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Sometimes it just feels good to say it.

Whether you use the f-word or not, whether you want babies or fake boobies or neither or both, you may be a feminist -- someone who believes that men and women are of equal importance, and should be treated equally. Is this you?

This is me: When I was ten years old, the Equal Rights Amendment was on the table. What's that? I asked. Well, it proposed that women should have the same rights as men.

I flipped out. "That's not already a law? People are voting AGAINST it?"

Since then, I have been a feminist.

I know a lot of people have problems with the word; I know it's acquired some racist and classist overtones along the way, which makes me sad. Because the basic idea is so great.

When I say I'm a feminist, I mean that I think women are as important as men, and entitled to the same rights and freedoms. To me, reproductive rights and freedoms are especially important -- probably because it's one of the biggest fish we have to fry here in the US. I'm also concerned with the prevalence of sexual violence against women, and the effects of socially sanctioned sexual misogyny on our culture. Internationally, I tend to buy the party line that poverty is a feminist issue; I also note with dismay the correlation between extremist religion and women's disenfranchisement.

Also, I fucking hate rape.

So how about you? What made/makes you a feminist, or not?
there you go girl. write it.

samey same same. it's just common sense to me that we are all equal. boys, girls, different colours, different ages. is someone less important than someone else because of what they have between their legs, where they live or how long they've been on this earth? i have a hard time reconciling myself to that.
perhaps i'm more or a humanist than a feminist, or even an existanist, or an idealist. huh.
it's hard to put a name on it really, and i think that may be where we've gotten lost along the way, making up rules about what feminism is and is not. to me it is just that simple, being a feminist means believing that women and men are equal. perhaps not with exactly equal abilities but certainly with equal value.
I can't say what made me a feminist. I remember being a very small child, and recognizing that pornography was demeaning to women (They'd show these sexual ads on tv after 10 pm, and I'd get all mad because they were, as I thought at the time, "picking on women") I knew well I was female, and didn't appreciate seeing other females being displayed in such a way.
So I guess I was born one :P
I have been a feminist as long as I can remember, too. I saw a movie sometime when I was maybe 12 or so and there was a scene where a bunch of people were in a conference room and some monster like thing barged in and started killing people. In the movie, they had all the women duck and hide behind the table and all the men stood up and defended them. And I was offended because I thought they were portraying women as weak cowards.

I also couldn't believe people would vote against the ERA, too.

What does the tee shirt say? "feminism is the radical notion that women are people"?
I'm not a "feminist" specifically because everything about feminism that I agree with is already covered under general humanism as well as my personal and social ethics.
And then there's the rest of feminism, that's not covered by humanism. The part that says, "Yeah, the sexes SHOULD be treated equally, but they're not, and I'm one of the people who's annoyed by that." I wish there were no need to specifically identify as a feminist, but I think there is. I'd also call myself an "antiracist," and an "ilovegaysist," if those were linguistically acceptable umbrella terms for those ideas.

And Jasmith, I think a lot of the porn people make and consume is "picking on women," but I'd never heard it so aptly put.
I don't think I made a conscious decision to become a feminist - and it's really only in the past six-eight months that I've started identifying myself as feminist.

I was brought up among strong women, particularly my grandmother (who wouldn't call herself a feminist, but tells me that the most important thing a for a woman to be is independant). I started to have an interest in equality when I began to realise how much of her independance my mother has given up when she got married - and how hard it was for her to regain that independance - and more so as I left school.

I spent half a year living and working in a muslim country - admittedly quite a liberal one - but my experience as a woman, and the limitations the culture put on me, made me more critical of both that culture, and my own. One of the things I noticed was that because I'm a western western, it was automaticaly assumed that I was "sluttish" - impure, whatever you want to call it - and treated with less respect in many ways. I've also noticed that the younger men watch porn - which is western - and it's the younger men who are the least respectful; the older men would prefer it if I shut up and looked demure in a hejab, but at least they didn't hurl abuse at me on the streets.

