The Dildo is a Nice Touch, Though.
"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 am displeased with the sheer quantity of academic sloppiness the feminists are guilty of. 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. Ultimately I believe that genderlessness and androgyny will lead the way, when the word "firefighter" means "whoever can do the job", without fussing over whether or not standards should drop to allow women to fight fires too, upon the sheer virtue of being a woman.
As a good example of why feminism is good to have around, let us investigate tampons. I hate the "feminine protection" industry, full of words like "sanitary" even though their products are not sterile, full of denial, full of carcinogens and obscene materials. Advertising is another opiate of the masses - fine, sell me a crummy car, or a silly cell phone. But as soon as I tell you to shove it into your own body, safety, standards, and consumer information become quite suddenly important, don't they. Feminism is wonderful for providing equal work and pay, the right to vote, and on. Feminism was the new hope for gender equality - but unfortunately, feminism has collapsed under it's own fanatic bravado.
I remember reading a feminist tome that described how 0.1 million women die of eating disorders each year. One hundred thousand women, of course, being an utterly unreasonable figure. It was a mistake - 0.1 million women were *affected* by eating disorders each year at the time of publication. Yet the mistake was propagated, passed on, publicized, and ignored as a mistake until the book "who stole feminism" came to save it.
I can't really think of a real, tangible way in which women are treated unfairly or as a lesser to men. Every company has adopted non-discrimination policies, women enjoy all the political and legal freedoms of men. So what is it exactly that moderm academic feminism is fighting in such earnest for? And the answer, of course, is mental equality. Women are *thought of* as inferior to men. There are anti-women *attitudes* in circulation. Feminism has achieved outward equality, and to continue existing must now fight the intangible.
No thought is a crime. It is not a crime to think lecherous thoughts about women in an objectifying manner. Yet the feminists are trying to tell me that it is - in intention, trying to control what I think, which does not rest well with the ethics they tout so highly. Feminism cannot exist as a functionally-motivated group, cannot further itself without being contradictory, and worse, can't even stay afloat as an academic discipline to fight the great male conspiracy due to careless work. Feminism has made itself into an F-word, and I'm not sure if I would like to take part in it.
I continue to call myself a feminist because of it's immediate connotations of "believes in equality", and because calling myself an anti-feminist conjures images of support towards "barefoot-and-pregnant-in-the-kitchen." There is no battle left to fight, and certainly not one to win. There is no ideology left that doesn't insult my right to think freely, it's over. In the meantime, I wait for a wave of Androgynism or Chauvi-femi-apathetism to show up. Sorry girls, sorry boys, time to go home. Start revelling in the equality already.