- Erika Ray
I’ve had a few female friends tell me they weren’t feminist. I was left speechless. “You’re a woman and you aren’t a feminist?” I asked befuddled and wounded. I forget the answer because I was in shock. My sister explains that for younger women they’ve nevered faced sexism, so that could explain it. I agreed for years, but now I call bullshit. When I was 21, I didn’t blatantly face sexism. I lived with 5 guys and wasn’t fucking one of them. I was equally experiencing life being a woman on campus. No one said to me, “No sweetie. Learn how to type instead.” At 21, I’d probably say, “Yeah, we’re equal.” Deep down though, I knew I wasn’t on the same playing level, but I didn’t give a fuck because I’d face sexism head on if I had to. But fifteen years later, I can smack my 21 year-old self in the face. Our unequal ways have always been a steady simmer for me. And at 36, I feel that my disgust is at a boiling point.
Women and Feminism should go hand in hand. It’s like Burt Reynolds and his moustache. Adele and heartbreak. Laverne and Shirley. If you’re a woman you should be a feminist. Being a feminist is very simple: one believes women should be treated as equals. Plain and simple. Want something more formal? Want something crude: my lack of dick doesn’t make me inferior or dumb. It makes me a woman.
According to “How to be a Woman” (a fantastic book), Caitlin Moran gives a disturbing statistic: only 29% of American woman (42% British women) would describe themselves feminist. Ladies, WHY? Do you think you aren’t facing sexism and you don’t need to stand up any longer? You’re wrong. I was asked about an overseas work trip and my rep wasn’t sure if I wanted to go because of my family. He has children and called me while I was driving back from a hotel I visit four times a month. Would he worry about a male counterpart’s family? I doubt it. I was talking about the fuss over the men’s Olympic basketball team. Why the fuss when the women’s team is better? Their record of gold beats the men’s record. A man said, “Well, they should play each and we’ll see that the Men’s team is the better team.” I wanted to say, “Let’s impregnate you and watch you push a baby through your dickhole. It won’t happen.” These men aren’t sexist. We’ve all been raised to accept certain sexist notions. Have you followed the healthcare debate in America? Then you know that it’s an attack on women’s health. Telling a woman they can’t manage their own sexual health and reproductive needs is sexist and frightening. We can no longer be treated like nice, polite, lady-like second class citizens. It’s time to stand up and own our Feminist titles.
Still worried about being a Feminist? Let me tell you what one is or isn’t:
- A feminist can shave her legs and armpits every single day. Perhaps she likes that look. Or she can be lazy and counted the days until winter when she can throw her razor away for 5 months.
- A feminist can be a SAHM and love it. A feminist can work outside of the home and not apologize for it. But if you really want to work, find a way to do it. If you really want to stay home, find a way to do it. And do it proudly because you have that option.
- A feminist can love and respect men. You don’t need to make out with women or bash men around your feminist friends.
- A feminist can believe that men and women are different. Genetically we are. I think it’s incredibly important to realize that each sex has their own gender differences. But my differences don’t make me weaker or define me. It means I’m wired differently than a man.
- A feminist doesn’t need to burp or fart in public. It’s good manners, I suppose. But if my husband can explain away his fart in the family room, you can believe that I will blast one out and not apologize. Women have gas too. Women get the Shits too. Hide it if you want. But so should men. If they don’t, I won’t blush and say “sorry.”
- A feminist doesn’t need to love and support everything a woman does only because we have t commonality of ovaries. In general, I’m a big fan of supporting women. However some women are assholes. It’s ok to clash. Men don’t get called catty/bitchy when they disagree. I’m sorry, but if you make a dumb move I won’t support you just because you have boobs.
- A feminist can enjoy having the door held open for her. Read polite manners again.
- A feminist can enjoy cooking her family dinners.
- A man can be a feminist.
- A feminist can wear make-up and enjoy feeling pretty in it.
- A feminist doesn’t need to constantly fight The Man. It is what it is. But you don’t need to be quiet because it’s lady-like. You can tell someone to fuck off because they’re rude.
- A feminist is… <insert>
A feminist does all of these things because she wants to. Not because she is being told to do these things. Not because she thinks a good woman does certain things. Not because she was raised to behave a particular way. Only she can control her fate. You hate constantly messing with your long hair, but your boyfriend loves it? Cut it or teach him how to do a great blow-out.
A feminist is a person who believes women should be given the same respect and rights as a man.
Have I convinced you? Can you say it? Stand up, Ladies. Declare it. Tell people you aren’t taking their shit any longer. Tell the world, you are a feminist. And demand respect. Show the world “Feminist” isn’t a dirty title. It’s a title we must wear proudly. Perhaps one day we won’t need it and I will gladly sit down and burn my shirt.
If you’re ready, post a photo on our FB wall. It’s not hard. Take a pen. Write it boldly. Snap a photo. Send your pride viral.
Want something more formal? Get yours here!