Today one of my friends told me she didn’t really agree with feminism. I tried to restrain myself from launching into a short verbal essay and/or roundhouse kicking her. I think I answered tactfully. I said something along the lines of, “Feminism is just the belief that women are human beings.” which is really pretty weak and certainly isn’t changing anyone’s minds anytime soon. But it’s hard to defend something you believe in so strongly to someone you care about. Especially because– well, how does one explain feminism?
Of course, pretty much everyone and their cousin knows sort-of what feminism is. But it seems like so many people have such a screwed-up idea of feminists. We’re man-haters, we have no sense of humor, we’re all lesbians (O.K. I’m queer but I don’t speak for all feminists), and we should just get over ourselves because the battle is over. And in a situation like that, you need a quick comeback. Not necessarily something clever that will leave them speechless with pure awe and shame, but have you ever tried to explain double-standards, the beauty myth, the virgin/whore complex, rape apologism, the rift society creates between women, and why yes, heels are actually a symbol of oppression, regardless of how adorable they are*? It’s impossible to sum up how women are oppressed in 140 characters or less. And you have to admit “feminism is just the belief that women are human beings” isn’t going to make a radical feminist out of anyone, let alone inspire them to read the books and figure out what is really is.
So my question is: is it worth it to try to explain? Do you have any fallback replies to things like this? How do you explain to someone your perception of feminism? Please leave a reply in the comments. In the meantime, here’s a picture of Lady Gaga from the “Judas” video (which, by the way, I have watched at least a million times).
P.S.: DO NOT say “women and men are just different”. Having a vagina vs. a dick doesn’t have anything to do with whether your hair is long or short, you wear skirts, you like to shop, your friends are men or women, etc. etc. Plus, “women and men are different” can justify anything. “Women should stay home! They’re different! They have babies, and men don’t, and babies stay at home!”, “Men and women are just different. THAT’S why women are weak”, “Men and women are different! Men are BUILT to be in positions of power over women!”
*I have nothing against heels in general, besides the fact that they often hurt like hell. But why is it that painful and restricting shoes/garments are relegated to women? Oh yeah the world hates us and wants us to be unable to run away from rapists ha ha I forgot about that for a moment.