Sara Bella: Flipside Feminist

I’m going to deviate from the whole “feminist” regime that I’ve been supporting lately to make my stance clear.

Men aren’t pigs. They’re not disgusting, or rude, or carnal, I don’t hate them or think badly of all of them. MOST MEN ARE GREAT. I love men. Many role models I have are men. They’re strong, determined individuals who boast confidence and yet somehow find the delicate balance of expressing their feelings and not worrying about the vulnerability it gives them. My own father is a perfect example of a solid and intelligent individual who raised an only daughter and gave her all the love and affection a human being could possibly express, with no reward back to him except to see his daughter grow up happy. Or my boyfriend, who consistently proves to me how selfless he is and how much he truly cares about me without even trying; who holds me when I cry and encourages me to do everything I want, and not doubt myself for a second. Even the men I’ve worked with, who never once saw me as a female, implying that I am of the weaker sex, just as a person who gives 100% to her job, and have every bit of faith in me that I’m capable of doing what they ask.

These are just a few examples of all the stellar men there are out there, who, in their own way, are living up to the definition of feminists just by valuing equal treatment and not seeing my gender as something that makes me less, but by removing it as a factor of my worth completely. That is how it should be for all parties.

Men are human beings; they have feelings, and opinions, and beliefs that they are just as entitled to as anyone else. And they have standards that are unfair that they also have to fight against. This isn’t to demean what women are subjected to as well, but when I see a girl blatantly disrespect a perfectly nice guy who just wanted to gain her attention, and she demonizes him for finding her attractive, that’s not feminism. That’s hatred towards the male race as a whole and that’s wrong. Men hold you up in the bar when you’re too drunk to stand and carry you home. They hug you when you’re crying, they make fools of themselves purposely just to make you laugh, they literally work their asses off and somehow still find time to do something special for you, at no consequence to them other than to see you smile; and most of them use every ounce of courage they have to approach you when they don’t know you because they saw something in you that just couldn’t let them stay away from you, and they want to express that. So please, when you’re out somewhere, and a decent man approaches you with warmth and a handshake, and he’s kindly asking permission for your time and attention, don’t throw his good efforts back in his face and say it’s in the name of “Feminism.” You didn’t show people that you stand for some empowering cause, all you did was hurt someone’s feelings that you didn’t even know, and give fuel to the fire for the few bad people there are out there who didn’t show you respect to begin with.

I see it so often, that a girl is flat out mean to a man that’s just trying to speak to her, even if it’s just for a few minutes. And then she makes some stance of “I don’t need a man” and “I’m a strong woman.” If you were really a strong woman, why didn’t you have the gracefulness to politely tell him that you are already in a relationship or aren’t interested for whatever reason you are in a way that lets him know you at least recognized his noble effort? Why crush someone’s feelings when you didn’t even take the time to see what their intentions were?

All you’ve done is make him start to believe all women are bitches and that he’s not even worth talking to for a few minutes, and that is cruel. That is just as cruel as a man on the street objectifying a woman simply because she’s outside and visible. He made his feelings visible and you felt the need to take out all your ire on an innocent bystander, someone who could very well have been a feminist, just like you.

Women will not gain respect and strengthen the feminist cause by alienating all men and subjecting them to all your frustrations when they weren’t even part of the problem to begin with.

I’ve had numerous men take one look at me, not even acknowledge my humanity as a whole, and break me down to the sum of my body parts. Something that I was born with and have no control over. And they’ve felt it necessary to tell me what they would “do” to those body parts as if they had some kind of power over me to begin with. They treated me like a piece of meat hanging on a hook; they choose the part they want and do as they please with it later. And there is nothing that feels more degrading than someone denying my existence as a living, breathing, thinking, feeling human. They were sure to assert their feeling of dominance over me, and make me feel like I didn’t even have rights to myself. And it drew so much bitterness in me.

And then…on the same day, when all these “men” have psychologically beaten me down until I felt like I was worthless, someone would approach me. And he would look me in the eyes, straight through me, hold out his hand, tell me his name, ask me mine, and tell me he thinks I’m beautiful and wanted me to know. He saw me, without hesitation recognizing me as a woman, and not just a sum of physical body parts, and went straight to my feelings. By asking me what my name was, he told me without words that I was a human, and he wanted to connect with me on a human level. Regardless of whether his original intention was just to sleep with me, he did what none of those other “men” down the street did. He recognized my feelings, and put his on the line, all for the slight chance of holding my attention, and learning more about me. That is a true man.

And that is exactly why I love men. And why I believe men should be credited in the feminist cause just like women. They are incredible people, and deserve to be shown how incredible they are.

That is why I am a feminist. Because I always believed gender had no weight on someone’s worth. And why I choose to not identify with some feminists. Because they fail to recognize this fact.

They have made the word feminist synonymous with “man hater” in the eyes of others, and that is simply not what I am about.

Ladies, the next time you see that man who was staring at you start to approach you, and he’s gazing at you, with his eyes locked to yours, don’t throw him into the same trash pile as that guy on the street who regarded you as nothing more than a sex toy, truly look back at him, and try to picture how he might be viewing you. And when he holds his hand out to you and tells you his name, and asks for yours, whether you are taken or not, think he’s attractive or not, or want to be with someone or not, show him how valiant his efforts are, if nothing else so that he can remember that his efforts are worth it. Reinforce his confidence, if nothing else. His feelings are just as valuable as yours are.

This is dedicated to Jeff, who, just like the man in this dialogue, looked me straight in the face for three months and told me he wanted to be with me and was interested in me before I said yes. And, who since that time has brought me more happiness, more confidence, more love, and more strength than I could ever have imagined.