I have often been called a feminist, which is defined by dictionary.com as a person whose beliefs and behavior are based on feminism; Relating to feminism which is the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.
If that's the definition that people think of when they here 'feminist' then hell to the yes that's what I am. However when people hear the words 'feminist' or 'feminism' they often peg it with negativity. Then think of a bunch of angry lesbians marching on some big corporation with torches and signs. Or they think of Barbara Streisand's character in The Way We Were, or some really annoying nasally woman with a megaphone.
The next question is obvious: Why do people, even women themselves, automatically go to that stereotype when they hear the phrase 'Feminism'? The answer is simple: Men.
Your next response is probably: "Duh, as a feminist yourself you're going to blame this shameful stereotype on men.". A conditioned response dear friends, allow me to regale you:
Go to any major newspaper's website: The New York Times, The Washington Post or USA Today and find me 7 front page articles that involve women shown in a positive light. Go ahead I'll wait...........if you find any, leave them in the comments with the link.
Now go to a crappy entertainment website: TMZ, Entertainment Tonight, ect. , ect. and see what kind of light women are portrayed in. Beyonce singing to the little girl with cancer does not count. I'm talking currently, as in right now as you're reading this.
My bet is that you won't find anything. Why? Because I look everyday and don't find them. Now I found tons of articles during the election, but after Obama became president they disappeared like they never existed. Occasionally you'll get one or two but its usually followed by '...and she's creating a stink about everything.'
Now lets go to Katie Couric. I love her, I think she does a wonderful job as a news anchor but has anyone noticed that she's not a feminine as she was when she started out? Her hair's shorter, and she's wearing suites that do nothing for her figure. Why all of a sudden a change? Because men feel that a woman needs to assimilate into a masculine field. Her ratings are going up sure, but wearing a suite that flatters her figure and have a hairstyle that's cute and flirty? People won't watch that, they'll think she's a slut.
How about in the sports world? If you look at any major university you'll see that the boys athletic programs get twice, if not three times more than the woman's athletic programs. Why? Because God forbid that the Woman's field hockey team should take home the championship and the boys soccer team shouldn't. Women have no place in sports, their home is behind a desk or cleaning house. Turn on any sport channel and see how many games you find that involve woman's sports.
If you saw the November 25th edition of Newsweek you probably remember Sarah Palin being on the cover. Now, I am not a Palin supporter by any means but I did not like the way they portrayed her in the least. If you didn't see it, you can find it here: http://flapsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/Sarah-Palin-on-Newsweek.jpg
yahoo news also did an article on it: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ynews/20091117/pl_ynews/ynews_pl984
If I were her (which I'm SO GLAD I'm NOT), I think I would be angry too. The photo was originally published in the August 2009 issue of Runners World, she stated in her blog that 'The out-of-context Newsweek approach is sexist and oh-so-expected by now. If anyone can learn anything from it: it shows why you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, gender, or color of skin. The media will do anything to draw attention -- even if out of context.' Now, I don't agree with her on a lot of things and I'm not going to go into that because that's a whole new blog, but I do agree with that statement to an extent. Of all the pictures they could have chosen, they chose one of her in short runners shorts and sneakers. This wasn't an attempt by Democrats to discredit her in an attempt to hurt the Republican party, this was an attempt to discredit her as a woman in politics. Every woman that has ever tried to make an impact in the political world has suffered the same thing. Look at Hillary Clinton and her attempt to run for president, people kept saying it wasn't possible. It wasn't possible because we thought it wasn't possible. Because we're conditioned to think that the position as President of the United States is a man's position. Because we're conditioned to think that the position as President of the United States is a man's position. When she decided to withdraw from the race, I'm sure that several male politicians, both Democrat and Republican wiped their foreheads and remarked how they dodged the bullet.
Lets not forget how that every single book in the Bible is authored by men, and how it is documented that Mary Magdalene herself penned a book that didn't make it in. Why? Because she's a piece of property, what does she know? She probably remarked on how sexist everyone but Jesus was and that ruffled a few feathers so they decided that her book had nothing important to say. While we're on the topic of religion, has anyone ever noticed that there are very few books in the bible that portray women in a positive light? I mean Esther, Ruth, Abigale, Mary and Rahab are all notable but that's about it. Rahab gets an unfair mention because they say that she was a prostitute. Even though her behavior and closeness to her father's family seem to indicate that she may not have been. Its like "Okay...it says here that a woman helped our guys capture Jericho...shit...we can't have that, but if we don't mention that she helped she'll be a real bitch about it. We have to find some way to--WAIT! She did what? YES! We can say she was a prostitute! That's good...good, whew for a minute there I thought we would have to admit that a woman did something noble." Mary Magdalene had the same problem, there's no proof that she was a prostitute but because men had the control and they didn't see women as anything more than property...well there you go.
Now this leaves me to you, my fellow women I have one question for you:
What the hell is wrong with you?
Why are you allowing yourself to be conditioned to think that this is okay and its the way it will always be? Is it fair to you that our athletic programs get half the funding? Or that we're left out from the news not because our deeds are any less great, but because we're women and portraying us in a positive light would be unthinkable? What about the workforce? Did you know that in most corporations that some women make less than the men do and it goes unnoticed? What about this issue with Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton? It doesn't matter what your political standpoint is, we all have vagina's here and mine is pissed off at this (Thank you Eve Ensler for that).
I get that we have come a long way since the 50's and 60's, we have more rights now than we did then. We have the right to vote, to work whatever job we want, to wear whatever we want, and not be labeled as piece of property on our husband's tax form. But what good is any of that if we don't have any respect? I can't tell you how many times I've heard how women can't be president because of one simple ailment: PMS. Okay so because I don't have chocolate I'm going to let that override my common sense and policies and nuke the son of a bitch that won't listen to me.
In 1503 when Queen Elizabeth I sat on the throne she received the company of Gráinne Ní Mháille, or Grace O' Malley who had come because her sons, Tibbot Burke and Murrough O'Flaherty, and her half-brother, Donal-na-Piopa, were taken captive by the English governor of Connacht, Sir Richard Bingham. She had sailed to England to petition Elizabeth I for their release. In a matter of hours Elizabeth apparently took to Ní Mháille, who was three years older, and the two women reached sufficient agreement for Elizabeth to grant Ní Mháille's requests provided that her support of many Irish rebellions and piracy against England ended.
May I remind you that the conflict between England and Ireland had been going on for most of Gráinne Ní Mháille's life. She was about 40 when she sailed to England. I think you know where I'm going with this, so I'll just let that hang there.
What I'm getting at is this: Women deserve the same recognition as men do. We deserve the same benefits, funds and healthcare. We are not symbols of sex, nor are we objects of your animalistic desires. We are not stupid, we have opinions; we have the ability to carry life, to nurture and to carry on despite impossible situations. We are the anchors that keep a family together, we are the mothers to some of the greatest individuals that have walked the face of this earth.
We have the ability to be great leaders, if only those with narrow minds would see it. I see it, and it looks pretty damn good to me. Lets get on it ladies!
At least, that's how I see it.