The Lady Speaks

Jenn’s Sunday Sermon – Feminist Edition

What is a feminist?

The answer changes from person to person. The MRA’s tell us women are out to dominate the world and reduce men to babbling pink and lavender shells of their former selves. There are women, like Phyllis Schafly, who have made careers out of telling other women not to have careers – but don’t anyone think about telling them to get back to the kitchen. There are patriarchy-haters who see anything associated with men, marriage, and/or children as evil. There are feminist-haters who see all change and progress after the 1950’s to be evil.

So, what exactly is feminism? What separates a “feminazi” from a “feminist”? Who draws those lines that say “this” is okay, but “that” isn’t, and “that one” is in the murky gray area?

The problem is the lines change depending on who’s drawing them.

Conservatives drive me batty because every single line they draw is contradicted by another line they draw.

You have those who say women shouldn’t work, that they should get married, stay home, raise their children. But, show a woman who does that and needs the help of a government program – SCHIP, for example – and suddenly she’s drawing fire for spending time at home.

That’s just one example, but it applies to nearly everything “they” believe about what women “should do.” If you’re well-to-do or even wealthy because of your educational and career choices, then your ass belongs at home raising and nurturing your children. If you’re poor because of a lack of skills or lack of jobs above minimum-wage, then your ass belongs in the workforce.

Except, it’s not that simple, because some study is going to come out showing children of fulfilled career mothers do better in school or something, and then another will come out that says children whose mothers work have lower self-esteem or something, and then another comes out that says children do better in school if their mothers stay home and teach them happy little songs, and then another comes out…. Well, you know the drill. No choice we make is ever going to be the right one.

And that’s just the motherhood example. The “debate” between those who are childless by choice and those who choose motherhood (or had it chosen for them by failures in birth control, etc) can be even more vicious, but trust me, there is so-called “debate” over every possible choice a woman could possibly make about her life.

So, you’re asking, what do I call a feminist?

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November 11, 2007 Posted by | Daughters, Feminism, Politics, Sisters, Women | 1 Comment