Don't say feminist.

The word "feminist" scares me.

No matter how you cut it, declaring oneself a feminist has a negative connotation; something along the lines of man hating, bitchy lesbians, with hairy armpits.

I started on this trail a few months ago, because I have been called a feminist a few times, and it caught me by surprise. I figured should educate myself on exactly what the word means, and then figure out how I fit in. Big problem – everyone has a different definition.

Google "what is feminism" to find over 3 million results. That's 3M+ pages of content, filled with everything from bible-thumpers reminding us of our need to obey our husbands, to completely whacked out women haters who I wouldn't want to come face to face with on the street.

So, I whipped up a definition of my own;

All people matter.
Inequality of rights is unfair regardless of sex or race. 


Being a feminist means you live, breath and exude your real self.
Being a feminist means you are not afraid to demand equality.
Being a feminist means you help other women, girls, and daughters discover their own voice.

That's a far cry from the Feminazi label coined by genius Rush Limbaugh (I have to apologize for even writing
that word, it sickens me that this has become a catch phrase).

How about you- are you a feminist who stands proud? Or one who lurks in the background?
Does my definition classify me as a feminist? If yes, where do I fit into the chaos?

Peace out,

-mamaV

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50 Responses to Don't say feminist.

  1. Mrs. B. says:

    Feminism to me embodies SOME of your definition.
    But you need to look up Rush Limbaugh’s definition of Feminazi because he doesn’t consider feminists to be feminazis. He considers women who put the right to murder their young through abortion over any other issue to be feminazis. And I do, too.
    And if you don’t think those women exist, you are delusional.

  2. Michelle says:

    Ugh that word has always scared me, as well.
    At OSU we have to take a writing course that involves literature. Well, a friend of mine suggested women’s studies for me to get a different look on things.
    I have lived around my brothers and my dad for as long as I can remember. I know my mom has never been the ‘girly-girl’ either. I think that is why her and my dad dated in the first place. (They are divorced now, which is why I never really grew up around her.) I always had more guy friends than girl friends and I absolutely hated the idea of being a girly-girl. Though I was a dancer for a good 10 years of my life, I never associated with any of the girls at the studio.
    So, when my friend suggested this women’s studies class I laughed inside a little because I figured it’d be some feminist who would push women’s lives as being the most important lives ever down our throats.
    Despite my fear, I took it anyway..
    ended up dropping out after the third week.
    My professor had a PHd in Women’s Studies and she is that (as you put it) ‘man hating, bitchy lesbian, hairy armpit’ feminist. She openly discussed her relationship with her girlfriend and how they have been living happily together and how ‘no man would ever be able to live up to [her] expectations’. She also openly ragged on guys. It was perfect to do so, because there was only one guy taking the class and he was openly exactly like her. Hated men, blah blah. It was really weird.
    Ever since then, I have always thought about what I thought of feminism and if I have been categorizing all those women to be exactly like that professor.
    Well, I have decided that I am part way between the ‘bible-thumpers reminding us of our need to obey our husbands’ and what you described as your take on feminism.
    All in all, I believe there should be some equality because there are simply too many women in this world to just sit around and do the dishes. But, at the same time, I believe that men still hold a little more responsibility to have a career and expect their wives to keep up a nice house. I don’t really voice my opinion on this issue, though because I feel like I am more conservative than liberal.. therefore it’s not very necessary for me to voice my opinion.
    So, maybe we all have our different versions of feminism. But, I think yours works because it is different. It doesn’t have such a negative connotation as the two opposing sides have, yet it is unique and still carries out the message of equality between the sexes.
    I am on the career path that a male would normally take, so on my part, I believe that the inequality (in the US, that is) is really slimming down. I understand that women still aren’t being paid as much or maybe can’t do exactly what their dreams call for, but for me? I’m walking down a path that made my grandmother think I was joking about when I told her.
    Equality will always be a struggle.. but hopefully ‘always’ doesn’t exactly mean ‘forever’.
    P.S. I read a little about those feminazis. As for me, abortion should be illegal, but I don’t think that it is such a huge concern that people should be as up in arms as they are. I think dying children because of circumstances the parents can’t really control (due to lack of education and great economies) should be of higher concern. Sure killing is killing, but let’s put our money, thoughts, prayers, and action towards something that the majority of sane people actually care about.

  3. Araea says:

    Ok this whole post is frightening, yet eye opening! One of my Mother’s friends said “I don’t think your generation understands feminism”, which at first I thought no look how far women have come! Then upon further thought, I realized most of my generation is trying to reverse the process, which to me personally is terrifying! Girls are racing to be housewives and are going to college to get there Mrs, instead of there Bachelors! I have always been a complete feminist and have been since the age of 9, but I have also been a ballerina since 3! Also, I enjoy my lip gloss, Leopard print stilettos, and dresses. I think there is a new wave of feminism occurring that women don’t realize is present because we think it’s all about being a man hating hairball! For me feminism is simply about doing what you like, when you like, how you like, whether you are wearing lipstick of boots!

  4. Mrs. B. says:

    Michelle, As always, a thoughtful perspective.
    I guess I see still some inequality, but less in terms of opportunity as in division of household and childcare responsibility. I have seen some couples break these old stereotypes and do a more equitable division of labor. But every couple needs to figure out what works for them.
    In our case, my husband works very long days. He is gone before 6:30 in the morning and home about 6:30 in the evening. He was not going to be the one who cared for the kids or did the cooking. But he brings home a very healthy paycheck that allowed me to have a cleaning person once a week and that was a huge help. Every family finds their own way that works for them. Feminists would not like our division of labor in our home. But it worked for us.
    I have always had to work full time because a private medical practioner with juvenile diabetes doesn’t have health insurance. I have always been fortunate to have jobs that allowed me flexibility in my hours. I took a tradeoff in my income though because of it. Not because I was female, but because I got what I wanted in exchange for pay. Now that the kids are older, I put more priority on my pay. I beefed up my job credentials and I make a solid professional income. Like the old saying goes….you can have everything….just not all at the same time.
    But women have choices. I have a friend who is the Vice President of HR for a multinational pharmaceutical company. She chose that path. No kids. She works very extreme hours. She is expected to be able to travel internationally at the drop of the hat. She has a house in London and her husband lives in Princeton, NJ….also a big exec. It is the life they chose.
    I think that women have lots of choices. I have never felt any kind of discrimination. My mother was a teacher and a business owner. She was always the powerhouse in my home. She taught school and worked on her Master’s while she ran a successful business. Seemed normal to me. My grandmother managed a farm and worked as a cook at a college while raising 5 girls. Women in my family are strong. I’m sure that it has a lot to do with me feeling that women are strong. I never felt that feminism was something to aspire to. I was born into it.
    I think that women need to look at the lives of men and understand the issues that they face. Men don’t have a lot of opportunity to be stay-at-home fathers. There are some men who do it, but it is a very small number. Lots of women choose that as an option.
    Men have their share of struggle and I believe that women who understand not only the trials of women, but also the trials of their husbands and sons have a much more honest perspective. Men commit suicide 4 times more often than women. Consider that. Men are more likely to be in prison or commit be the victims of violent crime. It is not any easier to be a man than it is to be a woman. Life is hard for all of us. Our job is to serve one another not to demand from one another.
    Oh, yes. I believe in the empowerment of women, but not at the expense of our men.

  5. LaurenZane says:

    What the… this post along with a lot of its response scare me to death. The very fact that RUSH LIMBAUGH was even suggested as having ANY credence on the subject of feminism… terrifying.
    Saying that feminism is about hating men, hairy arm pits (why is that negative?), etc. … well, I suggest that mamav and others do some reading. I think that Andrea Dworkin had an important role, don’t get me wrong, but acting as if Andrea “Dworkin’s ideology IS feminism” is like saying that “Jerry Falwell is representative of all christianity.” Well, that’s not even a fair comparison because Andrea contributed more to the world than Jerry ever did. Ugh, just the sound of his name fills me with disgust. If someone mentions Bill o”reilly, I may have to take some buspar.
    feminism at it’s core IS about choices. it’s about having the choice to any identity. It’s about taking all of the negative things said about women and turning them into positives. Yes the gap between opportunities open to women and is narrowing, but if people think that’s indicative of other equality, they’re Out. Of. Touch. If you want an instant insight into one of the way women are still valued in our society, go to uporn.com.

  6. laurenZane says:

    Also, I agree with mrs. b’s s last statement, but I will add that I don’t agree with the empowerment o four men at the expense of our women.

  7. sarah-j says:

    Mama-V, I’m surprised that you think that saying ‘I’m a feminist.’ has negative connotations. Personally, I’ve never minded saying it, and even though, in general, I care waaay too much about what people think of me, this has always been an exception; I think that in some contexts, it’s too important not to say, and screw what people think.
    The word feminism was coined only about 100 years ago when women were campaigning and going to prison for the right to vote. They weren’t viewed as sane, rational or worthy enough as citizens or as human beings before that. They were also, legally, the property of their father or husband at this time. Hairiness and lesbianism didn’t come into it. Feminism has, at least historically, been about freeing women and men from playing roles which imprisoned, degraded and made them both miserable. Is that still necessary? Well, we’re still being paid less for the same work, the phenomenon of the ‘double shift’ still applies, globally women work millions more hours than men but own a tiny percentage of the world’s wealth and property. Female genital mutilation will be carried out in some countries of the world today, in others, women may be stoned to death for adultery. And in others, female infanticide will take place. And as Mrs. B wrote above, in many areas, men are suffering in ways which women are not suffering to the same extent. This can and should be changed and most feminists would agree with this because they seek equality. They don’t hate men, they have just had to fight with them to achieve that equality.
    And being told by society that you should hate your body is a feminist issue too. How can we be free if we can’t feel at home in our own bodies? Historically, societies have exerted powerful and terrible pressure to conrol women’s bodies. Corsets, hysterectomy, bound feet….. and the pressure that we are all facing to be ‘thin’ and ‘beautiful’ is just another manifestation of this. And it is something we deserve to fight against. As feminists, as women, as human’s with equal worth to men.
    Just my two cents. Peace!

  8. Mrs. B. says:

    Being a feminist would also mean to me that you don’t demean and pigeon hole people you don’t understand. People like Rush Limbaugh, if you are not a regular listener, or people who are Bible Thumpers, when your own knowledge of the Bible might be immature. Conservatives are people, too. GOOD people. They often are the go-to people. The people who lived by the rules and wind up with resources that other people need. They are often accountants and doctors and other kinds of professionals because they were comfortable going “by the book”. I get a little tired of the demeaning attitudes toward conservatives and bible believing Christians on this board. There is no other group of people who are expected to sit and be demeaned in this way. Why is this somehow acceptable to you Heather?
    As a Christian, I am exposed to all kinds of people. I love both my liberal Christian friends as well as my conservative Christian friends. Jessica’s church is very liberal and I am very comfortable there. They are a bunch of idealistic kids….who are filled with love, but they have no money. They often come to our family for help with projects they cannot fund. They are so beautifully idealistic and willing to reach out that I love helping them and worshipping with them. My church is close to home and is filled with older “stodgier” people from our more affluent suburban neighborhood. But they do great work, too. They fund lots of worthy mission work. Both of these groups of friends share some significant common ground. They believe that Jesus Christ is their personal savior. They believe that Christ died on the cross for their sins and was resurrected. They believe that they are saved by faith through God’s grace. And they believe that “Faith without works is dead”. So they serve and they give….whether they are politically liberal or conservative. If they are Bible literalists, they are giving at least 10% of their earnings to those in need. Do you?
    Jerry Falwell is running a major university where thousands of people are receiving a high quality education at a very reasonable cost….including our servicemen overseas through their amazing online coursework. Are you doing something this worthy with your life?
    I don’t much like modern day liberal Bill Ayer’s political philosophy, but he is doing good work in Chicago public schools in the area of reducing school size. I don’t like his politics, but I don’t devalue his accomplishments.
    Everyone in this life has a calling. A world that allows people to fulfill their calling…male or female, gay or straight, irrespective of race or religion or….believe it or not IDEOLOGY….that is the world we should be seeking. Placing one type of person over any other type of person is contrary to my faith.
    Which is why I prefer faith to feminism as an overarching ideology in my life.

  9. Vanessa says:

    I’ve always felt uncomfortable with the word “feminist” as well.
    I don’t like the idea of my gender defining me. Sometimes that has meant wanting to disavow anything that suggests “girliness”. In happier times, though, I’ve been able to embrace the girly and the feminine without it feeling like doing so suggests renouncing my intellect.

  10. Michelle says:

    Vanessa- good point. I don’t like the idea of my gender defining me, either. I love dressing up, I also don’t mind shopping every now and then.. but when it comes to every thing else, I consider myself a chameleon because I want to be a part of the guys, too!! haha

  11. Vanessa and Michelle: I never liked the idea of being identified by my gender either. But then I started this blog, and it evolved in this direction, and it made me start pondering feminism and I realize how important it is.
    For example, I regularly get irate with individuals who express racist or homophobic views (Mrs B. please spare me the bible quotes), and I feel so saddened by the fact that many people choose to put themselves above other individuals in this world. Women are in this same group, and we have all our wonderful rights thanks to the women before us who had the balls to demand them.

  12. Mrs. B. says:

    Heather,
    What is your problem. Seriously. You seem to be comfortable with just about anyone other than religious Christians. Or people who point out your factual errors. Why such constant hostility?
    You are fine as long as you are talking to women who you can feel superior to, but when someone points out obvious misstatements you get really bitchy. You are, I’m sure, a really smart woman, but you really don’t have much biblical knowledge, although you say you are a Christian. You don’t know much about conservatives, although I think you THINK that you do. I suggest that you open your eyes. God has made people of all ideologies for a reason. But you are the kind of person who makes it really hard to coexist with and relate to.
    I am not in any way homophobic, although just as I would not present my sins for celebration, I do not celebrate the sins of others.
    How about you stop your sniping at me in your little snide comments.
    At least I have the courage to address you directly. That’s what a strong woman does.
    You really don’t know anything about me. I think that there are lots of women on this board who would tell you that I have given them more than just hollow “support”. You are just incredibly judgemental. Particularly for someone with such an open mind.