I'd say my idea of feminism comes back to what girlbomb said about men and women being equal. I'm particularly interested in education - I always remember my grandmother telling "an educated woman has educated children" - and the effects it has on health, poverty and the like - I do believe that poverty is a feminist issue. I also long to explore how feminism can be related to other cultures - and how it can work within a culture (I have seen, for example, that it's possible to be a "proper" muslim woman and have feminist leanings).

that and I get to write windy, pompous statements like that. Sorry for the essay
Word, Girlbomb. If feminism is necessarily covered by humanism then why is Humanism a good thousand + years older?
I guess I came by feminism as a kid by way of anger. Anger at the men I saw in my family mistreating spouses, and And it really pissed me off, and then my fairy godmother left her bastard abusive cop racist asshole husband, and came to live with us, and she showed me that it wasn't about anger and injustice, as much as it was living your life with beauty. And she was a strong, sexual woman who decided to have the life she really wanted....and that was my first model.

Later, in seventh grade, I discovered Margaret Atwood, picking up a Handmaid's Tale, because I liked the picture on the cover...and there I really found the idea of feminism and the book gave me words for it. And I decided that when I grew up, no man would ever decide what I could do with my body, and maybe it was then that I decided that parenting wasn't for me...I don't know exactly. But to have the idea that you didn't *have* to have children...that was a mighty powerful thing for this girl.

The fenminist identity is pretty core to who I am, and I yearn for a day when real equality exists...sadly we have a ways to go, but then it makes me happy to have a space like this, to have a job that empowers women to make life changing choices...I hope that I'm adding just a tiny piece to create more equality out there.
I think my first aspiration towards feminism spurred from watching old westerns when I was a little girl. And seeing the brave suffragist women. But I'm sure I was just born a feminist as I've grown up my feelings have just blossomed into being able to label how I feel. I love women and I care about what happens to them. Of course when ever the question why are you a feminist is posed my mind always goes back to my favorite quote: "In my heart, I think a woman has two choices: either she's a feminist or a masochist."
—Gloria Steinem
Ginger_kitty, that reminds me of another quote:
"I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat."
~Rebecca West
Ven, for the same reason that "all men are created equal" took awhile to mean "Oh yeah, black people too."

The principle was sound from the get-go; it was the implementation that was found wanting.

I don't use terms like "ilovegayist" and "antiracist" for the same reason I wouldn't call myself "proempiricaldata" or "antiphrenologist." It's just not necessary.

I'd argue that humanism does cover feminism and much else besides.
Let me guess, George, you only refer to potatoes by the generic term "root vegetable" instead.

Because, you know, it covers it, and anyway why stick your neck out.

Heh. I see what you're saying, but they're just not co-extensive terms. There's plenty of humanists still running about who are ideologically opposed to feminism - or ethnic equality for that matter - even though you and I may rightly think the latter ought to be part of the former.
To me, feminism means absolute equality.
Also, a recognition of character traits that are traditionally thought of as male or female, but not using those as excuses or boundaries.
I agree with alligator that humanism covers feminism. I prefer to call myself a feminist because it opens debate and maybe reminds others and myself, that we are far from equality.
great thoughts, everybody. great thread. Still!

It makes me sad when I have to define why I'm a feminist. Not in this thread, but by someone who doesn't consider themselves a feminist.

These are all actual reactions I've gotten from people:

I'm a feminist. Why, do you hate men?
I'm a feminist. Are you a lesbian?
I'm a feminist. *Scared look*
I'm a feminist. You just haven't met the right guy yet.
I'm a feminist. You're just afraid of what will happen if you succumb to passion. (I'm paraphrasing that one -- poorly, unfortunately, since the actual quote was really funny and pathetic.)

I don't mind defining my quirks or more unusual beliefs. But feminism is not a quirk -- it is natural and just common sense for anyone who is a woman or has women who they love in their lives.

