Monday, February 2, 2009

Isn't this what we had a third wave for?

I just read this article in the Guardian about political lesbianism- or rather, the idea of women "becoming" lesbians as a feminist statement.

Um.... No.

I call shennanigans. For one, um... that is one choice you don't choose. If we say that women can magically become lesbians to fight the patriarchy or whatever, than we give credence to religious weirdos who think they can turn gay people straight with a dash of holy water. It just doesn't work like that. For another- didn't we get over that shit when the third wave happened? My mom stopped going to a lot of feminist meetings because she got a bunch of shit for being a "breeder" because she was married to my dad (who happens to be awesomely feminist). The reason for my mother's feminism in the first place was because she didn't take kindly to people telling her what to do or how to be, so that just didn't sit well. Also, I think men are perfectly capable of being feminist, and in fact expect them to be. Or else. But how will they become more feminist if we go off into the wilderness to hold potlucks and sing Joni Mitchell or whatever?

I, obviously, think it's swell that my mom was a "breeder"- and not just because I wouldn't exist if she wasn't. She raised me as a feminist, she raised me as a woman who would never even consider that she was inferior for even a second, she raised me to be smart and funny and to not take any shit, she raised me to understand gender socialization, and to know that Barbie was not an accurate representation of what a woman should look like. I consider myself especially lucky in this aspect of my life. She also helped my dad, who came from an insanely chauvinistic culture, understand feminism, and become a feminist himself. He went on to help create diversity training programs for companies like his own that are still used today. What's more awesome than that? That is feminism in action.

If feminists retreat from the system, feminism will never *be* the system. And it should be. This sort of "we'll just take our toys and go home" feminism is totally unhelpful, and assuming that all men are out to get you is prejudicial and also, um, crappy. How can we expect men to be feminist, and to reject male privilege if we go off on our own, ignore them and refuse to tell them what that even entails?

No comments: