Friday, March 8, 2013

Why I'm Not a Feminist: Part 1

I had originally planned on just one post for this topic, but I've come across a million more talking posts so I've split it into 2 posts. I haven't finished part 2 yet but I'll get it posted as soon as I do (spoiler alert, it has to do with women in the workplace). A few months ago Katy Perry was given Billboard's Woman of the Year Award. During her acceptance speech she said this: "I am not a feminist, but I do believe in the strength of women." I never thought that I would agree with Katy or like anything that she had to say, but I am with her on this. Naturally her comment led to a shitstorm of word vom from the feminist movement. Their claim was that everthing Katy said did in fact make her a feminist and none of them could understand why she would denounce them. Well friend, I'm going to break it down for you.

By the very definition of feminism you can bet your lily-white as that I'm a feminist. I believe in equal rights for woman (for everyone really, but I'll stick to women for this post or else it will go on for days). I believe in equal pay for equal work. I believe that as a woman I am just as smart and just as capable as my male counterparts. There is nothing men can do that women can't (except pee standing up, and I'll admit I'm pretty envious of that). But by today's standard, I am NOT a feminist. Today's feminist movement bears no resemblence to that of the early 20th century. The women who fought for my right to vote deserve praise. They are the very reason that I can sit here and write whatever I want. They are the reason I have a say in what happens in my life and in this country. They had good reason to fight and they sacrificed everything in order to achieve it. Today's feminist has taken that legacy and spat on it. They expect all women to agree with them on everything. They don't appreciate the difference in women that make us unique. They can't comprehend that there are women out there who oppose abortion. They think that all women should go back to work after they have children because the idea that staying home with their children is antiquated and hurts women in the long run. I actually got into a discussion where I had to defend my choice to take my husband's name when we got married; why didn't we hyphenate the children's last name? Why didn't we choose any other acceptable option except me just taking his name? You want to know why? Because it's none of your fucking business, that's why. Feminism is about women being able to think for themselves. Disagreeing with you doesn't make me less of a woman. My voice and my intelligence are what make me powerful. I am smart; I'll make decisions based on my life and not yours thankyouverymuch.

I stumbled onto an article written right after the Oscars last weekend. It was on Jezebel, so I should've known better than to read it. If you've never accidentally stumbled to that site and you are not a feminist, I suggest you avoid doing so. This particular article was all about how sexist Seth McFarlane was and how our society is so awful for allowing this "humor" to be acceptable, blah, blah, blah. Ok, 1st of all, he was JOKING! Seriously, get off your high horse and have a damn laugh. I'll agree that Seth wasn't the best ever Oscars host but A. He was a lot more PC than I was expecting considering what the Family Guy is like and B. the "sexist" jokes you are complaining about we're the only ones I actually laughed at. Complain because he wasn't that funny, but don't complain you are grasping for reasons to cry sexism. What was even more infuriating was reading the comments (this ALWAYS infuriates me and I should really stop reading them). People weighed in in support of the writer as expected, but there were a bunch of people, women and men, who made similar points to mine. As soon as someone started disagreeing with what the feminist writer was saying the other feminist commenters went on the attack. They were pissed because these people were on their site. Um, don't you want to spread the word? Are you trying to reach people who aren't part of your movement so you can gain support? If you hate everyone who isn't part of your movement, and no one outside of that movement is particularly fond of you either, you are doing something wrong. Even worse was the name calling. Are we in middle school? Because I for one hated middle school and would prefer to not deal with anyone that age or of that mindset until my own children are there, and even then.... The supporters of the writer called the others whores and sluts and fucking idiots. If you want to prove your point, or better yet, prove me wrong, try using coherent thoughts. Come up with a valid argument instead of resorting to name-calling. All you are doing is reducing your credibility to nothing. To quote Tina Fey in Mean Girls, "you have all got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it ok for guys to call you sluts and whores". How can you expect women to gain the respect they deserve when other women cannot offer each other that respect?

I'm sure that there are self-proclaimed feminists out there who don't fall into this stereotype that I've laid out, but that is the reputation that the feminist movement has and I for one don't want to be lumped into that category. I don't want to be viewed that way. Whether or not I agree with their basic ideals or their stances on certain political topics is irrelevant. I don't want to be seen as a women who thinks men are the enemy or as someone who cares only about women and our "right" to free birth control and abortions (another topic for another day). You have made your entire movement about sex and birth control and how it's your body and you can do what you want with it, but God forbid some guy mention boobs and how great he thinks they are. Because its all about sex until you decide that it isn't ok for men to like boobs and think they are sexual. News flash: if you don't think boobs are sexual your partner is doing something wrong. Me? I am more than sex. I am a beautiful person with a beautiful mind. I know better than to let someone else's harmless jokes offend me. I have opinions and thoughts and dreams and ideals of my own. The fact that I am a woman is a characteristic, just as being blonde is, or being awesome. I love being a woman (I also love being blonde, and awesome) and I love the choice I've made to stay home with my kids while I have the opportunity. I will love going back to work when the time comes. I love the choice I made to take my husband's name and give it to our children. I shouldn't have to defend any of these choices. Feminism gave me the right to make them, and feminists are taking it away.

12 comments:

Liv said...

Hey, so this totally hit home for me at the moment. It's an issue I'm extremely torn about after being strongly criticized by a "feminist" myself. This individual was also livid that I took my husband's name - so much so that I literally felt as though I was on trial for murdering a kitten. Lol.