Having seen the f-word itself degrade to its current caricatured and unpopular state makes me incredibly sad.
I don't remember when I started identifying as a feminist, or what my early ideas of feminism were. But I do remember what must have been the beginnings of my feminist consciousness. It was when I was 13 or 14 and I had started shaving my legs and realized, "hey this is a lot of work and I don't get much out of it." I didn't think it would be a big deal if I stopped doing it, so I stopped, and I got a horrible reaction from all kinds of people, including my mom and my best friend, who were both angry at me. I was so frustrated. Why did they care if I had hair on my legs? So I started arguing with them about how it was stupid and useless* and men don't have to do it so why should I? And that was when I realized how fucked up the world we live in is, if people were that willing to make my life miserable about something so stupid.

*I don't think it's stupid and useless anymore, of course. I think the expectation that all women will shave their legs and underarms is stupid, as is the policing women who don't are subject to, but I honour the choices of other women, and fight that I will be able to make my own with no fear of the consequences.
Heh. I see what you're saying, but they're just not co-extensive terms. There's plenty of humanists still running about who are ideologically opposed to feminism - or ethnic equality for that matter - even though you and I may rightly think the latter ought to be part of the former.

I should think so. I'd very much like to meet the 'humanist' who subscribes to actual racial supremacism. That would be one catastrophically confused person.

I would say they're not co-extensive in the sense that humanism is broader, being species-wide, whereas feminism narrows the focus. Still, humanism does contain feminism. (Historically, of course, Enlightenment humanism spawned capital-F Feminism.)

I'd also like to meet anti-feminist humanists. While not as deranged as the racist ones, it would be interesting to hear them explain how, if at all, one's sex and gender should be taken into account in terms of basic social and personal ethics.
lot49, I love those responses.

I usually just walk away.
'Feminism narrows the focus'... to half the world's population.

Sorry, couldn't resist. I personally have problems with the term 'humanist', mainly because I hear people using it as a catchall, default position. I'm not saying anyone here is doing this; it's just something I've seen come up in RL conversations.

Feminism itself is a broad-ass church, incorporating doctrines from Dworkin to Katie Roiphe on the subject of rape (for instance) that contradict each other. I don't mind these contradictions; they just indicate what a multifaceted school of thought feminism is. For me, this means I have to carefully construct my brand of workable feminism from the various lines of enquiry out there.

For instance, I don't believe 'raunch culture' is empowering, unless it happens to cover/address a sexual kink you already have. I think in many ways feminism is going rapidly backwards. A 'raunch culture' that plays out for men's entertainment is one example of this; increasing numbers of women getting cosmetic surgery is another. The glass ceiling never went away. In many countries women have limited contraceptive choices. And so on. Basically, while there is inequity for women, I remain a feminist.

I love hearing what everyone has to say! Jasmith, I like that quote. And lot, heehee I hate it when people react like that.

My opinion on the humanist vs feminist, though simailar they also distinctly differnt. Don't take this the wrong way, I love men. But I don't truly believe that a man can not be labeled a feminist. A man can sympathize with our struggles, wish us well, and support our causes, etc but I feel 'feminist' is a term that uniquely discribes only women.
So what are your feminist priorities? What do you decide is important, and how do you address it?

For me, reproductive rights are one of my first priorities, and that includes:

The right to contraceptives
The right to abortion
The right to say no to sex
The right to have children
The right to receive infertility treatments and artifical insemination no matter what your sexual orientation or marital status
Soveriegnty over one's own body -- before, during, and after pregnancy

After reproductive rights, it's a toss up between political enfranchisement and reduction of poverty.

And after that, it's probably the worldwide elimination of douchebags. I'm a real anti-douchebaggist.


