A colleague from Writer’s Club once described me as someone who is “passionate in her views and unconstrained in expressing strong opinions.”
I usually just tell people that I’m a drama queen. They often think that I feel more strongly about certain issues than I really do just based on the way I express myself. But in reality, I can have a heated discussion about whatever and then laugh it off and go for a drink (which in my case means mineral water), feeling nothing but calm and peaceful inside. That’s just the way I am.
(In fact, the second part of my colleague’s e-mail said that despite of my fierce personality, I tend to be fairly unbiased and open-minded, and capable to “honestly consider viewpoints even if they do not support my demographic.” Just sayin’.)
But this time, ladies and gentlemen, I’m REALLY pissed off!
Those of you, who have been following my blog for a while, probably know by now that I have been having some issues with modern feminists and as a result also with some members of our counseling community, who are buying into some of the modern feminist theories about gender equality. If they were speaking for themselves, I would be as cool as a cucumber; however, when folks start acting like they know what’s best for me as a woman (without actually asking ME how I feel about it), it’s the point when I start growling.
So what set me off this time?
Well, ever since the unfortunate incident in California there have been an increase in all those articles that are trying to convince me that as a woman, I’m scared and vulnerable all the time, and face oppression and misogyny and sexual harassment on daily basis (neither of which is true). But what really got me was the article The Feminist Version of American History You Never Hear About in School. I worked as a babysitter and a tutor for many years, and can testify from my own experience that kids in fact DO learn about many of the women of the list in school! And while I agree that there are some names on the list that an average American probably never heard of, I refuse to see it as some kind of patriarchal conspiracy; there are many men in American history who did some pretty amazing things and didn’t make it into (most) history books either.
However, the most irritating part is the beginning. See for yourself:
“When Divergent actress Shailene Woodley told an interviewer recently that she didn't call herself a feminist because she "love[s] men," many people were outraged. But there's another side to this story: Shailene Woodley doesn't understand what feminism is, and it's not necessarily her fault.”
The way I see it, Shailene Woodley, whoever she is, or any other woman should be able to identify herself as she sees fit without being patronized (or without facing an outraged mob). I for one declare openly that I no longer identify myself as a feminist. If Maureen Shaw (the author of the article) doesn’t like it, I have one thing to tell her:
Maybe the problem is that FEMINISTS don’t understand what feminism is!
Because from how they have been presenting themselves in the media for past couple of years, I gathered that feminism is a movement of women who 1) have very specific ideas about how I should look, dress, and behave, 2) will pass judgment on me when I don’t submit to said ideas, 3) know better than me how I feel as a woman in our society, 4) make decisions about how I’m allowed to express yourself sexually.
And yes, I’m aware that not all feminists are as extreme and that there is plenty of the moderate ones – but you know what? The diversity within feminist movement actually supports MY view, not Maureen Shaw’s. Because if women have such different perceptions of what feminism is, how can any of them pass judgment on others regarding how they see feminism?!
Merriam-Webster defines feminism as follows: