PAULthinksmusings by a feminist
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There are still women who eschew the label of feminist. I get it. I was there two years ago in a post I wrote on this very blog. Before reading up on variety of viewpoints, I believed in the mass media perpetrated straw man argument of the man-hating feminist. So I called myself a humanist because I believed in equal rights and treatment for all people.

That’s what feminists want. They don’t hate men. They don’t want special treatment. They’re not going to force you to stop wearing dresses if you have a vagina or start wearing them if you don’t. They are just people who think every human being should be treated like a human being regardless of what reproductive organs may be attached. I told a friend on facebook that feminist is no dirtier a word than virgin, slut, or hello. Tip: none of those are dirty words.

If person A does x quality and y quantity of work for a business and person B does x quality and y quantity of work for the same business, which one should get paid less? If your gut reaction is to say neither, then you’re a feminist. If your gut reaction is to ask if either one menstruates or wears pants more often, then maybe you’re not.

If citizen A researches a legislative proposal x amount and citizen B researches the same legislative proposal x amount, whose opinion is less important? If your first thought is that both are equally important, I’m afraid you’re a feminist. If your first thought is to wonder if the proposal is about birth control or if either citizen wears makeup, then okay, maybe you’re not.

If coffee-drinker A sits in a Starbucks wearing a tight shirt and tight jeans and coffee-drinker B sits in the same Starbucks wearing a tight shirt and tight jeans, which one is asking to be fucked? If you think neither, you’re a feminist. If you think both, you’re an asshole. If you wonder if either one is sitting cross-legged or has cleavage, you’re probably an asshole and not a feminist.

I don’t even think feminism is an inherently liberal position. I know many amazing conservative women who are clever, bold, compassionate, and kick ass. I don’t believe a single one of them would think it’s okay for a guy to do the exact same work they do but get paid more just because of gender. I don’t believe a single one of them think that their opinions matter less than those of the men around them. I don’t believe any of them would feel okay about having no choice in whether or not they get treated like sex objects. They might still vote Republican and Libertarian and Tea Party. But they think their votes matter as much as anyone else’s. These are feminist views.

I personally like women more than men. I’m allowed to have that opinion and that preference. I don’t think women should get special treatment; I do think women usually get crappier treatment than men.

I don’t think women are just breasts holding up vaginas to be ogled or molested by anyone who feels like it. I do think both men and women treat women poorly, on average.

I want it to stop. I’m not a virgin and I don’t think I’m a slut. But, hello, I am a feminist. You might be, too.

About Paul Roth

A vegetarian, agnostic, lindy-hopping, dog-loving tv-watcher who likes to read his own words.
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8 Responses to No Dirtier Than Virgin, Slut, or Hello

  1. Stasi says:

    My issue with this perspective is that it doesn’t discuss the inherent differences between woman and man. Most specifically, and obviously, the issue of childbearing. Even if we work towards equality in the time spent rearing children, you still have the fact that a woman has to gestate the child for 9 months before giving birth (and I hear that it ain’t no walk in the park!). The fact is that women DO require special treatment, and many people, even those who claim to be feminists and pro-equal pay, recoil from this. A woman performs a biological task that is integral to the perpetuation of the human race. She deserves to be assisted, not penalized for it, and it is not the case that legislation (across the board, and in all states) does this. It’s something that needs to be fixed and it’s something that should be included in any discussion about the equality of the sexes.
    Because while their value is equal, their natures (and I mean that in many ways, not just in the crappy sense that people normally mean–the dichotomy of the masculine and the feminine), predominantly in a biological sense, are not identical.

    • Paul Roth says:

      There’s only disparity there if you think that men shouldn’t be allowed paternity leave if their partners get pregnant. However much time a business allows for maternity leave should also be given for paternity leave, in my opinion. The notion that only the woman should prepare and take care of a child is an old-fashioned one and forces gender disparity.

      Women can also choose to have children by themselves, and gay men can adopt babies. If all new parents are treated the same way regardless of gender, it all works out and it’s all fair. The unfairness comes when you think you have to treat women differently because of biology and because of tradition. You generally don’t, I think.

      But you do voice a point that many people share, and I thank you!

      • Valerie says:

        It goes further than that, though, because of women’s unique ability to bear children. As a result, we are subject to more restrictions both in terms of health care coverage and because of religious and state actors who wish to keep us in a subjugated state. Women have been fighting for far too long to have their health care needs (like birth control) covered like every other medical need covered by their health insurance. And the very notion that a woman should not be *permitted* to decide what to do with her own body or should not even be able to access a facility that will meet her health care needs is incredibly paternalistic (and patriarchal) and condescending. If you don’t *trust women* to handle their own bodies and medical needs, then you are not a feminist.

        • Paul Roth says:

          Ooh, good point! Indeed, I did not go into the disparities that exist in terms of addressing women’s health care needs versus men’s, neither in terms of fair coverage nor restricting choices. I mean, that’s a big, big subject that’s been and is still being addressed by much smarter people than me. But I think I agree with you, Valerie!

      • stasi says:

        Of course, I do agree that both men and women should be granted leave when a child is born. I think that if two parents want to be involved in the raising of a child, then leave should be given to them to do so, or some other form of accommodation. However, in that a woman has to go through the actual physical process of carrying the child, the burden inevitably rests more heavily on her, and yet she is the one who is most severely penalized for the integral (and, most importantly, EXTENDED) biological role she plays in creating new human beings. Not just gestation, but nursing, too. Not because of tradition, but because these are biological functions for which she is outfitted (womb for carrying the child, breasts and mammary glands for making milk).

        It is sad to me that women are penalized for this–and, in a lot of cases SPECIFICALLY penalized for their ability to have children. Although it is illegal, on job interviews, I have twice been asked whether or not I have children. While I don’t, one has little option but to answer that question when it is posed (bc if you didn’t answer, they would probably not hire you), and women who have children, or are married and in the position to have children (because I have been asked if I was intending to have children in the future, too, at a job interview, if you can believe it) are put in a bad position.

        • Paul Roth says:

          Stasi, the situation you describe definitely exists. But if anything, it tells me that more people need to climb on the feminist bandwagon to combat those attitudes.

          I don’t know if you reported those illegal hiring practices or not, but if you felt like most of society was on your side (as feminists would be), I think you’d have felt it was easier to call them out. Without everyone behind you, it’s harder to fight those situations.

          But regardless, you’re right that a severe disparity in how men and women are treated still exists.

  2. Elyse says:

    Great post! I really liked this one!

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