Mar 22 2011, Written by Ariel Smallwood in Backpages, 1 Comments
It’s time to get serious. Last week, I submitted a blog post about National Lemme Smang It day. I joked about a made-up holiday with a small but passionate following—my editor was not pleased. She thought the word “smang”, a combination of the words “smash” and “bang” popularized by Yung Humma and Flynt Flossy, represents female objectification. With that, I disagree.
I am a woman, but I am not a “feminist.” In fact, I am anti-feminism. Before you crucify me and force me to wear a scarlet letter, let me explain. “Feminism” has multiple definitions that often change with the hour. “Feminism” is a movement characterized by women who hate men and bra burnings on the 5:00 news. This view of feminism fails to accurately capture the broad spectrum of opinions under the feminist blanket. Nonetheless, it prevails.
To me, being a feminist is much different from believing in feminism. Believing in feminism implies a specific set of norms and beliefs that apply to a group of people, whereas being a feminist is rooted in a self-created set of principles about the life that you want to live.
Now that I have made my peace with feminism, it’s time to discuss the victimized man. Women that only discuss the woman as the victim are only perpetuating the type of demeaning interaction that they claim to abhor. They continue to lay blame on the man, which creates a cycle of mistrust between genders.
Consider the following: If a man grabbed a woman’s behind it would be considered sexual assault, but if a woman grabbed a man’s behind it would just be seen as a woman going after what she wants. As a society, we always talk about a double standard harming women but we rarely discuss when a man is victimized.
According to the Department of Justice’s 2003 National Crime Victimization Survey, 10 percent of sexual assault victims are male. I propose that instead of just focusing on the 90 percent of assault victims who are women, we should also prioritize preventing attacks against the other 10 percent. Ignoring the minority is like ignoring the problem altogether. For every 90 survivors who are empowered by prevention, 10 survivors are not receiving treatment for their physical and mental scars. Would we want to ignore 10 female survivors? My guess is no. This criticism is neither of all women who identify as feminists, nor is it a criticism of women who do not consider themselves feminists.
This is a criticism of the women who are willing to blame men for all of the issues in society. I have an obligation to keep it real, and this is only my opinion. At the end of the day, the only way that we can eliminate negative connotations from words like “smang” is to remind users that the source is not just one group of people. I can honestly say that I am guilty of smanging it, and I will continue to do so until there are open dialogues about it.
Ariel Smallwood is a Trinity sophomore. Her online column runs every Tuesday.
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