Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The feminist I am


Cat's out of the bag. I'm a feminist. A big one.

Call me a feminazi, if you must, like the term hasn't been rendered completely meaningless* due to over-use, it's fine. I can handle it.

But what I can't handle is people who don't identify as feminists telling me what it means to be one.

So I thought I'd clear a few things up.

When you've met one feminist, you have not, in fact, met them all. Please don't tell me anecdotes about that crazy bitch you know (paraphrasing) to pretend some kind of expertise on the subject.

Like any school of thought, there are a multitude of different viewpoints amongst people who identify as feminists. Crazy I know, but feminism is not some monolith where every person who calls themselves one believes the exact same thing.

But I can't speak for other feminists, only me, so I thought I'd share my own personal brand of feminism.

--I will never make statements about how much I love men so you don't think I'm a man-hater. What do you want me to say, "I don't hate men, I have a boyfriend?" That sounds familiar somehow, but I can't quite put my finger on it.

--I don't think every decision a woman makes is empowering because a woman is making the decision, but I also don't believe in judging how another woman chooses to live her life, unless she is harming others.

--I don't care if you're a stay-at-home mom. It's not an affront to my sensibilities. Taking care of kids is hard work. Keeping a house in order is hard work. Anybody who has done either knows that, and anyone (male or female, because I have most definitely heard this statement from sexist men) who suggests that staying at home is "opting out" is an asshole.

--I believe in rape culture. You don't? I'd like to live in your reality.

--I don't think songs like this are romantic. (Though don't mistake that for me saying I don't like the Pistol Annies, because I love me some Miranda Lambert). But I don't need flowers gathered from some field. I need a man's support and help in actual, tangible ways.

--I hate that popular female celebrities find it so hard to call themselves feminists, but like, Katy Perry, I believe in the strength of women.

--I also believe in the strength of men, which is why I reject the notion popular to rape apologists that men don't have self-control.

--I find it funny when anti-feminists make statements about how feminists are just the ugly girls who can't get ahead in life because they're so ugly and bitter, without recognizing how much that statement illustrates the importance of feminism.

--Articles like this rub me the wrong way. I'm not going to make excuses for shitty behavior on the parts of women because we are taught by society to compete against each other for male attention. I won't disagree with that, but I know so many women who have rejected such behavior, that I know it's not an inevitability for women to be horrible to each other, and I'm not going to hold some women to different standards than I hold myself.

--At the same time, being a feminist does not mean I have to like every other woman on this earth. I don't.

--It also doesn't mean that harmless criticism = not supporting women.

--I don't think Miley Cyrus parading around in skimpy clothes on stage is detrimental to the feminist "cause," but I also don't think it does anything for feminism. I applaud her for not giving a fuck, but I also think there are areas where she should probably give a few more fucks.

--I don't think Taylor Swift is a feminist's nightmare because she's an old-fashioned romantic, but I do think she has some really stupid lyrics in some of her songs that reinforce tired gender stereotypes and the slut-shamey stuff needs to go. How a person can constantly sing about the taken boy she wants while simultaneously villainizing women who steal her boyfriend without batting an eye boggles my mind. Taylor, self-awareness. Self-awareness, meet Taylor.

--Feminists like to tell non-feminists that feminism is simply the belief that women are human, that we're equal to men. I don't agree. Why? Because Sarah Palin would agree to that statement (that women are equal to men) and not for one second do I believe that she's a feminist. We have to have a basic set of standards that are a little more complex than just women being equal to men, or it's completely meaningless.

--Straight men can be feminists without it meaning that they are "whipped" or "pussies." And while we're at it, stop using the word pussy to mean weak. In fact, let's talk about this. Do you (person who uses the word pussy) really not think it's messed up that to praise someone you tell them what huge balls they have and liken them to a man, and to insult someone you tell them they are a vagina and liken them to a woman? Can you tell me with a straight face that that says nothing about the society we live in?

--I don't want to hear your opinion of women who sleep around. I give zero shits.

--I don't use the word slut as an insult, ever. It's an unbelievably sexist term and there is no equivalent word to describe men who sleep around that even comes close to holding the same amount of power.