[ETA: ginger_kitty, there was a weeks-long debate on my blog about whether men can be feminists or not -- personally, I'd love to get into it again, if it wouldn't mean stopping the discussion about feminism in general to talk about where men fit in, for a change.]
Reproductive rights -- just what girlbomb said.

I'd add sexual equality - the right to say yes to sex along with the right to say no. The right to be a complex sexual person who is more than virgin or whore, sex object or prude. The double-standard (in promiscuity, women are whores, men are heros) doesn't concern me as much or as immediately as reproductive rights do, but I do think that it feeds into sexism, rape, violence against women; Along with the oversimplifying or dumbing down of women. Why is it not obvious that Girls Gone Wild is offensive because it portrays women who like sex as idiots who have lost their minds?
turbojenn priorities aren't much different that girlbomb's...

reproductive rights first, foremost, and last...until we get a level playing field there, how are we to get our other objectives rolling? And I would toss in low/no cost access to contraceptives, while we're at it.

I think I'd have a tie for #2 - reduction of poverty, but I think that can be assisted also by family friendly workplace policies, as mandated by government. We're talking subsidized day care, time off for illness, more generous vacation time for all, health care, etc. And I would expand that to those without children too...we all deserve work/life balance...not just parents!

So, if we had those things...sure they would cost alot, BUT, we would also be creating more jobs, if people were allowed to work less hours, still make a stable income, and be able to take time off for vacation and family issues...

....Maybe I should just move to Europe, eh?
Lot49, you're so right about the right to say "yes" as well as "no."
Lot49, I second all that. I'd put workplace equality after sexual equality (although sexual equality would probably take care of many issues in the workplace).
BTW, every time I see a Girls Gone Wild commercial, I have to dive for the remote to change the channel. Then, I'm in a "men are filthy fucking whores for buying this shit" for DAYS afterward. I know it isn't fair to lump all men into that, but that's how I react to things like girls gone wild. And the man show.
Thanks jasmith and GB. Yeah, and I cannot express how much I loathe that knee-jerk reaction that women who hate GGW (and the like) means that they're uptight and hate sex.

The problem of oversimlifying/caricaturizing women's sexuality isn't the most important feminist issue for me. But looking at my own experiences, it's probably the one that has effected me personally the most, in my interactions with others. Issues that are more vital (reproductive issues, domestic violence, unequal pay) are ones that I've never struggled with personally. Because of feminists before me!
(Alligator - spend more time around a uni campus and you'll meet plenty of them, believe me.

For example, the ones who have a kind of Jungian idea that all humans are the same and "we" the enlightened west need to "raise" everyone up to be more like "us", keepers of the Best That Has Been Thought and Said - of course they're not racist, some of their best friends are (oxford educated) black men... it's just such a pity about the retro, "uncivilised" third world; of course they're not sexist, they LOVE women... but they "recognise" that women are "essentially" different, irrational and feminine; and you know, if we turn to evolutionary psychology it will give us a whole new way of reading literature - here's a biological explanation behind all this supposed racism and sexism, they're just a natural part of the Human Condition, old chap!

I could write a whole book on this by now: The Thinking Person's Guide To Assholes in Humanism. Heh.)

My list is more like this:

1. Equitable civil and human rights, incl rights before the law and access to education. I say equitable not equal because women's reproduction is a special case.

2. Practical change in social systems, including workplace structures, family organisation, taxation, structures of labour and capital, legal system and treatment of crimes like rape, etc.

I think the key to achieving these is access to education, contraception and adequate healthcare, food and shelter, means to self-support, and then access to the public sphere: political systems such as government, plus access to mass media such as tv, radio, stories etc.
Ven, the first part of what you're describing sounds more like cultural criticism than racism. I absolutely reserve the right - as should you - to judge cultural values and practices and this is quite distinct from racism.

As for EvoPsych, I don't think it's inherently suspect as a science. I agree that all manner of stupidness has been (and will be) uttered about "human nature" and what men or women "really" are, but it seems to me that the opposite position that "evolution stops at the neck" (as social psychologist Carol Tavris once put it) is equally daft.