  13. LaurenZane says:

    Oh, Mrs. B, but you constantly place one type of person over another. I find it interesting that you feel as though christians or conservatives are constantly under attack. I think that you constantly attack anyone who doesn’t believe exactly as you do. I made the earlier comment regarding rush and jerry because I would never insult christians as a group by assuming they place any value in either of their opinions. Oh and Jerry is now deceased; he did run a university. he also famously said that 9/11 was a response, God punishing our society for homosexuality. nice. Also, way to pat yourself on the back for anything positive existing in the world by attributing it to something you embody. Fabulous self esteem you have. We could all learn something.

  14. Mrs. B. says:

    Jerry Falwell has said some stupid things in his day. So have you. So have I. It’s a fairly common human trait. Barack Obama said that he visited 57 states in his campaign for President. I don’t intend to hold it against him for life. Some of you “open minded” people are pretty hostile.
    Gals, I’m leaving. It’s obvious that I’m not welcome by the host of this board and a few of her admirers.
    Some people enjoy hearing one side of a story apparently.

  15. LaurenZane says:

    Right. In no way is someone who regrets or later realizes his/her mistake comparable to someone who spouts hatred for a group of people.

  16. Mrs. B. says:

    http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MDQ4NTJmZGUzOWJlMjFiMzUyMGM2NzY1YzBkNGVjMGU=
    Interesting comments about Jerry Falwell. Thousands attended his funeral. And most fair-minded journalists remembered him as a man who did some great things in life. If you only see one side of Jerry Falwell, you are not being fair to his entire contribution as a human being.
    I hope that people will not judge you so unfairly. I also hope that you can do as much for as many as Jerry Falwell did….do as much for the addicted, the homeless, the needy.
    A flawed and a powerful man.
    http://www.falwell.com/index.cfm?PID=13745
    But he was able to admit when he was wrong. He apologized for his 9/11 comments.
    Unlike some of the really unforgiving and hateful women on this board.
    Apparently it is OK to spout hatred to someone who holds one set of beliefs but not others.

  17. LaurenZane says:

    No, it’s just that I think the terrible things he did while he was alive destroyed far more lives than any good he did. Some of us are “hateful” because we’re calling you on your own hypocrisy?

  18. Michelle says:

    Ladies,
    Let’s be honest here.
    Do these comments have anything to do with the post?
    So what people do wrong. People do right.
    It doesn’t matter who threw the first stone, what matters is the fight is still going on.
    Toughen up,
    get over it,
    and leave it be.
    Yea that’s right.
    I’m telling you to
    get
    over
    it
    Stop trying to show the other person up.
    This won’t matter in 5 years,
    so why bother arguing now?

  19. Smudgeruk says:

    I suppose I would be labelled a feminist by other people, but I prefer to think of myself as as being more into equality. I demand the right to stand beside men – not in front and not behind. Beside.
    As for the way this has descended into a religious debate, I’m afraid that’s usually the point when my brain goes zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz – apart from this darling quote:
    “He considers women who put the right to murder their young through abortion over any other issue to be feminazis. And I do, too.”
    The use of the word “murder” is fairly inflammatory, don’t you think? If you’re wondering why you’re getting on some people’s tits, Mrs B, perhaps it’s the judgemental stuff like that, hmm??

