ZOMG guys. This is kind of a big deal. Liora (yes, the famous Liora) wrote a guest post for us, and it's more than amazing. The timing of this wry and witty post is perfect for me as I've been called a number of names lately, one of which was supposed to be the most offensive: I am apparently a "bigoted feminist". They wrote "feminist" as if it belonged in the same category as puppy skinners, Ponzi schemers, and Jerry Sandusky... which is just silly. This misconception is a large and fundamental obstacle for the progress we need, and someone gotsta explain it correctly. So, allow this gal:
Feminist: (noun) A man-hating, woman-elitist, baby-killing, money-grubbing, lesbian
The title “feminist” makes men, women, and gender-anonymous people shake in their boots. It comes in the night, unshaves your armpits, makes you shame your stay-at-home mom, and picket strip clubs. Additional side effects may include: buying organic coffee, yoga, asking for government handouts, insisting men be treated badly, enjoying sex, and reading Betty Friedan. It is everything you don’t want to be, according to the people who don’t want you to be a feminist. “You don’t want that,” they whisper maliciously.
You know what you DO want, though. You want people to be treated equally. To have fair pay, to have fair access to birth control. To not have your womanhood be treated like a pre-existing condition. To go to your gay friend’s legal wedding. To have body autonomy. To have your medical discussions between you and your doctor, not you and your congressman. To be CEO, not “female” CEO. To paint your nails and wear a skirt without being accused of “asking for it.” You want it badly, and you want it now.
Here’s a secret. Feminism is many things, but most importantly, it’s what you make it. If you want gender equality, you are a feminist. If you don’t think porn is evil, you’re a feminist. If you want fair pay, you’re a feminist. Stay at home mom? Feminist. Cisgendered? Feminist. LGBTQQI? Feminist. Shave your legs? Guess what. Feminist.
Feminist, unabashedly, has a sordid, dark, and ugly past. It’s full of people, radical people, some of whom did and believed in great progressive ideals, some of whom behaved more like the five headed monster. However - why should this mean we throw away a word that stands for our equal rights as women? Why should we change what we call ourselves for fear that someone will think we are a five headed monster? Instead, why can’t we work to change the perception of feminism? There have been controversial figures and actions in all battles for civil and equal rights. Women are a part of all walks of life! We deserve to be equal. And if we aren’t, we need to be strong enough to demand it, vote for it, and stand up for it.
Do not allow someone to remove the word feminist from you because they say that all feminists are five headed monsters. Do not allow them to contort a beautiful and noble call for freedom and liberty into something ugly and wrong. Do not allow them to oppress you into thinking that you do not deserve equality because you are a woman, because you are gay, because you are a different race or religion. Stay strong, be resolute, be eloquent.
Feminism is not the advancement of one gender over the other. It is not about a call to oppress the oppressors. It is about raising ourselves out of oppression. It is about recognizing that there is something wrong, something terribly unequal, and not ignoring it.
Heed the call. Don’t be scared - no five headed monsters here.
Oh, Liora, I have no words. Visit her kickstarter here. I'm serious. Visit it.