I’m not sure what it means to be a feminist anymore. With all the good and bad that’s happened since the first suffragettes took up the fight, I’m not sure if wearing lipstick is a call to arms or a betrayal of everything we stand for. I know I try my best every day, I know some days can feel like a prizefight, and I know I make compromises that I don’t always feel comfortable making. I know I think about what makeup I’ll put on based on what I’ve got to deal with during the day. I know I think about what to wear because I need a feminine look to counteract my aggressive demeanor. I know I think every day about how people will perceive me as a woman, and what impact that will have on my job, and I tailor my appearance accordingly. I don’t know if that’s a step forward or a step back. What I know is that I’m a woman, I believe in what I’m doing, and I try to do the right thing both as a woman and as a professional. Does anyone else wonder if you can do both?
There’s been a sort of Mad Men effect on women’s fashion and beauty in the past few years, and I think there’s been a Mad Men effect on the perception of women in general as well. You might think I mean that women are seen as more submissive because of this, but I don’t. I think (and have mercy because I don’t have a television, so I’m going by what people say) that seeing women confronted with starker examples of sexism than the more subtle forms we deal with today has advanced the feminist cause by showing that we face a real struggle. It was clearer when men swilled liquor and puffed on cigars, but it’s still there, and you can hear echoes from the show in office halls and boardrooms today. For instance, any woman who works in a male-dominated profession knows that acting confident is going to get you labeled as a bitch. It doesn’t matter that it isn’t true. What matters is that, when you beat a man, that’s the easiest road for him to take to try to bring you down. People who are worth beating don’t say things like that, but statistically speaking, the people who say things like that are the ones you’re most likely to beat, so you have to get used to it. But let me say it here, so there’s no mistake: IT ISN’T TRUE.
Some days, I acknowledge, I’m a bitch. Some days I’m your best friend. Sometimes I watch sad movies just so I can cry at them, and sometimes I pick a fight because it’s been too quiet and I want to make things interesting. I’m a woman. I’m a professional. I’m a feminist, and I’m feminine. I’m every bit as good as you are, and if you underestimate me, I’ll grab you by the neck and wipe the floor with your face, so why don’t you just try me and see if I’m bluffing. I’ll do it in lipstick and heels, because I like to look good when I kick ass, and I’ll do it in a poufy skirt because I think they’re pretty. I’ll do it in front of your girlfriend because she might as well find out now. I’ll do it in front of your friends so they’ll think twice before they start anything with me. I’ll do it because I want to, because it makes me happy, because it’s who I am. Don’t think for a second that I’ll hesitate to do it because someone else won’t like it. I’ve been doing this for a while now, and I’m telling you: I get the best results when I act like what I am. A woman, a person, a fighter. Me.
8 thoughts on “Am I A Feminist Or Not? You Tell Me”
It’s very easy to tell if you are a feminist of not. Feminism is based on ‘patriarchy theory’.
‘Patriarchy theory’ is the theory that men as a group have deliberately and successfully oppressed women as a group throughout history to create a society which benefits men at the expense of women.
Men’s closest relationships have always been with women (girlfriends, wives, sisters, mothers, daughters). If ‘patriarchy theory’ is true then that means all men are sociopaths – they would have to be to deliberately oppress the very people they have their closest and most intimate relationships with.
To be are a feminist you must therefore believe men as a group are sociopaths. You must also believe women throughout history lacked the intelligence and/ or the strength to define and negotiating their own gender roles and gender identity in a way that best suited them, under whatever harsh conditions they faced at the time (little technology, scarce resources, mostly manual labour, little to no contraception or healthcare, the very real threat of starvation for most people etc).
In other words feminism defines men as the superior sex who are sociopaths and women as weak, inferior sex, who are innocent child-like victims.
This means feminism itself is basically a male power fantasy. It is the best of both worlds. On the one hand it defines men as superior to women, but on the other hand it allows men to sacrifice their power by devoting their life by destroying the so called ‘patriarchy’. Destroying the patriarchy is just a euphemism for attacking men and putting the needs and wants of women first.
Ironically the ‘patriarchy’ is all about putting the needs and wants of women first too. The patriarchy is all about ‘women and children first’ and men being the disposable sex (going off to die on the battlefield).
So, you can think of feminism are the modern day manifestation of ‘patriarchy’. Feminism has basically taken the core values and principles of patriarchy which are “women and children first”, discarded the bit about children, and then redefined (or just expanded) women’s needs and wants to fit with modern society with its modern workplace which after centuries is now finally appealing to women on account of being a largely safe, indoor, non-strenuous environment (ie no longer the coal mine, shipyard, lumberyard or farm).
All that stuff about lipstick and skirts is a side issue. Liking traditionally ‘feminine’ things doesn’t make you a feminist any more than enjoying the German countryside or traditional German culture makes someone a Nazi.
Also, being submissive is not the same as being oppressed. Submissiveness is a choice by definition, and it is as much an assertion of power as being dominant, and many would argue even more so. Being submissive actually forces the people around you to become more dominant. Being helpless forces others to become more assertive. Being weak forces other people to become stronger on your behalf… and so on. Feminism refuses to acknowledge the subtleties and complexities of human interactions, relationships and power plays.
“..I know there’s a fight worth fighting right in front of me..”
Yes and it’s called ‘humanism’ or ‘fighting for human rights’. Any other kind of fight is just fighting for one group to have more power over another group or even to actively oppress other groups.