  20. Mrs. B. says:

    Smudge,
    I believe that once you have murdered a couple of your children, you have the right to call it what it is. Yes, I was molested as a young girl. Yes, I was reeling from a long term broken relationship in high school. But it was ME who made the choice to get sexually involved in relationships that were not going to be long term. It was me who got pregnant. Twice. And it was me who made the decision to murder my children rather than to allow them to be adopted. I was embarassed and it was inconvenient. Not all abortions follow a similar story, but many do. I was a beautiful, smart and physically healthy young woman. Those children could have gone from my womb into the arms of childless couples, but I made a different choice. One upon many years of consideration, I regret immensely. Oh no, I am not a holier than thou type. I am a forgiven sinner. But to achieve forgiveness, you have to be willing to acknowledge sin for what it is.
    I do not judge all other women for their abortions. God is a compassionate God. Who am I to judge anyone other than myself? I’m not even a person who believes that abortion should be made illegal. We have free will.
    All that I said initially was that Heather says that Rush Limbaugh calls feminists feminazis. That is not true. Rush calls women who have put abortion rights at the center of their life mission…those who see every live birth as a failure….to Rush, those women are Feminazis. Look it up. That was his definition and people have parsed his words and taken them totally out of context.
    That’s what I said, and then I was attacked.
    This is Heather’s blog. She can do with it as she pleases. If she only likes one side of the story here, great.
    I will be moving to a Christian recovery blog. I’ll let my friends know where I’ll be and of course, we can chat via email.
    One thing that I am hopeful about and am praying about. There are two current initiatives under way to bring people of differing faith. Can’t remember the name of it offhand, but occasionally I see news of their formative meetings.
    The other is the Presidency of Barack Obama.
    There is no doubt that there is enormous religious intolerance and that there is a lot of dialog that is going to need to take place so that government does not infringe on individual rights.
    I believe that Barack Obama has a unique ability to sit down with people of a variety of faith perspectives and hammer out the middle. I see him reaching out to some of the most articulate and reasonable Christian Conservatives – people like George Will – and bringing them to the table. That is what it is going to take.
    I believe that people can do this, if they are people of maturity. You guys probably remember Shelly from the board. She and I had a really good dialog the other day about homosexuality. Shelly is a flaming liberal. I’m a Bible-thumping Christian conservative, some people think. But we love one another and we treat one another with respect. I would never want my faith to harm her gay friends. All I ask is that her beliefs not be forced on my church.
    Same way with abortion rights. I believe that women seeking abortions should be asked to hear about alternatives and then wait a couple of days to think about it. That might have saved me 30 years of anguish. Many women who have aborted agree. The Freedom of Choice Act eliminates counseling and waiting periods. I consider that extreme. I consider it the Feminazi dream. I believe that other than late term abortions should remain legal and safe, but I believe that counseling is not too much to ask. The strong feminist opinion is that women are capable of making an informed and considered decision. Heck. You are given 48 hours to consider any contract. Can’t you give 48 hours to consider options to abortion?
    Obama is clearly an intellectual. And he does not have a closed mind. He gives me hope. Even on the financial side of things, he is putting some very considered conservative minds at the table. I think he knows that despite the loud voices on the left, we are not going to deficit spend ourselves out of a financial crisis.
    So I am praying for his Presidency. And I’m leaving this Board. Because I’m tired of getting shouted down by a few angry voices, who for whatever reason just don’t want to hear the conservative perspective.
    For those of you who share a more open perspective, whose “tits” I don’t get on, I’ll let you know where I am.

  21. Hi Mrs. B: Everytime you get frustrated you say “I’m leaving,” but then you come back.
    You are welcome here – THIS is what a blog is about. I welcome your opinions, but I reserve the right as does everyone else to disagree.
    Just take a few breaths here.
    I think you have some great points to make, but they are clouded by your religious views. Which again is just fine, but you are losing readers because you go way over the top. Take Smudgeruk’s comment above….she is like me, I just scan your comments because I don’t even want to take the time to process them because they are way off topic.
    Your immediate and first comment was about Rush and abortion. For cripes sake, can’t you see when you start a conversation with your claws out – it closes the door?
    Take it easy,
    mamaV

  22. Mrs. B. says:

    No, Heather.
    You misquoted Rush. I corrected you. Then YOUR claws came out.
    I’m staying in touch with the people who need me.
    I’m moving to a different blog.
    And once it is clear to the women who are wondering why I am leaving, WHY I am leaving…and once I am sure that they know how to reach me, I’ll be gone for good.
    I enjoy a good discussion. I was on the Pennsylvania State Championship winning high school debate team in my day….OK it was Tommy Shank who was our ace in the hole….I’ll admit it. But I can hold my own.
    There is no real debate here. It always degenerates to this.

  23. LaurenZane says:

    Mrs. B,
    A couple fo things. First off, I disagree with Heather. I don’t think that your ideas are “clouded” by your religious beliefs anymore than mine, heather’s, etc. are clouded by our own, individual ideologies. I find that distinction is nonsensical.
    It’s interesting because I agree with all of your political/religious view points in your last post, sans Rush. The goal of course is not to agree but have constructive dialogue. I’m sorry if I have made you feel that I don’t want to hear your perspective because I do. I just don’t want to receive responses that come across as- if you don’t agree with me than you ar either unintelligent or an immoral hedonist.
    Best,
    Lauren

