[Foreword: I wrote this the day before Newtown and believing that a) nothing else matters when little kids are being murdered and b) I had missed my window on feminism, I had shelved it along with a growing file of unpublished notes. But after a tangential Facebook conversation yesterday and this TOTALLY AWESOME article that makes me love the adorable and talented Zooey Deschanel even more, I felt like I could legitimately publish anyway. *Raises right fist*]
Have you ever seen those signs that read “If you can read this, thank a teacher.”?
Well, as the product of two teachers and a book devourer/word nerd, I love that saying.
But if you can read whatever you want – from Cosmo to The Atlantic, or, say…go to school, go to graduate school, get your doctorate, make and keep your own money, marry whom you choose, NOT marry at all, have a baby regardless of whether you’re married, NOT have a baby…ever if you don’t want to, take birth control for any reason you like, wear a bikini, serve in the military, dance in public, smoke, drink, curse, work in an industry OTHER than nursing or teaching, not be pinched or slurred at in the office, move into the Corner Office, start a business, own a business, run a business, live with your boyfriend, live with your girlfriend, vote, speak in public, run a marathon, compete in triathlon, play any sport at all, get dirty, get sweaty, be naughty, shop at Victoria’s Secret, use tampons, contradict any person you disagree with regardless of their gender, earn what you’re worth, out earn your colleague because you’re awesome, and oh, A BAZILLION other things?
Well, you should THANK A FEMINIST.
The subject makes my eye twitch a little.
If you think you should live under your dad’s rule until you get married and then live under your husband’s rule, yes, you are (probably) not a feminist.
If you think you should vote or invest or dress or speak in whatever way a man decides, then yes, you are (probably) not a feminist.
If you don’t ever plan to use your pretty little head for anything at all, because well, women should be seen and not heard, then I give up. You are (probably) NOT a feminist.
But if you think for one hot second that you’re not a feminist because “you love men” then you need a vocabulary lesson. Hatred of men isn’t ‘feminism,’ it’s ‘misandry.’
Worse, if you think we are “post-feminist” (just like we’re post-racial, right? *insert rolling of eyes here*)… you may need to pull your head out of whatever reality show bullshit you’re watching and pay attention to what’s happening in real life.
Instead, what comes to MY mind every time I hear someone speak out-loud that she is “not a feminist” is a ranty parody of this:
Hon, we live in a world that has patriarchy, and that patriarchy has been cock-blocking women from full participation in society for centuries. Who’s going to fight that patriarchy? You? You, Katy Perry? We have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Rihanna, and you curse the Feminists. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what we know. That burning bras, while tragic (especially if you really need the support) probably saved lives. And our existence, while aggressive and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at interviews, you WANT me to be a feminist, you NEED me to be a feminist. We use words like rape-culture, discrimination, and sexism. We use these words as the antithesis of lives spent pursuing progress. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a woman who rises and sleeps under the very blanket of equality that feminism strives for and then questions the moniker under which it was provided. I would rather you just said “thank you” and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a book and read some history about your gender’s struggle in this country and abroad. Either way, I don’t give a DAMN whether or not you think you are a feminist.