To those hush-hush f-words out there
February 8, 2009 § 2 Comments
PERSON X: I’m just so sick of how women are excluded from math and science, make only 77 cents to ever man’s dollar, get whistled at by strangers for simply existing, and don’t have the right to their own bodies.
ME: I know. It sucks, but it’s so great that you’re a feminist because that means you can understand what’s wrong with society and use your knowledge to fight the patriarchy!
PERSON X: But I’m not a feminist! [cue wincing and squeamishness]
Now, if I had a dime for every similar interaction, I could afford a dual lifetime subscription to BITCH and Ms. Alas, I make no money from a tabooed word. I just get to be sad for all the people out there (boys and girls, men and women, and everyone inbetween) who miss out on the liberation and fun that is feminism.
The thing is, I can totally understand why all those ignorant PERSON X’s out there are afraid to label themselves as feminists because I was one of them. People-pleaser that I am, there was a time in middle school when I told a friend who played the ME in this scenario that “I believe in equality, but feminist just seems like a harsh term.”
I was young and naïve and afraid to express myself, but there’s no excuse. Trust me: I am trying to make up for that horrific slander now!
When feminists are portrayed as man-hating lesbians who like to burn their bras in public, it’s pretty conceivable that teenagers who just want to fit into a heteronormative patriarchy (i.e. high school) wouldn’t associate themselves with a widely believed stereotype. As with all persuasive discrimination, the most widely known definition for those labeling a group fighting for equality is created by the oppressor. Unfortunately for feminists, a lot of the people in control of what we think are the creators themselves of the taboo on feminism.
BUT, lucky for us, ignorance can be easily remedied with some helpful education. If the real definition for a feminist as anyone who believes in equality were perpetuated, it would be pretty damn hard to argue an alias.
Through my writing program and some pretty awesome blogs introducing me to the coolness of being a feminist, I claim my title profusely and proudly. I encourage PERSON X to do the same. I also encourage…well, demand…that all you fabulous and influential feminists out there help those afraid of screaming the f-word loud and proud to realize their potential to use their knowledge to fight the patriarchy and claim their feminist identities!