Feminism – Fighting For My Brand

 

I’m writing this little screed because I’ve been hearing from younger women and girls, with increasing frequency, that they do not want to “identify as feminists”. 

The major point I am making here, and which I will continue to make elsewhere, is pretty simple.

My identity is under attack.

My label, my brand, the descriptor that is used simply to categorize myself by my beliefs, is being made into a dirty word which is associated with negative actions and attitudes. And meanwhile, the “good parts” of my message and beliefs–equality, important gains in human rights–are being appropriated, and stolen from my label by the Enemy, so that the many achievements of feminism can co-opted by others, severed from the ongoing efforts of modern feminists to achieve real and critically important change or to prevent the roll-back of what has already been achieved…or just plain belittled in order to diminish the value of feminism and its message in the eyes of others.

I am, to put it bluntly, calling bullshit on that. And my reasons why are below.

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“Feminist” is just yet another word that the Privileged Right has managed to pathologize and make “shameful” through constant repetition of Talking Points.

“Feminists are loud!” (Because they actually insist on being heard.)

“Feminists are obnoxious!” (Because they insist on being seen in public. And when told to sit down and shut up or go away, they do not.)

“Feminists are aggressive!” (Because they refuse to submit to aggression. Because they study self-defense techniques that actually work against physical, verbal, and legislative aggression. And because even when they are successfully attacked, they press charges, testify in court, or fight for legal change.)

“Feminists are psychotic!” (Because they are crazy enough to believe that women have human rights. And crazy enough to refuse to bow to gendered terrorism like rape.)

“Feminists are the cause of the problems they’re trying to solve!” (Because voicing a problem that others didn’t know about, or would prefer to deny, means you CREATED the problem.)

“Everyone was happy before the feminists came along!” (Because no one who was unhappy had the power to voice their unhappiness, and had to learn to live with it or quietly die of it.)

These same people did this same trick with the word “Liberal” throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s. The real meaning of the word “Liberal” is “a person who believes in individual freedom and dignity”.

They are working hard now to achieve the same results with a new label, “Social Justice Warrior”. In reality, the people called “Social Justice Warriors” are really just those who are willing to fight for the equality and dignity of other human beings in public. But the Right has learned that if you repeat a label enough times with enough derision and loathing dripping from your tone, that people will learn to think it’s a bad thing to believe in equality, justice, or human rights.

Turning the identity label of a non-violent movement for equality and justice into a Badge of Shame by claiming that any challenge to the Privilege of the Privileged is about “anger”, “aggression” and “attacking” is a trick as old as time. It is one of the tactics that the Right has learned to use over and over, because it will ALWAYS work on some people.

I am not one of those people. I never, EVER, will be one of those people. It is not a crime to be female, and feminism is the assertion that females have equal rights and equal worth to men. That’s the full meaning of the word. Full stop.

How that equality is asserted by individual people and groups, and how angry and hostile those people get when their human rights are denied, is up to them. By way of example? Both Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. were Civil Rights Activists. These men and their associated groups did not have the same motives, manners or methods, they just had the same agenda: CIVIL RIGHTS.

Some feminists are peaceful and groovy. Some feminists get pissed off as hell. As with any other identity label (“Man”, “Woman”, “Canadian”, “Christian”, “Intellectual”, “Music Lover”), there is no single way to “do it right”. That doesn’t mean the word has no meaning at all, it just means that some labels are BY DEFINITION broad and inclusive. And you do not have to promise to agree with, or be a clone of, every other person who bears that label in order for it to have meaning to you, and in order to be valid.

So far as anger and aggression go, however…this is an issue which does make me genuinely angry AND aggressive. Because I have done my share of forensic anthropology, and I know who the real victims of anger and aggression in this world are most likely to be–and they are, overwhelmingly, women and children, who have a tendency to be violated, hurt and killed by boys and men.

I think anyone who believes that feminists are the PROBLEM in this world needs to look a little closer at the statistics of rape and violence against women.

We are NOT the problem. We are the desperately needed solution.

And if our non-violent insistence on women being heard, being recognized, being equal, and receiving humane and just treatment is all the “anger” and “aggression” that our persecutors have to face?

They should be grateful that we are thus proving to be their moral superiors. In every. Damn. Way.

P.S. Not every feminist has a vagina.

Just sayin’.

Want to know whether you too might be a feminist? Check this handy link.

About Arinn

Author, Game Developer, Anthropologist, Feminist, reformed Supervillainess.
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4 Responses to Feminism – Fighting For My Brand

  1. Anonymous says:

    Feminist means different things. First-wave feminism was about women being intelligent and responsible. Second-wave feminism was about women behaving like animals and being irresponsible. Third-wave feminism was about women wanting to destroy men, like physically beating up a man and if he defends himself, you put him in prison.

