Yes, I am a feminist

My step-daughter Kim recently turned me on to a terrific book about the state of current feminism. Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman’s Guide to Why Feminism Matters by Jessica Valenti (Seal Press, 2007) overviews current feminist issues in the mouthy voice of a 30-year-old blogger.

That’s because she is a blogger. (I’m adding feministing.com to my list of daily good intentions.)

She sets up her issues on page 5 with an intro I love so much that I read it back to Kim. Here goes:

What’s the worst possible thing you can call a woman? Don’t hold back, now.

You’re probably thinking of words like slut, whore, bitch, cunt (I told you not to hold back!) skank.

Okay, now, what are the worst things you can call a guy? Fag, girl, bitch, pussy. I’ve even heard the term “mangina.”

Notice anything? The worst thing you can call a girl is a girl. The worst thing you can call a guy is a girl. Being a woman is the ultimate insult.

Never thought of it that way . . .

The feminist issues that most resonate for me swirl around the themes of daring to be big, not just thinking big.

And with being big comes talking big. By that, I mean expressing strong opinions with strength. Sure there’s a valid opposing argument to every statement with any heft. But I want to be the woman who says what she means without equivocating it down to mush.

Hmmmm, lots of fascinating ideas here to wrap my mind around.

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2 responses to “Yes, I am a feminist

  1. What I want to know is when did it become OK to call grown women “girls” again? Feminists in the 60s and 70s fought hard to change this, and yet it’s back.

    I’m not talking about a friendly “You go, girl!” between close friends. I’m talking about the world of employment, and the fashion, dance, and music industries in particular. Tune into any TV reality show and all the women are “girls” (OK, maybe the ARE!) But are the men “boys”? A forty-five year old woman once told me she didn’t mind being called “girl” because it made her feel young. What’s wrong with being old? (OK, maybe better not to go THERE, but you get my point.) Imagine a locker room full of men getting a half-time pep talk from their coach, who concludes, “Now give it your best, men!” Now imagine the same scene with women. Why does “Give it your best, women!” sound odd to my ears? (And I don’t like “ladies.”)

    Boys get to be men. I have paid employment, am raising kids, and saving for my retirment. When do I get to be a woman? Diminuative use of the word “girl” is alive and thriving. And despite all protests that “it’s different now,” I think it’s a shame.

  2. Hi,

    My views: You Go Girl! is quite alright with me, but I prefer to be called a Woman, with a Ms. in the front of my name.
    It’s pitiful that what our collective mothers, and sisters fought for in the liberating 60’s, is looked at (probably by men) as trivial…
    It makes me want to continue to fight for equal pay and other issues, that are becoming more and more apparent that something will have to be done.
    Thank you for bringing this subject to the light; I’d like to see who else can leave a word on your blog! Thank the great Goddess Mother of all: we have a Caring President now.
    ~ Cath

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