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08 March 2011 @ 08:54 pm
International Women’s Day  

“The thing is,” my mother said to me the other day, “you’re not a feminist.”

“I’m not?” I said in some surprise, having always vaguely thought of myself as such.

“No,” she said. “Feminists, at least in the main, feel strongly about underrepresentation of women, whereas you recognize that while it might not be the way it’s spozed to be, it’s the way it is.”

I suspect this is largely true. I do subscribe to the radical idea (and to me amusing definition of feminism) that women are people too, and I’ve been known to go to the mat over issues which are based in feminist beliefs (ask me sometime about the insurance company wanting me to prove I was married because my last name was different from my husband’s). But I have been exceedingly fortunate. It has never occurred to me in any way that I might be prevented from or incapable of doing something because of my gender. As far as I can tell, I never have been prevented from accomplishing anything on the basis of my gender.

And I am afforded these things because I stand on the shoulders of giants. I am wildly grateful for and fully aware of that which has gone before. I am indebted to the women (and men) who have fought the battles that let me have a credit card in my own name, let me participate in sports (that’s one I just cannot get over. I *know* the previous generation didn’t get to participate in school sports, but the idea just blows my mind), and many, many other things. Furthermore, I absolutely understand that I have it good, and huge numbers of women around the world don’t, and I wholly agree with and support an agenda that continues to fight to equalize men and women across the globe. I think International Women’s Day is a good idea, and I wish it was one that we didn’t need. mevennen submitted there is no International Men’s Day because that’s the other 364 days a year and goes without saying; obviously it would be ideal for International Women’s Day to be as redundant. But until it is, I will continue to stand with those who continue to fight for equality, not because I’m a feminist, but because I’m an activist, and because I’m a human being.

(x-posted from the essential kit)
-peartreealley on March 8th, 2011 09:30 pm (UTC)
Actually, there is an official International Men's Day".

It was interesting to read this after just having had a conversation with some friends about how I'm not excited about changing my name after my recent marriage, but feel I need to because my husband has serious medical problems and in an emergency I don't want have to be proving I have the right to be there and make decisions if I need to (I assume, with the same last name, they'd just take me at my word). It's something I've had a lot of angst (probably more than I should) about the last couple of years.
Jannejanne on March 8th, 2011 09:45 pm (UTC)
The only newspaper that mentioned IWD on the front page today was the communist one, so I actually bought it for a change. A lot of interesting articles there on the state of feminism day (particularly about how young women refuse to call themselves feminist because it's considered a negative word, O.O). And they mentioned that International Mens Day is in november, so there actually is such a thing :)

(Speaking of sports -- women are still banned from participating in the ski jumps in the olympic games, while they are allowed to do so in any other skiing competitions I know of. Reading the reasons given for that really harkens back to the olden days!)
Chrysoulachrysoula on March 8th, 2011 11:07 pm (UTC)
I started out with the same vaguely negative attitude toward the label 'feminist' that janne says many young women still have. And I thought feminism had won, and I thought-- oh, so many things. Shallow feminism, about opening doors for me and I thought, "But I like it when people are nice to people."

But I never forgot how I could never connect with Will Stanton because he was a boy, and the last of the old ones, and that left no room for a girl, no room for me. I never forgot inventing She-Ra years before Mattel did. And other little things that said 'even when I was young, I noticed and I cared'. When I invented fantasy novels, I gave them girl protagonists-- girls with a bigger destiny than being the Mother Of The Chosen Boy.

But I didn't really think of myself as feminist, even then. It took learning about privilege a few years ago for me to finally realize that being influenced to believe that the word 'feminist' was bad was a sign it was still so needed.

So... feminist. But it makes me sad that the novels I write are probably as feminist as I am, because really they're just stories in which women are people, and can pass the Bechdel test.
The Renaissance Manunixronin on March 9th, 2011 01:45 pm (UTC)
I'm not a feminist. I'm an equalist.
debela on March 9th, 2011 01:51 pm (UTC)
I consider myself a feminist in that I believe in a completely level playing field. Same rules, same consequences, same rewards. Anything else, either direction, brings gender in where it doesn't belong.

This remains a radical notion, so it matters to me. Thank you for the post.