Feminism | Posted by Christina on 09/9/2010

My Feminist Rant

does the sisterhood include everybody?

does the sisterhood include everybody?

First off, I want to clearly state that I’m well informed about feminism and I associate myself with feminism, despite the fact that many things within the feminist movement bother me. For example, the idea that being “slutty like men” is liberating. It’s not. Self respect is for both genders. Liberation is being able to choose whoever you want to sleep with, without damaging yourself or someone else. I can just hear the sound of keys on keyboards typing, “You’re not a feminist. I can sleep around with as many people as I want and I shouldn’t be called a slut!” I’m tired of hearing those rants about using feminism as some excuse for self-damaging yourself. (Yes, too much sex can lead to many health problems as well as psychological damage).

Anyways, that’s not my point. I’m 19 years old, and I have found myself wondering, what do feminist think about women who try to steal boyfriends, use their sexuality to manipulate or hurt people, and completely self-deprecating themselves by walking around with no underwear in public where everyone can see your hoo haw? I have encountered women like this so many times that I feel my feminist heart is beginning to turn around. When I stand up for women against sexism and I encounter women who basically set our movement back, I want to shake them. To me, they are just as bad as the chauvinistic male pigs.

Women who haven’t encountered feminism also extremely bother me. HELLO? Where have you been your whole life? Under a rock? Have any of you been hurt by sexism or feel the least bit sting of it? Sometimes I just want to whack some sense into these grown women who have no idea about feminism, criticize it, or just plainly self-objectify themselves.

I apologize for the rant-like style, but hopefully my point came across: Sisterhood is important, sure, but can we really afford to ignore women who are an obstacle for the feminist movement’s progression?

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  • selects @ at 11:04 am, September 9th, 2010

    feminism is about choice-and if your choice is to sleep with ‘as many people as you please’, as long as you are safe, and do it for your own pleasure, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. you slut-shaming attitude is yet another thing that contributes to ‘women pulling back the movement’. i’m also not that keen on your insistence of physically abusing those who don’t fall into line with your views, but that’s another tangent.

  • Steph @ at 11:40 am, September 9th, 2010

    “(Yes, too much sex can lead to many health problems as well as psychological damage).”

    Like what?

    “Sisterhood is important, sure, but can we really afford to ignore women who are an obstacle for the feminist movement’s progression?”

    And do what, demonize and say that feminism is for *this* group of *nice, well-behaved women*, and not for those other ones? Like it or not, whether or not you feel that some people ‘set the movement back’, feminism has to be about them, too, or it fails.

  • Liz @ at 12:42 pm, September 9th, 2010

    I think this article explains how/who is included as a “feminist” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/28/AR2010052802263.html
    It’s called, “The Fake Feminism of Sarah Palin,” by the awesome Jessica Valenti. Basically, she talks about how you can’t be a feminist if you are anti-woman, which some women, unfortunately, are.

  • Jenna @ at 1:20 pm, September 9th, 2010

    “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

    Women who steal boyfriends, use their sexuality to manipulate people, and etc are operating within their cultural sanctions that tell them their worth is based in their physicality and relationship to men. As a feminist who is working through how our society pressures people and influences people, you have a lot to offer such women, but slut-shaming is not one of them.

    Additionally, your statement about too much sex leading to health problems and what not is extremely problematic. First, do you mean too much sex or too many partners? A woman engaging in “too much sex” due to societal pressure is problematic. The societal pressure that encourages her to engage in “too much sex” because that is all she feels she has to offer is problematic. The reasons behind why a person may engage in “too much sex” are what may lead to these problems for SOME people, not the act or frequency of sex itself. A person can engage in “too much sex” without the repurcussions you state. Such generalizing statements are first of all careless and secondly do not serve a larger purpose other than to associate sex with shame and social stigma.

    I wholly agree with you that the concept of “women acting like men” is not truly liberating as it still values stereotypically masculine traits over feminine traits. However, your comment of self-respect is for both genders implies the sort of well-behavedness frequently forced upon women and used to shame women when they act “out of line” or adopt a more masculine style. The choice to act how one desires without the fear of social stigma based on oppressive gender norms is for both genders.

  • Taylor S. @ at 2:15 pm, September 9th, 2010

    “Well behaved women seldom make history.”

    I just felt like this needed to be said. :)
    Everyone commenting here just hit it so spot on.
    Feminism is about choice. Brilliantly simple.

  • -Z- @ at 2:26 pm, September 9th, 2010

    Christina,

    Your post is so painful to read. I don’t want to detract from the legitimacy of your feelings, but seriously?

    Feminism is about disassembling PATRIARCHY. Therefore, anyone who supports this ideology can be a feminist! That’s right! Even the “whores”, the menfolk, the women who act like men, and the men that act like women, etc. etc.

