Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Feminist Chicks Dig Me

The title on this post refers to one of my favorite t-shirts ever. (Sense of humor ... ? Oh no, I've subverted convention ... Aiiieeee!!)

Having a discussion, once, with X on the topic of feminism, he said to me that by the definitions as I put them forth (and as Sarah Bunting did; starting our conversation), he definitely was one. But he would never apply the label to himself. So powerful is this taint, this shameful and regrettable association created by those who fear, that, he told me, even his ex wife would shun the title.

I've discussed this rejection, by women, of the title of feminist with many people over time, and it is overwhelming and a bit sad to me the frequency with which "I believe that, but I still won't call myself that" overmasters any adoption of a new way of thinking. The one shining example I have of another reaction comes with a conversation which was incredibly special to me. I brought on a convert.

She was a goth girl I knew online, a fierce friend, a wife and a mom, and a stauch proponent of traditional values - this isn't as unusual as you might think, for that subculture. Anyway, we got into a real discussion one time, about how feminists are all man-haters and the like - and I explained that my makeup-and-clothes-loving self happened to be a very real feminist. Then I gave her the Diane-version of Sars' essay above.

The gratifying response she had to what I had to say ... was to elatedly and excitedly take the label. It sounds silly, given the smallness of my importance overall, but I'm proud of that moment. I loved it when she told me she had self-identified in some context or other as a feminist, I loved that she bonded with me over this shared aspect of our beliefs, expectations.

I loved, to be sure (vanity), her respect for what I had to say. She was a great friend, and hearing her talk about feminism in the context of raising her fiercely beloved son, in the context of talking with her husband about it, really got to me.

It's not really in me to be an activist. Laziness forbids - distraction, fear, inertia, safety ... I don't "make a difference" in the way that phrase is so frequently exhorted. I'm not a Strident Feminist.

This was just a conversation. This was just ... my own small legacy, from a family full of teachers, of an educational impulse. It wasn't proseletyzing nor insisting nor even persuading - it was just a reveal. "We all know what people say, but this is the reality of feminism." It was listening, and openmindedness.

The very essence of communication. I engendered a new way of thinking, I felt someone's responsiveness. That's a great feeling. I've never been more gratified in any exchange.

It feels so good to think *with* people, sometimes.


Wolfmammy said...

That conversation changed my life! All for the better!


Can you believe that I've actually had similar conversations with others who also became converts? We are slowly but surely changing the way people view feminism!

DLM said...

Darlin', I am SO happy we're back in touch. And still pretty tickled with myself for "bringing you on board" too.

GO US!! (And lipstick and men and personal choice and responsibility!)

Anonymous said...

I had much the same convo with a friend of mine a couple of months ago, she for the monniker of feminism, and me against. We came to the conclusion that we agreed as far as content, but didn't end up agreeing as far as terms :D I'm very familiar with the idea of being tarred with the same brush (I get LOADS of flak for calling myself a Christian, b/c of course a lot of horrible people do, too; and quite often all are seen as the same raging outliers) and so I probably really shouldn't be as wary of the name 'feminist' as I am.

Hey, maybe I just convinced myself after my friend didn't :D In essentials, I am a feminist, so...

I don't like lipstick, though.

DLM said...

Heh - well there you go, then - you don't have to wear it!

Thank you so much for coming by and commenting. I have a soft spot for this post, old as it is.

The "Christian" issue (and I use quotes not as scare-quotes but to delineate the nomenclature) gets to me, too. And on top of it I hate the whole "yeah, but not ME!" response because it's so #NotAllMen and privileged. So I just try to be a decent and honorable person of faith, and wear the word without trying to tell people what it means. Not least because there are so many Christians who wouldn't think I'm doing it right anyway (and I don't claim I am), so why get into the quarrels ...

Anonymous said...

Haha, there are a lot who think I'm not doing it right, either :D I can live with that, so long as everything's right between God and me :)

And my apologies for raising an old blog post from the dead- I followed a link back to it without realising it came from 2010!! :D

DLM said...

I like this post, I'm glad you bumped it up! :)