Let's face it, it would pretty absurd to claim that the processes of natural development and adaptation undergone by our species have had no influence on how our brains work. The devils, as always, are in the details.

(I have two main beefs with EvoPsych. The first is over-simplified explanations for complex human social and reproductive behavior. Half the EvoPsych theories begin with “When mankind was gathering berries in primeval forests…” or some such thing. Because, of course, nothing has changed since then.

My other complaint is that it’s often so reductionist as to be useless. You mean people are driven to maximize their own security and comfort while avoiding danger and unhappiness? My god, Professor, you’ve done it!)

Where were we...? Right, feminism. Here's a question: What are the limits to female empowerment? Is there an automatic ethical sanction for every expansion of "choice" powers or does capital-F Feminism have a mechanism for drawing ethical boundaries? If so, what is that mechanism?
Broadly, I think it's premature to talk about the limits of female empowerment when there are so many areas of inequity for women, as listed below.

Saying that, however, I find reproductive rights a minefield in some respects. I agree with girlbomb's breakdown of women's rights is this area: the right to contraception; to abortion, and information about it; to say no to sex (and to say yes to the kind of sex you want); to have children (and not be punished for not having children). I have more complicated thoughts on artificial insemination and perceived entitlement to it. I think no-one should be prevented from being a parent by their sexual preference or marital status.

If I became pregnant and did not want the child I would feel I had the right to an abortion. What happens if my partner and father of the child, wanted it? My instincts tell me my rights over my own body trump his considerable interest in his own potential child. But does this mean he has no rights over that decision at all?

I feel scenarios such as the above need to be factored into definitions of feminism. I don't believe a father-to-be has the right to prescribe what the mother-to-be eats and drinks. But a father, or father-to-be, has some rights. Otherwise we're not talking about equity.

I don't have set answers to the above but I think these questions should be raised in discussions of feminism.
I've thought about the father's rights aspect of pregnancy...although I sympathize that it's not promoting equity like sybarite said, I don't see how anything could work other than always allowing the woman's decision to trump the father's. It's not a decision that can be made 50-50 -- it's all or nothing. Anything other than giving the woman the final call will result in forced pregancies or abortions.

Perhaps the future will allow an embryo to be easily removed from the mother and given to a interested father for gestation. But until then, I don't think there's much we can do to even the playing field here. I guess if our bodies are not identical, our reproductive rights cannot be identical.

I do think that men get the short end of the stick when it comes to birth control. I've always thought that only having the option of abstinence, condoms or vasectomy is incredibly limiting, especially given that they have no rights after the woman becomes pregnant. And the lack of demand from men is a bit baffling. Though I still don't think this is as important as making sure that all women have access to birth control.

Physical differences affect equity in several professional sports, women earn much less, but how do we increase the public's interest in female athletes when traditional sports emphasize athetic skills that men excel at? We scoff at domestic violence against men, even though it exists. My distaste for war prevents me from even considering putting women on the front lines, but this is not equal either.
I am a feminist because in the year 2006, here we are having to justify the fact that we think women and men should be equal and treated as such.

its how i react to girls gone wild too, but then i think, NO ONE is forcing these stupid girls to be on this show. I do dislike how feminism much of the time completely refuses to factor in personal responsibility for women and has a "women never do anything wrong" type attitude.

Personally, I find it insulting for other feminists to say that women are so messed up by society that we arent responsible AT ALL for our actions.