    I understand you are a young woman of only 19. I understand that you are struggling with your position in this patriarchy. Perhaps you have decided not to have sex (or TOO MUCH SEX), which luckily for you, the feminist movement has won for you with blood sweat and tears. Your sexuality (whether you were having the sexo or not) wasn’t your own to control years ago. Personally, I hope to have TOO MUCH SEX every day of my life, because I’m safe and it is fanFUCKINGtastic. I hope you jump on board, but if not, whatevs.

    But mostly what your post seems like, is that you are a woman scorned. Like your manfriend chose someone other than you. My recommendation in the future is to pin this kind of fault on the manfriend, and not the woman who chose to fuck him. She doesn’t owe you anything, not even sisterhood darling. Your man did, by claiming fidelity to you.

    I hope your “feminist heart” hasn’t been born to judge women who decide they like to fuck, or not wear underwear (seriously, why do you care?).

    I would suggest you do more research on feminism yourself. Your post sounded like pure Patriarchy to me, my dear.

    Best of luck to you. And I hope other women put your feet to the fire for this nonsense.

    Regards,

    -Z-

  • Laura @ at 3:16 pm, September 9th, 2010

    Feminism is all about letting women (and everybody else for that matter) be who they want to be so long as they are not hurting themselves or someone else. I believe that part of feminism means that women can have the sexual freedom that men do. Women should be able to have as much or as little sex as they choose and not be judged for it.
    I don’t think that women (or anybody else for that matter) manipulating others through sex, etc. is supported by feminism because it hurts others.
    However, I do think that a big part of feminism is being able to wear what you want and display your body the way you want without others judging you for it.
    Those are just my thoughts on feminism.

  • Sara Katherine Staheli Hanks @ at 4:30 pm, September 9th, 2010

    The dilemma between sisterhood and feminism is a constant one, and oft times, the two are seen as synonymous. Sadly, “supporting women no matter what” is not necessarily feminist; supporting women when they do things that hurt other women is NOT feminist. I’ve watched enough cable news shows to know that female activists who publicly disagree with other women are immediately called hypocrites, because, after all, they claim to be feminists, but look at them not supporting this other woman! FOR SHAME, THE HYPOCRISY, AAAAHHH! *gag*

    So I think I get your point: that it is very frustrating when people use the word FEMINISM as an excuse for something that you, or I, or anyone, see as detrimental to the movement.

    That said, expecting women to be heroines for the cause is sexist, and holding women to a different standard than men (be that a sexual standard or something else) is sexist, and wanting to “shake” women/”whack some sense” into women who don’t conform to your idea of what women should be is DEFINITELY sexist. These are understandable urges, because it’s a cause you care DEEPLY about, and it always hurts to see such things mocked or trivialized by those you’d like to call your allies.

    I’ve found that personal feminism is a journey, and that the manifestation of that feminism is constantly evolving for me. When I was 19, my feminism looked a lot like yours. Now that I’m 23, my feminism looks a little different. And it will continue to change, wonderfully enough.

  • allie @ at 4:38 pm, September 9th, 2010

    i must say i dont believe in sex shaming, nor is there a problem in having sex before marriage, or having multiple partners as long as your doing it for yourself and orgasim not for a mans attention. i do have a problem with calling prostitution or taking your cloths off for money empowering, whats empowering about it, your giving up YOUR sexuality in order for money. not only that but most women get plastic surgery to fit what “society” would think is beautiful. its all about the man not about what gets you off. thats not empowering, thats relying on a man for money which i feel is wrong. i dont hate these women, nor shall i call them sluts, but i do feel bad for them, i want to help them find themselves. some you all will probably not agree with me on this but thats how i feel. we’re all sisters and we must all support and help each other make good choices not shame them or call them stupid.

  • allie @ at 4:40 pm, September 9th, 2010

    i also forgot to add that when she talks about physically hurting you, she probably means HPV, which you can get even with a condom on and your partner showing now signs. also herpies as well is that way. just saying.

  • Zoe @ at 5:25 pm, September 9th, 2010

    I know this post had “rant” right in the title, but I didn’t like this. I immediately felt put on the defensive.

    You may feel that gratuitous amounts of sex isn’t liberating, which is a perfectly justified opinion and I don’t judge you for it, but don’t assume that everyone that does otherwise is self-damaging themselves. Some people can have sex for fun and some can’t do it without an emotional attachment. Both ways are acceptable.

    Also, plenty of women haven’t had the opportunity to learn about feminism. It isn’t always taught in high schools (it wasn’t in mine, which was a small public school) and in college, you must take a particular class to learn about it (which I did). Just because women haven’t had the opportunity to learn about feminism doesn’t mean that they don’t actually support feminist ideas.

