5 Reasons you Dismiss Feminism (That are Total Bullshit)

I broke this week. A combination of things I’ve been reading online, seeing, and experiencing first hand have made me so angry that I can’t ignore that this is an issue anymore. I snapped. I broke. I can’t take it anymore.

I don’t want to rant. I don’t want to preach. What I hope to accomplish with this, if you take the time to read it to the bitter end, is to make you think.  To make you realize that equality still is an issue, and that “feminist” isn’t a dirty word. We have been asked to accept so much as “just the way things are,” but I’m tired. I’m tired of tolerating it. I refuse to accept that I have to put up with sexist, dismissive attitudes because “hey, we have equality, what’s your problem?” Fuck. That. Shit.

5 reasons you Dismiss Feminism (That are total bull shit)

1)      Feminists hate men

This is a stereotype is founded on extremist statements made by radical Feminists, and is reinforced by the media and popular culture.  Every group has its radicals. The Socialists have Hitler, Christians have Westboro Baptist Church, people from New Jersey have Snooki, and Cults have a bad name thanks to Charles Manson. There are always going to be the bat-shit crazy people waiting in the wings to jump on whatever cause happens by. Don’t take the words of one crazy person and judge an entire group by them. That’s a hasty generalization. And that is an invalid argument form. P does not equal Q.

ALSO: This study has shown that women who identify as Feminists are more likely than their non-feminist counter parts to be in a satisfying heterosexual relationship.  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071015102856.htm

2)      Feminists are hairy

Feminists have a reputation of being hairy legged, dirty, flannel wearing, who gives a damn kind of people. But these days I’m pretty sure I just described a hipster.

Feminist?

What I’m getting at is not shaving your pits is not a pre-requisite to being a feminist, and likewise, if you see a woman who hasn’t shaved her pits, that doesn’t mean she IS a feminist. Maybe she’s lazy. Or doesn’t believe in the beauty standard. Or forgot. You don’t know her life! On occasion I myself am a dirty hairy person because I tend to be a lazy asshole, not because I am making a political statement. Sometimes I just want to see how long my leg hair will grow. (answer – forever. My leg hair can grow forever.)

If you thought someone was making a political statement every time some unwanted hair made an appearance, we would have the biggest social upset since Firefly was canceled. A person’s choice to shave or not to shave is personal, and not indicative of an entire group of people.

Again, this stereotype can be attributed to negative representations of women in the media and pop culture. I smell a pattern.

3)      Feminists don’t have a sense of humor

Just because I don’t split my gut laughing every time someone tells me to “go make them a sammich” doesn’t mean I can’t laugh. I also plan to not laugh at rape, sexual assault, pedophiles, and that story you and your buddy have about going to strippers that one time.

Things I will laugh at: Farts, poop, baby panda’s sneezing, people falling down, burping, and literally almost anything else. But not LOL Cats. I hate LOL cats.

For more on feminists having a sense of humor, check out this list of “25 Republican-Approved Ways to Say ‘Vagina’ Without Offending Political Pussies” My favorite is “Hermetically sealed shame-basket” http://jezebel.com/5918587/25-republican+approved-ways-to-say-vagina-without-offending-political-pussies

Also, to sum up this argument see Nellie McKay singing “Mother of Pearl” (The first line is “Feminists don’t have a sense of humor) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hU446HDtGv8

 

4)      All Feminists are Lesbians

This one is a biggie. It’s an issue within an issue within an issue. I don’t have time to go into it all in detail (hopefully in the future) but I’m going to start with an exchange I had recently, which is what pushed me over the edge and onto a blog.

A person I consider a friend and whom I have a lot of respect for opened my eyes to this issue. He is smart, educated, and a well meaning guy. After discussing some of my interests with him (which include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Amanda Palmer, Kate Nash, and playing video games) he said to me “Non tradition female roles, strong women, going against stereotype – it makes me wonder – what team do you play for?’

Oh my. Where to begin.

Before giving in completely to my rage at being asked such an obnoxious question stemming from a stereotypical generalization so inherent in our society, I managed to respond with “Being a feminist does not make one a lesbian. I admire strong women because I aim to be one.”

But it wasn’t the fact that he asked if I was a lesbian (albeit in a tacky, dated, and insensitive manner) that made me so upset – it was why he asked. Why does looking to up to strong, independent, female role models, automatically cause people to question your sexual orientation? What does your sexual orientation even have to DO with that? And why is it asked as if it’s a bad thing?

