***Note: This is an Op-Ed written for academic purposes and revised for AlmostWonderWoman. The op-ed focuses on the birth of feminism in the 1960s during the first wave of feminism, albeit the juxtaposing views to its contemporary reference.
“The sisterhood is powerful!” The women roared.
“Women unite!” The women roared.
“Men are the enemy!” The women roared.
Misandry. It’s a sticky word. It makes someone a little apprehensive and if used often enough, pushes women (and men) deeper into the ‘you’re-a-bad-feminist’ hole. But the women’s liberation movement sought after one goal: kill the enemy.
Who was the enemy? Men.
The prejudice against “the man” was exactly the mindset that built a powerful sisterhood behind the US women’s liberation movement in the 1960s. Women stood in the face of objectified glorification. They fought to remove their submissive chokehold and they used one tactic to form the sisterhood: appoint the man as evil and corrupt. The movement was a masked rage towards the intolerance of men that guided women to take action.
This propagation of bitterness and revenge is the very antithesis of feminism today, yet it brought women together in solidarity, as one. To put it plainly, it worked. Regardless of what some may have to say about how misandry is a misalignment towards the contemporary fight for equality amongst the sexes, it worked and it worked damn well. Misandry, as sticky a term that is, was powerful, reverent and was effective in forming the first waves of feminism we’ve seen and those we will continue to see.
The movement united women to fight, to yell and roar in fervour as they rejected the male-dominated social hierarchy. Women banded together and released their cries of frustration at the unfairness of the social conformities. Women discovered the strength within themselves to birth a revolutionary movement to unite the sisterhood, black or white, young or old, gay or straight. The verbal murder of men rooted a new world order of equality amidst struggles of patriarchal dominance. Naming the enemy as men, women rejected the standards of cooks, caretakers and slaves to sexual demands.
No, capitalism wasn’t the root of women’s unfair treatment. In fact, the capitalist system engaging women in low-paid or no-paid jobs was far from the cause. It was the men who perpetuated the system. It was the men who fed the system, fuelled the raging fire and turned a blind eye when it treated women as lesser. And to any man who believed in equality and the good in women, there was no award. Normalcy deserved no award.
In retaliation to the unfairness, women started to meet in small groups to finally speak aloud the torments of being under a man’s hand. They shared stories of struggles and a future of hope to launch a rhetoric of a higher power: the pro-woman line.
The pro-woman line inspired women to identify their powers and created an identity of strength. Instead of floating in the abyss of a man’s rule, women encouraged each other and themselves to see the authority in being a woman, the strength in being a woman, the joy in being a woman. The women boldly stood by the pro-woman line and purged the second class ideals of themselves preserved by men. Prior to the movement, the women thought of themselves as lesser than men. With the liberation beginning to reject the patriarchy, the pro-woman line eclipsed their self-doubt.
There was also so much power in the nuances of the movement fronted by the women. When women met in small groups to discuss their treatment, they spoke as family, as friends, as sisters. They were no longer a submissive audience. They became eager and greedy, and actively partook in forming a new paradigm of a sisterhood with a voice. It was unity with deafening support through the equal relationship between every woman. The root of all of this was misandry and the rejection of a man’s world gave birth to another form of power: consciousness-raising.
The women of the movement tore at the very fabric of America in fighting for their rights. They met in small groups to cultivate a mindset of unity through consciousness-raising. They communicated personal experiences of oppression and discrimination through these specifically designed meetings. These get-togethers had no expert or leader, but every woman stood to discuss their struggles and ways to diminish passivity and oppression. Consciousness-raising efforts promoted women to be autonomous in their decisions and validate personal struggles without a man.
The pro-woman line and consciousness-raising only emphasised the success in misandry, the power in putting men down, the significance in calling men out on their so-called privilege as the better sex. Meetings to promote consciousness-raising took place in secrecy underground where radical feminists left the taint of the man behind. Conclusions of their own experiences were developed by the women themselves without the approval or attention of men. They burnt books written by men controlling women in how they should think. Consciousness-raising was the vehicle that drove change through prejudice of men and saw women turning to each other in the quest for approval and development of their own thinking.
Women became the very antithesis of the figure men drew. It was an all-consuming movement for women to find their voice of reasoning, bring justice through the strength to persevere and be united. The movement devoured man and his unjust dominance. The glass box with a dainty woman inside was broken and the women used the shards sharp as knives to fight.
It was the birth of female independence.
The women were ravenous to step on the man’s world, and they did. They no longer took the backseat. The sisterhood rode into battle to liberate themselves from their conditioned life. They fought through the oppression, the unfairness and it is this supposedly ‘un-feminist’ movement of misandry that has rooted visions of feminism we see today.