I’m a fan of the website Jezebel. It’s a great source of feminist news if you can recognize that it’s appealing to a certain audience and is thereby unabashedly biased and swears a whole bunch.
Jezebel is a strident defender of all things feminist, which I think is needed and fantastic and it quells my thirst to be outraged (mainly at Republicans). When Marissa Mayer became the CEO of Yahoo! they ran a story about her not identifying herself as a feminist. Today they ran a story about some random actress also not identifying as a feminist despite her career of pushing gender role boundaries.
Over and over they have defined feminism as believing that women are the equal of men and deserve the same opportunities. Essentially, a feminist believes that women are people.
I am perfectly aware that a good chunk of the world’s population doesn’t believe that. I am fairly well educated on the women’s movement and the history of women fighting for equal rights. I have a better than average grasp on American history. Believe me, I get the history and fights women have gone through.
I’ve also been able to look outside the prison cell of my gender and gain a good understanding of the movements for racial equality throughout American history and elsewhere. But we don’t have a word for someone who isn’t racist. They’re just considered an enlightened human being.
I think the term feminism is a fine term, and to me, it conjures up all sorts of wonderful things from women’s suffrage to Gloria Steinem. And I’m not saying for a second that we should not acknowledge the tremendous sacrifices and work that our feminist predecessors put in.
But isn’t the greatest triumph of feminism for women to live their lives and advance their careers without groveling at the altar of feminism? Isn’t the fact that we don’t have to think about the sacrifices of our feminist predecessors every time we do something men have forever taken for a granted a sign that we’re actually getting somewhere?
How about we all let women take credit for their successes? Granted, a woman (a pregnant one at that, the horrors!) wouldn’t be the CEO of Yahoo! if we still lived in a stifling patriarchy. But those doors are opening and a woman calling herself a feminist isn’t going to push through them on the strength of a word alone. Women are smashing glass ceilings and finding places for themselves in a world dictated by their choices.
Let them accept credit for the sacrifices and hard work that they have put in for their individual success.
You know, the same way men of have been doing since the beginning of time.