The only answer I can think of is that it minimizes potential issues and dismisses them. Why do we want to dismiss this? Because our society still believes in traditional gender roles, and if a woman acts outside of this then there must be something wrong with them. It’s a way to discredit feminists to the general public, and to discourage young women from wanting to become one.  And this leads to an EVEN BIGGER ISSUE: Why do we still think there is something wrong with lesbians, and why are they the most easily dismissible people in our society? Why does it matter that a Feminist may also be a lesbian?

“She says she’s a feminist? Well she must be a lesbian.” How does this make sense? And don’t pretend you haven’t thought this at some point in your life, we all have, because despite its immense lack of logic, it’s somehow become ingrained within our society. But think about it,

What is the thought process behind this argument? “Oh, well she’s a lesbian, of COURSE she doesn’t want women to be raped and murdered.” One simply has nothing to do with the other, and the other is not an insult. Why are lesbians (arguably) the most dismissed people in our society? Why is it that being a Lesbian suddenly voids someone’s opinion?

Gender equality is unequivocally tied to Gay Rights. Gay women are criticised for behaving or appearing more masculine, Gay men are criticised for behaving or appearing more feminine. And both are used as insults to anybody who wants to challenge traditional gender roles and stereotypes, because we are all seen as LESS THAN a man.

I look up to these strong women because I dream of living in a world one day where being a “strong, smart, independent woman” is not considered “going against the stereotype.”

*it should be noted that I discussed this issue with my friend who asked it – again, not a bad guy. HE JUST DIDN’T THINK ABOUT IT. He has now.

5)      The fight for Equality has been fought and won

 

Famous Feminist Gloria Steinem (Google her) recently said in an interview about the current state of Feminism that “it’s hard to be angry about something you haven’t experienced.” I know this to be true. I’ve asked a lot of my gal pals how they feel about equality, and they don’t feel like they’ve been discriminated against, and thus, what would they be fighting? Well, all of the reasons I’ve listed above might be a place to start.

Ladies, we’re lucky to live in Canada. We have it pretty good here. But it’s ignorant to assume the battle has been won. We make less money than men. Abortion is still on issue. Every time a man yells “Nice tits!” out of his car window, that’s not one asshole – that is a symptom of a cultural inequality we have been raised to accept as a social normative.

This “Straw Feminist” trope is the first thing people think of when they think “Feminist.” An angry, man hating, militant woman, fighting against something that doesn’t exist. If you’ve stuck with me this far, take another 10 minutes and watch Anita Sarkeesian’s vlog where she explains the Straw Feminist trope, why it exists, and just how prevalent it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnJxqRLg9x0

My point is: the fight is far from over. Anita Sarkeesian? When she started a kickstarter to fund a research project exploring female tropes and representations in video games, she was the target of a mass interest harassment campaign. She was threatened with violence, murder, and rape. SOMEONE THREATENED TO RAPE HER BECAUSE SHE THINKS SOME VIDEO GAMES MIGHT BE KIND OF SEXIST. To reiterate what she said in her response to this: this is not a trivial issue. You cannot brush off this kind of behavior because hey, the internet is the internet.

I’m not saying all us women should start burning our bras – I know some of you really really need them – I’m saying don’t accept what you’re told. Ask Questions. Don’t take what rights you do have for granted. Pay attention to the little jabs you brush off every day. Always ask “why?” Who benefits from you not standing up for yourself?

And to all my male friends? You can be feminists, too! Think about what you’re saying and why you’re saying it. So much of this inequality is perpetuated by simply not thinking about it.

 

Ignorance is not bliss – it’s just ignorance. A Feminist is someone who believes in equality. For everyone.

You can read more about Anita on her tumblr: http://www.feministfrequency.com/

For more info on Gloria Steinem –http://www.gloriasteinem.com/

“Let’s Watch a Girl get Beaten to Death” a great post by Director and Feminist Joss Whedon (The Avengers, Buffy, Firefly):  http://whedonesque.com/comments/13271

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21 thoughts on “5 Reasons you Dismiss Feminism (That are Total Bullshit)

  1. This is an awesome start to your blog. This essay is interesting, it’s actually laugh-out-loud funny, but it’s really important. People need to stop thinking of “feminist” as a bad thing. And I admit, I’m relieved to read a feminist blog that I don’t absolutely disagree with. Given the interests I know you have, I’m excited to see what other topics you decide to cover.

