Whether to Call Yourself a Feminist

I can’t be the only woman in America struggling with whether or not to call herself a “feminist.”

Deep in my heart, I know things still aren’t equal. I’ve heard my own points come out of a guy’s mouth a little while later and be taken more seriously.

I’ve had people demand proof that I was ever in the Army, because they thought I looked like I’d grown up taking ballet. They’re later skeptical that women really endured boot camp alongside men, since they assume we go to an easier, sillier boot camp where we run around playing soldier while the boys do all the heavy lifting.

I’ve seen comments threads, over and over, demanding that women close their legs instead of asking why we’re the only developed country in the world without paid maternity leave.

And I’ve seen the endless Men’s Rights Activist rants about how we should appreciate our privileged position of being incredibly powerful until age 22, when our sexual currency declines and men can trade in their garnered resources for child brides overseas. I see their worldview… we’re too slutty, yet too high and mighty to sleep with every nice guy. We should understand their biological drives to bed the youngest woman available, yet any concern on our part to secure a committed man with a decent job is not a biological drive to protect our offspring, but the mark of a gold-digger who doesn’t understand her true place as an ego-stroking sandwich-maker…

 

I hate the idea of not showing female solidarity, since women have had more than a few issues with it. The suffragettes had such a simple and logical plan: there are more women than men, so if women get the vote, we can create a more female-friendly world…

It made perfect sense, without accounting for how much women hate each other. We should be able to do whatever we want, if we were only on the same page. Minorities don’t have the numbers, but we do.

I hate the idea of not voting with my fellow women, and I know what life used to be like: women had no political power, weren’t allowed in many workplaces, couldn’t have a bank account or open credit cards… they had to stay faithful to men who might cheat on them and beat them, because otherwise they’d starve.

Many women fought long and hard to change these circumstances, and the last thing I want to do is disrespect them.

But now… the whole idea of feminism has changed into something else. Instead of trying for equal opportunity, it’s become synonymous with hating men. I don’t hate men at all. We actually get along quite well, most of the time.

Still, we’ve reached a point where only the most radical extremists still openly call themselves “feminists,” and by giving yourself that label, you become part of that group.

The other day, I was part of a weird discussion about whether feminists wear heels (I do). A guy said that he didn’t care whether women wore heels or not before a self-proclaimed feminist came unglued by the idea that he was dictating what women should wear.

At this point, I was torn between showing female solidarity and pointing out that she’s being ridiculous. I took his side, then felt bad about it while woman after woman came forth to talk about why feminists are crazy and how women should always be wearing the more attractive shoe designs, since men have to go off to war.

Ugh. What if I want equal opportunity, but don’t want to lock men out of the discussion by accusing them of “mansplaining” every time they make a point?

I’m thinking that maybe we should listen to those points without caring about anyone’s genitals. I mean, if another woman said it doesn’t matter whether  women wear heels, no one would care.

But if someone said, “Women should never be allowed in math or science professions, because their brains aren’t capable of rational thought,” I’d be pissed. It wouldn’t matter whether a man or woman uttered it.

How did we reach this point? The point where you’re either denying that women and men are different at all, or you’re brushing up your sandwich skills?

Can we just admit that it’s okay to want to get married and have a baby and wear a dress sometimes, even if we shouldn’t be forced to?

Can we agree that there may be some general differences between the sexes, but they don’t apply to everyone?

Or maybe that liking lipgloss doesn’t necessarily mean you’re bad at geometry?

I’ve seen men so stupid that I knew I could intellectually mop the floor with them talk about how women should accept their relative idiocy with the compensating appeals of being a valued bedpost notch, and I’ve seen militant women so drunk on their dreams of victimization that they’ve uncovered oppression in harmless words… I don’t know what side to take anymore, or why there even have to be sides at all.

The problem with claiming we’re exactly the same, is that any evidence to the contrary undermines our argument.

And the problem with admitting we’re different, is that the separate-but-equal ideology never ends up being fair. Maybe invoking female roles beyond underaged, virginal fembots who fetch your shoes would make embracing our femininity seem more tempting.

I just wish we liked each other better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

13 thoughts on “Whether to Call Yourself a Feminist

    1. I don’t entirely disagree with you, as I mentioned in my post. Sometimes I think modern feminism is actually a subconscious attempt to finally get women on the same team… we’re used to being enemies.

      Like

      1. Absolutely. No argument here. It’s brutal, if you want to know the honest truth.

        I just read a study that said women who are successful don’t promote other women. Even if we make it, we don’t help each other.

        As a women, I’ll honestly say this is TRUE. We have close friendships, but other women treat us as the enemy. Ugh, I’ve spent much of my life trying to be friends with women, not wanting to be the kind of woman who says she gets along better with men…. which has been the case.

