sushidog: (Default)
[personal profile] sushidog
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.

Date: 2005-01-14 10:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ant-girl.livejournal.com
Very well put. :-)

Date: 2005-01-14 10:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ant-girl.livejournal.com
Oh, and we wanna see men being able to wear skirts and make-up and glamourous but crippling footwear when they want to, too. This is also an important goal of equality. ;-)

(I am being flippant, but actually I mean it. And not just because I happen to like men in such attire).

Date: 2005-01-14 10:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hirez.livejournal.com
Absolutely.

Date: 2005-01-14 12:30 pm (UTC)
reddragdiva: (Alison Whyte)
From: [personal profile] reddragdiva
We shall see what we can achieve in this regard!

Date: 2005-01-14 10:10 am (UTC)

Date: 2005-01-14 10:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gillianfrances.livejournal.com
Elegantly put, and I would agree with all of that :)

Date: 2005-01-14 10:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] miss-soap.livejournal.com
*applause*

Date: 2005-01-14 10:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sheepthief.livejournal.com
Femninism won't be done untill there's equal pay. That's pretty much my definition of equality, or at least the benchmark as obviously there are many other issues.

Date: 2005-01-14 10:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lougarry.livejournal.com
Not just feminism - age, religien etc. I dont want to be turned down for a job for example because i'm too old despite just having finished uni.
The whole thing could do with changing

Date: 2005-01-14 04:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] siani-hedgehog.livejournal.com
similarly, i feel no more strongly about discrimination on the basis of gender than i do about discrimination on the basis of sexuality, age, colour, or ability. therefore, i would not call myself a feminist.

i could have a rant about being left out of feminism because of my desire to have children and be a homemaker, or my lack of interest in crippling shoes, but, frankly, it's been said many times before.

Date: 2005-01-14 05:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sushidog.livejournal.com
Hm, see, I find that odd; to me, feminism is about being able to make choices, whether they involve footwear or families. Choosing to have children and wear comfortable shoes is just as much a feminist choice as choosing not to have kids, and to wear heels all the time.

Date: 2005-01-14 06:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] siani-hedgehog.livejournal.com
Choosing to have children and wear comfortable shoes is just as much a feminist choice as choosing not to have kids, and to wear heels all the time.

theoretically that's true. but it's been a much harder choice to make since the rise of feminism. simple economics makes it much harder for women to work from home, or to work as homemakers when other families have two breadwinners.

but what i actually meant was that the vast majority of accessible feminist groups are more interested in defying traditional roles. a woman who would rather it were easier to choose to stay at home barefoot and pregnant is often seen as a threat to the cause. not always, of course.

apart from that, i think there are other causes, largely ignored by mainstream feminism, which will do more for equality of work and of pay for women. extending full paternity leave to men, for example, will remove the risk in employers minds of hiring a woman.

Date: 2005-01-14 06:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sushidog.livejournal.com
but what i actually meant was that the vast majority of accessible feminist groups are more interested in defying traditional roles.
Well, yes; I guess it is assumed that it's already accepted and therefore easy to stay home barefoot and pregnant, if that's what you want. Of course, as you mention, economic changes have made that more difficult now.


extending full paternity leave to men, for example, will remove the risk in employers minds of hiring a woman.
You did notice that that was one of the issues I raised in my original post, right?

Date: 2005-01-14 06:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] siani-hedgehog.livejournal.com
You did notice that that was one of the issues I raised in my original post, right?

yep, but i wouldn't really class you as a "mainstream feminist".

Date: 2005-01-16 10:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moral-vacuum.livejournal.com
Extending full paternity leave to men won't work - acording to some reasearch I read a while back, fathers of young children spend MORE time at work then before the child was born. And in any case - most men are so hung up in their gender role that they wouldn't hack being the home parent. Increasing numbers do, but it's still hardly any. I'm not saying it's right, by the way.

But as a confirmed non-parent, I object to a lot of "family friendly policies" only being extended to those with children.

Date: 2005-01-16 11:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sushidog.livejournal.com
Gender roles change over time though, and making changes possible helps to alter them. In some Scandewegian countries, for example, it's normal and accepted for men to take paternity leave, and house-husbandry is becoming much more common.

I don't resent paretns their family priveleges; sick people get sick leave, and parents need time to look after their kids; I think that's fair enough. After all, we need _someone_ to be procreating, otherwise who will tend to us in our nursing homes when we're old and incontinent? :-)

Date: 2005-01-14 08:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] clotilde.livejournal.com
I feel almost thte opposite way. I want to have children, and if I stay at home to look after them, I want that to be because that's the decision that my partner and I have come to as a family, not because that's the only optionthat we have. Third-wave feminism (think of feminist magazines like Bust) is about freedom to do stuff, whether that's knitting or plumbing or child-rearing or managing a business.

