I was lucky enough to spend my long weekend at an annual christian camp where one of our discussion topics was feminism. And while the discussion was generally positive and there was a clear difference in understanding of the movement as it is such a diverse thing, I did notice a few reoccurring things. Firstly, women were discussed in relation to men or domestic roles. The boys were trying to reassure the girls that being a mother or a wife was a difficult thing. But these ladies already know. They are the ones who live and experience it. It did not feel like women had much standing outside of these points of reference. Secondly, it was largely men talking about women and how they should feel. I think that if it was switched, men would not just sit quietly while the ladies told them how they needed to exist. Lastly, when I talked, I felt the need to reassure the men that they were valid. That feminism isn’t a scary thing that rejects masculinity and promotes misandry. That feminism wanted to fight for the things that they struggle with as well like hyper-masculinity. And I hate that I felt this way. That I had to make it a cause that would benefit them personally. It wasn’t enough for some to be raising the ladies they love and care for to a level platform.
However, my favorite point was when a younger boy piped up and said, “I’ve just noticed that it is men talking about how women should feel feminine and I don’t think that’s right.”