  24. Mrs. B. says:

    I only “go off topic” when Heather starts the topic off with something that I think needs clarification…or in this case, correction….before the topic can start off on fair footing. I refuse to participate in character assassination of people on the right….or the left, for that matter.
    All people make some good contribution…even if it is by bad example :)
    One of the things that Jessica has said during her recovery is that sometimes she got the angriest when she KNEW in her heart that she was being the most blatantly defiant toward what was moral and righteous. I know that has always been true for me, too.
    Just something to ponder. We ARE all immoral hedonists. Part of the human condition. We’re going to get better when we are striving for better. When that will be, I’m not sure. It goes against our grain. :)

  25. LaurenZane says:

    haha, wow. I’m not laughing because I devalue what you just said. It’s really just hilarious how different our belief systems are 9evidence of a culturally diverse country). I don’t belive in “sin”- I find it far too black and white a word. I find that it devalues the nuance of literally anything. Also, I don’t believe that we are all immoral hedonists. Morality like anything is subjective. But then I guess this difference in opinion is not at all surprising because I don’t believe in moralistic higher power or a personified higher power. I don’t think that there is a universal meaning in life.

  26. Mrs. B. says:

    Lauren,
    That is interesting. I don’t think that there is universal meaning in life, either, but I do think that there is definitely sin. And I think it interesting that most cultures seem to have stumbled across many of the same things….and then they become codified in the law. Evidence to me of the Holy Spirit…or as some would define it…conscience.
    The people who don’t have conscience have a name in psychological science, as I suspect you well know. LOL.

  27. WOW is right Lauren….ummm, Mrs. B you sound like you’d make a great cult leader. Maybe you should start your own blog!
    Go nuts correcting me on my posts,
    mamaV

  28. LaurenZane says:

    haha, yes.
    Mrs. B, I actually have a lot of questions for you that I have been thinking a lot about lately. I’m sure others would not like to see them posted on here or even in the open forum fo rthat matter. Would it be possible to exchange e-mail addresses?

  29. LaurenZane says:

    oh, my last response was to Mrs. B. when I posted, mamav had not yet responded. Mrs. B., I don’t think your response beared any likeness to that of a cult leader.

  30. Mrs. B. says:

    It’s Ok Lauren,
    It’s pretty clear that Heather has a very distinct impression of me. It’s fine. Really. I’m a big girl and I’m pretty comfortable with myself. The truth is that I made a commitment long ago that I would never attempt a teaching position in the church…so there is no danger of my leading a cult :) Christ told Christians who accept positions of leadership in the church that they really need to live to a highter standard. And I’m clearly not capable of that. I have a temper, I have really NOT led a remotely sin-free life. I know myself pretty well.
    The church suffers terribly when even strong Christians, like Jerry Falwell, become leaders…and then don’t consistently exemplify Christian principles. People are really looking to cast stones. Google Jerry Falwell and you won’t see many people remembering his positive attributes, or his request for forgiveness. He is a pariah.
    Lauren,
    You are a very smart and interesting lady. I would love to correspond with you. You always have an intellectual perspective that is fun to listen to.
    My email address is debrockman@aol.com.

  31. smudgeruk says:

    Voltaire said, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”
    And I agree with him. :o)
    Mrs B., I don’t agree with you, but I am thrilled we have places such as this where we are free to express our views.
    In some countries, women don’t have the option of a voice, or any sort of religious freedom. Now *that’s* where we really, really need to consider feminism and the empowerment of women…
    I still find the use of the word “murder” in conjunction with abortions to be accusatory in tone and inflammatory. Some people see it as that, others certainly don’t.
    What’s that thing they say again? “Judge not, that ye be not judged”? ;o)

  32. Mrs. B. says:

    Ok. If murder seems inflammatory to you, it feels to me, like what I have committed…and sought forgiveness for. I’m not one much for sugar-coating my own transgressions. But I will reserve that value judgement for my own self-judgement. Nobody else’s. But the Rush Limbaugh point stands. There is a small sub-group of feminists whose primary issue is the defense of a woman’s right to um, terminate, the lives of their children. I can’t imagine making that my cause in life. It is a small group. Those are the feminists that Rush has labeled Feminazi’s. It is not intended as a broad-based label. The term was introduced by Rush on a show where he was very specific about his definition. It was taken out of context and Rush has been misrepresented by people who opposed his general ideology – even though they don’t listen to him – ever since.
    Right now, I am not enjoying listening to Rush. I am genuinely concerned about our country and pray that Obama does a good job. I think he is smart and listens and knows what he doesn’t know. Rush is not willing to “wait and see” based on his former voting record. I don’t think that is entirely fair. But I’ve listened to Rush for 10 years. He is smart and hysterically funny and really not the bigot that he is made out to be. You routinely hear liberals call his show and they tell him that they enjoy listening to his opinions….after they have listened to him for a period of time. He tells people to give him 6 weeks before they form a judgement.
    Oh, and on the “judge not” thing….that’s only part of the story. Mature Christians are expected to help others to depart from sin….by “speaking the truth in love” Ephesians 4:15
    We’re supposed to hold one another accountable. Not in judgement, but in support. I don’t always do this very well. It isn’t an easy task to make people aware of their transgressions in a way that does not offend. But we are supposed to hold one another accountable.