Date: 2005-01-14 08:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] siani-hedgehog.livejournal.com
the way i see it, *someone* has to look after kids. i'd rather it was as practical for their mothers to look after them as for their mothers to put them in some awful child-farm with a whole load of other kids and some poor woman getting paid minimum wage. but the fact remains, i feel no more strongly about this than i do about 55 yr old men who can't get get a new job when their company goes out of business. and as such, i can't call myself a feminist.

Date: 2005-01-14 10:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hirez.livejournal.com
That's a quality and inspiring piece. (Calling it a 'rant' would demean it, so I won't.)

One for the memories.

Date: 2005-01-14 10:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] steer.livejournal.com
Well said indeed. I remember a smug Tory wanker a few years ago telling me "You work at a university, there's no sexism at universities." Well how come 90% of the cooks are women and 90% of the security staff are men?

Date: 2005-01-14 11:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blue-condition.livejournal.com
Get that printed on the back of a T-shirt. It'll sell millions.

Brilliant.

Date: 2005-01-14 11:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aethelfled.livejournal.com
absofuckinlutely

Date: 2005-01-14 11:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jezebel-z.livejournal.com
Brilliant. I agree with you totally.
*applause*

Date: 2005-01-14 11:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ivory-goddess.livejournal.com
Well thought-out, well put, & spot-on!

Date: 2005-01-14 12:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jhaelan.livejournal.com
Whilst I agree with the sentiment I would say that makes you an equalitist or humanist rather than a feminist?

Perhaps I'm just being picky about semantics

Well said, either way ;)

Date: 2005-01-14 04:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sushidog.livejournal.com
Whilst I agree with the sentiment I would say that makes you an equalitist or humanist rather than a feminist?
Humanism is rather different, and equalism as a term is all very well, but a lot of these are specifically _gender_ issues, so I'm happy with the word "feminist".

Date: 2005-01-14 02:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moral-vacuum.livejournal.com
Or, to put it more simply, "Coz I am - wanna make something of it?".

You ust read this article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,3605,1384649,00.html

It talks about "Third Wave Feminism" - and I'd say you're definitely a third wave feminist.

The article is mostly an interview with the publisher of a fabulous sounding US women's magazine called "Bust", and also her book "Stitch 'n' Bitch", which reclaims knitting from being a mumsy pre-feminist activity seen as a symptom of subjugation. Rather like baking, really.

Date: 2005-01-14 05:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] inulro.livejournal.com
Perfect!

Date: 2008-07-02 03:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arachne.livejournal.com
*applause*

Date: 2008-07-02 03:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sushidog.livejournal.com
Thankyou! :-)

Date: 2008-07-02 08:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] faeri.livejournal.com
yes! exactly what you said! (although i do not like crochet or guinness. ;)

Date: 2008-07-03 06:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] etoile-violet.livejournal.com
This is so well put. Will you leave it public, and if so would you mind if I pointed others in its direction from time to time?

I totally agree about paternity leave. Funnily enough, my friend and I were talking about it yesterday, and how it'd be so much better if non-gendered 'parental' leave was allowed by law, so that the couple could choose which parent takes the (e.g) six months' paid leave post-birth.

Date: 2008-07-03 06:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sushidog.livejournal.com
Thankyou! Yes, I'll leave it public; it was originally a public entry, but then I had to lock my entire LJ down, for various reasons, and it got locked then, but I have no objection to people seeing it, so feel free to point at it, or quote from it, or indeed create your own version, or whatever! :-)

It's funny, a lot of childless-by-choice people feel rather resentful about parental leave (of whichever gender); I'm childles by choice, but I'm all in favour of a flexible system which allows either parent, or indeed both parents, to take time to look after their children. It's a big picture thing, I suppose; I think if kids are well-raised and happy, brought up by happy parents who believe in equality, my world will be a better place to live in. :-)

Date: 2008-10-14 12:18 pm (UTC)
ext_3057: (Default)
From: [identity profile] supermouse.livejournal.com
Here from a certain recent discussion in a community and wow, good essay.

Date: 2009-01-22 07:30 pm (UTC)
ashbet: (KissyFace)
From: [personal profile] ashbet
I *love* this post :)

-- A <3
Page generated Sep. 23rd, 2017 07:26 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios