I’m Just An Old Fashioned Girly Girl
Kestley Knoble

Kestley, I appreciate your revisions, but there’s still a fundamental flaw:

Feminism isn’t about manners or about being a girly girl. There are LOADS of feminists who completely embrace “femininity” in the traditional sense, including yours truly.

A feminist: a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.

That’s it. Boom, done.

It’s extremely reductionist to turn feminism into simple social manners. Sure I like it when a man opens a door for me. But you know what I like a whole lot better? Getting paid the same amount as him for the same job.

If a group of boys wonder whether they should “hit back” when being hit by a girl (as if that’s what “equality” is about, which its not) that indicates young men looking for an opportunity to be aggressive, in my opinion. Like they’re more concerned with evening up a score than true equality.

BUT if a young boy asks whether they should hit back, why not ask why they’re in an destructive relationship at this early juncture of their life? Why not instruct that these fine gentlemen to physically subdue the female so she’s no longer a “threat”? (Of course, this is all a hysterical argument when you think of who REALLY suffers from physical violence in this world today…and it’s not those boys, trust me.)

As far as male awkwardness re: feminism, that’s kinda too bad. I’m sure many bigots in the south felt “awkward” when African Americans were allowed to sit next to them at a diner or on a bus. Why do we have to spoon feed equality? If they’re confused, good! They should be. There’s a new world order (at least in theory) and they need to make adjustments to the way they think.

Unfortunately, underneath it all, you’re still making the same (insulting) argument. That there are feminists and ladies, two separate groups and you’re in the latter. So what about the rest of us? Do you think I don’t like flowers or a door being held open for me? (Besides, hello — we’re ALL supposed to open doors for one another. I open doors for men and women everyday!)

And this whole mindset is so disturbing:

“Women can’t pick and choose if and when they want to be treated as equals. Either they do or they don’t.”

It shows recalcitrance and resistance to a reasonable request to be treated equal. Men (or boys) who think like this can’t wait to “put you to the test” and see if you can stand a punch or beat them in a foot race or the like. That’s what they think feminism is about. That’s ill-informed, not a real point of debate.

They might as well say, “If you want to be treated equal, I’ll show you fucking equal.” That’s scary, right? Men (or boys) who think like that are showing me disdain, not respect. They’re more concerned with preserving their masculinity than my equal rights.

For what it’s worth, I know MANY feminists and I know of NONE that don’t appreciate basic manners and being told when they look good, etc. Its like you’re making this argument against “those angry, bra-burning man-hating feminists storming the streets.” You’re doing what many sexist men do: reducing feminism to angry, unreasonable bitches who hate manners and all things girly. It’s a form of demonizing and it’s been going on for decades.

And even if those angry women who hate doors being open for them exist, so be it. Anger is expected after centuries of repression. It’s normal and healthy to be angry. Anger fuels change. We don’t have to be nice, well-mannered, palatable feminists.

I’m also noting your convenient distancing, something I see many women do:

“I believe in equal rights and all, but I’m not one of THOSE kind of feminists. You know, the type that hate men. I LOVE men. And I like sports to boot.”

Well let me use the boys’ argument here:

You can’t pick and choose the aspects of feminism that suit you. You either are one or you aren’t. You either believe in equal rights or you don’t.

You don’t have to be a feminist. I’m certainly not pushing it on you. BUT PLEASE don’t forget how far its raised the bar for ALL women, including you. The domestic abuse you suffered (which made me stop and sigh when I read it; I felt for you and myself and that horrible shared experience that so many women have endured), it’s that pesky feminism that has made strides in the ability to report it, find shelter and safety, and seek justice in court if needed. And I’m sure there were some angry bitches who made that change happen.

So be careful with the way you generalize them; they might have saved your life. Or at the very least (and now I’m repeating myself), have given you the opportunity to freely express your opinions without recrimination or punishment.

Love pink. Love things girly. Love college football. I’m sure there are a TON of feminists just like you, including myself.

Thanks for conversing with me. Hopefully this will be a healthy debate!

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