September 10, 2009

Why I am a Feminist…and why you are, too.

Posted in feminism tagged , , at 5:37 am by Eostre

Ever since we decided to talk about Feminism and how we became Feminists, I have been ruminating on something. Because, you see, my path to Feminism is not, in fact, very exciting. It was rather gradual, and I was one for a long time before I even realized it. Which got me to thinking about how so many people (myself included, formerly) claim to “not be a Feminist”, which, in this day and age, is nearly impossible (particularly in the west). So. This lead me to my topic for the day, why I am a Feminist, and why you are, too.

To illustrate my point, I have developed an impromptu survey. I think it will be both fun and educational! It is mostly true/false, so your job is to evaluate each question, and decide whether it is true or false. Here we go!

1) Women should have the right to say who gets to touch their bodies, particularly in an intimate or sexual manner.

2) I plan on using birth control (including but not limited to: the pill, condoms, diaphrams, and “pulling out”).

3) A woman who is raped should have the right of seeing her rapist prosecuted and put in jail.

4) Every legal citizen of the USA should have the right to vote.

5) Women should be able to choose to be a stay at home mom.

6) A woman who is physically abused by her husband should have the right to have him arrested.

Did you answer true to even one of these questions? If so, congradulations! You’re a Feminist (someone should be by your house any minute to show you the secret handshake).

I know what you’re thinking, these things seem like they should go without saying. I think that most of us would agree that a woman has a right not to be raped, and that any man who sexually assaults a woman (or anyone, for that matter) belongs in prison. However that was not always the case. For instance, did you know that up until 1980 a husband could not be prosecuted for raping his wife, and most states required a witness to the rape before they would prosecute? It’s true. Most of us today take these rights for granted, but if it weren’t for the work of Feminist groups like NOW (National Organization of Women) those laws might still be on the books.

And you might be wondering about question 5. Let me address that now. As a Feminist, I believe that you have the right to choose what you want to do with your life. If you want to be a mathemetician, florist, animal trainer, or even a stay at home mom, that is YOUR CHOICE. Let me repeat that. CHOOSING to be a stay at home mom  (which is a luxury that is not an option for most women in the world)  is still a CHOICE! You are choosing your path in life, a very Feminist thing to do. You have taken control of  your own destiny, and decided what you want to do. True, it might not be my choice (but I don’t want to be a mathemetician or animal trainer, either) but you have the right to choose to do whatever you want. And you have that right because of Feminists. Your welcome.

Now, there is an alternative to being a Feminist, but I can promise you that you wont like it. It involves a lot of really unpleasant things like illiteracy, prolapsed uterui (which often happens when you have a lot of babies one right after another), early death, loss of free will, an insecure future, the right of your husband to beat you with something thinner than his thumb, and scores of other things. It is a bleak picture.

Ok. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that despite what I have said, you simply CAN’T be a Feminist. You’re thinking that Feminism comes with all of these monsters, seeking out what “family values” they can devour. But, I hate to break it to you, that’s just not the case. Feminism is about the things I listed in the quiz. It is about giving women the rights to their own bodies and souls, and who could disagree with that?

I know that you have created a pretty magnificent straw-Feminist, and have had a great deal of fun tearing her apart, but while you were tilting at windmills, we were ensuring that women had the right to vote, to own property, to work or stay at home, to get an education.

This is why I am a Feminist. Because I believe that every woman has the right to own her own soul, that being born with a vagina doesn’t make us somehow inferior, or less of a human.  No one gets to make our choices for us. We are valid human beings, and we have a right to be heard. I know that this post has been somewhat flippant, but when it comes right donw to the point, this is why I am a Feminist, and frankly, why you are too.Life without Feminism