I love to read and can get very attached to my opinions, but recently I've been learning not to completely lose my head when people disagree with me, so feel safe to argue with me whenever you wish ;)
Some people ask: “Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?” Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general—but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women. That the problem was not about being human, but specifically about being a female human. For centuries, the world divided human beings into two groups and then proceeded to exclude and oppress one group. It is only fair that the solution to the problem acknowledge that.
I must admit, there was a shameful (but thankfully brief) period in my life when I was one of those who tried to put distance from the word "feminist." And that was after another extended period when I was proudly and openly feminist. So three stages so far for me:
feminist-->uncomfortable closet feminist-->feminist again.
To be honest, I think it gets humiliating to defend your dignity after a while. To say unequivocally, "I'm a worthwhile human being" and have people tell you to stop making a fuss. Stop playing the gender card. Stop playing the victim. How ironic that suppressing expressions of anger and dissatisfaction because of its association with being "unfeminine" is a classic tool of patriarchy.
It's also kind of ironic given my own past of momentary doubt that nowadays, I'm extremely wary of "explaining" feminism because...well it's not my job to educate you dude, what about feminism isn't blatantly and painfully self-explanatory?
Why is it that a movement with a grand history of giving women
1. the right to divorce
2. the right to own property
3. the right to vote
4. the right to higher education
5. the right to abortion
6. protections against rape and domestic violence
7. the right not to get fired when you get pregnant or married
8. etc. etc.
...have so much stigma attached to it?
Who wouldn't be proud to call themselves the inheritor of such a legacy?
How many brain cells do people have to string together before realizing that the label given to this awesome history, and is still ongoing--called feminism--is a good thing?
So I don't know if it's a mistake or not to sarcastically roll my eyes every time I talk to someone (usually a male) about why feminism is important. Or when someone takes it as a given that a woman dressed in revealing clothing will get raped and we should all be "realistic." (For that matter, I think feminism is inherently idealistic, and that's what gives it its greatest appeal.) I just can't decide if it's worthwhile to compromise time and energy on the off-chance that maybe someone with pile after pile of internalized misogyny will bother to sit down and do their homework before making blanket statements on a movement that has had a spectacularly positive net effect on the world and is still doing so today. Because if they did then we wouldn't be having this conversation in the first place.
Maybe I can just give them this essay instead?