Recently on Facebook, a friend of mine posted in support of this article https://pjmedia.com/trending/women-to-crazed-feminists-we-will-fight-you-to-defend-our-men/?fbclid=IwAR21T05Db-r282bo6wROWCmLKqspHsE1lHPGYDaWiGatFXYc9Cf1KU6buBk
My friend is a powerful woman who embodies much of what I feel feminism is about, and yet she and her friends were adamant that they were not feminist, didn’t support feminism and felt it was toxic. This isn’t new either, I constantly meet strong powerful women who reject feminism and that breaks my heart
I have identified as a feminist since the late 60’s when I was in high school. I was so saddened when the Equal Rights amendment failed to be ratified. I marched for women’s rights, for People of Color and against the Vietnam War. I weas as a radical hippie feminist and I embraced what I consider the real definition of feminism. The belief that all people, regardless of gender, should have equal rights and opportunities.
I know why some of my friends reject feminism. They get caught up in the vitriol and anti-sex and anti-male conversations of what I consider the Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon feminists. Also the rise of TERFs ( Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist). Others are part of the BDSM community and identify as submissive or slave and feel that feminism and their D/s or M/s lifestyle can’t meld with feminism (which I believe is the case of my friend).
Years ago, in the 80’s I went to a Science Fiction convention with my first really kinky partner. I went in a bride dress and in chains (kind of a Darkover bride) and Jake led me around on a leash. This was the first time I’d ever done anything kinky in public and I was having a blast. The Science Fiction community was very accepting and fun and it all was good. Until . . . . I ran into a friend of mine who began to berate and shame me. How could I be a good feminist and allow myself to be subjected by a man? How could I sell myself out to the patriarchy that way? She berated me for about 20 minutes while I stood there trying figure out what to say. Remember, these kink stuff was new and it was exciting and also very transgressive for me. I was pretty tongue tied at first. Finally she took a breath and I spoke up. “Margaret, feminism is about choice. Prior to the feminist movement women didn’t feel they had choice. I choose to be in chains and on a leash. I choose to at times be submissive to Jake. My choice, my sexuality.” Margaret was still disgusted and left in a huff. (I did find out later after their divorce that her husband was kinky and she wasn’t, so some of her issue may not have been just about feminism.) What that taught me that day was that part of being a feminist was about choice and it wasn’t about shaming others for their choices.
The post I referred to at the beginning of the blog was shaming of feminists and also requested that if anyone reading it disagreed to not speak up. So I didn’t. Which is why I’m writing this.
I am a proud, sex positive feminist. I look forward to the day when the Equal Rights Amendment is ratified. (It only needs one more state for a total of 38 to ratify it. There is hope Virginia will become state No. 38 when they reconvene in January.) I am not a man hating, sex hating feminist and I believe most feminists aren’t. There is a small minority of radical feminists and TERFs and thankfully they don’t represent all of us.
I wish I could say this to my friend on her post. And because I respect her choice I won’t. I love her and all those other friends who feel that feminism is wrong or toxic. That is their choice, whether I agree or not. All I can do is embody my feminism in a positive healthy way and do my best to educate others that feminism is about equality and about choice, not about hating men or trans folks or taking over the world in some female-centric apocalypse (although it would make a good Science Fiction novel).