Last Friday night I was at a Christmas fete and someone asked me what I do with my life. This is a short recap of the conversation that ensued.
(Disclaimer: I was a little intoxicated and not at my most articulate, however this is also when I tend to FEEL most articulate.)
Lovely self-identified male human: What do you do?
My most articulate self: I’m doing a masters in Gender and Development
LSIMH: What is gender?
MMAS: *realizing I was not currently articulate enough to dive into the depths of defining gender studies* In short, I am a feminist.
LSIMH: I’ve never met a feminist.
MMAS: You probably have. You probably are one.
LSIMH: *Looks at me skeptically*
And so the conversation went on and I proceeded to explain that…
…being a feminist simply means that you believe in equality not just for women but for any and all humans who are otherwise oppressed or denied privilege/citizenship/space to exist due to whatever forces (mostly patriarchal) exist in their worlds…
…obviously this took around five to ten minutes to explain in entirety BUT this LOVELY self identified male human did understand my explanation completely.
And that felt great.
But retrospectively, here’s what sucked;
“I’ve never met a feminist.”
We all know why a lot of people – including actual practicing feminists – are terrified of the label ‘Feminist’ and people who identify as feminists.
As the LSIMF asked me; no we don’t all burn bras, yes some of us are sexually attracted to men, and YES of COURSE we support and fight for the rights of men who are oppressed by the same patriarchy that oppresses us all.
By now, correct me if I’m wrong, most of us know that all feminists are not the extremists or radicals who made such a mark in historic media that people paint all feminists with the same brush.
(Seriously, correct me if I’m wrong in the comments because sometimes I worry that I live in a bubble of wonderfully open-minded persons)
So since most of us know this, and since it only takes five to ten minutes to explain to those who may not have heard the feminist news, can we stop being so worried about scaring away the public and just HAVE these fem-versations?
I think most people are ready to hear us now.
And if they are ready to hear us, they may be ready to claim it with us too.
[Banner Image from Ms. Foundation for Women]