Saturday, March 18, 2006

Why I am (Still) a Feminist

Seeing as this is my very first post, and I claim to be a feminist, I suppose that I need to my "feminist manifesto" as it were. Here goes:

Upon learning that I am a feminist, many people have demanded to know why, in this society, I still posses that antiquated mind-set. "What are you whining about, women already have the right to vote, and it's illegal to discriminate against them in the workplace; women have already received all the recognition they need. At this point, you aren't really trying to be equal; you are trying to be more than men."

This "criticism", and the mindset it stems from, represents exactly why I am still a feminist.

First, I would like to clarify what feminism means. The bumper sticker definition and one that very succinctly outlines it is: "The radical belief that women are people".

I think feminism is the belief that women are moral agents, and do not deserve to have their rights, freedoms, and mobility restricted due to arbitrary legal and social norms. Feminism seeks an androgynous society: one where people arenaple aren't forced into gendered roles, and where one's skills and passions determine what one becomes and accomplishes, where our difference as humans are embappreciatedprieciated not a society where one's fate is determined by one's genitalia.

This society that we all currently live in is not what it could and should be: one free of sexism and prejudice. Women and men are still not considered equal. If women were equals in society, 9000 women wouldn't be subject to domestic abuse each year. One in four women wouldn't be raped, or have rape attempted, in their life time, and the question "How short was her skirt?" would never be asked in a rape case. Whether or not a woman was a Christian virgin or the most sexual active being in the universe would make absolutely no difference in their relative value. Women would have access to health care with derision, including reproductive health care. Women wouldn't be earning 75 cents for every dollar that a male makes, women wouldn't have to choose between being having a career and being a mother, and women wouldn't be derided for choosing one over the other. If men and women were truly equal, and considered truly deserving, Title IX, the Violence Against Women Act, Roe vs. Wade, and Griswold vs. Connecticut would not be under constant attack. Women who choose to go into the military would not be raped, sexually assaulted and harassed at military academies by their fellow cadets, and their complaints of this behavior would not be met with derision and punishment (of the victim) from the leaders. If women were equal to men, "pussy" "twat" and "girly" would not be synonymous with weakness and cowardice, and "manly" and "he has balls" would not be synonymous with strength and bravery.

That is why I am a feminist: because we aren't equal yet, and I cannot advocate for my own oppression and the oppression of others. I am a feminist because sexism effects everyone's life in very real ways. Society needs feminism to advocate for equal treatment of women. It is not whining to say that we are not an equal society, and we should be. Women "need" full equality, anything less is a travesty of human rights and justice.

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