  33. Michelle says:

    Crap, this is why I don’t enjoy talking with women.
    They bring the claws out then two minutes later, “Oh wow ok I’m ready to have an intellectual discussion on a topic that had nothing to do at all with what we were talking about in the first place. Peace be with you!!”
    *rolls eyes*
    I think what all feminists have in common:
    The need to defend every single thing they say.
    Add that to all of your definitions?

  34. Mrs. B. says:

    Michelle,
    LOL. God love ya. You’re going to be great.
    I seriously am leaving. This is my last day here.
    But you have my email.
    You take care.

  35. Nats says:

    Another subject I am choosing to stay out of. Although not sure to be honest where this topic fits on the whole, if it does actually fit that is!
    Im out!
    I agree with Michelle for what its worth

  36. LaurenZane says:

    I’m sorry you didn’t appreciate the connection, Michelle. Additionally, the back and forth proved to be helpful in some ways.
    And actually, I think that everyone should be able to defend what they say, or why else believe it? It’s actually a positive thing to be challenged on your beliefs. The challenge aids people in gaining a better understanding of their own perspectives. So are you saying that you find men to be complacent? I have to say -it’s fine that you disagree; I respect that- I don’t agree with your distinction between men and women. There is so much diversity within gender at this point in our society that blanket distinctions aren’t helpful.
    i am sincerely sorry that you feel such condemnation towards women, though. That’s unfortunate, to say the least.

  37. Michelle says:

    Sorry, haha, my comment was basically all sarcasm.

  38. LaurenZane says:

    Well, damn, I like to think that I am well versed in sarcasm. I missed the boat on that one :)

  39. Smudgeruk says:

    *retracts claws* ;o) To further clarify my viewpoint, on abortion, I think there is a vast difference between early and late procedures. Early i’m cool with, late less so. Ultimately, what it comes down to is a woman’s right to choose that path, for better or worse, whether right or wrong in the eyes of others. That’s feminism, that’s why abortion is an integral part of some people’s feminist principals.
    And for what it’s worth, I am in a stage of my life where my choice would probably not be to terminate a pregnancy, however unplanned. I suspect i’d feel differently if I was 14, or a rape victim, or an older woman who thought she was no longer fertile…
    I know some people don’t like it, but I do enjoy the way everyone on here picks up the starting topic and runs with it. It raises some interesting stuff. I was fascinated by Mrs B’s explanation of holding each other accountable. Very honourable, but I suppose in practice it only really works when you share the same core values. And i’m done. For now ;o)

  40. Mrs. B. says:

    Michelle….sorry you got dragged into that one! I got your sarcasm. I agree with Lauren that you can’t really totally peg people by gender anymore, but I know more catfighting women than I do men. That’s why I have chosen construction, IT and engineering in my last three jobs. My prior jobs in nursing and retail had lots more scratching and clawing. It’s a generalization, certainly. But after raising both boys and girls, there are ways that each are more and less complicated. Women just tend to be more verbal.

  41. Newt says:

    If were one to look at my life I suspect they would classify me as a feminist however I don’t perceive myself that way. It is probably worth my effort to google it and see what the definition is. I believe that all people are equal regardless of sex, race or whatnot however am aware of the physical strength limitations of a woman versus a man. There are always exceptions ie a woman that is physically stronger than a man but that is an exception.

  42. Mrs. B: I am dead serious- I want you to stay.
    You are welcome here, but we’ve got to be able to have a strong debate without totally flipping out.
    This entire discussion started because I misquoted Rush. Innocent error- not intentional whatsoever.
    But now the entire point of the post is lost.
    I seriously want to hear what the women here think about feminism, and how they identify themselves.
    What is your view anyway? It got buried in the scuttle.
    -mamaV

  43. Hi Newt: Your stance is basically the same as mine. It seems so simple doesn’t it?
    If and when you google “feminism” be ready to be completely overwhelmed with information. Check out the Wikepedia description of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd waves of feminism, I found this interesting.
    We are in the 3rd wave by the way…learned that along the way!
    Take care,mamaV

  44. aileb says:

    Your definition sounds so great!
    Sadly, I am not ready to call myself one yet.
    I am stuck at the first point.
    “All people matter.”
    I am a person..I should matter.
    This is the complete opposite of what I hear living with my eating disorder.

