Jan. 14th, 2005

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Morning all!
I have the day off today, and shall be spending it baking.

Recently, in another place, there has been much discussion of feminism. I know a lot of people who dismiss feminism, saying "The feminists have done their thing, and now it's not needed any more". I know others who accuse feminists of being man-haters, of wanting special treatment. It seems to me that feminism means different things to different people, and in the course of a discussion on the subject, someone asked "Why are you a feminist"; I'm nicking my own answer and posting it here, as much for my own future reference as for anyone else.

I'm a feminist because I believe in equality, and in choices, and because we don't yet _have_ equality or freedom of choice. I'm a feminist because on average, women get paid less than men do, and are less likely to be promoted, or hired at higher-level jobs. I'm a feminist because I personally don't want to get married and have babies, and I am frustrated by the expectations of other people that I should do exactly that, while those same people didn't have the same expectations of my brother. I'm a feminist because the huge majority of women who are physically assaulted or murdered are attacked by their husband or partner. I'm a feminist because something like 10% of rapes are reported, and something like 30% of reported rapes go to court, and something like 10% of rape trials end in a conviction. I'm a feminist because women get charged more by garages than men do. I'm a feminist because in most jobs, men can only take a couple of weeks of paternity leave. I'm a feminist because social expectations and the discrepancy in pay make it really difficult for men to be stay-at-home fathers. I'm a feminist because those same issues make it difficult for women to have children _and_ a really good career. I'm a feminist because if I dare to voice my opinions, I get accused of being a bitch, a ball-breaker, a nag, of being "shrill" or "hysterical". I'm a feminist because when I tell people I'm single (and happily so), they say "Aw, well, don't worry, I'm sure you'll meet the right guy one day". I'm a feminist because if I tell people I have no kids, they say "Well, clock's ticking", and if I tell them I don't want children, they say "You'll change your mind." I'm a feminist because I know full well that I'm as smart as anyone else, male or female, and that I can do any damned thing I put my mind to, regardless of stereotypes. I'm a feminist because I love baking and crochet, and power tools and logic. I'm a feminist because I wear DMs for comfort, and fabulous but crippling heels for glamour. I'm a feminist because I like to wear makeup and perfume when I feel like it, but sometimes I don't feel like it. I'm a feminist because sometimes a pink cocktail hits the spot, and sometimes I'd rather have a pint of guinness. I'm a feminist because I like children, but largely because I want to unravel their brains. I'm a feminist because in my subject, psychology, the _vast_ majority of students are female, and the _vast_ majority of senior academics are male. I'm a feminist because sometimes I want to wear a skirt, but I still don't appreciate being told I _have_ to wear a skirt. I'm a feminist because I want to be able to choose who I sleep with, and I want to be able to protect myself against disease and pregnancy when I exercise that choice. I'm a feminist because when I know there is something wrong with my body, I expect, no, I _demand_ that my doctor takes me seriously and does not dismiss my problem as "women's trouble". I'm a feminist because I can be maternal if I want to be, but I refuse to be anybody's mother. I'm a feminist because I believe that each individual has the right to carve their own path, and not simply follow in the footsteps of everyone who has gone before; otherwise, how are we to discover new ground? I'm a feminist because no-one has the right to touch me unless I grant them that right, and I can take it back at any time I choose. I'm a feminist because I have things to say, and I want to be heard.

That's why I'm a feminist.

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