  2. I loved this! Its a perfect blend of humor, truth and passionate ranting! It reads very much like a cracked.com article (a site I am known for staying up incessantly reading or using as an ultimate procrastination tool, meaning that this is a HUGE compliment in my book!)

    I certainly suscribe to this “I am a feminist, but not the psychotic caricature of a feminist that the term has come to mean” school of thought, which is why it peaked my interest originally (also, I saw this post linked off of Kate Nash’s twitter, and upon realizing that I had found a fellow Amanda Palmer and Joss Whedon uber-fan with a down-to-earth approach to a relatively hot-button topic, so how could it NOT appeal to my interests?!)

    In sum, I’m excited to read more, so bring on the Kraken!

    Also (I promise, after this I’m done ranting!) I’m not sure if you have read this, but it’s Amanda Palmer’s blog post detailing her marriage and asserting her own opinion on marriage, which is spot on how I feel about the issue. It all coincides very well with all that you are discussing in your blog.

    http://blog.amandapalmer.net/post/15120706154/the-wedding-blog

    • Thanks for the feedback! It made me smile. Also, based on your comments we may be the same person. Joss/ Amanda Palmer/ AND Kate Nash fan? GET OUT OF MY HEAD.
      I am also an avid cracked procrastinator, and was definitly using their format for this haha, and I love Amanda Palmer’s blog! I was really impressed by that post on marriage in particular. She’s really good at summing up complicated issues. I was glued to her kickstarter for most of May, (her new album is going to be, as the kids say, “sick.”)Totally someone I look up to!

      • Ahhh! So much awesome!! AND SERIOUSLY! Who invented the cloning machine and WHY HAVEN’T THEY RELEASED THIS INFORMATION TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC?!?

        Also, I knew I sensed some cracked.com vibes when I read this – I guess my prediction was spot on!

        And regarding Amanda Palmer, she was playing a concert nearby, and I couldn’t get tickets. They sold out ridiculously quickly and I’m still a bit heartbroken. And when I say a bit, I mean my heart is completely shattered. She is awesome! (And thats just the half of it!)

        Do you read any Neil Gaiman perchance?

      • I read Coraline in Jr. High and it was amazing, but scarred me for life. I kept haing nightmares about hands chasing me haha, so I avoided him for a while. I still refuse to watch the movie. But I just started reading some of his graphic novels, and also just started Neverwhere! Any reccomendations?

        Also: Not being able to get tickets to her show is so, so tragic. I told my friend about a show she was doing in Vancouver – she got to go, but instead of being happy for her I was just jealous.

  3. YES. Excellent. This is a good post and you should feel good. Ooooh, I look forward to this blog and the inevitable flood of feelings it will cause me. My I BROKE GUYS post is in drafts and is out of control and all over the place and has turned into about four different posts lest it have no focus, so I’m impressed at how you’ve laid out some of the main frustrations of being a self-identified feminist. It’s a nice, organized (and humorous) overview that sets up future posts nicely.

    (This is Mary, by the way. In case you thought someone else using the name mreeb stumbled upon your blog by coincidence.)

  4. A touchy subject done in a great format. Open. Well said Tessa!

    There is a whole society of “man-boys” out there that think the lives of women revolve around them.

    Stereotypes run rampant in our society and have become, for some people, statements of fact instead of aberrations. I hate being called, or even considered, a typical male.

    The women in my books are strong characters. Weak characters are weak for a point and not indicative of their gender. Why? Because people aren’t perfect and nobody wants to read about Joe or Jill normal.

    Looking forward to reading more of your blants. (Blog+rant)

    • I am so tired of these elite Western feminists, who while women’s status in much of the world is little better than chattel, obsess over such world-shattering topics such as is Princess Peach subservient to Mario – and what does that mean for society?

      tired of slacktivist ‘feminists’ on tumblr; the first wave feminists carried the cause; the new wave is just a bunch of myopic bandwagoning children

      • Heavy sigh. I’ll assume you spend most of your time over seas helping these women in person and not just surfing the net looking for random feminist blogs to leave comments on. Being abroad being a one-man world saver would explain how you’re so… lets say “out of the loop” when it comes to understanding what this “new wave” of feminism is actually fighting for.

      • Feminism is like any other aspect of life, there are those that paint a bad picture. But just like all bald people aren’t Nazis, not all feminists are man hating bra burners. I suggest you apply your grown-up spectacles and have your mother help you with the large words before you go hiding behind a moniker like John Q Public.

