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30 December
the important question
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Are you a feminist?


This subject keeps coming up. Everywhere I go. Often in a strangely negative way. You know, with that leering emphasis on "feminist". You've heard it. Is "feminism" a bad word? I suppose you can all imagine what I think (um, hello, this is the chick who's working to turn "cunt" into a positive word).


This is what John Webster's descendents think feminism is:

1 : the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
2 : organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests

So doesn't everyone agree on Number One? Is there anyone out there who would honestly say "No, I don't think the sexes should be politically, economically, or socially equal"? If so, I'd like to kick this person. On the second count, well, I'm not always organized, but I'd say even talking or writing in this diary counts as "activity on behalf of women's rights and interests". Expressing an opinion is an action. Sometimes the most powerful action you can take. Laws are wonderful things, but majority opinion, when expressed, well - that's power.


Back in 1895, the Suffragettes coined the word "feminist" to express themselves and their new movement. To unite their push for the vote with their desire for overall equality between the sexes. Like any political banner, stupid and wrong acts have been committed in its name. You could say the same for "democracy" and "republic", two words Americans are extra fond of.


This is a word our spiritual great-grandmothers gave us. This is their present. Words are confusing. Words are full of a thousand associations and connotations; that's just their nature. This word is a special gift, and every woman (heck, every person) should cherish it. Every person who thinks that women and men are equally deserving of things like "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" (or whatever they call them in whatever country you choose to inhabit) needs to accept this title. To the question: Can men be feminists? I say yes, absolutely. See above.


Yes. I'm a feminist. The important question is. Why aren't you?

 

29 December
mirrors in the funhouse
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Shock and surprise, we all have self doubt. I'm totally in love with my new find, Malkavia. Even (maybe especially?) her condemnation of others for failing to listen to her and love themselves. Yes, we all suck. I fail myself a hundred times every day, by fearing to be outspoken, by taking back my anger, by being less than perfect. As much as I talk about the body's politics, it is more the politics than the body that frustrates me.

More than once in the past few days I've told someone online that I'm a (basically, self doubt means I have to make it conditional) happy fat chick. The result seems more often than not to be that the tellee assumes my source of doubt and frustration is worry that I'm ugly and unloveable. Truth is - and this is a new discovery for me - what upsets me is how different my perception of my body is from the way the world perceives it. Sometimes I mouth the media's words, but the truth is that I feel great. I don't understand why stores don't like to make clothes for me (did I mention I'm a SHORT fat girl?). This is frustrating, considering that I'm average size for an American woman. Except that I'm short, that is. And I try to explain why this mall inequity exists. The only explanation must be that I am fat and ugly, right? Nope.

I used to have a friend with the opposite problem. She wore a size 0, and was shorter than I. Do you know how hard it is to find clothes that size? Nearly impossible. She had to wear bright-colored versions of normal clothes as found in the kids' department. And shoes were even more impossible! Maybe people like her are rare, I don't know the statistics on how many American women are tiny. Shopping with The Girl made me realise how much everything in American culture tends towards the middle. Things are marketed towards the biggest mass, which any bell curve will tell you is the middle. Funny thing about clothing is that it's marketed towards the perceived middle, which roughly a size 8 for women and a 34 waist for men, not the real average sizes of people.

This is fascinating. We're like a whole country of perpetual dieters. We're my loopy aunt, who has a closet full of clothes she outgrew 10 years ago. Because we're really that smaller size. This weight gain is just temporary. If you believe it well enough, it will come true. Right?


Hey, go read my cuntzilla entry, too. And this chick is fabulous. Futurebird also has a lovely entry up today.

 

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