Monday, July 23, 2007

I am not a feminist

Column this week

I am not a feminist. Far from it actually. It’s an assumption people make about me that they usually believe to be accurate. If their other assumptions about me prove incorrect, they always seem quite certain that that one isn’t. I’ve always been thought of as feisty – a word used to describe only women and short, fluffy dogs I think. I’ve always been seen as opinionated and dramatic, using both the tongue and the pen, er, keyboard, to champion the cause of the underprivileged and downtrodden. If men are pigs then we are the flowers they trample as they roll about in the muck of their lives. Um, actually, no.

The problem with feminism is that it lacks imagination. It’s the one thing it has in common with atheism I think. In the beginning it was great; it was radical, meaningful, it brought together millions of women across the globe to protest the narrowness of their lives and to burn their confining bras. But within feminism itself there exists great inequality. Most of those who’ve spearheaded it have always been the ones who were already the most privileged. They’ve been the ones whose positions within the patriarchal society have been so secure that they were able to, for want of a better expression, thumb their noses at it. It’s like the children of rich parents rebelling by growing dreadlocks and going to parties in the Cove. Reassimilation is simply a haircut away.

I also have a problem with a movement that does not acknowledge its triumphs. Our generation of women enjoys the most money, the greatest freedom, the highest status and the most rights of any other. Many of us in the Western world would laugh raucously at the idea of being unable to go out when we want, dressed how we want, study what we wish and marry whom we choose. These are not concessions given to us – these are things we grow up with. They are our rights that we don’t even acknowledge because the idea of it being any other way is ludicrous.

Yet for a number of women I know these are just the means to a very clichéd end. The first line of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice still holds true: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Many women I know aim to be such wife. I’m not averse to the idea myself. Many women create their self perceptions based on how men see them, by choice rather than by societal dictates. The idea held by some feminists that being seen as sexy and enjoying being sexy is regressive is, to give a scientific pronouncement, chupidness.

Our genetic coding drives us to mate and propagate the species. Men are supposed to find us hot. We’re supposed to want them to find us hot – how else are we going to make babies and get them to mind us for the eighteen plus years we need to bring the child to adulthood? Things have changed, yes. We no longer are dependent on men to provide for us economically and some would say emotionally also. But the period that this has been so is less than a grain in the hourglass that represents man’s time on earth. So we don’t need men. Doctors tell us we don’t need tonsils either; let’s wait around and see how long that takes to work its way out the genetic pool.

Besides, men are fun. In the war between the sexes I’m all for fraternising with the enemy. There are myriad pleasures that only men can give and I’m not speaking about what you’re thinking but that, of course, goes without saying. Most men I know believe in equality and the ones that don’t, well, I don’t really take them on to tell the truth. But I believe in equality despite race, despite age, despite sexuality, despite culture, despite country, despite job.

Talk to me about children who are abused and whose rights aren’t acknowledged. They have no means to improve their lives – they are dependent on the mindset of the society and the time in which they live. They have no voice – they can have mine. Talk to me about the old, the sick, the ones whose sexual preference is a criminal offence. These have no access to power – they have no means by which to fight. They can have mine. And for the women for whom feminism is a word, not a fact – the women who must walk miles to collect water, who never go to school, whose sexuality is the property of first her father then her husband’s, I will join her fight. But I will join her fight because of her circumstance, not her gender. Gender discrimination, we must acknowledge, works both ways. There are female pigs too.


Trin-in-Toronto said...

I like reading your writing. I like how you couldn't care less whether your post is deep and passionate or frivolous like what the hell lil kim is doing to her face. Intelligence without pretension

Hottie Hottie said...

Hey hey. I like that. "Intelligence without pretension." Could I borrow that sometime? And thanks for the compliment by the way.

nandi23 said...

I loved this post!
"Gender discrimination, we must acknowledge, works both ways. There are female pigs too."

actually I have seen instances where women are so set in gender roles that they stick to the role that was defined for them by society and stay in it, hence granting the males domination because they themselves believe that they are incapable of thought or decision making.
anyways here's a link for you,
this pissed me off quite a bit,

Hottie Hottie said...

Hi Nandi. Glad you like. Checked out that link. But what the hell! Girl, I woulda be walking the streets naked everyday because all i does wear in pants.

katrice said...

Awesome post! I am no feminist either. I love being a woman and I don't need to try to be a man to feel my power.

Women should band together for the women who really need freedom, not the entitled she-pigs who just like to be heard.

Black Violet said...

I am a feminist. And my definition of it doesn't tell me to be like a man. Actually, many of the women I know don't buy into that. We just care about women's rights. Yes, we have come a great way, but there are things to work towards still. And I care about those issues. Men are not all bad... I don't like the part of the movement that suggests that. And yes, women can be pigs as well. I also care about equal right for everyone, man, woman, and child. I am married with a child and I still have my life the way I want it. I work outside of the home and have my own interests. I also don't like the part of the movement that tells women that inb order to be a feminist you must not be married or have children. So Yes, I consider myself to be a feminist, but I am also an ACTIVIST for ALL as well... feminism is just one part of my calling.

Hottie Hottie said...

Well said black violet. I think there are a lot of especially young women labelling themselves as feminists and thinking it must all of these negative things. If the whole point of feminism is to give women their freedom, why actively choose such a narrow definition for ourselves? I actually know a few women who are so mean and heartless to their menfolk because they think this is what feminism is. So they become what they perceive men to be in a sort of do them before they do us tactic. So they sleep around and undermine and abuse their men and then meet with their girlfriends and drink to their "triumphs". It's very sad and so distorted.

Hottie Hottie said...

P.S. Glad you like Katrice!

Hottie Hottie said...

By the way, welcome black violet.