Sunday, September 17, 2006

i'm not a part of the feminist movement

and i'm not afraid to admit it. or say it out loud. i feel that many women out there are so proud of being feminists that they scream it at the top of their lungs as often as they can (while pushing their political beliefs down your throat). and i just wanted to make it clear here, on my blog, that i'm not a feminist. at least not in the "member of now, going to conferences about how awesome women are, guys suck because they're male," kind of way. so while everyone else is screaming about how empowering it is to be a woman, and how you should do this, or do that- i'm just here to post that i can't relate to any of it. i don't consider myself a feminist and i don't think there's anything wrong with that. but sometimes i wonder if i'm the only one? is there something i'm missing here? aren't i supposed to be a feminist simply based on the fact that i'm a woman? aren't i supposed to want to support everything that women do, because i'm in the secret club? because i don't. i hate extremism. and i think that's what SOME feminists are- extremists. to put it simply- i just find it empowering to be me, and that's not because i'm a woman- it's because i'm jennster. being a woman is a part of who i am, but it's not all that i am. and there is so much more to me than simply my gender, that i refuse to use it to my benefit. i refuse to use it, period.

i don't care about certain things that as a "woman" i'm apparently supposed too. who knew that being born into this gender meant that i was supposed to feel certain ways... be appalled by certain things... or want to take a fucking stand about everything?? why can't i feel certain ways based on the fact that i'm human, not based on the fact that i'm a woman? i'm not into drawing attention to the fact that i'm a girl- i mean, can't you tell that by looking at me? i'm also not into feeling like i'm owed certain things, just because i'm female. i don't look for entitlement. i don't look for reasons to make excuses. and i don't try to lead any charge by screaming that i'm doing it BECAUSE I AM A WOMAN! i don't believe in special priveledges because of your gender and/or race. i don't think someone kicks ass because of what they are- i believe they kick ass because of who they are.

i don't believe in rights for someone based on the fact that they are a woman- i believe in rights for someone based on the fact that they are a person. does anyone else know what i'm trying to say here? i guess it's just that i'm not a feminist, i'm more of a humanist (thanks steph). i think things are right or wrong because that is what they are- not because of who they're happening too (wait, that's not entirely true.. there are definitely shades of gray in this). i just don't think of things as gender based. i think of them as human based. and i don't think there's anything wrong with that.

i'm a woman. i'm proud to be a woman, but i'm more proud to be an American. and i'm most proud to be me, woman or not.

edited to add- that i'm proud of how far we've come. and i'm thankful for those women who were strong enough to fight for what was right back in the day when we were discriminated against based on the fact that we were women, alone. and i would like to think that i would have done the same thing. but not because i was trying to be a feminisit, but because i was trying to be FAIR. i believe in fighting for what is right. fighting for what's fair and just. for EVERYONE, not just women.

43 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Right on!! Well said. Believing that women have the same rights as men is a fundamental truth, and doesn't necessarily mean you have to label yourself a feminist to believe it.

I have great respect for the women who fought so hard to get equal rights for women, especially the suffragists who got us the right to vote. It's hard to believe there was even a question of whether women SHOULD vote. People should be proud of their accomplishments, of who they are as a person. I hope that makes sense.

Chase said...

Holy shit, woman...I'm posting about this VERY SAME THING tomorrow.

I'm right there with you - I'm not a 'power to the people' girl (yes, I said GIRL, not WOMAN) by any means.

I love that you posted this, especially since everyone is buzzing about Greenstone Media lately - just sucks you beat me to the punch. Hehe! :)

point45 said...

where to fuck is my dinner woman?

Elizabeth said...

HA-what Point said? Is exactly what my husband would have said!! And then I would have laughed at him and said get yer own damn dinner.

norcalgirl28 said...

where "to" fuck is my dinner woman? Oh Point, you totally lost your affect by saying "to" and not "the". Besides, those who know you and love you so know this would not be something you would say. Which is probably why you couldn't even say it correctly.

Erin Monahan said...

I don't think I qualify as a feminist either. I like my bra, I shave my armpits, and I wish my husband would do manly things like, oh I dunno, open the door for me, more often.

