It’s not unusual for me to be asked why I’m a feminist and what my interpretation of feminism is. Because, let’s face it, there are extreme opposites of feminism, just like most other political ideologies. There are feminists who don’t identify as feminists but are just based on their actions and the way they expect to be treated. There are extremely crazy feminists who claim that men cannot be feminists because, well, they’re not women! (I think that idea is crazy, by the way.)
So~ let’s start from the top of this oh-so-long story. Why am I a feminist? you ask. The answer is actually relatively simple. I met someone who gave me a magical word. You know how “abracadabra” is supposed to make some sort of magic happen? Well, the word “feminism” was magic to me in a way–it was a powerful world because suddenly the world started making sense. I started reading women’s stories, questioning the ideas I’d been raised on (including princess movies and the strange fact that the Japanese equivalent of Barbie that I played with had blonde hair) and in general, just rethinking things.
So there I was, a little over 20 years old with this brand new word added to my vocabulary and a new outlook on life.
Then I stumbled upon the riot grrrl movement.
And that’s how I came to where I am now.
So to the non feminist/not riot grrrl, there’s a question as to what all this means. So–here’s a few of my thoughts/beliefs/perspectives in brief outline form.
*The idea inherent to feminism is that women should be treated equally to their male counterparts. we make up a good half of the population yet even now in 2008 the tendency to think of women as mothers/wives as opposed to fulfilled career women is the norm. Ads continue to perpetuate the women as the one in a family who cleans up after everybody’s messes (while the men just help out). Ads continue treating women as a second sex–men in ads tend to have strong poses whereas women have meeker/more submissive poses. (want examples…don’t worry. you’ll get some. just not today.)
*Along with the idea of equal treatment, I (the feminist riot grrrl that I am) believe that yes, chivalry is dead. Please don’t dash in front of me/go out of your way to open that door for me and don’t expect me to wait for you to open my car door. Excuse me, but I can do these things for myself. That said, I do still believe in the idea of kindness and general social manners. If you are walking and I happen to be behind you as you’re approaching the door, I wouldn’t mind if you held the door open for me and thus prevented it from slamming on my face. I like my nose and wouldn’t like to lose it due to your rudeness, y’know? Simple manners like that are what makes a day go by a lot more smoothly.
So, what about dates? Who should pay? I see nothing wrong with either splitting the bill or, if one person is broke, letting the other person cover. That doesn’t mean guys should automatically pay for girls…not in my book anyway.
*Women should be able to walk down the streets during the day without being catcalled. We should be able to walk down the street at night without having to fear being raped. And, for that matter, we should be able to wear what we want without having judgment passed on us about our ‘virtue.’
*Rape should not be blamed on the victim (i.e.: ‘look what she was wearing! she was asking for it!’ or, ‘oh look how she slept around, she asked for it!’), it should be blamed on the rapist. The way rape cases are treated (which place blame on the women and not the men) will never be turned around until people realize that men need to be educated on the problems of rape and that it’s not okay to rape. while most men know it’s not okay, there needs to be a good deal of male education, since they tend to see rape as ‘not their problem’–even when they’re the rapists.
*Equal treatment should not just apply to men/women–there should be more equal treatment towards people of color (and btw, racist jokes are not funny) and people who love other people no matter the gender. History books should be rewritten to include the people who made a difference, not just to showcase the rich white men in our history.
So, here’s just a few of my feminist/riot grrrl views. and yes, I do mean just a few. I could certainly go on….but would you really want me to? Plus…the great thing about having this blog is that I’ll be able to write about all of these topics plus more! woot!
So stay tuned…because this coming week should be fun.