Friday, February 26, 2010

Sometimes People Really Piss Me Off

Today's rant comes courtesy of: I am a feminist who not only refuses to apologize for her status, but furthermore, refuses to feel bad about it because people are too stupid to find out the actual definition of a word before denigrating it.

What is a feminist? Is she necessarily someone who hates all men? No. Is she a lesbian? Possibly. (I'm not.) Does she burn her bras? According to this article, women never actually did that. But it's possible.

In my opinion, a feminist is someone who thinks that men and women are equals. On an individual level, sure, men and women are different. Then again, on an individual level, two women are different. That's the thing about people. We've all got our strengths and weaknesses. Overall, however, I think I deserve the same amount of respect as a man.

I am appalled when someone begins talking badly about "feminists" in these broad terms, and obviously has no idea that there is a positive side to feminism. It happens all of the time. It happened the other night in a phone conversation I was having with a white male I happen to know.

Now, during the course of this conversation, this male said he was "sick of being blamed for everything because he's white and a guy." He said that, sure, his ancestors HAD had power for the majority of history and they'd done some pretty shitty things with that power, but then went on, "but that's not me! I, PERSONALLY, didn't do those horrible things. So why am I being blamed?"

Here's the thing. History matters.

I'm not just saying this because I was basically a history major in college. I'm saying it because it's true.

There's that oft-quoted saying: "Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it." Yet I think history's importance encompasses more than learning from the mistakes of others. Our history is an essential component of ourselves.

Even if you don't care about history, it affects you. Your ancestors passed down their conception of life along with genes. You not only get your physical appearance from these people whom you've never met, your views are affected by the views of your parents, which were in turn affected by the views of their parents, which were in turn affected by the views of their parents, and so on and so forth.

So if your ancestors were slave owners, just because you know they were wrong doesn't mean we should all just forget about it.

Families share everything. Everything includes history.

If you're white and male you've got a shitload of history backing you up to give you all of these privileges. Because white males have been primarily in power for a long time. Along with these privileges comes the guilt. Because white males have been in power by treating females and minorities like shit for a long time.

Deal with it.

Do not act like I'm odd or crazy or stupid because I'm a feminist. As a feminist, as someone who thinks males and females are equals, and should be treated as such, I am someone who is going against the grain of tradition that humans have worn away over time.

I wish everyone was a feminist. Sadly, they are not. If you're reading this, and you didn't previously consider yourself a feminist, I hope you reconsider.


Possum said...

I like your definition of a feminist. I've never really thought about it, but I never actually thought it was someone who hates men, burns bras or is ALWAYS a lesbian. Therefore, your definition is pretty spiffy. It makes me think: HEY! I R A FEMINIST WITHOUT EVEN REALIZING IT. (Although with the study of sociology, sort of.)

Your opinion (and definition) of a feminist is actually one of the quotes that I will save for this year as one of the things I like. *does so* You're oh so very wise, Shelly Quade. *bows* =D

History does matter. Before I even read the quote about repeating, it's what I thought. I mean, sure the guy you talked to wasn't PERSONALLY responsible, but that doesn't mean it's not important.

Ah. Yes. I try not to get the views my parents raised me with (they're okay) but it's what I was raised with. I can't exactly just SHOVE them off. Because of this, I'm not a fan of Stephen Harper, or William Shatner. Sure, those are pop culture (and government) choices, but still. They're just apart of me.

As is the history of my parents.

I feel like I can identify myself as a feminist now. =D

Shelly Quade said...

Possum! Hello.

I am glad that you consider yourself a feminist.

It's okay that your parents affect your views. You can't really help it. All of the people around you are going to affect your views, really, whether positively or negatively.

But you're a feminist! So you concur with the reason for my post. Yay! :)