Oh Oh, She's Back on Her Soapbox Again

Yes, here it comes, a small but significant rant.

I have a problem, a bone to pick with some of you. I am beyond tired of women saying they are not feminists. "Oh, I'm not one of those(pause) feminists(said in a slight whisper)," they utter, like their name might be added to a black list somewhere.

A woman saying she is not a feminist is like a human saying they are ambivalent about oxygen. When did feminism become the exclusive bastion of man-hating, "men and women are the same," sensible shoe-wearing, eschewers of deodorant?

Can you be a stay at home mom and a feminist?
Uh, are you at home because it works for your family or because you think a woman's place is in the home?

Can you load the dishwasher while your husband/wife/life partner fills your car with gas and still be a feminist?
Division of labor is a fact of life and if it so happens that the "man" likes to do the more traditionally "male" tasks and the "woman" wants to sit on the couch and eat bonbons whilst thumbing through her dog-eared Germaine Greer treatise well fair is fair.

Can you don pigtails, stilettos and layers of thick, pink lip gloss in the bedroom and still be a feminist?
I say, yes we can.

For those of you who say well I'm not a feminist, do you even know what a feminist is?
Feminism is the idea that women should have political, social, legal, sexual, intellectual and economic rights equal to those of men.(look it's in pink, see you can be girly and still be feminist.)

Pray tell, what part of this sounds like a bad idea?

Thanks to feminists we can vote and take part in the political process, we can serve in the political realm. We can own property, we can get educations and further developments in science and medicine. We can pursue scholarly goals and assert our legal rights when there is injustice. We can use our voices to carry the message of women around the world that have no voice. We can drive cars and own homes and build our retirement even if we choose to be single. And at least for now, we can make decisions, even difficult, heart wrenching decisions with regard to our health and reproduction.
So why is feminism a dirty word for so many women?

Do you think people should be paid differently for doing the same job?
Do you think a woman should not be allowed to own property?
Do you think women shouldn't do certain jobs?
Do you think women should not have the same educational opportunities as men?

If you answered no to these questions, then you, my friend are a feminist.

I will leave the reproductive freedom out of this because I think you can be against abortion on principle and still be a feminist in practice. For me, reproductive freedom is an integral part of the equation of equality but let's be frank, no one likes abortion. I respect people for whom this issue is a difficult one fraught with religious doctrine and social ambiguity. I am certainly not "pro-abortion' but I have always considered this the most personal of decisions and not one I would ever like someone to make for me or for me to make for another person. I have to ask, is this issue the major holdback?

And guess what guys, feminism, it's not just for women anymore.

FormerlyFun's Manifesto on Why Feminism is Good for Men

-Your educated woman makes a mighty fine partner in a neighborly game of Trivial Pursuit and a suitable rival in Balderdash.

-That whole reading/writing thing comes in handy when you need someone to program the GPS while you drive.

-Bound feet rather unattractive shoeless.

-More opportunities outside the home equals less neurasthenia.

-She can now work in the higher paying battery department at Johnson Controls.

-Women look hot when they are voting.

-She won't lose her job just because you knock her up.

-If women couldn't go to college we wouldn't have movies like Revenge of the Nerds or Animal House.

-Access to contraception is sexy.

-Repression is a downer.

-More women burning bras = more women braless.

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Ginny said... June 12, 2009 at 1:48 PM  

Women look hot when they're voting?

Oh god, I can't wait till the next election. I am TOTALLY going to pull a Flashdance in that voting booth. What a feeling, indeed.

formerly fun said... June 12, 2009 at 1:53 PM  

I'll bring the ripped sweatshirts and bucket of water.

OneZenMom said... June 12, 2009 at 7:38 PM  

Sing it, Sister Suffregette! :)

followthatdog said... June 12, 2009 at 10:07 PM  

Thank you! I've been wondering why all these women my age are so unwilling to use the "f" word. (No not THAT "f" word) How can you take advantage of all of the steps toward equality our mothers and grandmothers worked so hard to get us and then refuse to revel in being a feminist as well? Seriously wrong.

