Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Random Musings (when I should be asleep)

Why do so many people, during feminist arguments, bring up the idea that other people are going to "revoke their credentials" or some such nonsense?

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that such people are invariably arguing that other people are taking feminism too far or misapplying it. And therefore, while these other people are perhaps still in the feminist club, they're obviously no longer in the "rational people" club.

Which just screams projection to me.


Maybe it's because I identified as feminist from a relatively young age....

Or maybe it's because I've never actually had anyone say that I'm not one. Quite the opposite, in fact, it's generally when I'm doing what I feel are completely normal things that people decide to call me a feminist as if it's a dirty word....

Or maybe it's because I've had relatively few problems (I think) understanding the difference between judging people and judging actions......

....but it's just such a foreign concept to me.

Feminism isn't a club you join, it's something you believe in. And if it's something you believe in, then it's something you believe in. People can't decide for you if you do or not.*

They can argue about whether your actions are feminist. They can argue about whether or not you are a "good" feminist. They can argue about whether they agree with your definition of feminism. They can even argue about whether or not you really believe the things you say you believe. But they can't decide for you whether you believe them or not.

We can't kick you out of the club** because there is no fucking club in the first place.

It's your choice to be a feminist or not. It's your job to define what that means. And the fact the other feminists disagree with you about that definition doesn't mean anything other than the obvious fact that different people believe different things.

Acting otherwise is just the same as acting as if there'd no difference between calling an action sexist, and calling the person who did the action to be completely against feminism and all things moral and good.


*Which is part of why I've disagree with those who say men can't be feminists. When it comes to organized political movements, there's some validity to that argument. But I think that, in general, men can be feminists and define feminism. I just don't think that non-feminists can define feminism. And I don't think that we can completely define feminism for each other. So - guys who try to argue that feminists are misguided or are really hurting women, etc. are obviously full of shit, and guys that fuck up but keep trying are feminists - like us, while guys that don't really bother trying tend to be sexist assholes by default - on account of the patriarchy and all that.

**As always, there are huge exceptions. I very much understand women who are part of other non-privileged groups taking exception to American feminism as a political movement and choosing not to align themselves with us or feeling (sadly, often rightly) as though their voices are not seen as important. However, it's generally white, middle class women who act as if the choice to be a feminist or not is beyond their control. In my (admittedly limited) experience, the women who reject feminism in favor of more radical or more inclusive political movements tend to make it very clear that it was as much their choice as it was a reaction to the choices that others have made. And they also make it very clear that their rejection is not of the basic idea of feminism, but of a political movement that does not allow these ideas to apply equally to all women.

No comments: