10 Reasons Feminism Might Not Be For You

18 Sep

This post originally appeared on the blog The Outlier Collective. But since that blog is now defunct, and since people have been asking for this post, I’m republishing it here.

I’m typically a huge proponent of the idea that feminism is for everybody. Feminism is for ladies! It’s for men! It’s for individuals who don’t subscribe to the idea of a gender binary! Feminism is for teenagers and small children! In fact, I’m even pretty sure that at least one of my cats is a feminist, although the other one just prefers to think of herself as a cat-ist, because that’s less political. Regardless, I’m usually of the opinion that feminism, as a philosophy, can and should be embraced by everyone.

Lately, though, I’m not so sure. I’ve been seeing a lot of questionable behaviours and comments, many of them coming from purported feminists. I’m starting to wonder if some people might want to re-think whether the feminist movement is right for them. With that in mind, I’ve created a handy-dandy list of ways to tell whether or not this movement is for you.

So without any further adieu, here are ten signs that feminism might not be for you:

1. You are against victim-blaming except in the case of _____

No one is deserving of any kind of violence, sexual or otherwise, at any time, ever, full stop. I would have thought that this would be something that would be fairly well understood within the feminist community, but apparently that was just wishful thinking. I’ve heard self-professed feminists say all kinds of nasty victim-blaming shit, especially about women who have been sexually assaulted, ranging from complaints about girls giving out mixed signals (hint: there is no such thing as a mixed signal, there is only consent and lack of consent), all the way to suggesting that if a woman does not loudly and forcefully defend herself against an attack then she’s somehow complicit in it. I’ve also heard people criticize and even doubt assault victims because they’ve said something problematic or at some point in history weren’t very nice. But let me tell you something right now: there is no such thing as a perfect victim.

You guys, a victim is a victim is a victim. It doesn’t matter whether or not they’ve lived an exemplary life. It doesn’t matter if they’ve said things that you find disagreeable. It doesn’t matter whether or not you like them or would want to be friends with them. None of those things mean that they are deserving of violence.


2. You think that one of the goals of the feminist movement should be to make men feel safer or more comfortable about feminism.

Someone recently shared this video with me and it made me want to throw up everywhere:

I mean, I have so many issues with this video that I could probably write an entire series of blog posts about it. Also, I’m not sure that someone who doesn’t understand that sex and gender are two different things should be telling anyone about anything, and especially not opining on feminism. But the moment that especially makes me want to claw my own eyes out is when she asks “young women” to make feminism “male-friendly.”

Look, lady, the entire world is male-friendly, for one thing. For another, feminism isn’t anti-man – it’s anti-patriarchy, which is completely different. It is really fucking toxic to the feminist movement to suggest that we need to be more open and welcoming to men. That’s like saying that the civil rights movement should have been more open and inclusive towards white people. And this isn’t to say that men can’t be involved in feminism, in the same way that white people are still able to fight against racism – it’s just that movements working to forward the rights and freedoms of the oppressed should never, ever try to make themselves more friendly to those who have been historically oppressive.

That’s just common sense.

3. You think that someone can’t be a feminist based on how they dress or present themselves.

I can’t help but think of an interview with Zooey Deschanel that Glamour ran in February of this year. In it, she said,

“We can’t be feminine and be feminists and be successful? I want to be a fucking feminist and wear a fucking Peter Pan collar. So fucking what?”

There’s this weird idea (even within the feminist movement) that femininity somehow takes away from feminism. And, I mean, I guess that I kind of get it? Maybe? Sort of? Like, wearing pretty dresses and putting on makeup and removing your body hair definitely plays into patriarchal ideas of beauty. But you know what? Feminism is about choice, and these patriarchal ideas are so deeply ingrained in our culture that’s it’s nearly impossible to escape them. So you know what? You fucking wear your feminist Peter Pan collar with pride, Zooey, and I will do the same.

ABC's "Live With Kelly And Michael" - 2012
Still A Feminist

4. You don’t think that feminists are funny.

We’re fucking hilarious. Deal with it.

And not only are we funny, but our jokes don’t rely on the same old tired stereotypes about women that dudes seem to find so charming. That’s right – we’re actually coming up with new material and it’s fucking fantastic and maybe you should get over yourself and read some Lindy West or Mallory Ortberg or one of the other million woman who are a riot and a half. Turn off your white dude comic show for HALF A SECOND and check out something new for once in your life. Just saying.


5. You’re not interested in hearing how women of colour, queer women, or trans* women feel that the feminist movement has failed to recognize or address their needs and wants.

The feminist movement likes to think of itself as being anti-oppression, anti-racism, anti-homophobia and anti-transphobia. And I do think that most feminists believe in these ideas in theory; unfortunately, many of them have a harder time putting these concepts into practice. There’s a tendency to ignore or even silence queer women, trans* women and women of colour, and while I don’t think that this silencing is intentional, exactly, I do think that many people, even those working within the feminist movement, don’t want to address this problem or even acknowledge that it happens.

