Tuesday, May 18, 2010

No you can't.

My formative experiences with feminism and later actual feminists was not good for me.

My first exposure to feminism as a named concept came from the music teacher's loud angry wife.

Most of what I recall was that I was in the seventh grade and she ranted a lot about men and society. She had all these pages pulled out of magazines and talked a lot about Brook Shields.

Needless to say I did not understand.

It is a bit of a good image to set the tone for a lot of my interaction with feminists over the years.

I have spent time with, talked to and studies feminists of all sorts of stripes but the running theme for the past let's say decade has tended to leave me with a foul taste in my mouth.

Whether it's been the painful to deal with casual racism, transphobia, sex worker hate, women telling me what was and was not appropriate for me to wear, etc etc.

I recall once in particular someone saying that I was "a weapon of the patriarchy" because of the way I happened to present myself to the world at that time.

She systemically put me down from head to toe and summarily dismissed me instead of talking to me.

These days it seems like when I attempt to read feminist oriented material the same things keep happening.

Sex workers are shamed.

Fat women are shamed.

Trans and other gender variant women are shamed.

The casual racism just goes on and on.

Frankly, I just can't deal.

It's not just that I can't deal it's that I won't deal.

In my mind a big piece of the feminism puzzle is that I as a woman have autonomy and that at the very least other women respect that autonomy even if they don't agree with how I'm going about my life.

How is it at all right that you can decide what is and isn't appropriate for my life but some dude can't?

There are large swaths of my life that don't need feminism to run smoothly and there have been many times in the last couple of years where I've felt invaded by modern feminism in a way that I plain don't like.

There are ways that modern feminists have spoken both to me personally and about women like me that I find brutal and offensive.

I have heard no you can't from more feminists than I have from anyone else and it's a fucking shame.

At 33 years old I'm over it.

I realized not so long ago that you know what I don't care anymore.

I don't care if my enjoyment of porn, pole dancing (as a spectator and/or participant), love of kink, disinterest in being a Mommy, my disinterest in shaming Mommies, my love of cosmtics and beauty items, how I wear my hair, whether or not I shave my crotch, the dynamic in my relationship with Uniballer, that I am unmoved by White Ladies Tears when they have been put out, that I am entirely disinterested in your comment of how I might dress, that I am disinterested in what you think about my body, about how I view HAES, etc etc upsets your view of how things are supposed to be.

I'm done.

I have tried and tried to keep up reading whatever feminist blogs but yeah no.

If it's not the people writing it's the community of commentors and I do not have the energy for that bullshit.

I have been too disappointed.

I have watched too many conversations turn into hurrhurr I agree with X and you're a stupidface type arguments.

I am really done.

I cleaned out my RSS feed.

I am not going to be condescended to, I am not going to be told how to live or present myself to the world.

I'm going to live my life.

I'm going to in whatever way I see fit promote the ideals I have without being an asshole. And I'm going to admit it if I'm being an asshole.

I'm not going to allow any measure of e/blog fame to cloud my vision to the point where I think every word that falls out of my ass is golden because it probably won't be. And I fully expect that even if you love me to bits and pieces, that you care enough about me as a person to say, "hey, wow that was a shit thing to say".

All this said I still believe in the idea of feminism without all the bullshit.

I believe that women (talking about both biological women and those who identify as women) are worth every bit as men (and yes both biological men and those who identify as men). I believe that women and men need to earn equal money. I believe that all human beings deserve these things.

After saying all this it comes to this.

I'm not going to agonize over my outright rejection of the label feminist.

I'm done.

I have come to a good place in my head and have made the decision without as much angst.

At this point I feel like you could call me any number of things.

I'd prefer if you'd just call me Shannon and ask me what I think about whatever is on your mind.

I don't need the label.

That's it.

Homo Out.


witchyvixen said...

Yeah. I've not been impressed m'self.

I remember being a little kid and seeing feminists as loud, angry women who didn't want anyone to do anything nice for them and couldn't stand for anybody to have any fun.

I pretty much stand by that first impression to this day...

A couple of years ago when I discovered real fat acceptance I found feminism tangled up with that mind set. I was actually delighted. Some of the ideas and concepts really sparkled with me. There were things I had never considered before. I was excited and eager to learn.

Unfortunately both ideals started to stack up big steaming chips on the bullshit meter. I got so sick of the no-noes, I was revolted by the I'm-a-better-FA-feminist-than-you-and-here's-why all out arguments. I got sick of everyone trying to be the first to jump on anyone else and point out how very wrong they were. I was very hurt, sad, and deeply disappointed. But ah well, that's life n'est-ce pas?

How about we all just decide to be humanists? Or rather a new definition of humanists? Tolerating all the wonderful vagaries of the human condition without labels while remembering that "tolerate" has a very different meaning from "accept".

ChloeMireille said...

I need to copypasta this all over the damn place. Feminism, in its current state, has made me exhausted on a mental and spiritual level. I think I hit my breaking point when my favorite anime forum started a Feminism 101 thread, and all of the latent feminists started coming out of the woodwork on unrelated topics.

End result? Forum drama and lots of butthurt.

Haddayr said...


This is why feminism is not for me.

This is coming from a woman who majored in women's studies.

That said, I have many VERY sex-positive and awesome friends who consider themselves feminists, and yay for them and everything.

Kay said...

I recently (within the last year) got involved in the feminist "blogosphere," and I used to not be able to imagine why a thoughtful person interested in social justice/equality would consciously reject the feminist label. I've since become exasperated by many of the problems you mention and cut my reading of feminist-identified blogs to the two I think do the best job of not being assholes. I personally prefer to keep the feminist label, though.

Also, I love your writing (long-time lurker here).

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