Monday, June 20, 2005
Why I Love Feminists
But not all women.
I like feminists.
Leaving aside the sexual component here (although it's certainly a factor in who I'm attracted to), I prefer the company of feminist women. [I have to admit I'm having a bit of trouble writing this. There is a certain caution in finding the right tone without sounding like this is some dominance/submission fetishistic kink/quirk of mine. At least, I don't think it is. Plus there is the added awkwardness of being a man talking about feminism, a decidedly difficult thing for me to articulate.]
Let me go through the process of elimination of categories of people I don't like to hang out with. First, misogynist men. Unsurprisingly, this includes the overwhelming majority of men. Surprisingly, (to me) this also includes an even larger percentage of gay men. During a period time when I was doing a lot of AIDS demos and actions, I hung out almost exclusively with gay men and lesbians. The gay men were predominantly white and often quite upwardly mobile. Usually AIDS was their first radicalizing experience of oppression. Their social culture to that point was one that had generally excluded women. They had never had a reason to question their attitudes toward women. In some ways, their misogyny seemed worse because they blithely assumed they couldn't possibly be sexist because they were gay. Sometimes I would be interested in one of these men up to the point where they said something so dizzyingly misogynist, I would feel like ice water had been dumped over my head. That was when I really, really knew misogyny was anti-sexy to me. Anti-sexy like anti-matter.
Then there is another category of person I'm not keen to hang out with: non-feminist straight women. Sorry if this offends some people and I know it's rather a large group but it seems generally true for me. Actually, non-feminist straight women often give me the creeps, particularly if they are single and invested in gender role gameplaying. Then I start to become horrified and find myself trying desperately to disengage from the conversation.
A feminist, to me, is a woman who's independent and wants her own life. She doesn't want to live her life primarily defined by her relationship to a man or men. Feminism is an ongoing analysis of gender inequity and the underlying economic and social reasons for it. Feminism is a desire for respect, opportunity, and equality. It's obvious but I might as well say it: I've never heard anyone speak against feminism who didn't have a stake in preserving the social and economic status quo of male supremacy. I find it interesting that women who speak against feminism often do so from positions gained through feminist advances. (I'm not denying their qualifications.) I also can't recall a single conservative woman who actively speaks against feminism who wasn't relatively economically secure.
I don't really know how to finish this up. I went further in to my personal stuff than I intended and I think that is a distraction to my main point: I like feminism and feminists. And not in a freaky-deaky way. I like feminists enough that I'll show up at demonstrations where I'm welcome, put my body on the protest line, risk arrest and all that. These aren't hollow convictions. I will actually do something as a supporter of feminism.
And I get more chicks as a sensitive guy.
(OK, I couldn't help myself. The last line is a bad joke yet it seemed too good to pass up after all the earnest affirmation of being a pro-feminist man. Just for the record, I think it would be an outstandingly bad idea for a man to bullshit feminists about his support of feminism. A really, really bad idea.)
(This post seems pretty crappy to me, kind of distracted and jumpy. And what's with that sarcastic ending? Flip irony? The tone is so uneven and I sound flaky even to myself. Proclamations and statements of the obvious. Well, it felt important that I write it so here it is. Apologies to any feminists who actually read this. Aren't you glad to have bumbling and stuttering male friends like me? Gahh! I'm ashamed yet compelled to post it.)
[Update: I've been told I'm being too apologetic and should trust my readers more. I'm sorry I've been so apologetic. Wait, that doesn't sound right... Hmm... What Would Buffy Do? What Would Sara (Connor) Do? What Would Ripley Do? It's true, many of my role models are fictional heroines. So I think boldness is the best tactic. From now on, I will be bold blogger, confident and sure. Right. Glad I've got that sorted out.]