The biggest issue I have when I say I'm feminist or even care about the issues surrounding all of that is the automatic reaction of, "But you don't appear to hate men."
That's because I don't hate men.
Centuries of culture and social conditioning is not the fault of any one man or woman. Well, some men and some women who have some very skewed and disturbing views on how we should treat each other based on some very arbitrary and ridiculous ideas... but you can't blanket an entire group with one statement.
No, what I hate is the double standard and the ridiculous expectations based on one thing and one thing alone: Gender.
As if, somehow, for some reason, that one thing is enough to cause separation and role division simply because one person has certain parts while another one has another.
Quite frankly, it's stupid.
Things like "Men shouldn't cry. It demeans them." How, exactly? Are we actually kidding ourselves in that belief that a man isn't even human enough to have feelings? To not feel hurt and pain? To not care that they lost a loved one or that the pain of a real injury is too much?
At what point did we dehumanize our sons?
And then there's this statement: "Women don't belong in the trades because that's not their place."
Where is that place exactly? Because, quite frankly, my domestic skills are abysmal and I'm better at figuring out what's wrong with my car and computer when things go sideways on either of them. Does that make me less than a women?
Men are supposed to be stronger, tougher. Women are supposed to be.... a long list of things really. I'm only scratching the surface here of things a man, or woman, is supposed to be.
The reality is those limits are arbitrary. They aren't real. Science is even proving this, or at least disproving that the physical limits of who is actually stronger on average isn't so cut and dried. The reality is that, when you compare a wider set of points, that we're actually closer than that.
Not that surprising, if you look at what happens while still in the womb. We all start the same way, but can we all end the same way too? (well, yes, death does have that equalizing effect, but I digress...) Psychologically, we're also very similar. Like physical differences, if you only look a limited stack of points to compare, the differences look huge but when you look at the whole picture we really aren't that different at all.
So why should we constantly apply a double standard to our children before they're even old enough to understand the concept? Why do we deny our sons their feelings and encourage our daughters to show them?
These are the questions a real feminist asks.
And don't try to confuse the issue by telling me that if feminism was really about destroying the double standard then it would have called itself something different. Look at how it got its start...
Remember back when women had to prove they were even human and not the property of men?
You (and even I) may not have been around for that, but I have a grandmother who was and the aftermath of those times (she couldn't own property, so her name couldn't be on the deed of the property she shared with my grandfather way back then) is that she needs a lawyer to help her prove she owns her own house that she's owned since before the two were married. My grandfather has been dead for four years, and the mire of that is living testimony of "those times".
Back then it was all about calling out one of the worst when it came to double standards.
When those who started the movement had to prove they were even intelligent, human beings capable of independent thought.
And like all things (as things should), it has grown and evolved to include the primary question of why do we continue to allow the double standard?
The original double standard is why it's called feminism and not something else.