May 22, 2008

News Flash: feminism gives women opportunities whether they identify as feminist or not

Posted in activism, feminism, ideology at 11:30 am by LB

I had a conversation with a friend the other day, who (obviously) knows I’m a staunch feminist, and (I think) I was commenting on the over-focus on their own appearance and their partner’s sexual pleasure and under-focus on sexual pleasure in women’s magazines (ie Cosmo), and how that is bullshit and really needs to change. He (not at all a feminist or really that familiar with feminism, except through me) replied back that women are concerned with their appearance, for whatever reason, and that “not all women are, and actually most women are not, feminists like me.”

I started to tell him that feminism affects women (and men, likely) who would never identify with it or advocate it. That many women hold “feminist values” but for whatever reason, don’t discuss their views as feminist. I guess I was trying to suggest to him that my critique of, well, “stuff” related to gender and sexuality isn’t only espoused by feminists, or that have certain values “because I’m a feminist”–as in, that if someone doesn’t define themselves, conceive of themselves as “feminist,” they will not hold the same view as myself. Said otherwise, my feminist views are only held by “feminists,” and I hold them because I am a feminist, not because they’re, well, right.

So, fast forward to today when reading Melissa’s Wednesday Blogaround on Shakesville, and got to this post by Daisy (by way of this post), and even though Daisy’s writing about today’s feminists’ lack of appreciation for second-wave feminism, I thought it was applicable here. I’m only going to re-post part of her list, but read her post for more. So today’s feminists, remember the world second-wavers helped to bring you into….and women, the more-or-less legal (though not social) equality you experience as given is not because of American “values” but is a direct result of feminist scholarship and advocacy.


…had a credit card in your own name, rather than a man’s name.

…used safe birth control.

…worked in a field once considered male or that is still predominantly male.

…worn pants to school at any time during your academic life.

…learned to play unladylike instruments such as the drums (which I wasn’t permitted to learn).

…played on a sports team and people were actually proud of you for it.

…know where your clitoris is.

…know where your G-spot is.

…had a home birth.

…decided to postpone childbearing until your 30s or later.

…decided not to have children at all, and didn’t make up health reasons for it.

…decided to have a career AND children.

…been on maternity leave and got paid for it, rather than fired, demoted or laid off.

…had a stay-at-home husband.

…learned to play billiards, poker or Blackjack; ride a Harley or drive a semi.

…think what you say is as important as what a man says.

…don’t believe that women who are raped somehow “asked for it”

…don’t believe that a wife beaten by her husband somehow “asked for it”–or that it is “none of your business” if domestic violence goes on in relationships.

…played with anything other than dolls, tea sets, E-Z Bake ovens or coloring books as a child.

…been allowed to read whatever you wanted as a child or teenager.

…had a tattoo, or several.

…kept your “maiden” name or use a hyphenated name.

…worn any clothing considered “outrageous”–i.e. hippie, punk, goth, vintage, etc.

…ran for any office other than school board.

…lived with a man outside of marriage, and people still speak to you, employ you, etc.

…attended any kind of sex education course in public school.

…unabashedly enjoyed pornography, football, boxing, or other traditionally male entertainments.

…expected to make as much money per hour as a man does.

…attended college for reasons other than finding a husband.

…watch television shows or movies produced, directed and written by women.

…dated/married a heterosexual man who used cosmetics, moisturizers, or had his hair done.

…been in a position of authority over a man.

…use Ms. instead of Miss or Mrs.

…The, maybe you should also think about unabashedly advocating feminism.


  1. That is a fantastic list! And it’s so true. I’m amazed at how many “non-feminists” take feminism for granted sometimes.

  2. octogalore said,

    Good point. I think it’s like sharing a meal that your girlfriends have already paid for, saying “I don’t like lasagne” as you fork it in, but it’s certainly true that many who don’t want to own the appellation benefit from the battles others who do so have fought.

  3. Alicia said,

    I am so glad I dropped in here (finally!) for a visit Lindabeth, wonderful post…blog…ideas, I love it :) Feminism is in an unfortunate state of stasis it seems. I say this fully admitting that it has been, off and on, in such a state within myself. What has made me notice this, was a grating annoyance steadily growing to infuriation that comes with witnessing society ignore/tolerate sexism; and it seemed to be coming at every turn. Something was waking up, in me. I realized that I’VE been tolerant and that I have stock in this society. That it was time to stop blaming and judging and time to start speaking listening learning and teaching. Thanks Lindabeth.

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