--I want my nieces to live in a world where they won't be told they're worth less because of how they dress, who they socialize with, or where they work. 

--I wrote an open letter to female rape apologists, but that shouldn't be mistaken for me believing that they are the problem when discussing rape. I wrote it because I find it to be discouraging, but I wholeheartedly believe that the key to decreasing rape is not in how women respond to other women, but in teaching would-be rapists (who are, in general, not the shadowy stranger, but the person you know) that they are not entitled to other people's bodies. If we want to talk about the "entitlement" problem we have in the US, let's talk about rape.

--Lastly, I hate when women call their romantic partners "my lover." Does that have to do with feminism? Probably not, but I really, really hate it.
*Just kidding. The word has always been as meaningless as the person who coined it. 



  1. oh wow, I love this, and agree with just about all of it. Especially the rape culture. Although I just can't get behind anything the Miley does. Because I think that like Taylor Swift, she reinforces certain gender stereotypes.

  2. omg do i love this!!! i am a feminist too. we ALL should be. people just don't get it. so agree with your take on miley cyrus as well. and really all of this.

  3. I heart this list so much. I hate that some celebrities avoid identifying as feminist; it just promotes misunderstandings about what feminism is. And I'd like to add (similar to the ball/pussy dichotomy) using 'girly/girl' as an insult - for men and women.

  4. Great post, but now I've wasted a good half hour at work reading articles on Jezebel (mostly about T.Swift, and the people who get pissed off when someone disses her).

  5. A really great post... I agree with *most* of the stuff here and also consider myself a feminist! (As done Adam, by the way.) It's nice to see someone put into words many of the things I feel.


  6. Yeah, Miley can definitely be hard to defend. I just don't want to pile-on her for being overtly sexual, but anything else she does (like that Jezebel group-think article I linked) is pretty much fair game for criticism.

  7. I wish there was a love button because this post deserves it. I also don't believe a woman who sleeps around is a slut. I have argued with men who classify Samantha from SATC as a slut.

  8. I definitely agree more people should identify as feminists. I mean I get that there are plenty of legitimate criticisms against mainstream feminism, but most people who claim not to be one show a complete and utter lack of understanding of what feminism actually is.

  9. I HATE when people say stuff like, "stop acting like a little girl." Shut up, just shut up. And you can even see in that one link where female celebrities have no idea what they are talking about when it comes to feminism. They just don't want to pegged as a man-hater.

  10. Haha. Despite my issues with some of her lyrics, I love Taylor Swift, so I just roll my eyes when Jezebel has yet another post about her, but I can't handle how to so many Jezebel commenters, having a less than glowing take-down of a female celebrity is betraying feminism. If I read one more "stop tearing women down" comment, I'm going to throw up (or something).

  11. Thanks, Kate! I always find it interesting to hear why someone else is a feminist and I definitely don't expect everyone to agree with every point on this post. It's just so obnoxious when non-feminists act like every single feminist thinks the exact same way. Yeah, nope.

  12. Thanks, dear. I've loved you since your slut-shaming post.

  13. Aw that's awesome. Too bad I couldn't have been there to back you up. She has lots of sex, who cares? She's safe about it and honest. Find something else to worry about it.

  14. Oh don't get me wrong, I love me some Tay Tay! I get fascinated with the way people seem to think of her in extremes, like either you don't like her, or you have a total meltdown if someone says something bad about her.

  15. Wild applause. Specifically on the balls/pussy point. I mean come on.

  16. I knew I liked you when you spelled "macaron" correctly (why don't people get that macarons and macaroons are completely different sweet treats?). Anyway, I like you even more now. Awesome post.

    And I hate the term "lover," too.

  17. Love this! I had a conversation with my family (other women, if you'll believe it), where I had to explain why a word like "slut" or "skank" that is typically used in a derogatory manner cannot be used as an objective term to describe someone or what they're wearing. Seriously! Let's stop judging each other's clothes and private lives and go enjoy our own!

  18. Thanks, Jenn! And, AMEN. Who cares how another woman dresses? I mean, really? Do we really think a woman is a bad person because she shows too much cleavage? It's so silly.