This post is part of the A to Z Challenge. Find out more here.
The *other* F word.
Once upon a time, I used to do that young woman ‘I’m not a feminist but…’ thing, you know, the one where you disavow feminism while espousing extremely feminist views?
I had to distance myself from those angry manhaters who rejected feminine things, you know, because I wanted equality but I wanted it without making anyone mad.
I got over it.
I still prefer not to make people mad, but if it means moving equality ahead (or even if it means shutting sexist crap down fast) then I will take that risk.
It’s like Gloria Steinem said ‘The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.’
As I got older, I realized that the views I had were feminist views AND that I had been told a load of crap about what feminism was. The core of feminism is the fact that men and women are equal and their rights MUST reflect that.
It says nothing about women being better than men. It says nothing about men being hateful. Some individuals might believe those things but that’s not on feminism, that’s on those people.
Now, it just seems ridiculous to me that I ever refused to use the word feminist to describe myself. OF COURSE I’m a feminist, why the hell wouldn’t I be? What would be my other choice?
I think that the world we have now is crappy to everyone about gender – there are very narrow options for ‘appropriate’ gender expression. In fact, we are all too damn caught up in gender – just think about it – when we ask the Mom of the baby in green whether the kid is a boy or a girl, we are asking ‘What genitals does your baby have*? I want to know how to treat them!’
Yes, I know that it is an innocent question and it is only being friendly and giving the parent a chance to talk about their wee one, but, at its heart, it is a pretty weird question, don’t you think?
*Note: I know that is not any real way to determine someone’s gender, but that’s how a lot of people do it. That’s a whole different discussion and I am not at all sure that I am the person to write about that. Meanwhile, my personal take on your gender is that it is none of my business – you just tell me what pronoun to use and which bathroom you are looking for. And I will stand between you and the person giving you crap for either of those things. I can be pretty shouty if I need to be and I can back up those shouts when necessary.
PS – I should have really used the word ‘feminisms’ throughout this because there are many different types.
PPS – I also want to acknowledge the fact that feminism can be problematic about issues of race, class, transgender people, and so on. I work to be as intersectional as I can and I try to stay open to the fact that there are a lot of experiences that I know nothing about and that I need to listen when those come up because my opinion is not relevant.