I’m a Feminist.
Oh, so you’re a man-eating, man-hating, ball-breaking, nut-crushing, Hilary-lovin’, muff-munching, granola-crunching, ovary-screaming bitch, right?
Feminism today seems to be stigmatized as a binary battle, you’re either burning your bras at a naked bonfire or you’re June Cleaver with a bratty Beaver. But it doesn’t have to be a bipolar concept, or a defined concept at all, which is hard to grasp – so let me try and break it down the way I see it.
Straight up Feminism
If I was to put the word feminism in a nice nutshell (that you can later crush with your ball-breaking inner thighs) I would talk about it the way I do in the classroom:
Feminism simply gives a woman the right to make her own choices, which may or may not challenge the roles assigned by society.
So, that means that we have the right to sleep with 2.5 million men or wait ’til we get married. We can choose to have 12 kids, a dog, two hamsters, a weasel and be a stay-at-home mom, or we could be as free as a fiddle. We can also inhabit all the spaces between those dichotomies.
If you’re reading Healthy Bitch Daily, than you’re already breaking through certain norms set upon you by society, and you’re developing new norms for women moving up in the same space. For years and years, thousands of outside influences, from education and trash TV to politicians and your grandma, have been making choices for who you’re supposed to be and what you are supposed to look like.
We understand this.
As women in this world, which is verifiably patriarchal, we’re pulled and prodded in one way or another, and as *whisper* feminists, we have every right to alter, reject, maintain, accept, challenge or bitch our way through in order to find ourselves.
So tossing a pint of beer into some guy’s face at a bar after he calls you, openly, without knowing you who are, sweettits, doesn’t make you a feminist bitch. No, because by virtue of making your own life choices, you are already a feminist. And he’s just a stupid dick.
(Note: if you haven’t seen Missrepresentation, you’re missing out.)
So even though you’re automatically a feminist in my book, there are women who are standing tall and shouting their feminism from the top of a building. So are they the REAL feminists? No, they’re just louder than others. Most of the time they’re just women shouting for equality and encouraging other women to be beacons of empowerment. Which you can do from a rooftop or from your twitter feed, BTW.
This summer Senator Wendy Davis fillibustered a bill that she felt strongly against. And in the process, millions of women and men rallied in support of her heroic actions. And political pundits on television and in the blogosphere praised her for her bold stance. So she’s a REAL feminist, right!?
No. Just a different kind of feminist.
Wendy Davis, Hillary Clinton, my high school english teacher and I are feminists. We carry our F word loud and proud. We’re not here, however, to dissolution others or to bully men, but to fight for equality and fair treatment – to ensure that our whispering voices are heard among the myriad of monotonous, male mouths. For me, and for other women who like to carry the F word loudly, it isn’t about me vs. you, single girl vs. married mom, or activist vs. runofthemilltryingtosurvivist.
Naw. The F word is about equality, empowerment, justice and discernment; whether you’re loud and proud or just plain proud to be a woman.
What’s your definition of the F word? Let us know in the comments below.
Rachelle Linda Escamilla is a big-brained Chicana from California. She lives in Guangzhou, China where she teaches literature and creative writing. Her poetry has received a number of fabulous but not-so-famous awards and prizes. She has a weekly column at The Condor News called Dispatches from China. Read more about Rachelle here.
Image via thisgeekredes