By KENNY KASPER
MARIA CARRILLO HIGH SCHOOL, SENIOR, 18
Do I consider myself a feminist? Absolutely.
I believe women should be able to be doctors, lawyers, judges, politicians and authors and, as such, I believe they should be able to move beyond the constraints of the home without society’s stigma. I am pro-choice and pro-equality. I believe women should pursue that which makes them passionate, just as all humans beings should.
However, being a feminist is tough these days. One minute I’m being reprimanded for referring to a female as an “actress” and the next I’m being interrogated about whether I support breast cancer awareness.
Let me explain.
A young lady recently informed me that women, in fact, prefer the term “actor” rather than actress. Apparently, some women do not want their gender to be noted, even in their titles. They want to be entirely equal to men. Fair enough. Except that the following day, several girls questioned my lack of pink attire on “Pink Out Day,” which seems to cater to the formation of female solidarity more than anything.
I understand the movement to promote breast cancer awareness, and I completely support providing women with the information to keep themselves healthy and safe. However, current methods of promoting “awareness” appear to be manifestations of a need to reestablish the same gender identity lost with the term “actor.”
A recent fad on Facebook comes to mind. Females posted the phrase “I like it on the (blank)” to denote where they like to put their purse or handbag. Allegedly, this was meant to improve breast cancer awareness. But I must wonder when the line is crossed between supporting a good cause and justifying the publication of sexual innuendos.
“I like it on the table” is your way of promoting breast cancer awareness? If this is the case, I shudder to think how teenage boys would manage a movement to support, say, prostate cancer awareness.
No matter the intentions, this plan was coarse and juvenile in its execution. If anything, it causes me to hesitate the next time I support the promotion of breast cancer awareness, even if it is for only a moment. I am not alone in my objection toward this breach of respect for a sobering issue. If these women do not take breast cancer seriously, should men be expected to do so? Or is this another case of actor vs. actress, of hypocrisy and of double standards?
There is no winning for males in a world where calling a woman an actor or actress can result in being labeled a sexist, nor a world where men must take breast cancer awareness completely seriously, while some women downplay its importance with crass insinuations.
I do not mean to say that all women subject their male counterparts to these enigmatic conundrums. Many are sympathetic to my pleas for some rationality in modern feminism, which has overcompensated to pose men as the eternal antagonist. This should not be an issue of solidarity against men. Women do not need to unite against men. They need to unite with men, especially with those who support ideals of equality and social and economic freedom.
A certain percentage of women think I am a sexist. Perhaps it is because I am white, male and aggressive in my demeanor. Perhaps they assume I must feel a perpetual need to oppress the opposite sex and assert male dominance, continuing a pattern prevalent in history for hundreds of years.
They assumed wrong. As I said, I am a feminist. Absolutely.
So, I apologize in advance if I accidentally call you an actress when you prefer actor, or if I forget to steal one of my sister’s headbands for the next “Pink Out.” All I ask is that you cut men a break and make the world a little friendlier for the male feminist.
Care and feeding of the feminist male
By KENNY KASPER