Saturday, December 1, 2007

Why Crazy Bitch? and What is Feminism?

I think I should say a word or two about the title of this blog. Both words are extremely pejorative and may ruffle a few feathers, but I think it's important to try to take some of the negativity out of them and the phrase itself. Many of us who identify as feminist have been referred to as crazy bitches and it's a badge I wear proudly. Yes, in fact, I am "one of those."

So, what is feminism, anyway? I'm glad you asked. Allow me to illustrate:

I saw this quote from Pat Robertson a couple weeks ago. I'm not sure where it came from, but I doubt it's taken out of context.

"The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."

I wonder if he truly believes the crazy shit that comes out of his mouth, or if it's for ratings (by ratings, I mean cash). Staggeringly stupid and illustrative of the religious right's complete misunderstanding of feminism.

Now, I really don't care what people's politics are as long as it's something they've thought about (I draw the line at anything resembling hatred). Regardless of your politics, this sounds crazy and ignorant. Conservatives have been blaming the women's movement for the decline of the nuclear family and I can understand why they might think that, though it's far from true. But how do we make the leap from wanting equal pay to witchcraft and infanticide?

What about the countless men that walk away from their families? Where's the conservative moral outrage for that? You'd think there would be more outrage directed toward them, since women are only good for mothering and need someone to support them. Why are they off the hook? Now, I know most sensible conservatives don't listen to people like Robertson. The problem is that the wackos that make it into public consciousness (like Robertson) have it out for women.

We chicks can't do anything right, can we?

But back to my initial question: what is feminism? To a lot of women it's an "f word," something seen as an extreme point of view, even though many women are feminists and don't know it. You are a feminist if you think women should have choices in their lives - the choice whether or not to have a child, to work, to have sex outside a relationship, be leaders, be athletes, say "no" (whatever that means to you) and eat ice cream without fear of rejection if she doesn't look like a barbie doll.

The point is not that women should absolutely do all the things I mentioned above. The point is that we should all be able to choose. You don't have to go the route of go to college, snag a guy, marry him, have his babies and quit your job if you don't want to. Go ahead and be a stay-at-home-mom, if that's what you really want to do and you don't have desires being thwarted by close-minded idiots. But if you want to go to college and get an advanced mathematics degree, do it.