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May 23, 2008

Man-Hating, Hairy-Legged, Bra-Burning and Other Feminist Stereotypes

Warning: This is a guest post. I would first like to thank BoBo for handing his blog over today and giving me the opportunity to bring a little feminism on over to The BoBo Files.

Now on with the show...

Upon meeting new people or even speaking with acquaintances who don't know me very well, I always tend to say something that causes a raised eyebrow, a sigh and a "You're a...FEMINIST!?" response. I then notice slight cringing and shifty eyes.

Some women who identify as a feminist found feminism through a friend, a book, trying to get emergency contraception over the counter and walking away dumbfounded when a conservative pharmacist refused to give them what they were paying for based on personal morals. I, however, was always a feminist. I was a feminist before I knew the term feminism existed and just knew what I believed--That being that all women deserve full control over their own bodies, deserve equal pay for equal work and must be seen as well as heard--And anything less is unacceptable. As I learn more and more about feminism, I know it's going to be a part of me throughout my life, no matter how many other waves the media tries to give it in hopes of splitting up a unified group of people that all agree on one thing--That human rights also ironically enough, includes women's rights.

Of course my feminist alter ego cannot be seen by the naked, "normal people" eye and of course, they also don't know about my superhuman feminist super powers. But am I a good guy (or woman) or am I a villain on a path of destruction to convert all fertile women to my side and escort them personally to the nearest abortion clinic?

When it comes to stereotypes, feminism has quite an impressive list to show for itself. The Guerilla Girls wrote an entire book on female stereotypes and as time goes on, people are just finding new and interesting words to refer to women as, and here's a hint: It's never "equal."

As soon as someone digests the word "feminist" without knowing much about the word itself or the history behind it, they tend to most often think of historical stereotypes that frankly, do not apply in most cases anymore. You've probably spoken to a number of feminists in your lifetime and never even knew it because unlike what most people tend to think, you cannot see the leg hair poking out from beneath our pantsuits.

If you happened to stroll on by Washington during a March for Women's Lives, you would most definitely not see a bunch of lesbian women with their heads shaved with pitchforks and torches with men hanging by their balls from giant crucifixes crafted into female symbols with burning white cotton bras surrounding them as they chant about finally bringing the male population to a standstill and conversing happily about world domination.

By being a feminist, it means that you care for the wellbeing and for the rights of all women, as well as for all men, since I also noted earlier that feminism is indeed about human rights. If men were oh, I don't know, still making as much as 30% less than women in a society that claims to be gender equal, the women population who felt that this was unfair to men would most definitely be speaking up; which is precisely what has happened with a percentage of the male population who identify as a feminist.

To identify as a feminist, you do not need to be female. In fact, I know (and read the blogs of and love) male feminists. To identify as a feminist, you simply must feel it in the core of your being that women no longer deserve to be treated any less than how men are treated and as it has been seen during the Democratic presidential primary, misogyny and sexism are not lost on the American public.

Hopefully you've learned a thing or two from this post, and if not, I write about this stuff a lot so head on over to Menstrual Poetry and check out some other posts on feminism, current events, politics, the presidential candidates, the war in Iraq and more!

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