Feminism. The ultimate F-bomb.
I’m a Feminist. Yup. I’m proud of it. I’m not one of those “I’m not a feminist but …” Gen Y girls. I’m a feminist. I’d call myself a no-wave feminist but maybe because my wave hasn’t been recognized yet. I have a degree in Women’s Studies – and English and Theology. I have a Masters in Public Policy. I have worked for Planned Parenthood and NARAL and done my part of protect women’s reproductive rights. I’ve stood in picket lines, written letters, organized events, opened my strained wallet, and worked at women’s shelters. I’ve held my friend’s hand after she was raped and listened. I’ve not allowed “victim” to define me. I’ve worked rape and domestic violence hotlines and I’ve had to call them scared and confused – not quite believing this could happen to Me.
No “ism” is ever perfect and feminism is no exception here. I wouldn’t even begin to argue that. I kind of feel like’s a little radical to call myself a feminist. Let me be clear here, I’m a feminist. I believe women are just as important, valued, sacred, smart, and anything else as men. I accept all gender and sexuality expressions. I understand oppression is systemic, and dominant groups cannot be systematical oppressed by the systems that benefit them: that being said, dominant groups don’t get out of the deal un-scathed. I’m not a man hater. I love men! I even love the cock. In fact, it’s because of my feminism that I have no problem saying that. I worship gods with big ones too. I throughly enjoy my sexuality and revel in my body. If you have a problem with me saying these things – suck it. (No, I’m sorry that wasn’t nice. Just don’t read this blog, it won’t be for you.)
“Visionary feminism is a wise and loving politics. It is rooted in the love of male and female being, refusing to privilege one over the other. The soul of feminist politics is the commitment to ending patriarchal domination of women and men, girls and boys. Love cannot exist in any relationship that is based on domination and coercion. Males cannot love themselves in patriarchal culture if their very self-definition relies on submission to patriarchal rules. When men embrace feminist thinking and preactice, which emphasizes the value of mutual growth and self-actualization in all relationships, their emotional well-being will be enhanced. A genuine feminist politics always brings us from bondage to freedom, from lovelessness to loving.” – bell hooks
I think all voices are important but more important I think is being uncomfortable. I think male voices on feminism are important BUT those voices need to be respectful. Before you make some statement about “man bashing” think about what you’re going to say. Are you going to fan the flames? Are you going to give me a reason to unleash my fury on you? I know women’s anger is scary because it’s Women’s Anger. Because it’s built up and we are often socialized to bottle up our anger and unpleasant feelings. When they erupt it’s sometimes like a popping the cork off a champagne bottle – it comes off with a force behind it and tons of bubbles. One woman’s anger is contagious. This is a product of oppression. Men are afraid of Women’s collective anger the same way White People are afraid of Black People’s collective anger: because deep down, we know it’s REAL. There is something there and we are somehow a part of it, we did do it, even if we didn’t mean to never wanted to and don’t want to. The issue is if you have a problem with it BE PART OF THE SOLUTION. Or shut the up and accept it: Women Are Angry with You.
That being said, as feminists have a responsibility. You know, like Spider Man. Use your power for good, use your power to make changes and don’t disrespect our foremothers for not alway seeing the changes they have made. Many injustices are committed in the name of feminisms. As the youth, it’s our responsibility to quietly and respectfully disagree and call others out in a respectful way. In the Pagan community this can be seen in the recent exclusion of trans women by Z Budapest in her circle (see a beautiful post by T. Thorn Coyle). I specifically used a Pagan example because this blog is about first and foremost: Paganism. I’ll write about other things I’m sure and this is also common on both sides of the aisle. Sometimes I can’t hold my mouth shut. Also on the subject of being inclusive and respectful of Others’ voices I also think we as feminists have a responsibility to see people for who they are NOW, not for who they’ve been. This point comes up in the Hugo Schwyzer debacle in the online feminist community. I am one of those in the pro-Schwyzer camp. I enjoy his writing, I enjoy his honesty and his Male perspective. He’s not been perfect and he is not perfect – and neither are we nor any of those women judging him. We are all here to learn, and he is learning and We are learning. If only all of us could be as graceful as Schwyzer about our mistakes and shortcomings we might really get somewhere in solving this.