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Archive for February 28th, 2012

Feminism

What is it?

If you’d asked me, a year ago, whether I was a feminist, I’d have answered with a hearty, “Hell yes!” And I believed it.

But over the past year, I’ve realized how much of my existence has been spent reporting to men, by virtue of the fact that they were men and I was a woman. And I didn’t question it. That’s how it was, and that’s how God ordained it, so I accepted it.

And in this same year when my eyes started opening, I started doing a lot of study and research. I’ve started standing up for myself, and refusing to back down. There was a time or two when my conditioning made me back down, but it didn’t take long for me to realise what had happened, to get angry about it, and to stand back up again. (Tubthumping, anyone?)

I refuse to feel guilty because I have a weight problem that requires, in addition to the lap band I had done a year ago, that I go to Weight Watchers. Guess what? Weight Watchers works for me. If anyone thinks that the lap band alone should have been enough to get all of my excess weight off, too bad. I have to change the ways I think and the ways I eat and the ways I move. The lap band is a tool. Weight Watchers is a tool. I’m going to use whatever tools I need to achieve my goals.

I refuse to submit myself to a man solely because he is a man. I refuse to constantly sacrifice my dreams and goals and wishes and desires to the patriarchy that would keep me down in the name of leadership and guidance. I have a brain. I’m a smart cookie. I’m a hard worker. I’m creative. I’m a great cook. Those are all good things. There are qualities I like less in myself, but if they bother me enough, I can work on changing. But I’m not going to change them solely because someone else tells me I should.

So here’s a little food for thought until next time:

Feminism directly confronts the idea that one person or set of people [has] the right to impose definitions of reality on others.  ~Liz Stanley and Sue Wise

I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is:  I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a door mat or a prostitute.  ~Rebecca West, “Mr Chesterton in Hysterics: A Study in Prejudice,” The Clarion, 14 Nov 1913, reprinted in The Young Rebecca, 1982

Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.  ~Cheris Kramarae and Paula Treichler

It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union…. Men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less.  ~Susan B. Anthony

One of the things about equality is not just that you be treated equally to a man, but that you treat yourself equally to the way you treat a man.  ~Marlo Thomas

There are very few jobs that actually require a penis or vagina.  All other jobs should be open to everybody.  ~Florynce Kennedy

The world has never yet seen a truly great and virtuous nation because in the degradation of woman the very fountains of life are poisoned at their source.  ~Lucretia Mott

Women are not inherently passive or peaceful.  We’re not inherently anything but human.  ~Robin Morgan

Every time we liberate a woman, we liberate a man.  ~Margaret Mead

If all men are born free, how is it that all women are born slaves?  ~Mary Astell

Men define intelligence, men define usefulness, men tell us what is beautiful, men even tell us what is womanly.  ~Sally Kempton

“You can do one of two things; just shut up, which is something I don’t find easy, or learn an awful lot very fast, which is what I tried to do.” —Jane Fonda

“Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.” —Janis Joplin

“I can honestly say that I was never affected by the question of the success of an undertaking. If I felt it was the right thing to do, I was for it regardless of the possible outcome.” —Golda Meir

I have never experienced racism in the feminist movement, so it concerned me to think that I was unable to see the subject clearly because I came from white, middle-class privilege. —Betty Buckley
 
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