    And I don’t really like the idea of ignoring some women just because we don’t like what they do. Even if they are actively working against feminism.

    I realize most of these comments have been countering your post. Sorry to be adding another one (personally, I can’t handle so much criticism). Just relax :)

  • Katherine C. @ at 7:48 pm, September 9th, 2010

    Um.

    Feminism is about the right to choose your behavior.

    I found this post offensive and slut-shaming.

    Please, please, please, for the sake of feminism, try to be a little more open-minded in the future.

  • SarahC @ at 8:54 pm, September 9th, 2010

    “I’m tired of hearing those rants about using feminism as some excuse for self-damaging yourself. (Yes, too much sex can lead to many health problems as well as psychological damage).”

    Okay. Within reason, sex, done properly, will not lead to health problems. Yes, STDs do exist, but they are largely preventable. As to psychological damage, any studies are so loaded with bias based on the researchers’ own beliefs that I would firmly doubt them.

    However, feminism is about choice. You don’t have like other women’s choices, or want to make them yourself, but you have to respect them. I made out with a complete stranger last weekend, and I learned that making out with strangers, or at least that stranger, was not something I enjoyed. But other women (and men) might. And I wish them joy of it.

    “what do feminist think about women who try to steal boyfriends,”
    Seriously, who hasn’t thought about doing that once or twice?

    “use their sexuality to manipulate or hurt people,”
    Asshole con artists.

    “and completely self-deprecating themselves by walking around with no underwear in public where everyone can see your hoo haw?”
    What are we, in third grade? It’s a vagina. V-A-G-I-N-A. Seeing vaginas that I don’t want or expect to see is upsetting. I wish these women would have a little more respect for the rest of us. But that’s an issue with me, not with them. They have every right, though I do wish they wouldn’t.

  • SarahC @ at 9:19 pm, September 9th, 2010

    @Ryan

    Believe it or not, feminism is not some giant con to absolve women of responsibility and chain men to their needs.

    In fact, to a point, I agree with you. Men should not be arbitrarily cut out of their children’s lives. However, your attack of feminism is ridiculous. Plenty of feminists are not married and have no intention of being so. Plenty more feminists have happy marriages. Feminists divorce like everyone else, sure, but feminism is in no way about eliminating men from the family unit or of men remaining providers for women.

    It’s worth noting here that feminism pushes for women to have a role in the workplace. Far from being about exploiting men, the push is for women to take more responsibility and bring home their own paychecks.

  • Maren H @ at 12:12 am, September 10th, 2010

    In the infinite wisdom of Voltaire “I don’t agree with what you’re saying, but I’ll fight to the death your right to say it”

    One of my favourite things about the f-bomb is that it’s written by anyone who submits, it comes from such a wide array of perspectives.

    Christina: I appreciate you reaching out to share your opinion with us, I hope that you don’t feel personally attacked by any of the comments, rather, you use them to broaden your own perspective of what it means to be a feminist.

    Especially don’t feel attacked by Ryan’s comment, after reading it all I could think of was I wanted to meet his ex-wife. Seriously. Scorned much?
    Believe it or not, not all feminists are married to men with children. Many many feminists are single, queer, transgenederd, HAPPILY married with supportive partners, married to women (at least in my country :) infertile, NOT YOUR EX WIFE. The list goes on.

    also, “Proper management of female sexuality” that phrase makes me cringe.

  • blakerivers @ at 12:36 am, September 10th, 2010

    @Ryan: You appear to have long forsaken reason, so there is no point in arguing with you.

    @Christina (author): You’re angry. Good, that’s the first step. After all, if you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention. By your own assertion (“I’m well informed”) you’ve already made progress into the second step, which is to become educated. Now you need to embrace the third step, which is compassion. If you wish to have positive impact in this world, compassion will be your most important tool.

  • Anna @ at 1:19 am, September 10th, 2010

    @ Christina:
    Read some Camile Paglia, get mad, then ask yourself why and who you should really be mad at.

  • Anna @ at 2:58 am, September 10th, 2010

    I really love this site and I’m glad that so many young women have this outlet, but I am really disappointed in how sex-negative the general feel of the main articles are. It all feels very second wave feminist/ puritanical. I have many friends who are sex workers and they are all very powerful, secure, smart, and giving women and men (one is even a social worker by day). Those who don’t want you to sell your sex are just scared of not being able to get it for free. Ask yourself who it is that decided sex work was bad.

  • Danielle @ at 10:15 am, September 10th, 2010

    I think the issue is treating the “male” way as the status quo and the right way. “Well men can sleep with whomever they want and there is no stigma” Ok- well who died and made men right. Everyone can have sex with whoever they want (wear a condom) but doing things just because men have done them is stupid. The male way of life is oppressive., not the ultimate goal.

