Feminism means never having to say you’re sorry.

Disclaimer: I have been trying to write this post for so long. I’m going to go ahead and just barrel on through and hope for the best. I can always come back and revise it. So, here goes nothing!

I always hated that cliche about “love means never having to say you’re sorry.” There’s a crock of shit if I ever heard one. However, I’m not talking about love (at least not directly); I’m talking about feminism. And feminism… well, in a way it does mean never having to say you’re sorry.

How do I figure? Well, feminism is about not compromising yourself, not apologizing for you, and not caving in and doing what you “should” do.

So, biggest pet peeve: I want to administer a healthy dose of brass knuckles to the trachea every time someone says to me, “But you can’t [XYZ], you’re a feminist!”

You have got to be shitting me.

Being a feminist means I can do whatever the hell I want. I have MORE options, not less. I can choose. Being a feminist is about conscious choice. For example, while I have no desire to be a stay at home mother, I don’t see such a choice as being “unfeminist,” so long as the woman makes it as a choice, and not simply because “that’s what women do.”

Sure, it rankles a little bit when I see women pick choices that I don’t agree with, but that’s just life. There’s certainly part of me that feels a little like a woman is betraying us when she chooses to give up a career to raise kidlets, but that’s her prerogative. It is not my place to judge her or demand that she do differently (nor is it her place to try to drag me down for choosing to not have kids). I can not agree with someone’s choice without having to demand that they change.

Feminism is about freedom of choice. Freedom to be who we want to be, without someone else dictating our lives for us.

Therefore, we should not have to subscribe to a party line or have politics make our decisions for us. As much as I want to say, “Do it for feminism!” that’s as stupid as saying, “Do it for Jesus” or “Do it for the Democratic party!” or “Do it for the economy!” or anything else. Are we, or are we not, free individuals with agency to control our own lives?

I refuse to label myself with any political party affiliation, and I attach the label “feminist” to myself largely out of a sense of needing to reclaim the word from its “f-word” status and back into being something socially acceptable. Beyond that, however, I dislike labels and group affiliations, because it leads to groupthink. I am not part of a hive mind (although how cool would it be if I could use my uterus like a walkie-talkie to communicate with other members of the Feminist Agenda?). Being a woman (whether bodied, identified, or anything else) is not monolithic; feminism should not be, either.

Feminism should ultimately be about freedom from predetermined roles or prescribed courses. In the end, that includes freedom from “acting like a feminist” if that’s what you want.

Part of me shivers to say that, but the majority of me says that liberation is liberation–it doesn’t come with stipulations or clauses or black-out dates. If we’re gonna do this, we’re gonna do this right.

Step up! Reclaim your right to be or do whatever the fuck you want without ever having to feel like you need to be put qualifiers or apologies on it. Be shameless. Be awesome.

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03/09/2010. Tags: , . Uncategorized.

2 Comments

  1. Tasty replied:

    Let’s hear it for not yanking people’s feminism card! w00t!

    The only issue I have with choice, as a concept, is that it’s really easy to gloss over social coercion when we talk about it – so yes, completely in agreement with you that an empowered woman who is making her choices consciously and without outside interference is pretty much epitomizing gender equality. The problem is that virtually no women in real life get to do that – they are offered a bunch of totally slanted choices that aren’t fair, and then ‘blamed’ when they take the option that the rest of society doesn’t like.

    • Cuppy van der Cake replied:

      The issue I have is simply when being a feminist becomes restrictive instead of freeing. It’s true that there’s so many things going on under the surface that it’s difficult to call any decision truly free. However, how much should we police? I become wary whenever -isms start to dictate. That bothers me a lot.

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