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Pickle Me This

January 24, 2017

Feminist, feminist, feminist, feminist, feminist, feminist, feminist is for me.

During the past year or so, the delusion I’ve been most sorry to let go of is the one in which most people, as I do, simply see feminism as a synonym for “normal.” It’s why it never bothered me much when some people felt uncomfortable with the term, because it didn’t really matter what you called yourself. If you were a person who felt that women were deserving of voices, votes, careers, multifaceted lives and ownership of their own bodies, then you were a feminist, or so I thought. And who didn’t think that? But it turns out..a lot of people do?

From the appalling US election and its stunning results, it has been affirmed to me that misognyny is actually a thing and that for millions of people, women’s lives matter less than “teaching an unlovable female scholar a lesson she won’t forget.” When I question the validity of the Men’s Rights Movement on twitter, ugly beardos jump into my mentions for weeks afterwards calling me a cunt. When I continue to speak up about the importance of access to abortion, while the responses are predictably yawnish (“if you don’t want to get pregnant, don’t have sex, you slutty murderer”) the hatred toward women in general and people’s consternation at concept of our own agency over our bodies and our lives is palpable. Women’s torture and pain gets picked up and used as a tool by people who hate women and Muslims, and wonder why we’re taking to the streets when FGM is a thing in the world (never mind that these people have never stood up for women a day in their lives, except when doing so permits them to be unabashedly racist) or how I can stand up for reproductive rights while women in India are aborting female fetuses. The response to all this being: Because women’s lives are terrifyingly, fervently and violently devalued everywhere, you fucking asshole, and you are part of the problem.

So what to do? My favourite solution was found in a  Facebook thread in which a friend of mine was discussing the violent pushback she’d received from engaging Men’s Rights Activists online. She was dismayed at the backlash, but a friend of hers had a suggestion, a piece to the vast puzzle of disentangling our current misogynistic anti-feminist mess. She wrote, “I am using the word feminism in every project I do now, my bio and website. It is all feminism. All the time.”

And I love that idea. All day yesterday, a song was running through my head, “Feminist, feminist, feminist, feminist, feminist, feminist, feminist, is for me,” to the tune of John F. Kennedy’s 1960 campaign theme song. I’ve put “feminist” in my twitter bio, and made my “My Body My Choice” sign part of my header photo. My book comes out in six weeks, and it’s feminist as fuck. I’m learning how to be a better feminist. I’d get the women’s symbol tattooed to my ankle, but I won’t, because I already did that 14 years ago, but still. If we’ve ever needed a moment to be post-post-feminist, that moment is now, and I don’t fucking care if you don’t like it.

5 thoughts on “Feminist, feminist, feminist, feminist, feminist, feminist, feminist is for me.”

  1. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! That’s GREAT.

  2. Ingrid Carlson says:

    This is wonderful. Besides making me smile, it helped me refocus after a loooong few hours trying to prepare my first lecture for the course I’m teaching for the first time this semester (Intro. to Women’s Studies). Though I’ve been a lay-feminist my entire life, I’ve never been a student or scholar of feminism. So, I’ve been trudging through two wordy textbooks, several universities’ feminist resource sites, Chimamanda Ngoze Adichie’s TED talk on feminism, the comments section of a few Jezebel articles (the horror! I just tonight learned what MRA means, and I’m sorry I know), and more. All this had my head swirling with too much information. But now that I’ve read this, I’m refocused and ready to go!

  3. We’ve been singing the same kinds of songs in our thoughts. I deliberately used the f-word to title a post this week as well, not having quite realised that it still needed to be used, often and loudly, perhaps more often and more loudly than ever. Those signs at the march, about still having to march for this after ‘x’ number of years….

  4. Nicole says:

    Such a good post and a fantastic idea. I know a lot of people who shy away from that f-word, perhaps precisely because it holds power!

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