Sunday, April 06, 2008
I'll be the judge of your "feminist"-ness, damn it!
So in my last post I admitted my disgust at the idea of Heidi Montag as this generation's feminist hero... One of my favorite gals, Adrienne gave me a "finger wag" in the comment sections. And maybe I needed it. She is very right when she asks, who's to say what makes you feminist or not?
So that got me thinking and if I'm being 100% honest I do believe there are some issues that DO kick you out of the feminist club.
#1 Being anti-choice
A real feminist recognizes that women have the right to bodily autonomy and forced childbirth is inhumane.
#2 Being negative toward women who go to work
Not all women want to stay home raising kids 24/7 and an even greater number can't afford to do it.
#3 Judging women who stay home
Feminism is about choices. If you want to be the one raising your children, that's a perfectly reasonable and respectable choice. Hell, if you greet your husband in an apron, that's your choice-- as long as you're doing it for YOU.
#4 Being racist
You can't claim to be progressive and at the same time buy into horrible racist stereotypes. In the Montag post, a commenter said, "I am a feminist and voting for McCain. I believe winning the war against fascist, androcentric Islam is more important than educating children on rubbers."-- First off, anytime you scoff at preventing unplanned pregnancy or stopping the spread of disease, I tend to distrust your intelligence. When you describe an entire religion as "fascist" and "androcentric" I'm thinking you're not progressive at all. Nice try, anonymous.
#5 Being homophobic
Anyone who claims they don't get into gay rights because they find it "icky," well, they might as well surrender their feminist card right now. For me, feminism is a fight to end intolerance. Ending oppression of the GLBT community should be important to a feminist.
#6 Believing that there are some rights inherent only to men
Any time I hear someone make claims that men should lead the household or "man's work" vs. "women's work," I want to scream. Women shouldn't need to "know their place." Every place is a woman's place so STEP OFF!
Part II: Here is a list of issues that in my opinion, shouldn't make or break a feminist.
Following Beauty culture
Whether you wear make-up or not, shave your legs or not, wear a bra or not-- either way -- to me it doesn't matter. Even when it comes to plastic surgery (which I find very sad that so many women feel the need to alter their bodies with painful surgery) -- it still doesn't mean you forfeit your feminist card.
If you want to get married or not, if you want to take your husband's name after marriage... these are your choices as feminists and as long as your aren't marrying an abusive asshole who believes that a husband has the right to spank you you should be fine!
If you're atheist, Muslim, Jewish, Christian it shouldn't matter. I think its pretty obvious that any dogma can be bent to marginalize women but spirituality and faith can also be used by feminists to support their cause and give them strength. It shouldn't matter what beliefs you do or do not ascribe to.
Pornography has long been a touchy subject for feminists and I don't like to touch the topic with a ten foot pole. Here's my super-duper condensed opinion: Some women enjoy porn, some women find it offensive and those decisions are pretty personal. I would hope we can all agree that any pornography featuring violence against women or any porn that sexualizes children is pretty damn offensive. When it comes to your regular old, Jenna Jameson stuff.... I think the door is open to discussion. It's no secret that the sex industry is home to a lot of women who've suffered sexual abuse in the past... but I like to think there are outlets for sexual expression that are healthy and fun for adults to enjoy.
Well those are my examples for now. I'd like to know some of your "deal breakers" when it comes to being a feminist. Or what you think shouldn't matter... Please leave comments.
Coming Soon: My review of Obama/Clinton rally in North Dakota!