"Humanist" is a new word to me - but I guess that's what I'd be too. People should do certain things for other people simply because we're all people, and some things are just right or wrong regardless of any gender issue.

BUT, I still think women should do toilets (mostly because men would miss) and men should take out the garbage (mostly because I hate the smell of the big can outside.)

I don't hate men, unless they make me hate them - I adore my man actually, and as a woman, I know my position. I'm perfectly OK with the days that my position is in front of the stove - and the nights when it's flat on my back ;)

MelissaMM said...

Word Sista', word!

I'm there with you and totally feel the same. We achive things in life because of who we are, not what we are.

Lisa said...

I think people should be proud of WHO they are as well. Frankly, I don't want to be given a promotion just because I'm a girl. I want it because I'm damn good at my job and do some serious ass-kicking on a daily basis. (OK. I stay-at-home now but still... I felt this way when I was in the workforce and still do.)

lindsayc said...

I consider myself a humanist. Placing no race or gender above myself or anyone else. I believe that we all have a equal footing, recognized by others or not. But I was lucky to have very liberal thinking parents, who believed in being my parent not my friend and a great lesbian godmother. So maybe nurture here, not nature. but it is what I believe. Nice post.

tAnYeTTa said...

wow.

tAnYeTTa said...

point45 is hilarious. oops sorry jenn, you can kick my ass now :)

Christina_the_wench said...

*wonders if jennster is gonna kick point's ass or not*

Jenn said...

I totally agree with you!!!

The problem is, not everyone does. There are a lot of places, in this country even, that still feel that you are not equal due to your race and/or gender. When you live on the West coast or the East coast you think this is no longer an issue, but in a lot of places it still is.

So because of this, there are certain times where you need to overcompinsate for it.

sad, but true.

Becky said...

could not have said it better myself. i've said it before in my blog and i'll say it again here. awesome.

mothergoosemouse said...

YES YES YES YES YES

Thanks Jennster. We're all PEOPLE. Our differences don't entitle us to ANYTHING - discrimination OR privilege.

Sadly, circumstances often stand in the way of opportunity - and THAT'S what we should be working to change, not forcing people to accept opportunities nor taking opportunities away from others.

And for the record, I'm a secular humanist, as they say. I have never considered myself a feminist, and I still don't.

russ said...

first woman space tourist launched to the heavens yesternight

alison said...

If you believe that the "sexes" should be socially, economically, and politically equal, then you are a feminist. You're just not extreme, and neither am I, but I believe women should have all the opportunities men have.

Beth said...

Amen Sista! uh, 'cept for the being proud to be American, cause I am Canadian!!! LOL

Anonymous said...

I believe that feminism in its purest form, as it was originally intended, was about choice. Yes, women should have the right to vote. Women should have the right to do with their bodies as they wish. Women should have the right to be paid the same amount of money for the same job as a man. These women paved the way for us to be able to have these choices. To choose to stay home with our kids. To choose to work outside the home. To be a doctor, to be a stripper, to be an entrepreneur. To have kids or not. To get married or not. Unfortunately some people have lost sight of this and have gone to extremes. Which makes it harder for all of us.

Domesticchicky (Damn Blogger beta!)

Waya said...

Amen to this post Jennster! I am a woman and Asian but I hate it when people take out their race/gender card to get their way.

Softball Slut said...

Rawk On Sister! I agree with you. I just thought I was the only one.

Plunky said...

I love it, Jennster! Agree completely. I see all of these feminist books asking "Who needs a man?". Um, I don't NEED one anymore than they need me but I want a partner and I am not ashamed of that.

Hippie Mama said...

I think it's unfortunate that because of the "anti-feminist" movement, there is a misconception that feminists hate shaving and men. Feminism doesn't mean you have to ascribe to whatever political beliefs, it means that you think there should be equality between women and men:

(from Webster dictionary:) feminism: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes

To those who say feminism is dead because we're all equal now, there is still a gender gap in this country in that women get paid $.75 on the dollar for the same work men do. Just because we have the right to vote now doesn't mean that we're equal in every way.