    It means different things. Ancient pagan Celtic Europe had it right, but modern Europe even Iceland does not. In Iceland their culture is for both men and women, even after a child, the moment the relationship gets boring, they leave for someone else, so everybody has children by tons of different mothers and fathers.

    • Arinn says:

      All feminism, regardless of “wave” is about equality and human rights.

      This comment is everything that is wrong with sexist indoctrination, including the presumption of a right to judge or condemn women and grant or deny their right to equality based on their adherence to patriarchal sexual and social models of virtue.

      First wave feminism was about equality, not women vying for your approval by being “intelligent’ and “responsible”–whatever that means. Women do not need to be stamped with your approval first before they get to claim their human rights. Get the HELL over yourself.

      Second wave feminism is also about equality, not women losing your approval for “behaving like animals” (presumably this is a rejection of a woman’s right to control her own body or express her sexuality?) and “being irresponsible” (gods only know what that means).

      Third wave feminism is still about equality. Not your ludicrous and paranoid spectre of “male oppression” and fantasies about abuse of men and male victimization, which people like you throw up like clouds of octopus ink every time someone brings up the subject of rape stats.

      I get very sick of the modern male hysteria and the violent backlash and uptick of terrorism against women AND men who are speaking out to pose, at long last, a REAL threat to the hereditary privileges of a patriarchal system–specifically the hereditary male right to objectify, degrade, bully, rape and beat women and girls without social censure or prison time.

      Feminism doesn’t mean “different things”. It just means equality. Sorry that it scares you so badly to think that any woman will ever be free from the old system, but they will. You need to learn to live with it.

  2. Kimmo says:

    You should mention what you mentioned on another post in your what a feminist looks like: you’re of Jewish ancestry. All the leading feminists since the 1950s were jewish.

    Feminism rather than seeking fairness between men and women, says there’s no difference between men and women. Femnism is a form of genocide targetted upon certain ethnic groups. Those feminist ethnic groups have their population dwindle while the rest of the while has their boom and then massively migrates to areas of dwindling population.

    Also most men are actually feminist. The free love movement is part of feminism. All men who think marriage is a bad idea, think having kids is worthless, and think the only value of a man is the number of women he sleeps with is a feminist.

  3. Arinn says:

    I’m not ashamed of Jewish ancestry, so I won’t hesitate to let you mention it for me. In return, I’ll do you the courtesy of mentioning the fact that you are posting from an account based in Sweden, a country that has been suffering from rising anti-Semitism in the last few years. I gather you are part of that wave?

    Just as Anti-Semites do not define Jewish or Islamic identity, anti-feminists do not define feminism or its aims, I’m afraid. And the tactic of trying to demonize feminism by associating it with Judaism is…well, frankly rather disturbingly pathetic.

    I’d try to respond to your arguments in greater depth, but the way you’ve written them here is simply too garbled and self-contradictory. Perhaps there is a language barrier. But to make brief counterpoints:

    Feminism does assert that there is no “difference” between men and women, at least to the degree that differences between male and female bodies are used to justify broad denial of human rights and political and social equality to women. To the degree that there are any differences between men and women, feminism does assert that those differences should not matter, or that society should be configured to render life and work equally satisfying and rewarding to both genders.

    Feminism is not in itself a form of “genocide” against anyone, since the belief that men and women are entitled to equal rights and opportunity is not in any way equivalent to murder, much less murder of an entire ethnic group.

    Feminism does reduce population growth. Patriarchy and oppression of women increases population growth. I agree whole-heartedly that this is the case, and that it is the reason that patriarchal systems have come to represent 95% of the cultures on Earth in the last 10,000 years. In fact, I used the Zuul in the Sword of the Stars universe to model this effect.

    Whether “most men” are feminist is open to debate. The statistical rates of violence against women suggest that you are wrong.

    “Free Love” (I assume you are using this term to mean sexual liberation, or an attitude that sex is not in itself shameful or morally wrong), is not specifically an aspect of feminism. But it is also not antithetical or contrary to feminism, and can be incorporated into a feminist worldview comfortably.

    Your assumption that “all men who think marriage is a bad idea”, who dislike children must be are feminists OR believers in Free Love is flawed. You do not have to be interested in women OR sex to be uninterested in marriage or children. In fact, it rather helps to avoid both marriage and children if you have no interest in women whatsoever, even if you do enjoy sex.

    As to the concept that “feminist” men are valued by the number of women with whom they have sex? It is directly untrue and patent nonsense. Polygyny as a measure of manhood is a SPECIFICALLY anti-feminist view of value for both men and women. Polygyny is a tenet of patriarchy, not feminism.

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