"If I had a quarter for every time I heard some cool, together girl say 'I'm not a feminist, but ... ,' and then proceed to list of all her unquestionably feminist beliefs, jeez, I would be in Honolulu right now, and not here getting all stressed out." -- Jaime Kirzner-Roberts, "I'm not a feminist but...", Fireweed #59/60

I hesitate, sometimes, to use the word "Feminist" to describe myself, because it has turned into something of a big bad F-word. I think that the male fear of female empowerment is a factor that makes the word "feminist" draw up images of tight-mouthed bitter male-hating lesbian women obsessed with politics, women who are unpleasant to talk to because they are constantly screening what you say for patriarchal assumptions. I also think that the F-word problem is a consequence of women's attitudes towards eachother as well, but regardless of how it happens, I dislike the fact that I am afraid of the word Feminist.

I suppose I would fall into the "post-modern" feminist category, which is a little less defined, a bit more directionless than previous feminist waves. I know that I am pro-grrl and believe in the power of women as a force to be reckoned with. I try to be conscious about the male-assumed parts of our lives that we are so accustomed to we forget about. Like the word "politician". We always think about a man in a suit, even when women like Margaret Thatcher have pushed huge amounts of political change on a national scale. In turn, I try to mold the associations of "secretary" to include men as well.

I hate the "feminine protection" industry, full of words like "sanitary" even thought their products are not sterile, full of denial, full of carcinogens and environmentally obscene materials.

I hate "the pill". I think women should be able to take control of their reproductive lives for themselves, and I celebrate that there are so many options available to us to help us choose. (I still haven't found a stance on abortion that I'm comfortable with yet, so in the meantime...) The pill fools your body into thinking it's pregnant for years at a time. This strikes me as unhealthy, and there are health risks associated with the pill. The part that I have a problem with though, is the message embedded inside it. Here, take this little tictac in the morning, your periods will lighten up, you won't get pregant, you can basically pretend that you aren't a woman and it's so wonderful and convenient, isn't it! The pill, and many other birth control devices, place the entire onus of reproduction on the female as if it's all our fault or something. If the diaphragm slips, a pill is missed, or the foam doesn't quite do it's job, it's inside *her* and *she* must've done something wrong. The male condom is suitable but not excellent, and why the female condom has to be so much more expensive, we will never know. As women we are expected to protect ourselves (and I think we may generally agree that the pressure on straight males to insist on protection is a fair bit less) but the cost and responsibility are biased against us.

It took me awhile to figure out how I could be pro-hormone therapy yet dislike the pill. The implications of the pill as an anti-feminisizing device are one thing, but the idea of taking hormones to be youthful eternally seemed quite another. Until I watched my mother go through menopause, I didn't have enough data to process this part of our female lives. Unlike the health risks of your body being pregnant for years (and biologically, pregnancy can be very disruptive), there aren't any health risks associated with being in a hormonally youthful state. Infact, menopause brings on a host of increased health risks to women. My mother, bless her, suffered with rheumatoid arthritis and hotflashes until she started HRT at the suggestion of a nurse and friend, which cleared up both problems. Endometriosis or difficult menstruation are both conditions which are improved by hormones - taking a healthy fertile girl and potentially harming her condition with a birth control pill just isn't for me.

More coming depending on how bitchy I feel.

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