Friday, April 8, 2016
F is for Fifteen Minutes of Feminism
This is a weighty issue to take on in just a few minutes, but it's on my mind. The F word. I was introduced to feminism as a topic in college, when I discovered The Beauty Myth by Naomi Campbell and Backlash by Susan Faludi. I picked those books up for a reason. They weren't assigned reading for anything, they were just the books I came across, somehow, and they spoke to me.
As I read, I found the words for the feelings of unfairness that had skirted my conscious for years, just on the edge of understanding-- just enough to make me feel uneasy--but without enough information to understand why. Now, even though I started to understand how an unreachable standard of beauty could hold women back or how a society as "advanced" as our own was able to justify not paying equal pay for equal work--I didn't become a strong, independent woman-- at least not in the way I imagined a woman could be, in a "perfect" world.
I've had friends who really do believe that Feminism is the F word, and women who didn't want to embrace the title. "We don't need that anymore," they say, "It's much better than it used to be." This is kind of like settling into a bad relationship with a guy that belittles you constantly--"But he's never hit me," like that is a prize.
It's not enough for a few things to be better than before when we fall back in some areas. To me, feminism is about equality, about treating all people fairly, and, as humans, this is a slow process. There is a lot to figure out, for example:
There is much talk about "body-positivity," which sometimes feels like giving women outside this unrealistic stick-thin body type "permission" to feel good about themselves. To me, that's saying, "You're the exception to what you SHOULD be, but that's ok." We should have acceptance for our bodies because they are OUR bodies, not because we are suddenly given the "thumbs up" by the anti-shaming police.
My time is up, but as I continue on this blog journey, I expect to discuss feminist issues more, because there are things I notice in my day to day life, and it was a theme that emerged as I was writing (my still incomplete) memoir.
Thanks for stopping by for a bit of rambling. Any comments about where you think the state of feminism now is appreciated.