By Ann Ivins
Bitch, please. This isn’t Cosmo, and never mind how I can come up with four or five of those titles right off the top of my head. These are a few simple, surprisingly little-known facts about feminists that I’ve put together as a service to the astonishingly large number of people who toss the “f” bomb around without a clue as to its meaning, its history or how asinine they sound. Ignorance may be bliss, but idiots get on my last nerve, so let’s start with a helpful definition.
“Feminism (here we go) is a discourse that involves (endlessly variable) movements, theories and philosophies (immensely important though often migraine-inducing) which are concerned with the issue of gender (and sex, because, hey, biology exists) difference (if that’s not too divisive), advocate equality (or equity, or parity, or some therapeutic ball-busting) for women , and campaign for (and argue about) women’s (or womyn’s, or humyn’s (I didn’t make that up)) rights and interests (including women of any color, any religion, and any orientation, but expect all estrogen hell to break loose if anyone says the words “class” or “race”).” *
So much for helpful. How about “women are human?” Let’s go with that…
- A “feminist” is a person who holds some version of the beliefs I have just utterly failed to define. Like any catch-all label, “feminist” is mostly meaningless and highly emotionally charged at the same time, guaranteed to end a date or break up a book club. Frankly, anyone whose primary self-identification is anything ending in “-ist” is probably writing a thesis, flogging a book or applying for grants. I use “feminist” the way I use “narcissist” or “hedonist”: to describe my various sublime parts, of which the glorious whole is far, far more than the sum.
- Ergo, a man can be a feminist. Real men always are.
- Feminists who are women can like men. It’s allowed. We can like big men, small men, short men, tall men. We can like them in a box. We can like them with a – well, you get the idea. We can also dislike men… and women, and obnoxious children, and yappy little dogs, and we can do so on an individual and situational basis. If we are adult and reasonably sane, we do not indiscriminately hate half the species because they have a funky chromosome. That would be sexist, sick and simply wrong. Trust me: if I hate you, it’s because I have decided that you, yourself, as an individual human being, are an asshole. It’s personal.
- Feminists can wear makeup. We can also decline to debate our choice to comply with patriarchal standards of feminine beauty or refuse to discuss the roots of our deep-seated self-loathing. Talk to me when you’re forty, kid.
- Feminists act as a single-minded cohesive unit about as often as do, say, Christians. Or Democrats. Or Pee Wee soccer teams.
- Feminists are not required to support female candidates, applicants or competitors simply because they, too, are female. In fact, Kim Gandy and NOW, I thought that was rather the point of the entire exercise; that we attempt to level the playing field as much as possible and then let the games begin. Yes, I know we’re nowhere near that state of nirvana. However, endless e-mails about what a bad feminist I am if I don’t support Candidate XX because she’s a woman are not only antithetical to my own beliefs, they really, really piss me off, and I’m far from alone. That giant sucking sound is your membership swirling down the bowl.
- Feminists can really, really piss other feminists off. In fact, it’s our official pastime, or would be if we could agree on the rules, the scheduling or the uniforms.
- Any woman who wants equitable pay, owns property, votes, uses birth control, decides when to have sex, goes to college or has custody of her children is a feminist, whether or not she has the ovaries to own it or the brains to realize it.
- If you agree with anything in number eight, you are a feminist, too. Own it. Touch it. Love it.
- And of course, feminists in general are mind-blowingly, overwhelmingly, sublimely fanfuckingtastic in bed. A meeting of equals has many, many rewards. Give it a try.
*amorphous non-definition by Wikipedia, asides by me