infuriated all the women but some feminists split from the original group
to side with the racist plantation owners. Many [southern plantation owners]

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argued that white womens votes could be used to neutralize those cast by
African-Americans (History Channel). On the other hand, some feminists were
happy that black men finally had more rights, but still felt that they deserved the
right to vote as well, especially since they were (mostly) white women. But times
have changedwomen do have basic rights now: to vote, to own property, to be
independent, but women still arent seen as equals to men and that is where
feminism gets tricky because of different interpretations.
The current generation (Millennials) is an interesting bunch. They dont
date traditionally, socialize traditionally, and their ideas of life are opposite those
of their parents and grandparents. The Millennial`s are doing things differently,
and in some aspects it is for the better, but for the sake of feminism, they are
taking it to a level that may not be for the best. Modern day feminists preach right
and left about wanting equality of the sexes, but what is the flip side to these
things they are preaching? Why havent women approached their argument from
a different standpoint? Women are smart, but they havent been effective in
reaching their goal of equality. Its time that women change the conversation they
are having with men about equality because clearly the approach they have
chosen is not working (Kissling 495).
Men arent living these grand patriarchal lifestyles. They arent cruising
around drinking FeminismZero and covering themselves in Anti-Woman SPF
45. No, they are suffering too. Third wave feminism is what women are calling
the Millennial involvement with the fight for equality. However, Millennial's havent
been taught the history of feminism, they havent learned the gritty details of

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supreme court cases that have ruled in the favor of women. Roe v. Wade was a
historic day for women across the nation. It gave them more control of their
bodies than ever, and now states like Texas want to make it illegal on all grounds,
including rape, to get an abortion. Millennial's havent been given the opportunity
to comprehend the struggle and the battles that women over the years have
fought and endured in order for us to be active in society today. Millennial women
simply havent had the experiences, heartbreak and felt the anger that past
generations of women have. Millennial women have had a comfortable life, and
that is the problem. Because they dont understand how are they going to
convince millions of men all over America that women deserve equality when
they cant even tell you what feminism means? Sadly, those are only a few of
many problems with third-wave feminism (Valian 23).
A critical issue with third-wave feminism is women oppressing other
women. The social networking site Tumblr has given a voice to anyone who feels
they want to put their opinion on their own blog and decorate it whichever way
they so please. What Tumblr has done is bring together like-minded individuals to
create a place where they can share their thoughts and feelings on different
topics, like the page Women Against Feminism. This Tumblr page is full of
women saying why they dont need feminism and its sad because they are
utterly misinformed. One woman on Women Against Feminism wrote: I dont
need feminism because I know my own strengths without a group of people
validating me. Another woman wrote she doesnt need feminism because

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I believe in equal rights and responsibilities for all. Sexism affects
everyone, not just women. Men can be raped and abused as well
as women. Wage gaps, rape culture, and the patriarchy dont
exist. Just because you lack restraint and modesty doesnt mean
its rape, nor does regretting it in the morning. The feminist
movement spreads fear and hatred. Being feminine does not equal
objectification.
This girl, who wrote this post on Tumblr, unmistakably does not comprehend the
meaning of feminism because she does need feminism. She says sexism affects
everyone, and she is correct, however she goes on to state that wage gaps,
rape culture, and the patriarchy do not exist, which they all do. The term Glass
Ceiling is real. Women make 77 cents to every dollar a man makes, and that is
only for white women. Minority women, on the other hand, make less than 77
cents to every dollar a man makes. Although rape as a whole has been on the
decline, it has become prevalent on college campuses and victims arent seeing
justice. Yes, feminism is spreading fear and hatred, but that is something we, as
women, need to work on changing. A Disney Channel original movie once said,
If you dont like what is being said, change the conversation. Thanks to social
media it has become easier than ever to post opinions, share photos, comment
thoughts, or simply tear someone down. Our society has created this negative
connotation with the term feminism and it is time to take back that negativity.
Every year Time.com has a poll on what word should be banned from our
conversation. Although it is meant to be a funny poll featuring words Millennial's

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have made up (i.e.: yaaaas, bae, basic, turnt, etc.), this past year it featured the
term feminist with a description of why the word should be banned:
Feminist: You have nothing against feminism itself, but when did it
become a thing that every celebrity had to state their position on
whether this word applies to them, like some politician declaring a
party? Lets stick to the issues and quit throwing this label around
like ticker tape at a Susan B. Anthony parade (Steinmetz).
This is what being a feminist has become. Its just some term that people label
themselves as for show, or use as a defense mechanism when they say
something sexist and want to justify themselves.
Feminists arent feminists anymore. They are man-hating, man-shaming,
radical women who believe because women have been oppressed so long it is
time to oppress the man. Todays feminists believe that being able to show their
nipples in media is more important than being able to decide whether or not they
have to keep a baby after being raped. Showing nipples on national television
does not compare to the lack of equality in the workplace, in society and at
home. Bringing down societys expectations of how a womans body should be
shaved does not compare to the thousands of girls out there believing that they
are less than a man simply because society says a girl cant do this or that.
However, our fight for equality does not start with us, it begins with saving the
men.
Men do not have it as easy as we have made it out to b. Western societies
have painted this expectation of men: they need to be tall, they need to have a

