Smarmy Alligator

Politics, pop culture, and self-deprecation

The Feminists

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I get very frustrated when people talk about The Feminists. As in, “The Feminists are so riled up about this,” or “The Feminists are totally overreacting about that.” Most recently, someone I follow on the internet wrote about how The Feminists are ridiculous for being up-in-arms about Stephen Fry’s comments on the disparity between the sex drives of men and women. Her words generally revolved around how dumb The Feminists are for getting our panties in a bunch and duh, of course men and women have different sex drives, here is all her anecdotal evidence about that, also Stephen Fry is a COMEDIAN people so we need to just chillax.

You know what? Sometimes I agree that people get way too aggravated about throw-away comments and remarks. Big deals are made of things that don’t necessarily have to be big deals. In our 24-hours news world and commenting, re-tweeting, tumblr-ing culture, anger and offense tend to be blown out of proportion. It can easily seem like The Feminists are all hanging out in our woman clubhouses and creating placards for our next protest against Stephen Fry’s comments on why women don’t go cruising. But for reals, there is no such thing as The Feminists.

Yeah, I’m sorry to break it to you, but we do not have a cabal. There is no party line. There is, in fact, great disagreement among people who all identify as feminist. When a person makes an argument that is feminist, he/she is not speaking for The Feminists. And when you answer back by talking about how The Feminist Are Getting Pissed Again, those silly ladies, you are actively refusing to engage in dialogue, ignoring the statements and points that that person made. It’s belittling, and not at all constructive, and pretty much proves the point of why we still need feminism.

Constructive, compassionate dialogue involves hearing what the person you’re engaging with is saying, and I understand that people don’t really like to do that on the internet. Which is so sad, because damn, there is so much potential for meaningful communication in this tool. In order to hear what the person you are talking to is saying, you first have to acknowledge that a person is saying it, not a monolithic group of people. And that, frankly, is the only undisputed goal of feminism: To recognize that all people are people, individual and eccentric and each with our own desires, habits, thoughts, and needs. All men don’t cruise, all women don’t yearn for romantic love, all gay people don’t like the same kind of sex, and all feminists don’t hate Stephen Fry or think he’s a horrible misogynist. All feminists do not think the same; it’s not like we’re programmed, for the love of god. And all feminism is really about is wanting you to recognize and engage with each individual you encounter as an individual, without letting your preconceived ideas about how they think or what their gender (or race or class or background) says about them interfering with that.

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Written by laura k

November 8, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Posted in Lady Issues

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