Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Are you for real [a feminist]?!

Feminism is all the rage now. Obviously, Beyoncé has had a lot to do with that.

Who run the world?

So do extreme right-wing conservatives, if we're being honest. When people say things like,
“What does it say about the college co-ed Sandra Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We’re the pimps.” [Rush Limbaugh]

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." [Todd Akin]

other people are like "... the fuck?" and then they rise up.

But as feminism has become more "popular" so has criticizing feminism. And much of that criticism is coming from other "feminists".  It seems to me that feminism's biggest enemy is actually women. Instead of coming together in the name of equality, we are spending our time determining each other's value as feminists. Let's briefly pause and consider the irony of that.


I keep seeing this pop up all over social media -- this debate about who is a real feminist and who is not, and whether feminism is just a trend.  First of all, I'm not even mad about the idea of feminism being a trend. Don't we want more people on board? I'd rather feminism be a trend than jelly shoes (which actually are a trend again... so scratch that).  At least feminism can be a productive trend, is what I'm saying.

It's like, no one can ever be satisfied. We feminists want to take away the negative stigma associated with that word, and then when we finally do, we have to put a new stigma on it?  We're then going to say feminism is trivial, superficial?
"Why should we care what, exactly, gets someone interested in feminist thinking, as long as they arrive there eventually?"  [Callie Beusman]
Then there is the ongoing argument of whether you can be sexual and also a feminist. Again, if we stigmatize something, if we make it taboo, then we are part of the problem. For instance, if we focus on Beyoncé's sexuality alone, we are sexualizing her. We're doing that. 

Recently, notable "good" feminist, bell hooks, blasted Beyoncé for being too sexual, for resorting to taking her clothes off to sell records, blah blah blah.  (She obviously has not listened to Bey's album.)
"hooks was, essentially, calling out Beyoncé as a 'bad feminist' – a popular feminist pastime during which we arbitrarily determine who is or isn't doing feminism right. 
Her concern that girls might singularly internalize the notion that their worth is intrinsically tied to their bodies – and the desirability of those bodies – is equally well placed. At some point, though, we have to differentiate between concern and concern trolling. We have to trust that women can be feminists, good role models and embrace sexuality. We have to believe that we can hold different points of view without labeling each other bad feminists."  [Roxane Gay]
I've already written about this, but I'll say it again:  Beyoncé, in particular, is very clearly in control of her sexuality - she owns it; she is proud of it. And good for her. There are many, many women who believe in gender equality and also like to have sex. If we feel like we have to hide that part of ourselves, aren't we just perpetuating the notion that sex is dirty and wrong and that women shouldn't be doing it?

We need to move on. These conversations are not helpful; they are hypocritical. (And I suppose so is this blog post, but I've already spent a lot of time on it, so it's happening.)
"But the danger, the fear and, quite honestly, the more likely outcome, is that designing a flat shoe or casting a single model of color in a major campaign won't translate to a consistently diverse, female-empowered runway. A few collections inspired by Pussy Riot won't help us to elect a female president. And when fashion treats such important issues as trends, we risk losing the fight when they slip out of vogue." [Allison P Davis]
Or, the danger is that we are spending all our time evaluating women's level of feminism, rather than supporting each other.  The fear, quite honestly, is that people want to be hip and will let that get in the way of a cause when that cause becomes popular.  

But, for the record, I just want to make sure everyone knows I was a feminist before it was cool.


  1. I think you make such a great point that other women are often our biggest hurdle to overcome, because we spend too much time tearing each other down than focusing on lifting women up as a whole. Also, have you ever listened to the podcast 'guys we fucked' by the girls called sorry about last night? It's on soundcloud and it is AMAZING. Melissa turned me on to it.

  2. It amazes me that women still put other women down in this time and how far we've come in social equality, even though it's not far enough. We would really benefit from being (for the lack of a better non-pussy term) better cheerleaders than always trying to judge, ridicule and tear each other down. Amen!

  3. GUYS WE FUCKED. YES. no such thing as a slut. just sexually explorative. As women we need to support each other and stop tearing each other down. We need to respect each other!


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