Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I still don't think I'm a feminist

I was looking at some of the traffic through my blog and I came across this one at Tami Baribeau - FYI, you're a feminist.

I do love a good discussion, but it's hard for me to agree with Tami.  She said:
It’s great that you feel as if you can just ignore the sexism that goes on around you and just live your own life, I give you kudos for having such high quality blinders on.
I am not sure she understood what I was trying to say because I wanted to demonstrate that from MY perspective, in MY life, in MY profession, sexism is not really an issue.  I am not denying that it goes on in other places, but that is why I said in my post - am I blind to Sexism?  Because if you look at my life, my workplace, my profession, you find that there are equal opportunities for both men and women.  Women work and earn the same as men - or rather, have the potential to earn the same as a man.  Dollars per hour, I earn as much as my male colleagues.  I hold a position of responsibility.  I don't earn as much as some of them because I don't want to work 5-6 days a week.  I like my laid back lifestyle with 3 day weekends and most Friday afternoons off.

Tami said:
I’ve worked my way up to Studio Director, and it wasn’t easy. I  had people telling me that I slept with someone to get my position.  I’ve had people call me a bitch for being assertive and forward at work, traits that are stereotypically male.  I’ve had people act as if it was weird that their manager is a woman.  I’ve had my arguments dismissed because I’m not a hardcore enough gamer because I’m woman.
And it's unfortunate that she has had to experience that, but I wanted to point out that it's not ALWAYS like that.  I don't want young girls out there thinking that EVERYWHERE is a fight because you're female and you will always be treated this way.  I believe that your own abilities will shine through, and you don't have to go around being all "Ha!  I'm a woman and I made it here so there!" because whether you're a man or woman doesn't matter.  Your own abilities speak for themselves.  Tami, I am sure, is not only very talented, she is assertive and strong minded as well.  Perhaps the reason I have no problems is because I'm not an ATTRACTIVE female.  Now I will wholeheartedly agree that if you are attractive and get places, and probably more because you're female, you will get discriminated against more.  You will get those horrible "Who did you sleep with?" comments because people don't see BEYOND what is outside, and look to what is within.  And the worst part is there are those who do use their looks to get places, which only perpetuates that perception even more.

Effraeti, was also mentioned in Tami's post.  I feel like Effraeti and I have a lot in common.  We both have a lot of male friends - my male friends outnumber my female friends.  And why?  Because we have the same interests!  I am not a typical female who likes hanging out in mother's groups and talking about baby clothes stores like the other mothers my age.  My daughter adopts my interests - she can make a Vulcan greeting sign and say "Live long and prosper, mummy", she knows "Peter Parker is inside Spiderman," and why?  Because I love those things.  They're not boy things, they're the things I like, I'm interested in.  I teach my daughter that she can do anything, but that women and men are still different - anatomically.  I never say "You can be as good as a boy" to her because there is no need to say that, you can be as good as anyone regardless of sex, and she will hopefully grow up understanding my standpoint that there is no difference being male or female in terms of achievement

I'm not denying I'm female - I still like to go out to a party dressed up nicely to look feminine, but my agenda isn't to push femininity as the way to be and be angry at those who deny us being female.  I respect everyone's choices, but I don't like people telling me that I am something when I am not.  I am equalist.  If I push for men's rights, for example, those men who live under the rule of Amazons of old, does that make me feminist?  According to Tami's definition, it does - as she says being a feminist is about fighting oppression against all unfair things.  I agree with fighting oppression when faced with it and I applaud her standing up to it all.  I look at Oestrus and think the same thing - she's really strong minded and wants what's right by everyone, but she respects my decision, which is what I do to everyone as well.  I just don't like that label feminist because the word Femme in it still means woman, and I want things to be equal.  Doesn't mean I don't like feminists.  I am just not one, that's all.

And I hope that nobody is offended by my post, and if they are, I'm sorry.  I merely wanted to defend my standpoint, and correct any misunderstandings.

Edit:  Effy posted something too!  Gamer girl responds.

5 comments:

  1. I know it's just me but personally I don't really like anybody who's assertive and forward be they male or female. They're usually extroverts who I find exhausting.

    I just wish they'd keep the yelling down, I'm trying to take a nap.

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  2. Navi; I think that this might be a case where the labels are important to some and not to others. By Tami's definition, I am a feminist. (Really, by Tami's definitions, I don't want to associate with anyone who isn't!)

    Would I call myself a feminist? In the current American political atmosphere, I need to. Every able person needs to with the insanity that's going on over here.

    But normally, when we're not fighting lawmakers who are deliberately trying to put very cruel laws into place to (as best as I can tell) put women "in their place"; I don't want to have to be a feminist.

    I want to be a person. I want to identify myself by the company I choose to keep, the things I pursue, and my achievements. Not my gender (or gender identity), race, sexual identity or physical ability or limitations.

    I'm glad you get to do that. But maybe you should think about stepping up and being a feminist just now. So that we are all stronger for it.

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  3. @Shoryl - Hi Shoryl! I don't object to feminist ideals, I just really don't think I am able to BE one. I think of them as the campaigners out there, fighting for rights. I think of them as being hard core political activists. I admire them, I just don't think that's me. I fight for equal rights on MY level - in medicine, for patients, my trainees - but it's because I believe in fairness for everyone, regardless or race, sex or religion. Really, what I believe is probably similar to to what Tami says, but the term is gramatically incorrect. I think that's what I'm trying to say. Tami should be an EQUALIST not a feminist, because if you look at the derivation of the word, it's wrong. Equalist is what Tami is - equality for everyone. If I said I was masculinist, do you think that means the same as feminist? It doesn't have quite the same ring :) But thanks for the thoughts, it's good to get it out.

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  4. "Really, what I believe is probably similar to to what Tami says, but the term is gramatically incorrect."

    It may be grammatically incorrect, but as someone somewhere else said, feminist doesn't equal "someone hating men". When you say it's grammatically incorrect, I want to point out that is, however, historically correct. Feminism is not a new invention, we're back to at least 1792 (Mary Wollstonecraft). Suddenly changing the word to appeal to modern women may be doing the whole movement a disservice. And I suspect that if an "Equalist" movement should come forward and identify itself as such, I don't think the ideas would differ from feminism anyways, so... maybe a rename will ever only be a "branding stunt".

    Your objection seems to lie in a very small spot - on the very literal meaning of the word. I wish you (and Eff for that matter) could see past the label and past the public representation of feminists and look at the ideas and beliefs behind it. Remember not to judge a group by its extremists ;)

    Being a feminist doesn't mean you HAVE to be a political activist, you don't HAVE to be vocal about it all the time, you don't HAVE to "fight". Like having certain political opinions (and feminism is often very political), you can have them quietly and in private.

    Ps. I'm a feminist, I also believe in men's rights (especially in terms fatherhood, where I think men's rights are behind).

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