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perfect jawline, they need perfect teeth, they need to have money, etc. Yet, what
is heavily emphasized in todays society is to be a man because to be feminine
is to be seen as the ultimate outcast amongst other men.
The fear of being seen as a sissy dominates the cultural definitions
of manhood. It starts so early. Boys among boys are ashamed to be
unmanly. I have a standing bet with a friend that I can walk onto
any playground in America where 6-year-old boys are happily
playing and by asking one question, I can provoke a fight. That
question is simple: Whos a sissy around here? (Rotundo 264).
Men work harder to impress other men on a daily basis than anything else they
do all day. This false-reality that being a man makes you above everyone else
is outdated. Being a man doesnt mean you dont have feelings, or that you cant
tell another man how much he means to you as a friend. Those qualities arent
restricted to women. There isnt a section of the Constitution that outlines
qualities a woman has and says, to be a man you cannot possess any of the
qualities of a woman. Yet, this is how men choose to live their lives. Our efforts
to maintain a manly front cover everything we do. What we wear. How we talk.
What we eat. Every mannerism, every movement contains a coded gender
language (Kimmel 148). On the same page, Kimmel goes on to say in some
workshops he will ask women how they know if a man is homosexual. One
woman commented hat she knows a man is gay if he really cares about her;
another said she knows hes gay if he shows no interest in her, if he leaves her
alone. These women, whoever they are, hit the nail right on the head.

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Homosexual men dont have any fear of being feminine because they arent
trying to impress other men. They are simply being who they are. If every
heterosexual male realized that being a man is a false-reality and that there is
no correct definition of what it means to be a man then we wouldnt have this
divide between the sexes.
In order to change the way women are viewed and accepted in society
starts, simply, with the man. The man is a collective of individual voices, yet we
choose to see them as one being. Mens feelings are not the feelings of the
powerful, but of those who see themselves as powerless (Kimmel 149). Men
arent being heard as individuals, and as Kimmel says in this quote, they are
being oppressed as a group as well as women. On a daily basis a man is bossed
around by his wife, his kids ask him to do things for them, his boss needs things
to be completed faster, and he is constantly trying to maintain this image of
manliness. Our imperfect analysis of our own situation leads us to believe that
we men need more power, rather than leading us to support feminists efforts to
rearrange power relationships along more equitable lines (Kimmel 150). Men
dont recognize their oppression because they have been taught that they are
above societys standards. They know they wont be viewed the same way as a
woman as long as they dont possess the qualities of one. Yet, what they dont
know is they are losing ground and
Feminism is defined as the advocacy of womens rights on the ground of
political, social, and economic equality to men, but feminism has changed. It has
evolved. Feminism has become a movement that encompasses not only women,

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but also men. In this quest for equality, we need to begin searching for the
reason behind men feeling oppressed. Throughout the years, we have focused
on women being affected in the media, women being affected in the workplace,
womens rights to their own bodies, women and what they wearjust all things
women, but we havent looked at how men are being affected. Men are being
oppressed socially they arent given the freedom to dress, be, and feel however
they want on a daily basis like women. They arent given the freedom to do
whatever, because true men dont do sissy shit. Men are living with so many
barriers in their lives that every time they turn a corner they hit a wall. Feminism
isnt helping women achieve the goals we want, instead it is suffocating the
already boxed-in lives of men. Feminism as a set of theories both explains
womens fear of men and empowers women to confront it both publicly and
privately (149). Kimmel makes a interesting point by pairing feminism with
womens fear of men. That is what it has come to be and that is what needs to
stop. Women are still unequal to men, but we also arent acknowledging the daily
struggles of being male. Women only see their problems from their point of view
and we have yet to stop speaking and start listening to what the men are saying.
It is time for feminism to be redefined and encompass the bringing together of the
sexes instead of one speaking over the other.

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Works Cited
Kelly, Maura, and Gordon Gauchat. "Feminism and Post-Feminism in U.S.
Politics." Conference Papers -- American Sociological Association
(2009): 1-20. Sociological Collection [EBSCO]. Web. 7 June 2015.
Kimmel, Michael S. "Masculinity as Homophobia." Masculinity as Homophobia:
Fear, Shame, and Silence in the Construction of Gender Identity. N.p.:
n.p., 1994. 147-51. Print.
Kissling, Elizabeth Arveda. "Pills, Periods, and Postfeminism." Feminist Media
Studies 13.3 (2013): 490-504. Academic Search Complete [EBSCO].
Web. 2 June 2015.
Lorber, Judith, and Susan A. Farrell. "The Social Construction of Gender." The
Social Construction of Gender. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications,
1991. 9-15. Print.
Petchesky, Rosalind. "Beyond "A Woman's Right to Choose": Feminist Ideas
About Reproductive Rights." Abortion and Woman's Choices: The State,
Sexuality & Reproductive Freedom. N.p.: n.p., 1990. 224-35. Print.
Spelman, Elizabeth V. "Woman as Body: Ancient and Contemporary Views."
Feminist Studies 8.1 (1982): 109. JSTOR [JSTOR]. Web. 7 June 2015.
Valian, Virginia. "Running In Place." The Sciences 38.1 (1998): 18-23. Print.