        Also, I recommend you buy a dictionary and spell check. Bad grammar and spelling reveal your age and education.

  5. How do feminists justify abortion? I’m just curious. This is coming from an adopted kid of a mother that was 17. It’s sort of a struggle to understand.

    Feminists should love having the power to have kids! And liberals are all about equality so why shouldn’t they fight for life?

    Maybe I’m just thinking of the feminists that support late-term abortions but ~12 weeks is plenty right? Beyond that the thing has eyes and blah. just blahh

    • Doogy: There isn’t really one reason *all* feminists justify abortion. Some don’t. We’re a wide range of individuals with varying opinions, so that’s not something I can speak to directly. What I *can* speak to is why most of us support the *right* to abortion. Moral issues aside, the problem with laws against it is they are laws telling a woman what she can and can’t do with her own body, and these laws are almost always made by men. Feminists don’t dislike having the power to have kids. It’s a common mistake, but pro-choice does *not* equal pro-abortion.

      Sorry Tessa, I totally just hijacked your comments.

    • Hey Doogy, thanks for the comment.

      I am mostly going to reiterate what Mary (Mreeb) said, but I can understand where you are coming from.

      I can’t speak for all Feminists, only myself, but it should be made clear that “Pro-Choice” is not the same as “anti-life.” A woman should have the right to choose if she wishes to continue with a pregnancy. This is a deeply personal choice, and it would be impossible to say you know the circumstances surrounding this kind of decision.

      A personal decision about a woman’s body should be made by each individual. Not by a government, or law, or a stranger who thinks they know better. A great Gloria Steinem quote on the topic that I agree with 100% is that “The authority of any governing institution must stop at its citizen’s skin.”

      And on the topic of late-term abortion? There are a lot of really misinformed people saying a lot of things that just are not based in fact. Here is a link to a bit of a fact sheet for you regarding the time frame that most abortions are performed in Canada, and the special medical circumstances surrounding rare “late-term” (+20 weeks) abortions.

      http://www.canadiansforchoice.ca/hottopic01.html

      • Thanks for responding guys. I can see the complexity of the situation. Not that it’s changed my view a whole lot. Like I’d bet the majority of abortions are for convenience. Like oh I want to finish my college degree. I think its the only thing stopping me from being a full feminist. OK I’ll stop haha

        Anyway looking forward to your next posts!

    • Humm. Interesting. There are lots of different numbers/stats/reasons to explain women typically earning less than men, and he touched on a lot of them. They devote a good portion of “Superfreakenomics” on it as well. I guess I kind of look at it as “why is it that women are the ones expected to make those choices about family/work/children?” It’s only been in recent years that men have even been entitled to maternity leave. But this just came out a couple weeks ago: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-hot-button/why-are-female-doctors-paid-less-than-male-counterparts/article4257695/
      Female Doctors who work the same hours at the same job with the same responsibility, typically earn over $300,000 less than their male co-workers. I’m not saying it all comes down to discrimination, but it’s worth thinking about.

      And for that reply to “It’s only sexist when Men do it?” She… had some interesting things to say. I agree with the point that if a man mutilated a woman like that, he would be burned at a stake. But that lady they’re talking about must have been bat shit crazy. Whatever she did there wasn’t motivated by gender equality haha.

      And she did make some good points, but (and I bring this up in my latest blog) the part where she tells women not to fake being raped? Only 2-4% of reported rapes in Canada turn out to be false. It’s so, so rare, and it’s really crazy how people seem to think there are tons of women out there who lie about it.

  6. I just wanted to throw in a quick comment, and let you know how awesome this short list is. You’re extremely clear and to the point which is fantastic. I’m a male, and I get frustrated when people make ignorant and uninformed comments. I grew up with just my Mum and two sisters, and as far as I’m concerned, without going back and re-iterating everything you said, people who make statements as you mentioned, have very little understanding and respect. Joss Whedon was once asked, “Why do you write strong female characters,” And his response was something along the lines of “Because people keep asking that question.” And I think that’s a pretty good point.

    Anyway, this was a great read, keep it up.

    PS. I supported that kickstarter; those comments are disgusting.

  7. Anyone who ha to actually write a blog saying why they are funny usually isn’t funny. I used to respect feminism until I got educated about it. Stories such as those by Erin pizzey and Edgar van de Giessen, makes me think feminism is a ploy and should be questioned as much as possible.

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