"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.
Back to the action.