“I’m not a feminist,” I once said to my Dear Friend Kate. She responded in the best way possible, she emailed this to me (see bottom of ramble). So I stand corrected. Yes I Am.
I’m aware this blog fluctuates from the sublime to the ridiculous, but do try and keep up. Variety is the spice of life after all. And I’ve put lots of pictures up to break up all the ranty words. Some of them are even amusing, just to show you I still have a sense of fucking humour. I do.
With Slutwalk taking place around the globe and having written some stories about International Women’s Day (cue chorus of men saying “why do we have to have an international women’s day?” Well if you have to ask, that’s why we need it, idiots) feminism and equality have been on my mind. I’ve heard a few stories recently of some very brave women who have stood up to sexual harassment and others whose sexual assault was deemed of the “lesser kind” because it wasn’t in a darkened alley, committed by a knife-wielding stranger.
You can’t quantify sexual assault. You can’t measure the impact, the pain, the sorrow, the hurt, the fear, the degredation, the guilt, the harm, the “what ifs”. And I’m talking from experience here. I fear, as I get older, I’m going to turn into one of those women. The “down with that sort of thing” brigade. But that’s probably not a bad thing. I’m all for sex and porn and whatever turns you on, but I am concerned with the sexualisation of children. I worry about women being constantly presented as sexual objects. I hate that we allow companies to make ourselves feel shit about what we look like in order to flog us stuff we don’t need. That women who are already impossibly gorgeous with perfect bodies are airbrushed into impossibilities and we are placated by a few “real women” cover stories in magazines.
The constant criticism we read about celebrities looking fat, looking painfully thin, getting back that post-baby body in less than a day. We read it. We buy it. We buy into it.
We still fight pay inequality and we are scared to walk down the street at night or of getting into a cab drunk. If the John Worboys taxi-driver rapist story taught me anything, it was not to take the drink the cab driver tried to press on me the other month which was probably full of fucking rohypnol. And boy was I was scared.
I’m tired of being scared. I’m tired of being told that it is my responsibility not to get sexually assaulted or raped. I’m tired of hearing that having a few too many drinks means it’s kind of my fault. I’m tired of being told not to get in a taxi on my own,. to take down the driver’s details, to do this, do that. There’s got to be more we can do that doesn’t involve arming each and every one of us with mace. Which I have actually considered.
One in three women worldwide will be the subject of sexual assault at some point in their lives. That’s your wife, your girlfriend, your mother, your sister, your cousin, your daughter. Think how many female friends and relatives you have. Now divide that number by three. Sexual assault and rape is also the most underreported crime and the most notoriously unsuccessful to prosecute, if it gets that far.
It’s an atrocity. It’s a war. It’s an outrage. I don’t have the answers but surely we can come up with something a bit better than “make sure you don’t get raped”. Because that’s ridiculous. Ok, rant over. I’ll post a cute cat next to pull us all through. In the meantime, if you’ve even got this far, here’s that email from the delightful Kate.
Sourced from tomatonation.com
Yes, You Are
feminism n (1895) 1 : the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes 2 : organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests — feminist n or adj — feministic adj
Above, the dictionary definition of feminism — the entire dictionary definition of feminism. It is quite straightforward and concise. If you believe in, support, look fondly on, hope for, and/or work towards equality of the sexes, you are a feminist.
Yes, you are.
The definition of feminism does not ask for two forms of photo ID. It does not care what you look like. It does not care what color skin you have, or whether that skin is clear, or how much you weigh, or what you do with your hair. You can bite your nails, or you can get them done once a week. You can spend two hours on your makeup, or five minutes, or the time it takes to find a Chapstick without any lint sticking to it. You can rock a cord mini, or khakis, or a sari, and you can layer all three. The definition of feminism does not include a mandatory leg-hair check; wax on, wax off, whatever you want. If you believe in, support, look fondly on, hope for, and/or work towards equality of the sexes, you are a feminist.
Yes, you are.
The definition of feminism does not mention a membership fee or a graduated tax or “…unless you got your phone turned off by mistake.” Rockefellers, the homeless, bad credit, no credit, no problem. If you believe in, support, look fondly on, hope for, and/or work towards equality of the sexes, you are a feminist.
