Are too a feminist.

Sometimes I’ll hear someone, either a friend or just someone in earshot, talking along about political and social issues, say this:

“I’m not one of those feminists.” Or, “I can’t stand those feminists.”

If queried on this, I’ll hear something like “I wouldn’t put myself in that category” or “I’m just not like that, I couldn’t be one of those people.” If the person is male, the original comment was probably “I can’t stand feminists” or “Those feminists, they are bad because of blar blar blar.”

My response is a series of questions. For women: Do you have a college degree? Do you drive your own car? Do you have a career, or plan to have one? Do you have your own bank account and credit card? Do you wear pants when you feel like it? If you are with a man and you can’t stand him, can you leave? Do you like the fact that you can leave?

For men, the questions are more fun. Do you have a girlfriend? Do you and your girlfriend share an apartment or house? If so, does she pay half the rent and utilities? Does your wife or girlfriend work, and contribute to the family finances? Do you like being able to date women without marrying them? Do you like being able to earn an income and keep it without being obliged to marry? Do you like getting sex retail instead of having to buy it wholesale? Do you enjoy participating in hobbies, sports, and work activities with women? Are any of your customers or clients women who pay you for your services?

Folks, if you answered any of these questions “yes” then guess what! You are a feminist. You are benefiting and profiting from the increasing equality of women in society over the last hundred years. “Feminist” does not mean “angry castrating lesbian who wants you to use awkward pronouns”. It means someone, male or female, who believes that women should have financial, political, and sexual freedom, and that these freedoms require protection and extension.

Next time you benefit from the F-word you should remember it’s not an insult, it’s a badge of pride.

Note: this was originally posted on my “Content Goes Here” blog in 2003.

6 thoughts on “Are too a feminist.

  1. I have been very very guilty of this in the past, out of some wacky combination of circumstances that basically made me get blinders. I think part of it wa having such a small and tight knit arts community – there were women who self-identified very loudly as FEMINISTS who may or may not have been… I just didn’t like *them*. Past behviour not fixable, but fortunately the attitude got changed in time to affect present and future behaviour. I’m still no perfect at it.

    Thanks for the post, it gave me some good thinking some time ago, but I only just got around to commenting on it. =)

  2. Your definition of feminism is overbroad. I believe in equality, but I can guarantee you that not every self-identified ‘feminist’ agrees with your view. If you want to solidify your definition of feminism as the TRUE definition of feminism, then take it up with them.

    Until then, I’ll identify as egalitarian, and continue to be a frenemy to feminists. I’m with you most of the time, just not when you’re relying on the same tribalist us vs. them mentality that got us in this mess in the first place.

    1. Ryan –

      I do not have data on every self-identified feminist. I’d prefer to take up the definition with you, because you say it’s overbroad. What does that mean in this context?

      It looks from your comment that you identify feminists as people with whom you disagree, but it’s hard to tell what the points of disagreement might be.

  3. “It means someone, male or female, who believes that women should have financial, political, and sexual freedom, and that these freedoms require protection and extension.”

    how on earth is that overbroad, ryan? further: how, if you don’t identify as a feminist, would you be better fit to judge what the correct definition of feminism is over a person who does identify as one? you’re telling members of a group that you’re not a member of what they are and are not, is that right?

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