If you are not a feminist, you are a bigot. Perhaps a claim that seems a little staunch for the average reader, however, I am indeed a staunch feminist myself. The path that led me to identify as a feminist, a male feminist, is one that began with understanding what feminism prima facie actually means. Before I explore the terminology, I need to begin with the one presupposition that is at the heart of my aforementioned claim. I think that bigotry of all forms is not only morally reprehensible, but also a breach of taste. Prejudice statements or attitudes toward a person or group of people, is by definition a judgment of one’s character, without examining the content of their character. Prejudice extended to race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, or gender are all forms of bigotry. To judge someone’s character before understanding the content of their character, as a bigot does, is a mark on the character of the one that is judging. Further, these attitudes or statements are distasteful, therefore, as stated, bigotry is morally reprehensible and distasteful.
My attitude towards feminism was negative when I was young teen. I had been subject to the socially constructed world that we are all subject to, and my mind was spoiled with images and attitudes that displayed women as a lesser gender, compared to men. Although I never looked at women as lesser gender, these images and attitudes led me to believe that men and women are to be looked at (judged) differently. Although men and women are undeniably biologically different, things that are to be considered or judged are things like one’s moral disposition, or one’s capacity to perform certain tasks, whether physical or intellectual, or one’s interests in certain activities or ideas. These are the judgements we make when we form personal and professional relationships with others. We make these judgements when considering whether someone is fit for a certain position in a company. We make these judgements when forming friendships with others. These judgments ought not to be infected with any form of bigotry. We must presuppose equality before examining one’s character.
After my realization of equality, I still had a negative attitude towards feminism because I believed that it was an idea that promoted female superiority. So I found myself in a pickle. I wanted to promote equality, dismiss male chauvinism, and dismiss female superiority as well, since female superiority is just reverse bigotry. I then considered why feminism is named as it is. It is a call to promote women, because historically women were the oppressed in a world that divided men and women. The men ruled, so to achieve equality, women were to be promoted to reach the power, respect, and integrity that was assumed upon men. As we come closer to the goal of gender equality, the name feminism is prima facie still merely a call for equality. I say prima facie because feminism, when studied deeply, does come in array of shades and colours. I will not discuss different types of feminism today although it is topic to be explored.
Now as one that wants to promote gender equality, I’m fit to call myself a feminist. As one that is disgusted by bigotry, I call myself a staunch feminist. If you are not a feminist, you accept the falsehood of inequality of men and women. You are dismissing a doctrine that merely asks us all to judge people not by their gender, but by the content of their character. By definition, if you are not a feminist, you are in fact a bigot.