Archive for word power

Dropping the F-Bomb

Posted in Feminist Issues, Stereotypes with tags , , on September 20, 2008 by Sally Rebel

Right now, there is a smart, independent young woman somewhere, living her day-to-day life. She goes to work or school or soccer practice, she eats and sleeps and breathes. She considers herself equal to any man. But for some reason, she won’t call herself a feminist.

Maybe it’s the image of an unshaven, screaming man-hater, brandishing a “Male Pigs” sign and snarling at a police officer. Maybe it’s the amused, patronizing response people have to the word–an eye roll, a silly smile, hands thrown up in mock defense. Or maybe it’s because the prefix “fem” makes people instantly think that feminism–the movement that began as “the radical belief that women are people”–means women being superior to men.

Here’s the way I see it:

As long as oppression against women exists, feminism must exist. Go ahead, call it “egalitarian,” or “gender equal,” or whatever you feel describes it best, but it is all the same concept: the presence of a uterus is not a disability. Just like more melanin in the skin is not a disability, just like being attracted to your gender is not a disability. It has nothing to do with preferring women to men, as many would have you think–“If it was equal, it would be called humanist!! Man-hater!!!” Screw that. If you’ve got a hole in your jeans, you need a patch. That doesn’t mean you like the patch more than the rest of the jeans. It just means you need it. Once the patch is sewn on, it’s not a patch, or a hole. It’s a pair of jeans.

Have I taken the metaphor a little far? Maybe. But I’ll take it a bit further.

Right now, the hole is pretty big. We’ve done all we can to fix it, and we’ve made progress, but we still have a ways to go. So I believe, in this day and age, we shouldn’t make feminism the third F-word. If you believe men are equal to women and deserve freedom to choose what to do with themselves and their lives, you are a feminist. The little girl who believes she is as good as a little boy is a feminist. Her brother, who thinks that girls deserve as much respect as he does, is a feminist. The stay-at-home mother down the street is a feminist if she believes she is equal to her husband. Her working sister, if she believes the same thing, is a feminist, too.

And the smart, independent young woman mentioned before, as much as she hates to admit it, is a feminist, too.

Ciao,

Sally