Feminism

Spitting on Hegel and Asking For It

Woman is fed up with bringing up a son who will turn into a bad lover.

With all the recent social media chatter around feminism and Miley Cyrus’s tongue, I decided to spend some time to add “some” educated language to my feelings regarding gender issues. I have had a couple of ideas bouncing around in my head for a couple of days now. It all started when my friend Casey posted this article by Eric Clapp on Facebook, which basically calls men to “make some very intentional decisions about our behavior and how we act towards women.”

I felt the article, while very short, was well written and had some GREAT points. But the resulting conversation thread was pretty intense, ranging from equal pay to rape, and how we treat people. Things got pretty heated, there was a lot of frustration, and I am sure some people got hurt. I have to give props to Casey for sticking it out, being fair and friendly, and articulating his standpoint with aplomb. Some of the more sensational comments stayed with me and I have been gnawing on them ever since. The ones that stuck around to become cud were pretty inflammatory, and they bounce around in my head, making a terrible ruckus. What I repeat from that conversation means something to me, I do not repeat the ideas for sensationalism, and while I have pulled the statements out of the original dialogue, nothing was taken out of context in order to vilify anyone.

Ignoring the more offensive language the one line that really stuck with me is, “Equality is a myth,” which followed the line, ” The problem is that no human being is equal to another, that’s a logical fallacy.” I don’t believe I agree with the sentiment that “equality is a myth” was stated, but the discussion of equality is tricky and I am not sure I have gotten a firm grasp on it yet. But reading the Rivolta Femminile’s Manifesto (which is where the quote at the top of the page comes from) has gotten my gears working. You can read the Manifesto here. Read it–I beg you. I don’t agree with everything, some things are too out there, and somethings I like because they are way out there. Somethings I take to heart. One of my favorite lines is this:

We welcome free sexuality in all its forms because we have stopped considering frigidity an honorable alternative.

This group had balls–or rather ovaries of steel.  Go Ovaries! The Manifesto was written in 1970 by the group Rivolta Femminile (Female Revolt) in Italy. The group was born when they plastered the Manifesto all over the walls of Rome, including the wall of the Vatican.

Scandal!

The Manifesto was followed by a publication by Carla Lonzi titled Let’s Spit on Hegel. You can read it at the bottom of the same link as the Manifesto. I studied both when I lived in Italy, and I have kept copies of them for fun. Here is quote from Let’s Spit on Hegel, regarding equality:

The oppression of woman will not be overcome by annihilating man. Nor will equality cancel it; oppression will continue with equality…the concept of alternatives is a stronghold of male power, where there is no place for women…The equality available today is not philosophical but political. But do we, after thousands of years, really wish for inclusion, on these terms, in a world planned by others?

Equality gets complicated, when man is clearly not a woman and a woman is clearly not a man. And then we have to face the idea of our cultural construct of male and female, respectively, and understand that these were formed through the eyes of a patriarchal society. I think that is where the headache begins.  BUT saying equality is a myth, I think, is ultimately wrong. It is probably an argument over semantics. After all we are dealing with a situation that is a little more complicated than 1 = 1. But I think there is a danger in digging too deep into this argument of semantics. Not that it shouldn’t be explored, but there is danger of losing site of the original problem. The problem of INequality.  Women have been oppressed for thousands of years. Can we all agree on that? No? Man do we have work to do.

So what is my definition of feminism? The link to the following photo says it all. Out of respect for those who are working (NOT WORK APPROPRIATE) and not wanting to upset the prudes, I have put the photo into this link, rather than just posting it. I searched for the photo cred for a while, and was not successful. If anyone knows where this originally comes from, or who deserves the credit please let me know.

For those who can’t click on the link, the photo is of a young woman, probably my age, who is standing in a crowd. She has big purple sunglasses pushed up on her head, her arm is raised, her eyes are closed, her lips are smiling, her breasts are bare except for nipple petals, her pants are pushed down low so that there is a small shadow of pubic hair showing, and the writing across her chest and down her torso reads, “STILL NOT ASKING FOR IT.”

My feminism comes down to two things: my rights and personal responsibility. I (meaning all women) have the right to make ALL the decisions about my body, regardless of what someone else’s theology tells them. I have the right to wear what I want, no matter what it makes me look like or makes other people think. I have the right to make good decisions and bad ones. I have the right to speak my mind and hold a job equal to that of a mans.

I have the right to wear a skirt, or a dress, or pants, or a burka. And on the flip side no one has the right to harass me because I am wearing a skirt, or a dress, or pants, or a burka. This is where we come to my belief in personal responsibility. I sincerely believe that we are each responsible for our actions, but I was taught from day one not to provoke man. Don’t wear anything too revealing, don’t go partying by yourself, don’t get too drunk, don’t act like a slut, don’t open yourself up to rape.

But taking responsibility for myself, like not getting “too drunk” at a bar, is not enough. Because there is more to the equation. Victim blaming makes me sick, because I am STILL not asking for it, no matter what I wear. Why have we allowed a societal construct that tells women they are at fault for someone else’s actions? Why have we allowed men to try to explain their actions away by saying “she was asking for it”?

Men don’t you find it emasculating that you can’t be expected to control yourself, no matter the situation?

Doesn’t it make you feel childish? Like a child throwing a tantrum?

How’s that for a feminist rant? Anyway if you would like some more reading here are links to two blog posts by Laura Buttrick. Both posts helped inspire mine. One is titled I AM A FEMINIST and the other i was a misogynist. The latter is where I found the photo of the topless woman by the way.

 

 

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