That being said, if men didnt buy those things, girls wouldnt flash their boobs. But its the chicken and the egg type thing i think. there is no doubt about it that socialization plays a big part, but we were socialized in the same way those girls were but we arent on TV flashing anyone.

who knows, so complicated.
There will always be a ready male audience for that sort of thing, Katie. We simply like looking at it.
Lot, I have the same difficulty regarding women at the front lines. I don't believe anybody should be at the front lines. But it's like that quote I (re)read recently: (paraphrasing) We will only be equal when there are as many women in jail as there are men. Equity is equity, good and bad.
Sybarite, do you think more men are in jail than women because the justice system treats men unfairly? I thought they committed more violent crimes, historically, and that's why the numbers were so skewed. I know women are getting incarcerated in much greater numbers for violent crimes, and especially drug-rekated crime. But I don't think the justice system is necessarily sexist -- though I could be wrong.
as I see it... One distinct difference between Feminism and Humanism is that while humanism is particularly interested in humans, Feminism is particularly interested in the feminine.

While some humans are feminine, not all that is feminine is human. Feminism while focusing on the feminine is into species in its scope.

That is why the exploitation of cows for instance is as fundamentally a feminist issue as any women’s issue. While at the same time the exploitation of cows is of little consequence to humanists.

A feminist perspective sees the exploitation of all females across species as part of a system of masculine supremacy. While humanist see the exploitation of all other species regardless of sex as simply outcome of the needs of human survival.


Supposing men are incarcerated because they are more violent. Could that violence also not be part and parcel of a socialization process that “creates” inequalities? Could it not be the product of the distinct difference in gender expectations and socializations… and therefore still represent unfair bias? First in creating unfair gender expectations, and then in punishing those gendered for acting out through socially mandated gender roles.
Alligator - actually it's more properly ethnocentricity than overt racism, but by the time it slides down into "white man's burden" territory its turned into racism, imo. As for EvoPsych, I wasn't criticising the concept per se, I was questioning certain Humanist uses of it.

Sill thinking about your question.

Hmm and I thought more men were in jail because more of them are the "breadwinners" even in a criminal sense. I looked into stats around infanticide once years ago and women get massively harsher sentences for that than men do, in the UK and US, because the societies assume that it's especially unnatural for women to kill their children.
i just cut and pasted this into notepad, so we don't lose the beginnings of this discussion if archives get eaten in the switchover.

i'm a feminist because it makes no sense to me not to be. if i wasn't a feminist, to me that would be saying that i'm okay with inequality between genders for no good reason.

that said, i'm not of the mind that everyone who isn't for feminism is against feminism, even if they aren't helping the cause. i have a friend who said, rather bluntly, that she was in danger of failing her women's studies class because she didn't feel she was at some insurmountable disadvantage in the world, and that's not fair, either.

on the 'girls gone wild' front, i have a problem because they exploit women and many of them aren't really making the decision. it's the porn equivalent to having sex with someone too drunk to say no. they give these girls free alchohol, get them worked up, and sell them. they are targeted unfairly, and targeted because they are young, pretty women. yeah, they made bad choices, but it's not their fault this industry exists.
I've always thought that if I were drafted into the military, that I would go, and do my duty. Not that I agree with wars or the military complex, but because the prinicple makes sense for me.

I think there's as much wrong with the prison system as there is with the child welfare system...stemming from the same socio-economic issues, but I don't know that I would lay gender inequality on the incarceration issue.
My posts from 7 July got eaten.... sad.gif
Yep, I've got a coupla missing ones too - BUT - how effing great is it that we can ignore trolls?!!!!

That makes me a very happy feminist...its like reclaiming our space here...lovin' the new lounge!
In Canada, women are allowed to serve in active combat, and, in fact, one woman recently died in active combat in Afghanistan recently. Yes, I think if men can serve, women should be able to serve, but it doesn't detract from my firmly held belief that we should not be at war in Afghanistan.

But I also think it was kind of gross that the press acted like she was Mother Theresa, not a soldier who loved the army.
I can't say exactly when I became a feminist. I've always had an active interest in human rights, and i think I probably started calling myself feminist around two and a half years ago. I hadn't previously because the word just didn't come up, and if it did, I didn't understand it yet. Unfortunatly it's something that just gets glossed over completely.