Anonymous said... June 13, 2009 at 9:47 AM  

A few semesters ago, I took an ethics class taught by a wonderful professor whom I respect greatly. The text was far from the ordinary ethics tome, dealing instead with traditional ethical issues while offering perspectives from women and "minorities."

It was in that class that I realized that I may just be a male feminist. Issues demand a look from all angles, and we do a disservice to ourselves if we stick to the well-trodden roads . . .

Great post!

Gwen said... June 13, 2009 at 12:35 PM  

I love when you get on your soapbox! After watching Iron Jawed Angels, I couldn't help but respect what those brave women did not that long ago so that I could have all the freedoms I have now. I think woman who talk negatively about feminism misunderstand what it actually is. I think some feminists misunderstand what it is. It's not about hating men, or making women feel bad for being stay at home moms. The truth is, if a woman feels like her place is in the home, that's ok too. It's her choice to think that way about her own life. It's quite another to judge somebody else for their choices. This was a great post and very important.

A Free Man said... June 14, 2009 at 4:46 PM  

What if I answered 'no' to two of the four questions?

A Free Man said... June 14, 2009 at 4:46 PM  

Just yanking your chain, FF.

Captain Steve said... June 15, 2009 at 7:02 AM  

I've heard rumors of this anti-feminism in the younglings. I'm with you, dude. Rant away!

I'm Nate's Mom said... June 15, 2009 at 7:30 AM  

One of my favorite feminist/humorists, Gina Barrecca, delivered this line Jeff Foxworthy-style: "If you believe women should be allowed to use cutlery, you might be a feminist." Love her. Really, it's so basic, it's stupid. I went to an all-women's college, I'm now a stay-at-home mom. Still a feminist, and teaching my kids what it means.

Gypsy said... June 15, 2009 at 7:33 AM  

Halleluiah and amen!

~Mountain Lover~ said... June 15, 2009 at 7:36 AM  

That whole feminazi term coined by Rush Limbaugh pisses me off. What a complete misrepresentation of feminism.

Like Gwen mentioned- after seeing Iron Jawed Angels and really truly understanding what our great grandmothers before us had to do to for women's suffrage- that we've had to fight for every single right that we've earned such as the right to not be beaten by our husbands or the right to not have kids by way of birth control, etc.- it just pisses me off when someone as horrible as Limbaugh can diminish that with one phrase and mount a battle against women's rights.

As you stated, FF, Feminism isn't about eliminating choices in our life but providing choices to do and be what we want.

Arizaphale said... June 15, 2009 at 9:59 AM  

You are such a crack-up!
I must say though, it pisses me off when men use feminism as an excuse for not cleaning the gutters :-)

Rassles said... June 15, 2009 at 1:46 PM  

Holla. It's about the acceptance of interests and goals, and having them held in equal importance with men. It's about equal performance standards, when we're excellent and when we're fuck ups. It's about not being reduced to one-dimensional stereotypes. It's about being viewed as a contributing member of society whether you've chosen to be a lawyer, an actress, a teacher, a soldier, or a stay at home mom.

We know I'm obsessed with this.

You dominate.

GirlGriot said... July 9, 2009 at 10:17 PM  

Excellent rant! I nominated this for the June Just Posts (ok, a little late, but Alejna might still be able to slip this onto the list).

I'm so over all this "I'm not a feminist" crap. So short-sighted and just plain stupid. You, Ms. FF, rock.

(Ha! And how excellent that my word verification is "rocko"!)

Cold Spaghetti said... July 10, 2009 at 8:48 PM  

Love it!!

There's a book by Susan Douglas, "Where the Girls Are" with a whole chapter titled, "I'm not a feminist, but..."

We turned it into the class final exam. Chose one sentence and finish it through essay... either "I'm not a feminist, but..." or "I'm a feminist, but..."

GirlGriot said... July 10, 2009 at 9:36 PM  

Oh, Holly, I like that. I might have to take that assignment and work with it in September when classes start up again!

Raving Raconteure said... September 23, 2009 at 6:57 PM  

In my opinion, women are afraid to call themselves feminists, because they don't want men to think they are feminazis. What a bunch of crap.

Anyway, a well thought out and written post. You put into words what thousands of us feminists feel. =)

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