Sunday 24th February 2013

by sophie

To date I have never attend a Gender Studies class, read any Betty Friedan, burned any of my bras (those things are damn expensive) or gone more than a week without shaving. Sometimes I wear lipstick; sometimes I wear heels. Sometimes I even cook breakfast for men I care about; but only if they do the dishes in exchange. I have an apron that’s pink and somewhat frilly, and sometimes I wear this too, because it has nice pockets and is a souvenir from a great vacation in Tokyo. I support and admire women of strength and of power, and I am pro-female. This does not entail that I necessarily hate men; the world does not exist in binary forms and if there is any animosity, it is merely annoyance in a stereotypical form of frustration between the sexes. I do not know what this word feminist means, because I have never looked it up in the dictionary.

But evidently, it must mean something to me. I have been told before that I am a feminist and sometimes I call myself one for the sake of simplifying arguments. It seems that I have even labeled some of my writing so.

And evidently, it must mean something to others if only that sometimes men roll their eyes at me and women become inexplicably either suddenly warm or colds towards me. Anything that warrants such a viceral reaction deserves to be explained, if even for the mere reason that I avoid strife and find it off-putting to say the least that one should ever react to me in a negative way for mere use of a label. The only other adjective of similiar scope that has been undeniably placed upon me seems to be Asian, and if one were to react in the same way to that label, it would be called Racism, and unacceptably so.

And so now that I am 20, a nice even number, exactly a prime number’s worth of decades, it seems to be a good time to evaluate what that f-word means before I go on, as I am neither so young as to bear it irresponsibly, nor too old to re-evaluate.

Here is what the New Oxford American Dictionary says:

Feminist
noun
a person who supports feminism.
adjective
of, relating to, or supporting feminism: feminist literature.

which is an utterly useless definition.
And so we must look one step up, to feminism itself, which means:

Feminism
noun
the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

Which sounds to me a sane and rational cause to support, even self-evident.
I do not know really why one should have such a negative reaction to this well-meaning and logical definition, but I do not claim to have a thorough understanding of the behavior of people on the whole. All I wish to emphasize is that this word seems to have nothing whatsoever to do with the cooking of food, cleaning of kitchens, dressing and portrayal of bodies, hatred of men, or most puzzling of all, lesbianism. And with that definition in mind, I can confidently say that yes, I am a feminist, in the true sense of the word, which is, after all, how words ought to be used, and perhaps you should, too.

P.S.: I am notoriously bad at detecting sarcasm so if you are in the same boat as I there is some of that in the above.

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