Saturday, January 19, 2013

The new F word.

So, it seems that feminism has become the new F word that people are afraid of saying. If I had a quarter for every time I've heard someone say, "I'm not a feminist, but..." Well, I'd be set for laundry and parking meters for quite a long time. I AM a feminist for many reasons, but here are some of the most important and pressing (ie, the ones I thought of just now). I am a feminist because:

I have had medical school instructors (!) think it's ok to make jokes--during lectures--about eating disorders, something I KNOW a sizable number of my female classmates have struggled with. I wanted to say something, but didn't for fear of being labeled hypersensitive or humorless. I have a great sense of humor, by the way--I just choose not to mock people with potentially fatal medical disorders. I wondered if this dude would think ripping on kids with leukemia was hilarious, but lacked the chutzpah to ask him.

Even at the level of professional school, men who push hard to succeed and put themselves forward are seen as assertive go-getters (yeah, sorry, I can't believe I just used the word 'go-getter' either, but it's apropos) while women who do the same are seen as pushy bitches.

Advertisers sell high-calorie, high-fat foods as "manly" (remember those godawful 'I'm too hungry to eat chick food' ads? Who put those out, anyway, and what does it say about those ads that I remember them being ridiculous but not what they were selling?) while women are sold 90 calorie wood-pulp-and-cocoa brownies as "naughty indulgences" (PS--for reals. Look at the ingredient list: 'cellulose fiber' is another word for 'mashed-up wood.')

I have male friends who see being catcalled as a compliment at best and annoying at worst, rather than a possible prelude to assault.

I have male friends who know I'm a rape survivor and still think it's OK to tell rape jokes around me. And probably when they're not around me, too. Seriously, guys (and gals--but I don't think I've ever heard a woman tell a rape joke), that shit isn't funny. Can't we all just mock the Kardashians or the crazy-ass dude who came to talk about guns on Piers Morgan's show? Can't we all...just...get...along?

I hate that the mere fact of my biology makes me feel unsafe outside alone after dark.

It pisses me off that 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime, but more than 95% of rapists will never see the inside of a jail cell (and that's a generous estimate, considering how many rapes go unreported).

In  2013, women in the US still earn less than men for doing the same jobs.

In 2012, there was an actual, serious debate in the United States about whether women should have access to birth control. For real. I kept thinking it was some kind of elaborate joke being played on us by the Catholic church and the Republican party, but nope. They were serious.

During that debate, there was a hearing on Capitol Hill about the issue, at which no female expert in the field was slated to speak--and someone, somewhere, thought that was acceptable

During that same debate, Rush Limbaugh thought it was OK to call some woman he had never met a 'slut' on national radio solely on the basis of her political convictions (also a shout out to that guy who said, "In my day ladies just put an aspirin between their knees! Haw haw!" On national television).

In 2012, Todd Akin (from Missouri--um, yay?) who made the statement, in all seriousness, that in cases of "legitimate rape" a woman's body could prevent pregnancy from occurring. So many disturbing things to choose from...number one being: "Legitimate" rape? What the ENTIRE f@ck? And two, why does this man have any say in anyone's reproductive health choices when he seems to have the same knowledge base about actual vaginas as goats have about interior decorating?

There are living women in the US who remember a time when women couldn't vote (it was only in 1920 that white women got that right, and many Black women were still disenfranchised until 1964).

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