Not to criticize anything you said-but a lot of the things you claim to be, in my opinion, make you a feminist. This is coming from a self-proclaimed feminist too, not trying to insult you :-P

Lena said...

Well freaking put. There is a HUGE difference between an extremist and a feminist. I'm with you Jenn.

Tori said...

I love what you wrote Bitch!

I agree. I have an aunt who is a raving feminist and she's really a bit of an embarrasment. She always used to make me say "person" rather than man or woman. Jesus Lady! Chill out! SHe also bandies the word vagina around. Now I just don't like that word! I'm sorry! I especially don't like to have a conversation using it like she does....

"well often the vagina loses some elasticity etc" It's like we are permanantly in a doctor's office....

PU-LEASE!!!!!

Oh did I mention - she's a midwife and lives in the Bay Area....

Say no more!

I too am like you Jennsta Babe... I am a people person (as long as that person is nice!!!!!)

Good post....

melissa b. said...

Ster, I adore you and I get what you're saying ... and yet, I totally agree with hippie mama.

I'd like to say that we were in a position to declare ourselves humanists...and then I see watch our reproductive rights disappear and our wage gap continue and I have to be a feminist to get closer to equality.

Mother said...

I think feminism has gotten a bad rap (for various reasons I won't go into), but like a pp said, it's about equality - not about wanting more or anything better than anyone else.

I think it's okay not to be this extremist whatever... Just believing in equal rights makes you feminist enough.

Suebob said...

Jennster! I think you need to be schooled, and who better to do it than cranky nradical old feminist me.

You might want to read some feminist history. “Letters to Ms 1972-1987” (http://www.amazon.com/Letters-Ms-1972-1987-Mary-Thom/dp/0805007970/sr=8-1/qid=1158610331/ref=sr_1_1/102-0228383-9027337?ie=UTF8&s=books) is so instructive and an easy read, too. It gives you a real picture of the stuff women were fighting for, which is precisely FAIRNESS, not special rights.

You aren’t old enough (and I am BARELY old enough) but here are some things I remember: women not being able to get credit in their own name; no real sports teams in school (women had “play days” instead of league sports); real, heated, earnest arguments over whether women were too hormonal/weak/stupid to be judges, lawyers, doctors, athletes.

I remember a fifth-grade teacher, Mr. Ennis, reading our class a mocking list of ways in which men were superior and in which women were superior. The men’s list was first – men were basically better at every single thing.

The women’s side had one item: women had a bigger fat layer, so they didn’t get so cold in arctic climates.

If that isn’t worth getting shrill and yelling over, what is? I would march in the streets to keep one more little girl from hearing that kind of crap in a public school.

Women fought long and hard to keep from being treated as second-class citizens. I'm glad you recognize that.

They yelled, went to conferences, they founded NOW, they screamed, they did unattractive things, and why? To make a scene? No – to make things better for US, those who follow.

I give thanks that I don’t have to fight those fights because feminist pioneers did it for me. I think I owe them something. Like to continue the work, to fight prejudice and ignorance where I see it, to make a fuss when necessary. To call myself a feminist. The women following us deserve it.

So to say “Oh, I’m not one of those,” seems to me to imply you are somehow above that. And to me the only reason that you ARE above all that is that you stand on the shoulders of women who fought under the banner of that despicable word "feminist".

Schooling over. My work here is done. You know I love you.

Meg said...

Hey I'm with you. I like having a strong husband to lean on and to not have to worry about carrying the burdens around here. I get so tired of women and their feminist crap all. the. time!

Great post!

Mega Mom said...

I like everything. I like the dialogue and debate. I don't like ideas rammed down my throat even if I agree wholeheartedly with them. I think feminism got a bad rap, but/and I've never considered myself a feminist even though many might describe me as exactly that.

I like to take an issue (and not a whole gamut of ideas) and sort through my feelings on it. I don't like to put myself in one camp (read: political party) b/c I don't agree with many things on both sides.

I'm constantly open to learning and that is why I applauded your stance and SueBob's as well.

Miss you!

crazymumma said...

So many kind of feminists. Nicely said.

Suebob said...

