So apparently I am behind on an internet bandwagon. Again. This is what happens when one decides the internet is a cesspool and it's time to take a break. More crap bubbles to the surface, everyone yells about it and moves on, and then I show up and see the end results and am left wondering what the fuck happened.
Well, this happened: more young American women are being sucked into anti-feminism, this time through a "feel good" campaign of posting selfies on Facebook that are all about attacking other women, and they don't even realize that the thing they are the most upset about is exactly what they are doing to other women.
I wanted to write about one of the official "Notes" there by the Page's owner, and who knows when I'll find time to do that. Instead, I'm going to tackle this single point made over and over again on the page that I woke up this morning obsessing about.
Here is the shortest, sweetest example, posted in a selfie:
"I don't need feminism because...
I have been shamed by them for not fit in their ideas"
It seems that if you scroll through the page to see the Selfies, read the posts, peruse the comments, a consensus emerges: "I don't need feminism because feminists aren't like me." Actually, it's usually something closer to "I'm not a feminist because feminists are bitches."
Where is the insert-Neon-Sign-of-Irony-here button? For those of you who didn't catch it, these women are posting again and again and again that feminism is bad because it's mean, while they themselves are doing what they allegedly "hate": judging other women.
Almost a year ago I wrote something that desperately needs to be heard by the current generation of women in this country. Alas, I don't think my 3 readers made much of an impact. Oh well. I can only try. I titled it You, Dear Reader, Are a Feminist. Here's the gist, "If you are reading this, there is a 99% chance that I know and respect and love you. And everyone I know and respect and love is a feminist. Some of you just don't seem to realize it."
But none of the women posting on this Page seem to be aware of any of the irony, or of the facts. They are tied up in their own emotions. Which is understandable. Which is reasonable. Which is feminist. Which is human.
I would like to ask these women a few questions, to see if I can lead them with logic to a realization which their emotions seem to have left them blind.
First, when was the last time you stopped liking chocolate because you stumbled upon a bad dollar-store-quality bar of the stuff? Don't like chocolate? How about coffee? Pizza? Beef*? Carrots? OK, you don't like any of that stuff? Fine. My point being: when did you ever let a single bad experience with your favorite food make you hate that food for the rest of your life?
This analogy is lame though, because food just doesn't rise to the level of this debate. Also, it's silly of me to think these women are anti-feminists because of a single experience. I get that. I really, truly do.
So on to my second question. "Did you stop liking men because you had a truly noxious guy hit on you once or thrice or fifty times?" Think about this, ok? If you are into guys, surely you are still into them even after the inevitable "toad" has come on to you. Surely you still want to hook up with the opposite sex even though Jimmy in 4th grade pulled your hair. Surely you love or hope to fall in love with a man even though you dated 5 guys in a row who turned out to be complete jerks. Because one man or fifty, those guys can't change who you are at the core: a heterosexual.
And still lame, I know. Not 100% true. Our experiencies do change us, even at the core. My experiences with men have made me fear them. But I still like them. I still desire them*. But I know there are those whose fear goes beyond mine. Women who have been violently assaulted or raped by a man may find themselves too changed by the experience to have the same relationship with sex and/or men that they did in the past. Oh, also, you might be gay. But I really think that if you are same-sex oriented, you can figure out how to translate the previous passage into something more relevant, ie "Did a bad date with a girl ever turn you off of girls for good?"
So now I'm going to step it up a notch. Ready girls*? When was the last time you let some other person who claims to share your religion drive you from your faith? Are you pro-life? You do know that there are pro-choice Christians out there, right? Are you a Muslim who has nothing against Jews? I'm sure you've heard that there are Muslims who hate Israel. Are you a Southern Baptist who hopes to some day see your sister marry her lesbian partner? I don't think I have to tell you that there are plenty of people who share your faith who would actively work to keep your sister from such a happy day.
When was the last time you let someone else's faith dictate your own? Never? Good. Welcome to feminism. Still not buying it? OK, ok, maybe you're an atheist. Or worse, you're like me, a "recovering Christian". I'll be the first to admit that my experiences with people of faith had a HUGE impact on me and my decision to turn away from religion and faith in general.
That leaves me with one final question then. Oh, I think I could have found other levels between "faith" and this last step, but I think it's time I just came out and said what was really on my mind.
When was the last time you let another human being convince you that you are not human?
Hitler was a pretty poor excuse for a human, am I right? Jeffrey Dahmer comes to mind. I personally loathe Ann Coulter and Newt Gingrich. Maybe you hate Annie Sprinkle and that chick that wrote the Vagina Monologues*. Your 3rd grade teacher? Your step-dad? The guy who stole your virginity? The girl who broke your heart? It doesn't matter.
Nothing any human ever does to you or to others will ever change the fact that you are human. It is who you are, period. Short of some Frankenstein-level science, there's no changing it.
So by all means, hate feminism. Tell the world you don't need it. Tell the world you're not a feminist. It's your right. But at the end of the day, try to remember that you're human. And I'm human. And that bitch who bullied you because you want to be a wife instead of a lawyer is a human. Then close your eyes, take a deep breath, and remind yourself that more importantly, you're still a feminist.
Because the definition of feminist isn't bitch. It's not bully. It's not abortion. It's not gay rights. It's not anti-men. It's simply the belief that women are equal to men. Period. Welcome back to the fold!
*Yep, I'm a feminist. Even though I'm not vegan, I am attracted to men, I still call women "girls" and I'm not offended when anyone else does it, and I don't know the name of the writer of The Vagina Monologues.