Guess what? You don’t get to decide who is a feminist.
Unless they’ve said “women don’t deserve…” or “women can’t do…” or something like that, having an opinion about women’s lives and the choices we all have to make is not anti-feminist. It’s academic and there are more anti-academics out there than anything else.
The Feminist Breeder, who I don’t always agree with but often do, has a fascinating Facebook page I love to follow. She recently posted a statement about not understanding why women would decide not to breast feed, barring the obvious medical (and social) issues. The shit storm was great fun. I say fun because I find miles of agreement boring. I’ve been labelled a troll more than once just for trying to foster conversation. By the way, if you want to argue something with me, please feel free. It’ll be fun.
The thing I find amazing is that feminists, mostly because they’re usually women, are so defensive that they whine they’re being judged and made to feel guilty, and then they get angry and tell you you’re not a feminist. I’ve written before about women’s guilt; women tend to internalize and men externalize. I think it’s to do with the fact that girls are expected to be sweetness and nice, we tell them we’re disappointed in them when they’re not, but “boys will be boys,” right? By the way, stop doing that.
But telling women they are not a feminist just to shut down the conversation because you don’t like what they’ve said is not helping the cause people. As this Vagenda magazine post says, “People shouldn’t feel they have to tip toe around feminism for fear of angering the beast.” If you can’t think of anything to say other than “you’re not a feminist” because you can’t imagine having that opinion, you’re probably the one who needs to think about what a feminist is.
I remember when feminists attacked Kirty Allsop for saying maybe women should have babies young before embarking on a career. She was just talking about the reality that many women in today’s world “lean in” to their careers and then when they’re in their 40’s realize that they have fertility issues. You might already know that I don’t believe being a feminist has anything to do with whether you want a high flying career at all. In fact, I’m a feminist that flirts with socialism (except a modified practical kind of socialism) so all this capitalist leaning into careers for the benefit of some rich corporate dick is not my idea of a good philosophy. Life is about relationships and we should live for those; unless we are narcissists, sociopaths or have some other similar issue. Then we should get help (and that’s not shaming, that’s just truth.)
Back to the Feminist Breeder and her breast feeding comment. Some women charged that just sharing the thought process about finding women’s breastfeeding decisions curious was tantamount to extreme shaming and judgement. I think if you can’t have a generalized conversation about women’s issues on a feminist Facebook page, what the hell is the point?
Featured Image courtesy of Jack Berry