Throughout history various nasty groups of people have used ‘threat narratives’ to justify oppressing and persecuting other groups. A ‘threat narrative’ works by depicting the target group as a threat, as subhuman, and as all powerful while depicting the oppressors as innocent, vulnerable, lacking agency, weak and victims. If a threat narrative is repeated enough society will eventually lose all empathy with the target group. History has demonstrated the shocking power of threat narratives to do this to an otherwise moral and civilised population.
Feminism’s ‘threat narrative’ depicts women as weak, vulnerable, innocent, lacking agency and as a victim of men. At the same time it depicts men as all-powerful, controlling, scheming, savage, sub-human, rape-y, invulnerable (they can’t be victims themselves) and a threat to civilised society.
Feminism’s threat narrative against men is basically a combination of two previous threat narratives.
1. The threat narrative used by Nazis against the jews where jews were depicted as controlling, all powerful, scheming, sub-human
2. The threat narrative used by white racists against black people where black people were depicted as savage, rape-y, invulnerable and a threat to civilised society.
In both cases society lost all empathy for the target group. This allowed for systematic persecution and genocide to occur.
The truth is that there are some jews who really are scheming and controlling and there are some black people who really are violent savage rapists. But thankfully we now live in a society where it is no longer acceptable to label ALL jews or ALL black people in such a derogatory way. Labelling an entire group in this way is now called ‘hate speech’. And labelling yourself as a victim of these groups is also recognised as a form of hate speech.
Hopefully one day it will also be considered hate speech to label men in such a derogatory way too – even if it makes someone feel more ’empowered’ and ‘liberated’ to do so.
Feminism true colours are easier to spot if you swap gender for race….
As a white person I am sick of black oppression. And don’t anyone try to deny it. Just look at street crime figures for any city. The figures obviously prove blacks are oppressing us whites and don’t let anyone try to tell you otherwise. I am proud to be white so get over it black people! I am sick of walking home at night and fearing being attacked by a black person. That is why I will always cheer for whites and fight against black oppression. I am proud to shout “White power!”
Pretty unsavoury stuff, right? That is exactly how feminists talk about men.
While I find your comment interesting, I must respectfully disagree. I cannot say that your definition of feminism has much in common with mine. In fact, our views seem to have very little overlap in general. However, I appreciate your attention and thank you for your comment.
“..I cannot say that your definition of feminism has much in common with mine…”
I agree. But don’t you see that as a huge problem?
I mean, my definition of feminism is based on what prominent and influential feminists actually say about feminism, about men and about history.
It is not really ‘my’ definition at all. It is feminism as defined by high profile feminists themselves.
These kinds of feminists influence political policy around the world all the way up to the UN level. Feminism is a hugely powerful movement that affects our lives and shapes our society.
If you define feminism completely differently from these prominent feminist authors, feminist spokeswomen, feminist committee members and feminist advisors to political groups, education boards and other social programs then we have a serious problem.. don’t we?
The definition of feminism should not be a matter of opinion. The fact that it so obviously is a matter of opinion (or even taste) tells us feminism has no core principles.
Nobody argues what vegetarianism means because it is defined by the core principle of not eating meat. Imagine if some people defined vegetarianism as not eating meat but some other prominent vegetarian spokespeople and vegetarian authors defined vegetarianism as just ‘liking cows’ and they said eating meat was OK. Imagine if the ‘vegetarian society’s annual dinner dance’ roasted a hog!
This is a bit like what feminism is these days. It is whatever you want it to be – just as long as you add your name to the list of supporters (and preferably donate some money too!)
The following quotes were made by prominent and influential feminists, none of whom were kicked out of the feminist movement for saying these things.
“I feel that ‘man-hating’ is an honorable and viable political act, that the oppressed have a right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them.” — Robin Morgan, Ms. Magazine Editor.
“To call a man an animal is to flatter him; he’s a machine, a walking dildo.” — Valerie Solanas, Authoress of the SCUM Manifesto
“The male is a domestic animal which, if treated with firmness…can be trained to do most things.” — Jilly Cooper, SCUM
“I want to see a man beaten to a bloody pulp with a high-heel shoved in his mouth, like an apple in the mouth of a pig.” — Andrea Dworkin
“All men are rapists and that’s all they are” — Marilyn French, Authoress
“The institution of sexual intercourse is anti-feminist” — Ti-Grace Atkinson
“When a woman reaches orgasm with a man she is only collaborating with the patriarchal system, eroticizing her own oppression.” — Sheila Jeffrys
“All sex, even consensual sex between a married couple, is an act of violence perpetrated against a woman.” — Catherine MacKinnon
“The proportion of men must be reduced to and maintained at approximately 10% of the human race.” — Sally Miller Gearhart, in The Future – If There Is One – Is Female.
Have you considered that maybe you are BETTER than feminism? 🙂
I’m afraid we must agree to disagree, and I hope I won’t ever think I’m better than anyone. I myself was blessed to have learned about feminism through a rigorous approach and, while it may be a matter for argument and discussion, agreement and disagreement, it is not a matter of either opinion or taste. Thank you again for your comments.
As someone who lived and began my professional career during the “Mad Men” era, I loved this. Keeping on being YOU. I’d say “You go, Girl!” except I think it is a lot more appropriate to say “You go, YOU!”
Yeah! Go me! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some liquor to swill and cigars to puff on.
Feminism is the crazy belief that women are human beings and are fully entitled to all the rights and dignities that are due to them by virtue of being human beings.
Now that is just crazy talk! Get back in the kitchen, woman. By the way, I just got a new pair of four inch stiletto heels. Should be perfect for stomping through people’s feet when they try to get in my way!