Feminism and The Blessing/Curse of Printed Words

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Ah, Facebook, ye noble bastion of free speech… So I got into a conversation with some guy I don’t know because he said something misogynystic. I have to say, while the printed nature of internet discussions has the benefit that you can evaluate everything before you say it, there is the danger that once it’s in print it is eternal. I marvel at people who are careless on social network sites- you know that’s never going away, don’t you? I normally avoid engaging in such discussions for this very reason; I still don’t really know why I got into this one.

Two things occurred to me during and after that conversation that I thought worthy of rehashing in a little more detail (rather than wisely dropping the subject, as the previous paragraph suggests I should). The first is that, as a conservative Christian woman, I occasionally encounter a militantly shallow view of feminism: this hazy idea that feminists are an ignorant rogue army of godless hateful women acting out of spite.

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I also have friends who dislike the current trend of feminism but are more thoughtful in their views (click here to read my sister in law’s discussion of gender distinction and practical symbolism). To me though, feminism isn’t about anger or throwing down gender distinctions. I have no interest in immitating manliness. As a feminist today, I’m interested in normalizing the reality that women weren’t given equality, they already had it. The feminist movement didn’t take something that was not previously ours, it demanded that what was rightfully ours no longer be denied us. I like how Darrell worded it a few days ago: “Of course I thought that women should have the right to vote, the right to work and, a place at the table in our national dialog but it took having two little girls of my own to teach me that there’s a huge difference between tolerating an idea and celebrating it.”

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That quote brings me to the second issue. I mentioned above how it surprises me when people blurt stuff out on Facebook- this conversation… It’s always nice to share opinions, really, but reread what you type before you click “post.” When I ask a person about what they say, and am met with “what I meant was…” and “I never said…” that’s not a sign of someone who spoke clearly to begin with. Think first, then speak, because honestly folks WHAT YOU MEANT ISN’T HALF AS IMPORTANT AS WHAT ACTUALLY CAME OUT OF YOUR MOUTH.

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I’m actually interested in hearing other people’s opinions on this, so I’d love for you to share your thoughts below, if my dire reminder about the permanency of written words hasn’t scared you away… if you disagree, I promise not to bite your head off, but I don’t promise not to create a thinly-veiled satirical comic strip poking fun at you.

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7 Comments »

  1. Amy Meyers Said:

    I was going to ask you where in the world do you find all your supporting art material?! Then you said you made it yourself. Some women are definitely more equal than others. 😉

    Also, I do think that feminists try to take “more” than their “equal” rights. I personally don’t want a woman fighting for my freedoms on the frontlines of battles with terrorists, or trying to save my unconscious husband from a burning building, if you know what I’m saying. And read what I’m mean, not what I’m saying! 🙂

    • kirinjirafa Said:

      Actually, the top three images are not of my making- I did the cartoon animals. Thanks though 🙂

      Regarding feminism, I think I know what you mean about life-saving work (you’d rather have firefighters etc. be men because of their physical size and strength, right?). I see nothing wrong with a woman holding down such a job, but I get what you’re saying. I know there are women who want more than what is rightfully theirs because I’ve seen media coverage of them, but not because I’ve ever met them personally. Most are just ordinary women who want the same respect as their male counterparts.

      Once I had a teenaged coworker complain about a football injury, and my boss suggested in front of everyone that he have me give him a leg massage. He apologized, and I don’t think he would deny that I should be allowed to vote or own property, but he clearly hadn’t internalized the notion that I wasn’t some sort of acquisition. This is what feminism is about for me: making that go away.

  2. Linda Said:

    Good post!

    • kirinjirafa Said:

      Thanks Linda 🙂

  3. Rachel Said:

    I enjoy reading your posts, Feminism’s core argument and allure to women are absolutely false. (Bold statement!!) True feminism is not “fighting for the rights” of other women, getting women’s rights back, or progressing women. Feminism and feminists in all actuality are fighting against the woman herself. They are not at war with men (“women need men like fish need bikes” famous feminist slogan by Gloria Steinem)-they are at war with other women- this is a subtly that has promulgated itself since the first wave of the movement…the seeds of feminism were always the same, just like in the garden, feeling that discontentment in what ever state you found yourself in…”the problem with no name” as it came to be known in the second wave when the “Feminine Mystique” was written (Betty Friedan). Women over the centuries have fallen prey to think otherwise; that they were being liberated from oppression and the oppressive patriarchal society of man and therefore embracing a philosophy that not only has probably been the most effective assault on the traditional family in the history of mankind (not to mention the snowball that put the sexual revolution, hippie revolution, anti establishment revolution, and abortion revolution into play) but also has been able to degenerate women to a point now where we find ourselves seeing open sexuality sold to prepubescent girls from the likes of businesses such as Victoria secret’s new line that targets them (“Bright Young Things”). “We” have become objects of sex. “We” are telling our girls: Your worth is the sex you sell…Little girls are being torn from their innocence because of our feminist “mothers” and the “rights” they wanted to win. The real question remains: was the vote worth it? All that time ago in Seneca Falls, did our foremothers know what would be the “cost” of getting the vote? At this point I haven’t formed a clear definite opinion. However,I have read a wonderful book on the study of feminism- “Domestic Tranquility” F. Carolyn Graglia…I highly recommend it.

