I don’t know if I’m the right kind of feminist.
Oh, my principles are in the right place -– birth control and abortions for those who want/need them; equal pay for equal work; full participation in government and society; equal funding for girls’ sports; the right to wear whatever the hell I want and not get chased down a street; and so on and so forth. But sometimes when I read articles by professional, ivory tower-approved feminists, I can’t understand what the hell is going on.
I’ll see an interesting headline over on one of the feminist-friendly websites, and I’ll click on through to expand my knowledge. And then I’ll come upon something like this:
The intersectionality of the diagonalism of the duality of the Hegelian manifesto advanced by Paglia shows evidence of unchecked cannibalistic governance that was meant to be unpacked by POC. Constructivism teaches us that inordinate amounts of identities are compromised by the culture of “being-ness” currently infecting conversations that ought to question assumptions of race, class, and woman-ness. We must disrupt notions of cis intertextuality.
OK obviously the paragraph above is total nonsense. But “nonsense” is exactly how some of these essays read to me. Keep reading »
As a feminist, kinky person and sex commentator, I am the target audience for Jillian Horowitz’s xoJane essay “I’m a Sex-Negative Feminist” — and that’s exactly the point. Part of the site’s “Unpopular Opinion” series, I can only surmise that the essay, like others before it, was written largely with the intention of riling up its supposed targets rather than fostering a nuanced debate.
I’d also quibble with her quickie history lesson—yes, sex-positive feminism in part emerged as a response to anti-porn feminist activism, but it also sprang from the anti-BDSM and anti-lesbian bent of much of mainstream 1970’s and ’80’s feminism. My understanding is that sex-positive feminism was about embracing feminist ideals and furthering sexual freedom—for everyone, not just women. Keep reading »
“It’s always just been in my nature—it’s just kind of my everyday. Sometimes I access it in a conscious way, but it wasn’t always the headline of stuff that I was doing. We just had Gloria Steinem do ASSSSCAT, which was so great. Kathleen Hanna came, and I’m just a huge Kathleen Hanna fan. She, for me, was closer in age and a practicing and working feminist, at the time, that I related to. When I was in my late twenties and thirties, there were these amazing female musicians, like PJ Harvey and Björk and Kim Gordon.… These musicians are all still around, but, I mean, they were the most popular musicians! Just constant, really interesting women; sex wasn’t their currency, but they were really sexy and sexual. I gave you a long-winded answer. [Laughs] So the answer is: Yes, I consider myself a feminist, and it informs my work only in that it’s just who I am, in the same way that I’m a woman, or I’m 5’2″ or whatever. I was lucky that I came through a system that had many people who did much more hard work and road-clearing before I got there.”
– Not that I had any doubts that Amy Poehler was a feminist, but I’m still glad to hear her say it. [Time Out New York]
Last week, Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland, announced that he will be sending a junior minister to the British Open, a prestigious golf tournament, instead of attending it himself. He’s an avid golfer and is not forgoing the event out of disinterest. Rather on a matter of principle: the club hosting the event does not admit women as members. In about a month, the tournament will be held at Muirfield, a privately-owend club that is run by the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, which only allows male members. Salmond feels the male-only membership rule of the club sends the message that women are “second-class citizens” and that Muirfield should have been made to change its membership rules before it was considered for the honor of hosting the tournament. Alas, discrimination against women in golf is nothing new. The Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, just admitted its first female members last year after a long, long time of feminists protesting this injustice. For some reason, golf clubs have gotten away with not admitting women for an unreasonable amount of time. What’s up with that?! [Telegraph UK] [Photo of a woman golfing via Shutterstock]
Imagine being an athlete at the top of your field and not being recognized by the authorities for your accomplishments simply because you are a woman. This is the problem faced by Elham Asghari, a 32-year-old swimmer in Iran, who isn’t having her records recorded by the country’s sports ministry. In fact, just last month, Iran refused to acknowledge Asghari’s recent 20 kilometer swim in the Caspian Sea. Why? Because when she emerged from the water after the swim on a women-only beach, her figure was still “visible” underneath her six kilos-worth of body-covering swimsuit paraphernalia. Keep reading »
Summer camp is the quintessential summer experience for many, but at this Manhattan-based camp, there isn’t a campfire or s’more in sight. This is Feminist Camp.
Created by Amy Richards and Jennifer Baumgardner, the co-authors of Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism and the Future, Feminist Camp aims to teach girls what being a feminist really means. Young women can expect to “hone their leadership skills, meet inspiring activists, and tackle the real issues that impact their lives.” Sounds rad! Keep reading »
“I think of myself as a humanist because I think it’s less alienating to people who think of feminism as being a load of strident bitches and because you want everyone to have equal pay, equal rights, education and healthcare. It’s a bit of an old-fashioned word. It’s used more in a way to minimize you. My daughter [Eva Amurri] who is 28, doesn’t even relate to the word “feminist” and she is definitely in control of her decisions and her body.”
– Susan Sarandon is probably the last celebrity I would have expected to use the “I’m a humanist, not a feminist” line. I wish someone with her clout and stature would take back the term from the negative connotations and not let it be used to “minimize” a person, as she put it. Anyway, I would argue Sarandon is a feminist, though, because later in the interview, she talks about her sons and how she’s proud both of them know how to cook. “The things I told them to do if they wanted a good woman were to learn to listen and to learn to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner,” she explained. “They can do that.” It seems to me like Susan Sarandon really believes one’s gender shouldn’t dictate their roles. To me, that’s feminism! [Guardian UK] [Photo: WENN]
Recently, students at England’s Cambridge University took part in the “Who Needs Feminism” campaign, a public awareness campaign aimed at asking people why and how feminism is important to them. As a women’s studies major in the ’90s, I was continually frustrated by women in my classes who believed that feminism was no longer necessary, because women had achieved “equality” with men. So it’s cool to see in 20-frickin’-13 that feminism is still a vital topic on college campuses. The CUSU partnered with the ARU Feminist Society and asked more than 600 students why feminism is necessary to them. The results? Cambridge students are remarkably smart and savvy when it comes to understanding the intersections of feminism, racism, and classism. Take a second to look at some of the amazing responses from the Who Needs Feminism campaign after the jump and check out all 600 responses on the CUSU Women’s Campaign Facebook page. Keep reading »
I do a lot of interviews and stuff where they ask me about it and I feel like the nostalgia is this happy thing where it’s like, “oh, I wish I lived in the ’90s, it would be so awesome! There was this community and it would be so great. My experience of it was that it was not that great, and a lot of people don’t know about the violence at shows and how much shit bands with women in them — especially explicitly feminist bands — took. And so when people are nostalgic about it, I’m like, oh, you want to go back to a time when if you were onstage and you said, “there’s a pro-choice rally happening,” there could be a guy who’s yelling “shut up!” while you were talking, and possibly had a knife in his jacket. And nobody would do anything about it. You know, and a lot of times girls just weren’t safe at shows. And I don’t know if they are now, I definitely know that at some shows they’re not. The nostalgia erases a lot of the negative things that happened and when I talk about that in lectures people are very shocked.
––Fun fact: In the ’90s, girls at hardcore shows were often jokingly referred to as coat hangers, because they were often on the edge of the crowd, “holding their boyfriend’s coats.” Hahaha get it? Ugh. Kathleen Hanna, whose writing and time in Bikini Kill is heavily featured in the new Riot Grrrl Collection (released via the Feminist Press), touches upon the false dichotomy of the ’90s as some magical glitter pony time when women were really powerfully asserting themselves and men were supportive and responsive to the desires and demands of Riot Grrls for safe shows and safe dialogues. Not necessarily true. Keep reading »