Is feminism a dirty word?
I’ve quoted lots of the article below because it sums up some of the thinking I’ve been doing recently. Between discussions of the normalisation of cosmetic surgery on shows like Extreme Makeover, female chauvinist pigs and the right of women to wear the veil, where do I stand? And what about the role of first world feminists in the cause of women’s rights in developing countries, or under religious fundamentalism, Christian, Islamic or otherwise? I’m still working it out.
I miss the luxury of an arts degree that allows time for reading and theorising but there’s no point waiting for the Germaine Greers, Marilyn Frenchs or Gloria Steinems, let alone the Judith Butlers, Julia Kristeva or Luce Irigarays – it’s up to our generation to acknowledge and deal with these issues.
“It’s anachronistic; no woman I know would unapologetically describe herself as a feminist. If the concept and importance of gender equality as an issue has crossed her mind, then there is only one acceptable way of communicating this: “I’m not a feminist, but…” for this read, “please don’t think I’m a lesbian/man hater /being difficult…” In short, feminism is a dirty word, and only by denying it are we happy to use it in our vocabulary.
So why are we afraid to be seen as feminists? Because it is a now euphemism for being awkward, for pointing out difficult, uncomfortable things people don’t want to hear.

This is where the battles remain – in the everyday way life is lived. To be a feminist now means challenging those around us, our family, friends and colleagues, to be aware of their behaviour. This is a notion that seems exhausting and intimidating. The risk of being ostracised for our beliefs feels all too real.

Empowerment shouldn’t mean getting paid for being ogled. Empowerment should mean the liberation of men and women alike from false value systems.”

4 thoughts on “

  1. Dan says:

    Working it out is where I am also at and there are many shades of grey… don’t forget porn! Always a divider. I have no problems saying, “I am a feminist…” without the ‘not and the ‘but’… I

  2. Cat says:

    Or is it whingy articles like this one that make feminists like me want to slam my head through the screen? Until arguments can be framed in a grown-up and intelligent manner that moves us on from “no one wants to say they’re a feminist except me (subtext: “I am intelligent and great,”), and men are shits” we are fucked.
    I often wonder who the feminists really are. Is it those female friends who work damned hard in male dominated industries, putting themselves up against the firing line day after day but who struggle to call themselves a feminist and worry about not finding a husband, or me, who talks a good talk but works in an industry where strong women are the norm and surrounded by people who don’t need much convincing.
    Anyway Mia, why don’t you post this stuff on the Playtime forum? Make a change from cartoons.

  3. Mia says:

    Ah, young Cat. I don’t think it’s that whingey. I do know people who seem to support all the basic tenets of feminism but don’t want to call themselves feminists.
    Why do your friends struggle to call themselves feminists?
    I don’t mind being difficult but it’s erm, difficult to be difficult each day and to challenge every little misogynistic joke or assumption.
    Dan, maybe you should have a t-shirt made, “Just a feminist dyke”.

  4. Myles says:

    Hi Mia,
    I thought you may be interested in this link about women in Eygpt speaking up against violence. You may have to cut and paste ..

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