Feminism Friday: Good News and Deep Thoughts
Posted October 23, 2009on:
Our friend Regency alerted us to some wonderful news last night: Finally, the Matthew Shepard-James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Bill has passed the Senate and is on its way to the White House to be signed. (It passed the House on October 8th.)
WASHINGTON – A bill to make violence against gays and lesbians a federal crime cleared the Senate Thursday and is headed to the White House for final approval.
The 68-29 vote was a victory for civil rights groups that have been fighting for years to expand the federal hate-crimes law beyond attacks motivated by bias based on religion, race, national origin or color. The new bill, which President Obama is expected to sign, includes penalties for assaults based on a victim’s sexual orientation, gender, disability or gender identity.
Yes, there is a catch. Isn’t there always? The bill was attached to an obscene, bloated Defense Department budget which allots yet another 130 BILLION to the unending wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. And 28 Republicans voted against it. (Bigoted *ssh0les.) But you know what? I don’t care right now. I am just so happy for the LGBT community that I don’t want my mellow harshed by reality just yet. Congratulations on this historic win to us all!
Now for the Deep Thoughts (YMMV, of course). Toodling around the Intertoobz, checking out the feminist sites, I see a lot of debate about what feminism is, and what it should be. I think I’ve made my thoughts on this matter pretty clear, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to bloviate some more. I AM a blogger, after all.
Here’s what feminism isn’t. Feminism isn’t about your feelings, or my feelings, or the feelings of the man, woman or transgender down the street. Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn about your feelings, nor should I expect you to give a damn about mine. So when people start going on and on about how they feel about abortion, I start losing interest.
Because here is what I think feminism IS. It’s a civil rights movement. And its goal should be equality for all women. I am so sorry to tell all you people who get all cringe-y and whinge-y when they hear the word “abortion,” but that does mean that the State does not get to tell me what to do with my reproductive organs. Just as men are free to choose a vasectomy, a condom or Viagra, women are free to choose the Pill or the maternity ward, or “GASP” termination of a pregnancy. (Oh Noes! Some Guy In The Sky Is Crying As I Type These Words!!!!1111!!!)
The State also does not get to tell me whether or not I can get birth control. It does not get to take my money to preach a bunch of dangerous bullshit to young, impressionable kids in the guise of “education,” bullshit that actually has increased the amount of STD’s and the rate of teen pregnancy.
If you do not support these equal rights for women, then you are not a feminist. That’s it. It is really, really that simple.
There are so many red herrings out there. Even feminists that I greatly respect get all squishy and “can’t we all just get along” when it comes to admitting that yes, damnit, being pro-choice is a minimum requirement for being a feminist. Saying that you are a pro-life feminist is like saying you are a pro-slavery abolitionist. And if you “feel” that you don’t want an abortion for yourself or your children, but are not engaged in this type of activity, or this, or this, or this, then guess what? I don’t care how icky or uncool you think the term is, but you are pro-choice. Not pro-life. Pro-choice.
So, those of you who are in the vast majority of Americans who are pro-choice, how about we make a deal? You support my civil rights, and I’ll support yours. I dunno, but something tells me if we would all just understand feminism this way, we’d get along a lot better, with a lot fewer hurt “feelings.” (Except for the fundies. Screw ‘em!)
This is an open thread.
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