I haven’t posted in a while due to my busy schedule [wink].
But, my first post today is necessary. I recently took part in a women’s summit where the liberation of women was the topic.
Liberation is a tricky term since it means many different things to many different people. However, liberation is generally defined as the freedom to live the life that one wants to live.
There were many points made at the summit. For example: can we discuss women’s liberation while excluding men from the discussion?
The answer is yes and no.
Yes, because I have always been an advocate of the independence of females (from male domination). I believe women should stop defining themselves by the standards set by men. I often find that young women today think female liberation and/or empowerment means mimicking the behavior of males, and particularly white frat boys, or trying to live up to superficial standards, often aesthetic ans sexual, set by a patriarchal society.
Female empowerment and liberation are almost always defined in sexual terms, and has made sexuality like Pandora’s box. Many females are afraid of it and don’t want to deal with it. They’re often told of the consequences (rape, harassment) and are often blamed for ‘allowing’ or ‘inviting’ these side effects if they embrace their sexuality.
However, women cannot avoid their sexuality. They are tied up in the confusion of it–what is and isn’t appropriate or too much? I can’t say what is appropriate or inappropriate sexually, except to point out what I have always stressed: women should not allow men to control their sexuality. Women need to understand that they can’t shy away from their sex. The only way to gain control of their sexuality is to accept it. They can do this by dressing for themselves and not doing so to attract men. Don’t make-out with other girls because their male friends find it pleasing. Do it because it’s what they desire for themselves and not what others desire of them.
Regardless of the social, cultural, political or religious restrictions that exist for women, at the end of the day, self-empowerment through understanding our needs and actualizing our goals and desires is what will make us liberated.
It’s important for females to understand and recognize their own individuality for only then will they be able to deal with the social pressures around them to conform and behave in accordance to society’s expectations.
Do men need to be apart of the discourse on female liberation?
Yes. The main reason is that males are still the dominant group in society and the world at large. At the end of the day, females can’t escape them and males have been the major players in the exploration/exploitation of female sexuality. The majority of strip club owners, erotic magazine owners and porn industry people are male.
There may be no way to prevent males from lusting after females, but in the case of exploitation, something can be done. Educating men about females and respecting females is necessary. In order for a change in attitude to come, the people who control the institutions of society will have to recognize the harmful effects of what they are doing and will have to be given reasons to desist, which means mothers and female family members will have to partake in the education of their sons and brothers.
While I am not naive enough to think it will be the end of exploitation when males join the discussion, I do think that letting them know they have a responsibility to the females of the species, is very important.
Furthermore, too many males seem to think that feminism is akin to Nazism or racism and at its heart is a misandric ideology. Educating the males of the species is important in fostering respect between the sexes.