First encounters with feminism

When I was in high school, I had a friend named Liz. She was hilarious and I thoroughly enjoyed her company.

One day I showed up at her house, and she answered the door wearing only a sports jersey and her underwear. Modest little me gasped a holy gasp and asked,

“Liz, where are your pants?”

The conversation then deteriorated into a strange rant about women’s “rights.”

“Men are allowed to walk around topless, but they aren’t allowed to walk around pants-less. I think it’s because stuff is dangling down there. I have assumed that’s why women aren’t allowed to walk around topless because we have things dangling on top. So, because I have nothing on my undercarriage that dangles, I should be allowed to walk around without pants.”

It was actually a relatively decent argument to me, however I still refused to walk to the corner store with her until she put some pants on. She never answered the door pants-less again.

I can not decide whether I corrected negative behaviour, or crushed her spirit.

Girls Just Want to Have FUNdamental Rights

I saw an event being advertised on Facebook and was immediately frustrated.

(What does this mean? I am being brought to fierce anger over things I see on Facebook. Am I a troll now?)

This event was for a protest happening downtown; a women’s rights protest to be specific. The title of the event: “Go Topless Day 2017”

When I talk about this event, and other topics regarding women exposing parts of their bodies, I would like to clarify right now what I am NOT talking about:

– Breast feeding your child in public: Kid’s gotta eat, do what you gotta do.

– Wearing certain attire in the appropriate contexts: You wanna wear a bikini or go topless at the beach, giver.

And now, for what I am here to say:

I do not think nudity is feminism, or women’s empowerment.

I also do not think men somehow “have it better” because it is slightly more socially acceptable for them to walk around without shirts on. To that point, I can count the number of times I have seen men walking down Robson Street topless. Twice. And one of the times it was a homeless man pan handling. I bought him a shirt. He seemed super happy about it and not at all oppressed by my attempt to clothe him.

Being naked to demonstrate ones rights makes about as much sense to me as spending all of your money to prove you are rich.

You do not have to give it all away to prove you have it.

Free the nipple? Why? Other than to breast feed, I do not see the immediate need for this.

My nipples have never felt oppressed. In fact, in my experience, my nipples bode much better in the warmth of my clothing.

Also, it is already “legal” for women to go topless, so nothing is being fought for here.

I understand the desire to normalize women’s nudity. I know an awesome woman who is a tattoo artist who offers areola restorative tattooing. She posts her incredible work on Instagram and it is constantly being reported… that is ridiculous. A woman being shamed because she is breast feeding her child in public, also ridiculous!

I agree people do need to get a grip when a woman’s body is being displayed in the appropriate contexts. However, I feel this event may be garnering the wrong kind of attention.

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I find myself steering clear of titles like “feminist” for the same reasons I find myself steering clear of titles like “Christian.” Not because I do not believe in women’s equality, or Jesus, but because the titles themselves conjure up images in my mind that I do not typically associate with positive attributes.

The rights of women matter! Women deserve to be paid equally, treated equally, and valued for more than what their bodies have to offer. I believe it is important to have platforms for men and women to educate the public about women’s rights.

I cannot begin to claim I am an expert when it comes to this subject. I know I have a lot to learn, and am open to hear from those who are more educated on the matter than I am.

All I can say for certain is I know how I feel about women’s rights and human rights.

I know I feel icky when I see “EQUALITY” written across a bunch of women’s bare chests posed as if they are at Daytona Beach on Spring Break.

I know I feel liberated when I hear a strong, confident, well-educated, articulate woman speaking about equality, leadership, and the rights of women and girls.

I do not want to re-live my teenage experience with my friend Liz and feel like I am ruining everyone’s no-pants-party, so if you want to have a topless party downtown, go for it.

Just don’t call it “women’s rights.”


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