So Am I Or Am I Not A Feminist?
I tend to appreciate simplicity. Sure I’m capable of doing mathematical proofs if given enough time and a refresher course and I know about Pareto Optimality, but at the end of the day, I like things broken down to their simplest and most easily digestible form.
It’s the reason why I love pop music so much. While I both love and appreciate art forms that require thought and interpretation, I thoroughly enjoy the cookie-cutter sonic sounds of the latest top 40 artist and the recycled sounds of yesterday.
So it was with great zeal that I read an article on Jezebel’s site (I love that site) entitled, “What No One Else Will Tell You About Feminism.”
Well shut my mouth wide open. All of the times that I specifically stayed out of the arguments about feminism because I didn’t think understood the platform and, hell, the definition, and it really just comes down to this (?):
Feminism is not a radical movement or a fringe movement or an embarrassment or a fraud. Feminism is simple. The “patriarchy” does “exist.” To identify as a feminist is to acknowledge that women are people, and, as such, women deserve the same social, economic, and political rights and opportunities as other styles of people (i.e., men-people). To be a feminist is also to acknowledge that the world is not, currently, a fair and just and safe place for women to exist. Because it is not.
Not only do I agree with all of that, I champion all of those things. Son of a b*tch! I’ve missed out and avoided no less than hundreds of arguments JUST because I didn’t have anything that succinct in terms of a definition of feminism. Of course, with this level of simplicity I may also qualify as a lesbian because I too prefer the touch of a woman. But that’s a different talk show.
In those terms I’m actually baffled as to how anybody couldn’t be a feminist. Which in some ways makes the definition a little too simple. Like seriously, who argues against equal rights for anybody in this day and age? Short of actual fringe groups dedicated to hate and stifling other people’s voices. But they’re mostly harmless and full of individuals who stick to themselves and don’t really break any real ground in the oppression Olympics.
Most times when I’ve been apprised of arguments where feminism came up, it had little to do with rights (most people would not argue against them, again) but double standards. Women wanted full on equality but still felt like a man should pay for all dates and open doors and give up seats on a train, etc. Effectively, from a man’s point of view, most men view those things as the “right” thing to do but they also imply a sort of subjugation of a woman. Sure you’re placed on a pedestal and given special status…but you’re also given special status as less of a person because a full person would be equal to the man and therefore would not be required to pay at all times for dinner. There would be equity. And in this framework, there is not. There is man. And there is woman. They play different roles and as with any thing in life, different roles place us in different spheres of pay, etc.
Many women I know (rightly) argue that there is a difference between being a woman and treated like a lady. A woman deserves all the same rights and treatments that a man has (no argument there). But a lady deserves to be treated special by the man who cares about her. Again, no real argument there. But there is a double standard at play (don’t fret ladies, I know men benefit from double standards as well). Treat me special, but treat me the same. One is an individual platform, the other is a universal one. So all women want special treatment as people, but universal treatment as a gender. I’m not even sure how you reconcile that one.
Point is, while I do like my definitions simple, sometimes they just can’t be. I feel in some ways like the author of that Jezebel piece — which I did find highly informative — missed some of the nuance. Again, I don’t know the definition, but I do know that nearly every argument that’s come up where the word feminism was evoked was nowhere near as simple as this. If it all came down to rights and being treated as human, in 2018 at least, I doubt you’d get an argument. Besides we’ve moved on to treating gay people as subhuman. Chik-fil-A anyone?
So am I a feminist? Of course. But I’m also a traditionalist, too. But can I be both? Dammit.
Now I’m confused again.