Friday, October 30, 2009

You're Not a Feminist, But... BUT WHAT?!

I love the bit of the day where the sun has a deep yellow tinge and the shadows gradually get longer, but only when you’re not looking. Just yesterday I was sharing a bottle of crisp white with some friends to celebrate the late afternoon (uninterrupted by mosquitoes, would you believe?) when the topic of this blog came up.
”Nah, I’m not a Feminist”
Immediately my eyebrows raised and drew together. What a rude way to crash into my sun-soaked wine-haze. What do you mean – not a feminist? You mean you don’t believe in gender equality? You think it’s ok that women are disproportionately affected by poverty, unemployment and poor access to medical services? Are you cool with the fact that violence against women is normalized in most media and that it’s consistently used as a weapon of war? No problems with the devaluation of work traditionally done by women? Utterly happy with the glass ceiling, the wage gap and the comparatively high cost (both monetary and physical) of looking “professional” in the workplace?

Uh huh.

I continued to look at her with what I hope was a skeptical expression (but may have had elements of contempt, I didn’t have a mirror handy) hoping to shame her into a qualification like “but it’s sure swell that I was allowed to have an education”. She got the hint and followed up with
”Well, maybe feminism is ok but I’m not a dyke. I ain’t shaving off all this hair. I just got it done.”
Wait, whut?

Pointedly running my hands through my hair (cut and styled less than a week ago, natch) I said, “I’m a feminist and I don’t quite understand why you would have a problem with dykes.” She shook her head, “Nah, I’m not a dyke,” and looked away. Just like that the conversation was over. I’m still not sure the exchange made any sense.

I understand that the term “Feminism” is loaded with many scary connotations thanks to the alarming amount of backlash the movement has endured since its infancy (which I suppose is a testament to just how threatening a paradigm shift would be to the patriarchal overlords). But to conflate it with lesbianism just so you can also take advantage of assumed homophobia is rather despicable, even for someone who isn’t comfortable marching lockstep with our combat boots and Birkenstocks. Here’s a few examples, couched in appropriately infantilizing language (so as to be non-threatening, y’know) of just what we can thank the feminist movement for.

Not a feminist? What an idiot.

1 comment:

  1. This is a case of logic FAIL. But having said that, I have met the occasional (small) group of women who tend to promote women's rights as being at the expense of men. Which I disagree with completely, as to me that's not gender equality. But I can see how it can cause misconception.

    But the conflation of feminism with lesbianism? I suggest she stop taking Ali G literally.


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