I am a feminist. As a feminist, I get to decide exactly what that word means to me and how it affects my life and my choices.
Feminism, to me, simply means that I desire for gender equality in the workplace, home, in our county and in this world. It does not mean, in any way, shape, or form, that I dislike men. I love men. That being said, our society has, starting at a very young age, worked hard to make women and girls feel inadequate. How else would the beauty industry reach sales of $426 BILLION in 2013? I buy into it as much as many. I spend a butt load of money on anti-aging moisturizers, a couple of grand per year on keeping my hair "up", got out of buying mascara by having eyelash extensions done every 10 days, and I've threatened to have Botox on my number 11's. I will do what I feel comfortable doing while, hopefully, bouncing my choices off of what society expects of me and whether that is reasonable or not.
Many men have also learned to dance the dance that was taught to them. If they do not challenge themselves to look past our social norms they probably think that little things like shamelessly admiring a woman's form is a compliment. Is it? Perhaps for some but not for others. I am so much more than just my body....in fact, I got this body by chance. What I did with my brain took effort and skill and determination on my part. They assume that making cracks about women being: bad drivers, bitchy bosses, on their periods, or slutty (while I've yet to hear a man call another man a slut, nor admit to being one) are OK because they are JUST jokes. To me, those guys are old school and, often times, only to be tolerated because we know they will never open their eyes. Other times they're ignorant men whose worlds are small and closed off to the positive effects of women in their lives. Those men convince themselves that women are "over sensitive" or worse yet, “femi-nazi's" when they react poorly to those jokes or insinuations.
In the workplace, stereotyping and discrimination still exist in ways that are simply intolerable. Successful women are deemed brusque or cold (by men and women alike), often start from a position of assumed incompetence, less likely to get credit from group efforts that include males, get lower initial salary offers and are judged more by their appearance than men are. For men, fatherhood is bonus, for women it is a penalty and talkative men are judged more competent while women are often considered less competent (too chatty).
I do not want to shame men the way my gender has been shamed for being: too fat, too flat, too ugly, too emotional, too stupid, what I'd like to do is challenge them to review their belief system and how it got there. And finally I would like to recognize that this shit doesn't belong to women alone. Crap like this infiltrates race relations, the LGBT community, religious tolerance, etc. Our world works so much better when we throw away stereotypes and work together with a little understanding.
Finally, a note to men....
When we as a gender (50.9% of the world population) tend to do things a bit different than you, it might be good for you to remember that you don't have a corner on the market on how things should be done. If there are studies done that irrefutably show that we, as women, golf slower, or drive faster or shop longer or parent different or have a distinctive work ethic, perhaps you should get over your damn selves and realize that doesn't make it wrong...it makes it different.