Will The Real Feminist Please Stand Out?
Feminists not acting or looking like the stereotype you were expecting?
It can be tough these day, you know, spotting a real feminist outside of the out-dated context we might expect. We simply won’t conform to the shallow pool of stereotypes intended to single us out, manipulate and curb our non-conforming and outrageously unfeminine behavior. Most of us simply keep changing our hair and our ‘spots’ and everything inbetween.
The truth is, most feminists are not lacking in the wiles of femininity, they’re just missing the “Y” chromosome. Furthermore, the androgenous ones, those who may be considered lacking in some arbitrary standard of femininity, if one can be delineated, don’t really give a rip what you or I think, anyway. These wily, self confident, brazen feminists love men, they love women, they love their children, pets and country, hell, they’ve even learned to love themselves. How modern of them, eh?
The truth is, most feminists are not lacking in the wiles of femininity, they’re just missing the “Y” chromosome.
What? You mean there’s a possible correlation between feminism and self-esteem?
More than likely, but let’s not get too hung up on the f-word, because I’m not saying you’re not bountiful in self confidence if you don’t identify as a feminist. Many women who eschew the feminist label or stereotype have plenty of positive regard for themselves, which is why we shouldn’t limit one another with such narrow ideals about what feminism is and is not about.
Another important truth is, feminism looks a little different on each individual woman and isn’t that the point, anyway?
This woman dresses to please her individual ideal of femininity all the while raising children and casseroles, if she chooses. These women will change their own oil and follow the chore up with a mani-pedi. These women can and do carry guns, grenades and the resolve to defend their country, their families and their neighborhoods. They love sex and foreplay and don’t mind submitting when it suits them, or being in the driver’s seat when it suits you. They shave their legs and armpits or they go au natural, leaving Mother Nature to naturally curl herself around your stereotypes while you click your tongue at these unshaven mavens. Tcht, tcht.
It’s probably accurate to say, all women are not feminists, and all feminists may not necessarily be women.
Some men identify as feminists in a unifying and supportive pledge of solidarity. They honor and uphold all women’s right to be regarded and treated with respect and fairness in all facets of society and reject limiting gender roles both for women and for men. In my opinion these men most certainly qualify though I’d like to spell it femenist, to be clear about the gender difference. Because let’s face it, living life as a man is a vastly difference experience from a woman’s life on many levels.
Instead of focusing on what separates and divides us as women and human beings, why not zero in on what’s common across these variations of feminism as they appear in each woman? I’ve found what joins most of us together under the umbrella of feminism is respect for ourselves, each other and prizing the power of choice in all our affairs regardless of social, cultural or religious context.
I’d like to propose we drop the stereotypical image of a feminist since it’s obvious she doesn’t exist and probably never did. If you still need to be able to identify a feminist when you come across one in the wild, here are two defining principles I believe feminists can agree upon:
As feminists, we respect and hold in high esteem our womanhood. We respect ourselves and all women in their individual expression of the feminine as manifested within mind, body and spirit in the context of their personal life.
As feminist women we must protect and regard all women’s freedom to choose the context within and without where we can best express our individual womanhood within the culture we find ourselves and our developing individual identities as women.
Any woman who truly understands this wouldn’t identify herself as a feminist and then coerce her sisters to conform to some rigid stereotype of what they believe it means to be feminist woman.
Whenever someone starts a sentence with “I’m a… and fills in the blank with a label of almost any kind our brains unconsciously unlock a gate through which a flood of stock information we’ve adopted as reasonably accurate and reinforced by our limited experiences comes gushing out.
Much of this information is second, third, or fourth hand hearsay based on someone else’s misinformed and/or molded opinion; thus, distortion is the most common denominator.
Labels stigmatize and rob us of having authentic experiences with one another as the vibrant, unique human beings we are. Imposing or succumbing to rigid stereotypes which exclude some women and include others is not effective in promoting the diverse expression of the Divine Feminine nor is it feminism in my opinion.
S Lynn Knight, 2017
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