Furthermore, she went on to suggest that I had given up my dream of living on the east coast to follow him to the south. Although this is technically true (I would probably never have moved to Louisiana had my husband's job not relocated him), the insinuation that I followed him because I considered him the "leader" and valued his career more than my own is simply ludicrous, not to mention, extremely offensive. The reality was that he had a well paying job, and I was just finishing up at CSU. It made little sense not to make the move - especially since there were good job opportunities for me as well.

I explained the situation, adding that I actually think Chris and I have a great partnership and that, had the situation been reversed, I don't doubt for a second that he would have made the move for me. Her response (and I'm paraphrasing) was, "Yes, but the situation wasn't reversed, and when you do things like that it sends the wrong message to society and makes women look bad." So basically what I took from the conversation was, "I don't care about your particular situation and whether or not it's right for you, I only care about making a point." This is where I've run into issues with feminists lately. I am simply not going to make major decisions in my life based on “making a point”. In my mind, that’s actually a form of enslavement as well. Freedom is being able to decide what’s best for you given a million different variables!

The other frustration I have (and this basically applies to any social/political discussion these days) is that there are thousands of people out there trying to “spread their message”. However, beginning by insulting the person you wish to persuade is the WORST possible way to do this! If you want me to see your point of view, you don’t start off by insulting me! I had actually always considered myself a feminist up until this point. I strongly believe in equal rights/equal pay and I'm livid that these inequalities still exist. (And they do! Those who say sexism is no longer an issue, are apparently living on a different planet than I am.) However, this interaction left me saying to myself, “f*** you”, not “let me join you in this fight.” I believe the issues are important, but I also believe the path to gaining respect and equality is by being strong and true to yourself, not by living your life to make a point to others.

Annie D said...

100% agree Liv!! I too relocated for my husbands job, 1600 miles away from my entire family. The fact is, this was an incredible opportunity for him, and in turn for our family. If I made as much as he did he'd stay home in a heartbeat, but it is his experience and skill set that made him a VP at a major bank at the age of 30 and had he not taken this job we would've lost our home in Denver anyway. As a couple we make choices based on what's best for our family because we are a team. I'm so sorry that you had to experience all of that. In my book it's completely unacceptable. Thanks for reading and commenting :)

Liv said...

No problem. The whole thing just really caught me off guard. I've had plenty of doubts about living where I do, but I had certainly never considered my choice to move a "feminist" issue. I think you said it best - you make choices as a TEAM. Sometimes they benefit you personally, and sometimes they don't, but as long as it's not always one sided, there's nothing wrong with compromise. That's just the reality of being in a relationship of any kind!
It sounds like you made a good choice. Hopefully VA grows on you some more:)

SaraLeanne said...

Ahhhh!!! This was such a pleasure to read, and I can't wait for part two. I can't agree more about the need for compromise. Sometimes decisions are made that favor my husband - sometimes they favor me. It's because we are two different people with different strengths and weaknesses - NOT because of gender.

BTW - the "Mean Girls" quote was a great touch. Glad I found your blog through the Tough Cookie Mommy's Monday Mingle.

prewchatterly@yahoo.com said...

I am one feminist here!Cheers!
Bloghopping from :
http://crazylittlethingcalledblog.com - Mommy by Day Fashionista By Night
http://prewchatterly.com - Everything Mommy and Girly
http://moneycharmer.com - Blogging and Monetizing Tips

James A. West said...

It's true I found your blog through the WLC Blog Follow program, and I am glad I did! I loved this article :) It is a pleasure to meet you.

Amy said...

Found you through Honest Voices...interesting...I hadn't actually heard about the Katy Perry thing, but after reading your post, I can see where you are both coming from. I agree...too often we take a good thing, a thing that promotes openness and flexibility of thinking and turn it into something that is rigid and unbending and the complete antithesis of what it was originally about. Excellent post. Looking forward to Part 2!

HouseTalkN Rossow said...

It makes me sad that feminist has become the "f" word to so many women. The very word/label that was meant to inspire and unite women has become so divisive. Your words are exactly why so many women feel detached from "feminist"...there are women that have given it a bad name, made a litmus test of requirements. Thank you for sharing that there is a wide range of women, with a wide range of perspectives. We are not one size fits all.

Deb CG said...

Instead of renouncing the label, why not take it back? Why not say... I'm a Feminist and I believe xyz instead of in name-calling and a monolithic approach to women's issues? The media -- and those who comment vitriolically in the media -- are just looking for a rise out of everyone. The more balanced, moderate, reasonable women stand up and say "I AM A FEMINIST," the better the movement will be. ~Urban Moo Cow, proud feminist, mostly stay-at-home mom, took my husband's name (as if that matters), believes in equality for all.

Melissa Cohen said...

I agree with all of it - but mostly with the above commenter (Deb CG). I love calling myself a feminist, and I resent the hell out of the fact that the word doesn't really represent me anymore. I think more of us should reclaim the word, and make sure that it means more than the rigid definition that doesn't really work anymore.

Annie D said...

I think it's too late. Sure, if every woman and man who agrees with me were to rise up and say something it might work, but that isn't going to happen. Most of the country has their opinion on what feminists are and it isn't up to me to fix the reputation. The activists who ruined it can live with it. I'm choosing to just be a person who believes in equal rights for all, not a feminist who has blinders on.

Thank you for commenting though! Reasonable people can have disagreeing opinions and still have respectful conversations.

Sylvia Stein said...

I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!

Syl Stein