    • kirinjirafa Said:

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Rachel. 🙂 Sometimes I worry about coming across as just a contentious fight-picker by posting discussions that I know are in at least some degree of opposition to the beliefs of my colleagues or loved ones, but I do enjoy the dialogue and of course it’s always healthy to hear one another out. I’ll try to address all the points you mentioned, and I’m looking up the book you recommended.

      There are four main points that I think are worthy of mentioning for consideration. I’ve heard three of these ideas in some form or other from many others. They are:

      1. Disregard for women began in earnest after the feminist movement; prior to it the majority of men had an attitude of chivalry and respect for women.

      This I’m mentioning because of lines you typed like “ ‘We’ have become objects of sex. ” To this I would say, honestly, there is a copious historical record of male/societal disregard for women. There may now be less door holding, but does that have to mean there is less respect? Personally I feel that the type of respect has changed, but I do not see how reverting to pre-fem days would increase the respect level. This claim is made often by opponents of modern feminism, but I never hear substantiated with more than dogmatic talk.

      2. The radicals represent the whole.

      There will always be activists and people who have a chip on their shoulder claiming to speak for an entire people group, but they simply cannot. Furthermore, they aren’t the majority. I’ve never met a woman like Andrea Dworkin or Gloria Steinem. The feminists I know are just ordinary folks who want to go to work and pay their bills without special treatment.

      3. The conservative party line is closest to the Biblical worldview and therefore preferred by default.

      I’m a conservative. I’ll tell anyone that. However, conservatism isn’t necessarily Christianity. They are apples and oranges. It’s all well and good to decry the sham of deluded women nowadays, now that you have legal recourse if your husband attacks you or suddenly passes away, but I often feel that these words are parroting the party line. Feminism= bad! Any statement in that general direction is acceptable, and if it’s in error, well, it’s better to err on the side of conservatism. Erring on the side of conservatism is still error. I’m mentioning this point because I think (sorry if this is rude) the major point I made was that my feminism isn’t about taking over a man’s role, it’s about being treated decently, and the women I know around me don’t view feminism as a way to overthrow the patriarchy, they just want to be respected. There’s nothing, nothing, nothing wrong with that, but as soon as you attach the word “feminism,” it becomes anti-conservative and therefore unacceptable.

      4. The vote is an independent milestone.

      I’ve never heard anyone else question the importance of the vote, and as a conservative (yes, I swear I am a conservative) I would answer this that we have a national doctrine of no taxation without representation. This is being soundly abused by so many, that I wouldn’t even want to imagine what it would be like without half of the population voting. No vote means no tax. That is hardcore Americana, right there, and it should be upheld. People with no vote should not be paying taxes, but no tax means no commerce. No buying, no selling… pumping gas suddenly becomes a breach of your human rights, because you will be charged sales tax and without a voice in the matter. The attack that denying the vote to everyone perpetrated on our economy is so gargantuan that I wouldn’t give it a second thought. I’ve never heard anyone question the wisdom of women having the right to vote. I never even thought I’d hear that seriously questioned.

      • Rachel Said:

        In response to your point about the vote…I submitted that question because of the primal instinct in a mother to protect her children from all evils. You would die for them so naturally this question came. Realistically, I know that you cannot keep all evil from your children and i do know the implication of what life would be like if half the population didnt have a voice. You stated the vote and feminism are a separate milestone and you cannot corelate getting the vote with feminism which i dont nessarily agree with… positive progression came out of feminism, i do believe…but there still was a cost…Having children and knowing what will be facing them in the future has caused me to consider it as a mother. Kind of like a woman who lifts a car to rescue her child, it’s a bit inhuman, unexplainable and irrational. It doesn’t help that I am on the verge of bearing another which could explain that even more heightened urge to protect my young and of course it’s why I’m up at like 3 am.


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