Yes, you are.
The definition of feminism does not require a diploma or other proof of graduation. It is not reserved for those who teach women’s studies classes, or to those who majored in women’s studies, or to those who graduated from college, or to those who graduated from high school, or to those who graduated from Brownie to Girl Scout. It doesn’t care if you went to Princeton or the school of hard knocks. You can have a PhD, or a GED, or a degree in mixology, or a library card, or all of the above, or none of the above. You don’t have to write a twenty-page paper on Valerie Solanas’s use of satire in The S.C.U.M. Manifesto, and if you do write it, you don’t have to get better than a C-plus on it. You can really believe math is hard, or you can teach math. You don’t have to take a test to get in. You don’t have to speak English. If you believe in, support, look fondly on, hope for, and/or work towards equality of the sexes, you are a feminist.
Yes, you are.
The definition of feminism is not an insurance policy; it doesn’t exclude anyone based on age. It doesn’t have a “you must be this tall to ride the ride” sign on it anywhere. It doesn’t specify how you get from place to place, so whether you use or a walker or a stroller or a skateboard or a carpool, if you believe in, support, look fondly on, hope for, and/or work towards equality of the sexes, you are a feminist.
Yes, you are.
The definition of feminism does not tell you how to vote or what to think. You can vote Republican or Libertarian or Socialist or “I like that guy’s hair.” You can bag voting entirely. You can believe whatever you like about child-care subsidies, drafting women, fiscal accountability, Anita Hill, environmental law, property taxes, Ann Coulter, interventionist politics, soft money, gay marriage, tort reform, decriminalization of marijuana, gun control, affirmative action, and why that pothole at the end of the street still isn’t fixed. You can exist wherever on the choice continuum you feel comfortable. You can feel ambivalent about Hillary Clinton. You can like the ERA in theory, but dread getting drafted in practice. The definition does not stipulate any of that. The definition does not stipulate anything at all, except itself. If you believe in, support, look fondly on, hope for, and/or work towards equality of the sexes, you are a feminist.
Yes, you are.
The definition of feminism does not judge your lifestyle. You like girls, you like boys, doesn’t matter. You eat meat, you don’t eat meat, you don’t eat meat or dairy, you don’t eat fast food, doesn’t matter. You can get married, and you can change your name or keep the one your parents gave you, doesn’t matter. You can have kids, you can stay home with them or not, you can hate kids, doesn’t matter. You can stay a virgin or you can boink everyone in sight, doesn’t matter. It’s not in the definition. If you believe in, support, look fondly on, hope for, and/or work towards equality of the sexes, you are a feminist.
Yes, you are.
Yes. You are. You are a feminist. If you believe in, support, look fondly on, hope for, and/or work towards equality of the sexes, you are a feminist. Period. It’s more complicated than that — of course it is. And yet…it’s exactly that simple. It has nothing to do with your sexual preference or your sense of humor or your fashion sense or your charitable donations, or what pronouns you use in official correspondence, or whether you think Andrea Dworkin is full of crap, or how often you read Bust or Ms. — or, actually, whether you’ve got a vagina. In the end, it’s not about that. It is about political, economic, and social equality of the sexes, and it is about claiming that definition on its own terms, instead of qualifying it because you don’t want anyone to think that you don’t shave your pits. It is about saying that you are a feminist and just letting the statement sit there, instead of feeling a compulsion to modify it immediately with “but not, you know, that kind of feminist” because you don’t want to come off all Angry Girl. It is about understanding that liking Oprah and Chanel doesn’t make you a “bad” feminist — that only “liking” the wage gap makes you a “bad” feminist, because “bad” does not enter into the definition of feminism. It is about knowing that, if folks can’t grab a dictionary and see for themselves that the entry for “feminism” doesn’t say anything about hating men or chick flicks or any of that crap, it’s their problem.
It is about knowing that a woman is the equal of a man in art, at work, and under the law, whether you say it out loud or not — but for God’s sake start saying it out loud already. You are a feminist.
I am a feminist too. Look it up.