        You reach a point where you want to support other women because it’s the right thing to do, but they keep stabbing you in the back. This may be one of the most fundamental dilemmas of being female.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Probably true. Men do make a huge point about our appearances, but when I think about any personal insecurities I have, it’s nearly always another woman who said something negative. We smack each other down all the time.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Patriarchy is so clever–makes women have to compete with each other for position, husbands, and now jobs (guess it means less competition for them…hmm…).

    Maybe it helps explain the vicious cycles in patriarchical societies with the mother in law abusing her daughter in law. I never understood that, i mean, that mother in law was in that naive, younger woman’s position–didn’t she remember how that felt? I guess it’s a power play, someone without authority finally getting a measure of it and using it. The fight for control is so crappy–why can’t we find a way to raise us all up?

    Great post–sorry if not making sense, getting tired and need sleep.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I understand what you mean! I later wrote about this insane competition in my post: Why Women Hate Each Other.

      There are some people in this world who experience a bad thing and want to things things so fewer people have to deal with it. And then there are some people who experience a bad thing and resent the idea that anyone would have it easier… they want everyone to struggle as much as they did. You see it in the military a lot: people who pick on new recruits because they’ve “earned it.” Or schools, with the big kids bullying the littler ones.

      Maybe that has something to do with it. Or the divide and conquer mentality.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My mother is a first-generation college student, and a medical doctor. She started under another doctor. She worked so hard she pinched a nerve in her hand, stopping her from practicing obstetrics.

    She then founded a charity and ran it until its branches fell apart because of tax issues. She now runs her own doctor’s office specializing in gynecology.

    She has employees under her and has always made vastly more money than my stay-at-home dad, who was caught in a hiring freeze when they moved to where I live before I was born.

    She is a strong woman who was abused by her father, and still has flashbacks, but refuses to take out that anger on me and my siblings.

    In 1917, she’d be considered a mad, radical feminist. In 2017, she’s considered a stuffy conservative. I take the same stance.

    The modern feminist movement is absolutely abhorrent to her, and most of my family. She doesn’t, nor ever will call herself a “feminist,” even though, in the older sense of the word, she is one to the core. She took that stance over 25 years ago when she did her first and last abortion procedure and threw up in disgust and shame for weeks afterward. She voted for Trump, calling Clinton a dangerous criminal.

    So, which type of “feminist” are you? The raging, man-hating abortionist that marched theough Washington complaining about the “glass ceiling” while forgetting that Janet Yellen is the most powerful person in the world,

    or the hard worker, prayer, boss, breadwinner who doesn’t take sh*t from anyone?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like your mother is an amazing woman with a lot of pluck to stand by her convictions.

      You’re also really touching on some of the problems with modern feminism. It comes with a lot of baggage and I definitely don’t always agree with the party line… if we define feminism as wanting equal opportunity and dignity for both genders, for example, then I’m definitely a feminist.

      I also fully support stay-at-home dads and the right to equal opportunity in the workforce. However, I’m not on board with demonizing men (as some fringe feminists do), or blaming them for the world’s problems, or with criticizing women for behaving traditionally (it was supposed to be about choice in the first place).

      I have a particular beef with feminists who appear anti-family. That doesn’t apply to all of them, but I’ve heard/read/seen many feminists who criticize women for having children and believe its fair for them to face workplace discrimination. This attitude makes me very angry.

      For the sake of full disclosure, I am pro-choice.
      At least in the very early stages of pregnancy. It has been my stance that many pro-life advocates seem contradictory by not standing behind measures to help deal with pregnancies during difficult situations.

      However, I’ve also recently talked to some pro-life advocates who DO seem open to policies that would help–such as offering universal prenatal care, subsidized daycare and workplace protections. I think we could reach common ground and believe that refusing to talk with them is a terrible idea.

      Either way, women are obviously not in agreement about these issues and there doesn’t seem to be a good place for more moderate women who are neither feminist extremists, nor pure traditionalists. I’m hoping we can start a more reasonable movement.

      Like

      1. Pre-contraception and prenatal care should be a right to American Citizens by now, but when the treatment that costs $50 in Africa, $200 in Europe, and $1,000 in the US because of trusts and monopolies, people are going to be dying of managable conditions like AIDS before things change. Pelosi’s 2000 page pile of crap only seems to favor big, blue states. I hope Sessions’ badly named pile of crap is less crappy. Alabama was hit pretty hard by the ACA.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I absolutely agree with you about offering contraception and free prenatal care. It seems like this would save us an enormous amount of money, in addition to just being decent.

        I didn’t realize Pelosi’s proposals favored blue states at all, but that may be because I live in a blue state. I will say I think the Dem’s current strategy of ignoring large swaths of the country has been incredibly foolish. I also understand how it comes across as elitist and I’ve been arguing with other Dems about it for the past year.

        The state of health care in this country is definitely not in a good place.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s