There are a few things in life that are expected of women, a lot of the things are mundane stereotypes that no one really expects, the one that chiefly concerns me is that we’re expected to be feminists.
Feminism is peddled to preteen girls, and then to young women, and once you get to college, it’s being unceremoniously rammed down your throat and if you head off to graduate school, prepare for the fire storm if you dare utter the words, “I’m not a feminist.” Feminists are the door-to-door salespeople of ideology.
Are you sure you don’t need some liberation? No, thank you. I’m fine. Are you certain you aren’t feeling repressed by men? Um, yeah, but I feel okay and I still feel productive, thanks. No, you aren’t, you need to embrace your womanhood and fight against the Man! Well, I agree there some pretty serious issues with authoratative nature of patriarchcal society but I still feel as if there’s important and productive thinking around and against it, that um, isn’t yours. And I feel fine about it.
I understand feminism. I understand why it’s important, it’s first and second waves, where it came from and how it’s been valuable to our culture. I understand that equal rights among men and women is important and that feminism forms an important building block for the queer and gender studies to follow – but I do not want that word floating over my head and stapled to me.
I am not a feminist.
*gasp* How dare I?!
I know most people will, at this point, nervously crack their knuckles and tell me that I’m a sex positive feminist or a modified feminist. Usually, I just accept these things and move on, because the idea of a liberal, educated woman in her twenties rejecting feminism is truly unfathomable.
Why, I wonder? Is it because we’re supposed to be feminists?
I’ve been very lucky and have had the opportunity to read a lot about feminism, the formative texts and the important writers, the voices that defined and invigorated this ideaology. To be frank, at it’s core, as a theoretical construct moving through post-structalism and postmodernism it is completely acceptable. I mean, who doesn’t love a handy-dandy feminist lens?! However, in the greater culture, the one I live in, it’s a monster. It’s fundamentally painted as a rejection, maybe even an alternative to patriarchy, but because of the profoundly binary nature of rejection, it becomes like a form of mimicry, a reductive opposition based on something that it can neither outdo or outwit. It ends up being condemning, pleasure-denying and fundamentally unproductive.
Feminism is fabulous, interesting and engaging, in theory. Watching the various and sundry iterations of that theory attempt application is another matter all together. I guess I should make clear, I’m not talking about Irigaray here, but rather that feminism that has been sold to me, making me a basic ideological consumer, in need of this way of thought in order to function as a woman, because second wave feminism happened and we’re all still gasping for air, and failing to find our feet and the results are treacherously conformist.