Important matters to me are very similar to girlbomb's as well. Contraception, abortion, rape, feminist mothering, prostitution and sex work, poverty, health, workplace equality...the list goes on, but these are the issues that for one reason or another come first for me for the most part. Although I agree with almost everything everyone has said.

I disagree with calling myself a humanist as well. I mean, I wish I could and I wish it was enough. The 'humanist' reaction is one I often get when telling people i'm feminist..."why don't you just call yourself humanist?" Because we're not their yet. The same reason that universities have to have a seperate program called "Women's Studies" and not "gender studies" or "human studies". I hope that some day we will be there, but we ain't yet.
I haven't had time to read this thread yet, b/c I've been away (and then the Lounge was gone!), but I do want to.

I also want to say that:

I am a feminist because I am a woman who has experienced and/or witnessed other women and girls experience: violence, abuse, harassment, discrimination, poverty, an unjust burden of labour, and other forms of oppression, because of our gender.

I am a feminist because I believe it's possible to transform how gender is perceived and treated by the world.
QUOTE(nohope @ Jul 8 2006, 12:03 AM) *

Supposing men are incarcerated because they are more violent. Could that violence also not be part and parcel of a socialization process that “creates” inequalities? Could it not be the product of the distinct difference in gender expectations and socializations… and therefore still represent unfair bias? First in creating unfair gender expectations, and then in punishing those gendered for acting out through socially mandated gender roles.

What part would testosterone play into that violence, along with socialization and upbringing?
Earlier on in this thread, we were asked what were our feminist priorities?
I've had a think about this. I reckon education is mine.
I don't mean at it's highest level. I mean girls of average intellect being taught skills/led to vocations where they have the same earning power as men.
Whilst at school, non-academic boys are veered towards practical subjects and training where they can eventually earn decent wages, ie, mechanics, carpentry etc.
In my day, (things may well have changed since then) the girls were just fobbed off with a typing course, and their expectations raised not much higher than the local call-centre.

And, yeah, reproduction rights. Without the bullying would be nice.

Hmm...chicks in chokey...What about female law-breakers with custody of children? isn't it unfair to incarcerate them, and deprive a child of it's mother? After all, it's the mother should be punished, not them.
I'm assuming (Oh shit, sweeping statement alert) that a fair proportion of female criminals are single mothers.

QUOTE(lot49 @ Jul 6 2006, 07:09 AM) *

great thoughts, everybody. great thread. Still! <BR> <BR>It makes me sad when I have to define why I'm a feminist. Not in this thread, but by someone who doesn't consider themselves a feminist. <BR> <BR>These are all actual reactions I've gotten from people: <BR> <BR>I'm a feminist. Why, do you hate men? <BR>I'm a feminist. Are you a lesbian? <BR>I'm a feminist. *Scared look* <BR>I'm a feminist. You just haven't met the right guy yet. <BR>I'm a feminist. You're just afraid of what will happen if you succumb to passion. (I'm paraphrasing that one -- poorly, unfortunately, since the actual quote was really funny and pathetic.) <BR> <BR>I don't mind defining my quirks or more unusual beliefs. But feminism is not a quirk -- it is natural and just common sense for anyone who is a woman or has women who they love in their lives. <BR> <BR>Having seen the f-word itself degrade to its current caricatured and unpopular state makes me incredibly sad.

That's why so many young women, women who grew up with feminism either through their mothers, schooling, media, whatever, are still reluctant to use the word. Feminism = hairy-legged, man-hating lesbians. "I'm not a feminist, but..." a) I want equal pay cool.gif my right to an abortion c) don't make lewd remarks about my breasts or ass when I'm crossing the street to buy a newspaper.... You are a feminist.

"You're just afraid of what will happen if you succumb to passion" (Excuse me while I scream--and laugh.)

