Tonight, my brother posted the following link to a friend’s feed and asked for her opinion. I post it here now, simply because I want you to understand why I am bursting into flames as we speak:
Wait, what? SERIOUSLY? These are the reasons not to be a feminist? You aren’t a victim, therefore you aren’t a feminist? You don’t believe in the evils of patriarchy, therefore you don’t need feminism? Susan B. Anthony just rolled over in her grave. Not to mention Eleanor Roosevelt.
Nothing against these (I’m sure) lovely young women, but they have a grave misunderstanding of what feminism is, and what it does for us all.
I’m not going to bore you with definitions of feminism or direct rebuttals, but I’m going to get personal. Here’s why I need feminism:
*Feminism is what gives me the right to be recognized by my society as an equal to a man. My gender does not make me lesser, but an equal.
*Feminism has granted me the right to vote, the right to a driver’s license, a contract to rent, a bank account, a job, and access to quality medical attention.
*On that note, feminism has fought for my body to be seen as an instrument of my own making–not a baby machine. Because feminism fought for my right to access birth control, I don’t have to worry about getting married and getting pregnant with baby after baby after baby until I die or wear out with a brood of 12 children in 12 years–unless I want to, that is. And then, I *get* to make that choice–it’s not my fate.
*Because of feminism, I don’t have to contort my body into a girdle, hoopskirts, corsets, footbindings, or other equally painful “beauty” devices to be seen as more desirable to a man.
*Feminism has fought for laws that protect me as a person from domestic abuse or unwanted sexual attention. I am a person, not a man’s property, plaything, or object. Feminism treats rape victims like people, not children, and not sluts.
*Feminism allows me to be educated at a university and to pursue postgraduate degrees. My only degree does not have to be M.R.S.
The beauty of feminism is…you, as a woman, don’t have to “choose” it or “believe” in it, because there are enough women willing to fight for other women to be recognized as equals (I’m only being slightly sarcastic here).
I realize that I’m (a) generalizing a bit; (b) idealizing A LOT (equal pay? not being career-penalized for maternity leave [in the guise of another excuse]? Yeah, I am looking forward to that day); and (c) not being super eloquent (but my dissertation is to blame for that one). But there are just some things that feminism has historically stood for and currently fights for. And they’re basic human rights, not even the “politicizing” of gender that is apparently happening to women everywhere (because a man telling me to put an Aspirin between my knees is *not* getting political? Whatever. I don’t reason with madness).
In more anecdotal news, last Christmas I was at church, when a parent at The Chancellor’s school stopped to talk to us. I had never met this woman before, and I am always pleased to meet parents. I reached out to shake her hand, but she brushed mine away, grabbed my stomach–we’re at church, mind you–and then asked, “No baby yet?”
Kids, I’m 29.
No baby. At 29. I can just feel my ovaries drying up. There are women being raped and kidnapped and poorly educated the world over and the REAL tragedy is that a white, educated, 29-year-old woman has chosen not to have a baby yet.
And this is why I need feminism. The End.