  • Jane @ at 11:58 am, September 10th, 2010

    Feminism isn’t about sex – it isn’t about choice – it is about analyzing communication/relationships taking into account the sexuality of those in the situation.

    A man can have a feminist perspective on a situation.

    The act of sex is irrelevant. The act of being a sexual being which influences your language and choices – that is the focus of feminism.

  • Atlante Avila @ at 4:26 pm, September 10th, 2010

    What I don’t understand is why feminist exclude women with conservative views. Isn’t it about choice anyway? WHY DO FEMINIST IGNORE WOMEN WHO CHOOSE TO BE CONSERVATIVE? I don’t get it…

  • LadiesLoveDuranDuran @ at 2:20 pm, September 11th, 2010

    Have you read Female Chauvinist Pigs by Ariel Levy? It addresses a lot of the issues you’re talking about. It talks about how being sexy for the sake of being sexy isn’t lberation.

  • The Raisin Girl @ at 5:16 pm, September 12th, 2010

    First of all, HOO HAW?! Really? That’s the worst one I’ve heard since “Scrubs” coined the term “bagingo.” Ahem, anyway…

    I agree with several commenters. Feminism is about choice, about the idea that your sexual organs should in no way determine your destiny. Judgment on people’s sex lives–male or female–has no place within feminism.

    No matter how much you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you have no right whatsoever to judge that person. You don’t have to like them or be friends with them, but you don’t have a right to judge them, either. Because like it or not, individual women have the right to choose whether or not to make their lives about a social movement. Saying that as a woman, you should also be a feminist–which IS basically what you’re saying–is just ascribing a role requirement to a person based on their biological sex, and that action is the OPPOSITE of feminist.

  • Sarah @ at 4:16 am, September 13th, 2010

    @Atlante Avila- Feminism doesn’t choose women who choose to be conservative. But the whole point is that just because you have chosen to live your life in a certain way, doesn’t mean you get to impose your views on someone else’s life and judge the way they live it.

    Personally I wouldn’t have an abortion. But I will fight to the death for any woman’s right to have access to one for, and I certainly wouldn’t judge somebody for having one.

    I am also far from being sexually promiscuous, and certainly can’t imagine having sex with someone I wasn’t emotionally involved with. But that doesn’t mean that I think all women need to behave the way I do, nor is the way I choose to live my life any morally better than the way they choose to live there’s. There is nothing evil sex. As long as nobody is getting hurt, and you’re being safe, go for it.

  • Natalia @ at 2:40 am, September 16th, 2010

    Yes feminism does say that women should have the right to make their own decisions even if it is sleeping around. I don’t have a problem with this, but I often wonder why they do it. Are they actually enjoying sex from every partner? Or are they looking for sexual liberation they way men do? Men and women experience sexual pleasure quite differently. A man can get pleasure from pretty much any sexual encounter with any woman. Women are not like that. We have to know our bodies, and I doubt that a woman is giving a speech on what makes her orgasm to every guy she sleeps with almost every week. Also, are women doing this for their own pleasure or just to make themselves more appealing? These are questions feminists should ask themselves. Yes we believe in women making their own choices, but as feminists, we have to look into the motives behind those choices. It’s only logical and it is not “anti-feminist”.

  • Ryan @ at 7:06 pm, September 26th, 2010

    As a man I’ve learned that abortion is not about a womans body but choice over the body of the child.

    As such I’ve learned to understand feminist lies. The truth is that sex and conception are not something a
    man does to a woman. A man does not “get a woman pregnant” it is something done together. It is a mutual act requiring mutual responsibility and mutual choice.

    I found that abortion is not about a woman’s body or health but about the body of the child for which she wrongly claims ownership of. A man has just as much of a right to abort responsibility for his half of the mutual act of conception as a woman does. Each sex has the right to abort.

    This happened to me once. We had an unintended pregnancy together. I chose to abort and agreed with her that she had the same right. She chose to abort but I have known women who chose not to and have the child without a father.

    Again its not about a womans body but the body of the child for which the man has just as much ownership and choice as she does.

  • David @ at 11:40 am, December 11th, 2010

    Feminism is about telling our daughters that they can go and do anything they want without controls or restraints from outsiders. It tells them that they are just as strong, just as tough and just as powerful as men. It tells them they are smarter, wiser and more intuitive than their male counterpart. It tells them that they will ultimately prevail in any effort they get behind, even though the playing field is tilted in men’s favor. It consistently tells them they are better, smarter, stronger and resourceful. Then feminism expects them to do well while these expectations are choking the life out of them.
    God help our young girls. At the same time they are being told a father’s love may be suspect, they are being lead up a mountain to a cliff edge and then told they can fly.

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