The funny part is that we would all, by virtue of our outspokenness and our insistence on being treated well, be thought of as "feminists" by people in a 1970 world.

point45 said...

the toilet seat is supposed to be left up dammit, every time in the middle of the night i piss on the seat!

Random Musings Of My Life said...

well put..
I could not have said it better if I tried.
I wish we were friends for real... move back to LA

carrie said...

Being "humanistic" has been my soapbox when defending myself against people with extreme attitudes for longer than I can remember. And, part of being human is recognizing that the humans before us had it a lot harder, and for that, we are grateful. And, we still have to fight for choice, and a voice, and that is frickin' dispicable in America, for any human.

Great post Jennster!!!

Angry Dad said...

You should come and speak at our leadership conferences! You've got it down pat, and I love your views and ideals!!

Lisa Goldstein/Kelly Kelly said...

i can really relate to what you are saying. to be honest, the first time I felt any connection to women at all is through blogging --reading other blogs recieving comments on ours. Suddenly it did feel empowering to feel not alone in mom/work challenges and things other women understand.


I appreciate that women have more choices and for the women who came before me who fought those battles, but I don't identify myself as a feminist either. when I hear the word feminism, I think polarizing, like the "mommy wars," and I hate all that shit. I also think classist. Seems like the movement is designed for educated women of privelage,and women of lower education/opportunity levels are the ones who watch those women's kids. Not men. So I don't see how women have truly been freed of domestic chains and equalized to men on that front. Until we rid ourselves of mom-guilt, we'll never be free. Sigh.

As you can see I am very conflicted over feminism. I am proud to be a woman, but like you don't identify myself as a feminist in the traditional sense of the word either. I don't like to be any kind of I-S-T.. except maybe perfectionist, or artist, or something.

Sheesh, sorry to rant. I think feminism hasn't grabbed hold of a new generation and won't until it changes to allow more flexibility --like reform judaism to use a religion analogy. Right now, it's very polarizing, and I think that's the last thing the world needs... another polarizing force.

Lisa

norcalgirl28 said...

Point, now you are just talking to talk. Give it up!!!! You know you adore Jenn, respect her as a person and agree with everything she is saying. Well, everything she said in this post anyway....

Stephanie A. said...

Since we've talked about this privately in email, you know how I feel about it and I can see where you are coming from on it, too. There's nothing but respect from me to you and I totally agree about the extremist/polarizing affects not being good.

By the same token, I feel that many of the responses here(not your post) are, oddly and sometimes harshly, polarized. I think what you stand for is awesome, but I think that people are missing the main point by making comments opposed to feminism or what they -think- feminism means. Make sense?

You appreciate people for what they are and NEVER break them down, woman or man. I never get an Us vs. Them vibe, either. However, many of the comments here come off as very "fuck that noise" in regard to feminists/feminism which isn't really what I think you were saying. I got that you just didn't get the labels. Or maybe you were trying to say fuck your hairy underarm noise. Who the hell knows???

Just another perspective.

Kristen said...

I agree- I am a fairist. LOL.

Oh, and on a lighter note, Blogger Beta has apparently made it easier for you to comment on my blog- and I HAVE THE CATEGORIES! I know I promised to let you know when it finally happened.

Petite Mom Blogger said...

I guess I am a feminist in that I believe in equal rights and choices but I am not extreme by any means and I'm not one to go out there and fight for it. What you have written is alot of how I feel. Thanks for writing it and I'm glad you have gotten some great helpful feedback.

Anonymous said...

All you are--from a single mom who can hold her head high, to a working woman with legal rights in the workplace, to a "co-habitant" without shame (and legal rights as a domestic partner), to the language you use and feel free to write, is because of the feminists who call(ed) themselves that and did all the plodding, painful, brave, unsexy work--so you can bring sexy back.

Piece of Work said...

I'm a feminist, and I'm not afraid to say it. It is a fundamental part of my being--and no, I don't go to marches (anymore) and I never hated men. I'm not sure where the idea is coming that being a feminist means you want to be given things/power/whatever only because you are a woman. That's ridiculous. To me, being a feminist means that I believe in equality, and I recognize that not everyone else does.