I'm lucky in that I grew up around a lot of strong women, not only my matrilineal heritage, but teachers too (as backward as this sounds, some of the strongest women I knew growing up were the nuns that taught me in grammar school). My mom tells me she raised me too well, and I get the "too aggressive" or "angry chick" label. Another stupid stereotype: feminists are always so angry. Any anger in women is seen as "too much." It's pathetic how little we've progressed.

I go back and forth on this stuff all the time. I dont mean about if I'm a feminist, I always have been and always will be....but I change my mind about what KIND of feminist I am.

Take the Girls Gone Wild thing. At first I was furious at the girls, I was like "what idiots! They dont even ask for money?! Dont they know how they are representing women?!" Then I realize, hell, I've certainly had times where I've had too much to drink, got horny and kissed my girlfriends, there just wasnt a camera around,..and then I think about how most of the girls on those tapes are from the south, and prolly had the religious right breathing down their necks, telling them that girls should be 'good' and 'virtuous'.. putting shame on girls who express their sexuality,.. so then I feel all "hey! We have the same right as guys to get drunk and make mistakes! And shoot! If I wanna show my tits I'm gonna! Try and stop me!!!"
Then I go back to the thing about how these girls arent making a dime off this and some jerkoff has two jets because of these girls. Then I think, I dunno, maybe its better that they dont get paid. Proves that they were having fun and thats payment enough. I have sex and dont expect to get paid for it.

So, yeah, I'm undecided on things like that.
What I am sure about is that I'm pro-sex education, pro-birth control and abortion access, pro-equal rights in work and education, and pro-women being mothers and housewives if they so choose. Oh, and to be a dirty slut if they so choose as well. ;p
curioushair, the topic of women and anger interests me. It's amazing to me that women are still not "allowed" to be angry. (Don't you hate it when random guys are always going up to women and saying, "Why don't you smile?" I always want to say, "Why, would that make you less uncomfortable?")

It seems to me that anger is often the one emotion women are not allowed to feel and express, while anger is often the one emotion men are ALLOWED to feel and express. To the detriment of both/all genders.

But jeez, whenever I read or hear a woman described as "oh, just another angry feminist," I think, why SHOULDN'T women be angry? It's not safe to walk the streets at night for many people, but for EXTRA reasons because of our gender. AND when women start doing better than men in university, the world starts freaking out as though somehow men are in crisis because women are showing an ability to achieve - but meanwhile, statistically, men are still getting the higher-paying jobs when they leave university, and nobody is treating that like a crisis for women. We get crappier wages, we're more likely to be poor than men, we're STILL stuck with the majority burden of childrearing and homekeeping, the majority of our "value" is often STILL placed on our appearance, we are discriminated against in many situations, and we are more likely to experience abuse, assault, and harassment. Why SHOULDN'T I be angry about any of that? And hell, let's leave aside what happens to other women - why shouldn't I be angry when that kind of abuse, discrimination, and oppression happens to ME, because I'm a woman? Why shouldn't I be angry?

Yes, I'm angry. I'm angry that it's 2006 and we still have to fight these old, old battles. AND I'm angry that many people insist that gender equality has already been achieved, when anyone who opens their eyes to reality can see that we haven't even come close yet.

Of all the progress the feminist movement has achieved, I don't think any of it happened because feminists "played nice." Everything women have gained has come after struggle and strife, and considering the resistance that is still put up against the notion of "gender inclusion," I can't see that changing in the near future.
Yes, it's the way "angry" is perceived when it's followed by "feminist." People who use their anger to inspire them to fight world hunger or beat cancer or go up against a huge corporation to "fight for what's right" are heros who are then turned into inspirational movies. It's no different for a woman who gets angry about violence against women and is inspired to protest or raise money for the issue, yet the perception -- that her motivation stems from her own personal unhappiness and hatred of men -- is significantly different.

WORD , Doodle. I hate that "Why don't you smile?" shit. I'm not here for anyone's amusement but my own, dagnabbit.
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