“I’m no feminist, but…”

Ya know what pisses me off? Women doing feminist things while saying they aren’t feminist. So often these days, “anti-feminist” women will use a platform they’ve earned to disavow any and all self-identification with feminism as if it is some man-hating branch of the KKK. A lot of times an anti-feminist will take a stand against what he or she perceives as misogyny – such as internet harassment – while at the same time disowning feminism. I doubt the anti-feminist even realizes she is calling out of rape culture – a purely feminist act!

I’m not sure when feminism became a bad word. Feminism has affected women’s lives in ways many of these anti-feminists don’t begin to appreciate. A woman can have a bank account and a credit card in her own name. Women are able to vote. Married women can own property. These are all things that would not be possible but for feminism.

Some of the anti-feminists claim that prejudices against women are a thing of the past. However, women have a long way to go to truly be equal to men in our society. Though laws to the effect have been struck from the law books, to this day a woman’s word in court is not as credible as a man’s. Women are stripped of their autonomy by patriarchal governments while making pregnancy decisions. Women in abusive relationships are in some states legally prohibited from leaving an abusive spouse. And, in theory, women have the same opportunities as their male counterparts. But in practice, girls are discouraged from breaking with gender stereotypes at an early age, and women are passed over for promotions in favor of men. So, at this point, feminism is very NECESSARY!

Therefore, to the anti-feminists I say, “get on board my feminist bang wagon!” We have cookies.


The Superbowl, Beyonce and Sexism

During the Super Bowl every year, feminist bloggers and tweeps take to the intertubes for the opportunity to analyze – not the game itself, mind you, but – the commercials that fill the gaps between squashed third down conversion attempts. These women and men, for the most part, are not looking to enjoy the commercials for the art of ad making. No way. The real point is to ferret out and expose the sexism embedded in every single ad.

Tide-loving Baltimore Ravens fan = sexist assumption of women’s role in the home.

Audi kiss the prom queen kid = he didn’t get consent sexual assault guy.

Two Broke Girls pole dancing = ARE YOU FRIGGIN’ KIDDING ME???!!!

Go Daddy beautiful (dumb) model and nerdy (smart) man = WHOA! That one was PRETTY SEXIST. And pretty freaking GROSS, by the way.

Super Bowl commercials – commercials in general – tend to scrape the bottom of the barrel in the feminist thought department. (Except for this pretty awesome Best Buy commercial featuring the always rib-tickling Amy Poehler.) What I didn’t expect was for one of these femi-tweeps to disrespect one of the richest, most successful women in the entertainment industry today.

Really, dude?

Wow. Not only does this woman’s tweet completely belittle and disregard the image that Beyonce has nurtured through her hard work and dedication to excellence, the follow up purports that somehow football is different from other sports because the MALE players try to dominate each other. THAT right there – that’s sexism.

This woman conveniently ignores two factors. The first is that ALL contact sport is based on violence (at some level) and physical domination. I played soccer for 13 years. (And softball for 7 years before that.) Personally, there was not a game I played in where I did not attempt to intimidate, out-muscle, out-foul, out-jostle, and generally demoralize my opponents. The desire to physically dominate ones opponents in sport is not a gendered trait – it is a human trait! The desire to win is innate to sport in general. And life without sport is a prison camp.

The second inconvenient truth? Describing Beyonce’s performance as nothing more than “spreading their legs” is insulting and just plain sexist. Even if this tweep were implying that the Super Bowl big-whigs would only allow a female act on stage that included scantily clad women doing suggestive dance moves, she would be highly mistaken. While I didn’t see The Boss take off his clothes (though I would not have complained). Nor did the Rolling Stones or Tom Petty. And even Madonna – though fully clad – had half-naked humans of male and female gender on her stage – fun for everyone!

The real fact is, Beyonce is a feminist role model who has used her body to create a BRAND that has made her MILLIONS of dollars, landed her a Super Bowl halftime show, and allowed her to sing for the President of the United States on several occasions!!! The fact that she looks absolutely spectacular in a lace-trained leotard is secondary to the fact that – at this point – she answers to herself, she makes her own rules, and she didn’t need a man to make her fortune for her.

Except her papa.

Because we all need a man for something.

I find it insane

The worst, I think, is people who insist that they are not sexists, they are not misogynists, and then proceed to denigrate to women in general.

I find it insane how quickly a conversation about abortion can turn into a misogynistic rant. The things people say about women sometimes astound me! I seriously think some people would rather see a woman dead than provide an abortion that would save her life, let alone protect the woman’s health.

The worst, I think, is people who insist that they are not sexists, they are not misogynists, and then proceed to denigrate to women in general. A recent conversation with a “pro-life” friend and his buddy turned sharply south when the friend intimated that only lazy and irresponsible women have abortions. I  pointed out that if abortion became illegal again, women would once again start dying unnecessarily from back-alley abortions, that abortion doesn’t just go away when it is illegal, and that illegal abortion presented a massive public health problem in cities all over the country – which was the primary reason for liberalization of the short-lived laws prohibiting abortion by a third of the United States starting with Colorado in 1967 even before Roe v. Wade was decided.*

For their part, this guy his buddy tried to convince me that abortion is never necessary to protect women’s health, abortion doesn’t save lives, women shouldn’t “open up ya legs”, women are irresponsible, women let men take the blame, women instigate and trap men into sex, women are dumb, women are selfish, women don’t need to enjoy a “frivolous and meaningless” sex life, a woman who has an abortion is a “hoe”, and finally, that I personally am ignorant and immature.

Way to go pro-life guys. You sure do make your comrades proud.


*Okay, I didn’t give them the history lesson. But I did point out the public health issues.

Faking Sexism

Ms. really missed the mark on this one. They are basically putting words in Newcastle’s mouth.

I enjoy reading feminist bloggers and magazines like Ms. But sometimes I find the complaints and accusations about sexism to be contrived. Case-in-point, a recent article on Ms. blog Ms.cellany that criticizes the makers of Newcaste Brown Ale for their latest advertisement. It’s kind of silly.

The Ms. blogger chides Droga5 saying,

The stereotype that professional women are ugly went out with the Cold War….

…Heineken and Newcastle Brown Ale are doing a disservice to women and men by perpetuating outdated stereotypes that all successful, intelligent women are ugly…

Uh, what? Where in the ad did Newcastle say that professional women are ugly? I’m pretty smart. I have really good hearing. And no where in that ad did I hear anything advocating an ugly businesswomen stereotype. Sure, they said their brewer was not attractive. But I didn’t hear them say, “Well we all know lady brewers are homely.”

Ms. really missed the mark on this one. They are basically putting words in Newcastle’s mouth. And they have missed a real opportunity to address the real issue I find in this ad – the idea that anyone less than modelesque is not worthy of airtime.