  45. Mrs. B. says:

    aileb,
    I’m so sorry. You do matter. I wish that you were not in the grip of this disorder. I wish that none of my friends here were. How have you been doing. You haven’t posted in a long time.

  46. Smudgeruk says:

    Aileb, that’s a really interesting point. We all matter, every last one of us – but what happens when you don’t feel that way about yourself? Some feminists would say people with eating disorders are victims of a society where women are primarily valued for their looks… I recognise that EDs have a multitude of causes and I suspect the exact cause is different for each individual. But it bears thinking about. I was fortunate. I was raised by parents who taught me I could do anything I wanted to. It never crossed my mind that I couldn’t do a particular job when I grew up. It never occurred to me that I might have to make sacrifices. The core of that self-belief has stayed with me throughout everything. So, maybe as well as telling our little girls how pretty they are, we should also tell them how smart they are, and what great things may lie ahead for them.

  47. Kyla says:

    I don’t think feminism is a dirty word and I think your definition makes you a feminist. Feminism has no party platform, which is the beautiful (and confusing) thing about it. But if you believe in equality and social justice, I think you’re a feminist. If you want to know where you fit in, I’d suggest checking out the three waves of feminism to determine which you relate to must. I myself am a 3rd waver.

  48. If you demand equality, but only for females, then you are not demanding equality at all. You cannot demand equality without demanding equality for males as well. Otherwise, it is only sexism with a nice sounding label. This is only one of many reasons why people associate feminism with hate, with female supremacists who demand favoritism for women and sexism against males, with misandric bigotry, because it is for females only. Thus, it cannot and never will be about true equality.

  49. anon says:

    This post, and several of the responses, are sadly misinformed in regards to the history, evolution, and various phases and factions of feminism (in my opinion, of course). mV, your ‘claimed’ definition of feminism is the essence of the feminist movement since its inception–nothing new. Feminism is not about man-hating (and the other adjectives … some of them just incredulously ridiculous), and it’s certainly not about working to oppress or suppress other groups, as the above commentator suggests. Ultimately, the goal was (and is) to secure equal opportunity, respect, and rights for women. Women, how is that scary?
    Another important point to note: Not all women (and men for that matter) who identify as feminists or feminist allies are the same! Self-identified feminists disagree with each other, would you believe that?! There are problems with and within feminism, but ultimately, it was feminist-minded women and men who worked toward securing women’s right to vote (shall we recall, not too long ago), and it’s the same motivation that drives (oh no, here comes the scary word) contemporary Feminists to continue fighting against sexism–it’s evident, whether people choose to acknowledge it or not. (see domestic violence incidences, rape incidences, pay and hiring differentials, amongst other gender related discrepancies). It’s not about hating men; it’s about valuing all people equally (ideally, of course; as i mentioned, feminism has it’s problems in regards to forming it’s own exclusionary practices). Most well informed feminists understand and appreciate their male counterpart’s efforts toward eradicating sexism.
    I won’t even comment on the religious component brought up by Mrs. B, b/c I don’t think I have enough time, space, or energy to get into it. All I can say to that is, as a woman who identifies as a feminist, I also identify as a Christian (not in alignment with mrs. b’s interpretation, but nonetheless). Isn’t there something in Scripture about throwing the stone? Who are any of we to judge any one else? Mrs. B’s (and Rush Limbaugh’s) sentiments: “women who put the right to murder their young through abortion over any other issue to be feminazis.” Strong opinion (and/or judgment), and entitled to it. Yet, one must wonder, how did you, or Limbaugh, become the authority on the matter? I anticipate the answer … “The Bible told me so…” Try centuries of translation and all that gets lost, or re-interpreted in the process.

  50. anon says:

    Mrs. B,
    I must admit that my above response was directed to the first of your posts. Not enough time to read through them all. I did, however, just now read over your later post clarifying mV’s misquotation of Limbaugh. While your correction still offers no justification for or elucidation of his use of the term”femininazi” (talk about hostility), I do better understand your position on the matter of abortion. I respect your pov, though I don’t often agree. Regardless, I do think what’s important is meaningful dialogue that will hopefully result in progress of some sort. That’s why we bother, right? We obviously all have our different perspectives and most likely won’t reach like-minded conclusions, but disagreeing and challenging each other (which can sometimes be perceived as hostile) are a part of critical thinking, no?
    You mention maturity. I totally agree. It takes mature individuals to engage and effect positive change in the world as we know it. In my opinion, name-calling (i.e. “femininazis”) doesn’t indicate mature thinking, but rather quite irresponsible stereotyping.
    Overall, I do hope you understand my posts (can’t speak for anyone else) as critical inquiries/engagements and not personal attacks. I appreciate your posts and perspectives and hope to read more.

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