Here’s the thing: when someone from an oppressed group speaks up, you listen. You shut your mouth and you listen. You don’t tell them that we’re all women, here, and the issues that we’re working to resolve are issues that affect all women. You don’t discount their lived experiences by countering with your own examples of being oppressed as a white woman. And finally, you most fucking do not pretend that sexism experienced by women of colour or queer women or trans women is exactly the same as what you’ve experienced. Because it’s not; it’s worse. Get off your high horse, acknowledge your privilege, and let someone else have the microphone for a while. Feminism isn’t an egalitarian movement if it’s only promoting the rights of white, educated, middle-class women.

27 Audre-Lorde-IWD

6. You can’t handle being called out.

Getting called out is going to happen, I can guarantee it. Pretty much any person working in any kind of social justice movement is going to fuck up at some point (or, at the very least, do something that another person views as “fucking up”), and someone is going to call them out on it. And when that happens to you, it’s important to take a moment, cool your jets, and not immediately get your back up or become defensive. Instead, actually listen to what that person is saying (especially if they’re coming from a place of oppression that hasn’t been your lived experience). Try to take what they’ve said into consideration, even if you think that you’re not, ultimately, going to agree with it. And you know what? The funny thing is that you may very well end up realizing that the person calling you out is, in fact, right.

If you do realize that you were wrong (and let’s be real, probably you are if the caller-outer is from a more marginalized group than you) and you need to apologize, try taking a few notes from the fabulous Chescaleigh:

7. You ever, ever, ever feel the need to clarify that you’re not one of those feminists.

This is code for, “But I don’t hate men! I don’t wear cargo pants! I shave my legs! I promise!” And for sure those statements are true for many feminists; in fact, none of us hate men. But by distancing yourself from those feminists, whoever those feminists are, perpetuates the idea that a) there’s something wrong with those feminists, b) those feminists are totally threatening to men and masculinity, and c) that they make up the majority of the feminist movement.

Remember how we were talking earlier about feminism being all about choice? Well, it’s a two-way street, my friend. You can choose to wear your lipstick and your Peter Pan collar, and another woman can choose to wear hiking boots and a baseball cap, and at the end of the day, both of you are awesome feminists.

8. a) You think that there might be a type of body-shaming that is acceptable.

Nope. Never ok. You don’t get to comment negatively on another woman’s body, ever. You don’t make fat-phobic comments, you don’t make divisive remarks about how real women have curves, you don’t treat “fat” as if it’s a dreadful, dirty word. Oh, and while we’re on this subject, you can also feel free to keep any remarks about plastic surgery to yourself. Recently, when the new season of Arrested Development came on the air, a ton of my friends were gleefully jumping all over the fact that Portia DeRossi appeared to have had some kind of plastic surgery.

And yes, plastic surgery typically plays right into patriarchal ideals of how women should look. And maybe these women are furthering the idea that there is only one, very narrow definition of beauty, and that the appearance of aging is to be avoided at all costs. But you know what? Bodily autonomy. Bodily autonomy means that you get to do whatever you like with your body, and other women get to do whatever they like with their own body. End of story.


8. b) You think that there might be a type of food-policing that is acceptable.

I once had a woman say to be that she openly judges anyone who uses margarine instead of butter, because apparently margarine is a tool of the devil or some such shit. Now listen, I am the last person to deny being judgmental. I will openly judge you if you are sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, anti-choice, mean to puppies, or any of that sort of vile shit. But when it comes to what you put in your body? I literally have zero things to say about that. No wait, I have one thing: bon apétit.

You guys, food is complicated. On the one hand, yes, you do need a certain combination of nutrients in order to keep your body functioning at an optimal level. On the other hand, not everyone has access to so-called healthy foods, and even if they do, they are under no obligation to eat them. In fact, no one is really under any kind of obligation to even be healthy. Bodily autonomy! You get to treat your own body however you want.

9. You are pro-choice, except in cases where _____.


Wrong, wrong, wrong.

If you were on Jeopardy or whatever, the WRONG ANSWER buzzer would be going off right now.

The first part of this statement should never be followed up with an “except” or a “but.” You are either pro-choice or you are anti-choice. There is no hierarchy of abortions; they should be available to everyone, on demand, and without apology.

Sure, you are totally free to feel uncomfortable about why someone might choose to terminate their pregnancy, but you know what? You keep those feelings to yourself.

Say it with me, now, one more time: b-o-d-i-l-y a-u-t-o-n-o-m-y

10. You think that there is one specific way to be a feminist.

I know that I’ve pointed out a ton of things that people do that are unfeminist, but the flip side of this is that there’s no one way to be a feminist.

You can be a feminist and be married. You can be a feminist and be single. You can be a feminist and have kids. You can be a feminist and be childless. You can be a feminist and take your partner’s last name. You can be a feminist and keep your last name. You can be a feminist and breastfeed. You can be a feminist and formula-feed. You can be a feminist and work outside the home. You can be a feminist and stay home with your kids.

You can be a feminist in a box. You can be a feminist with a fox. You can be a feminist in a house. You can be a feminist with a mouse. And so on. And so forth.

Seriously, you guys, I can’t believe that I have to say all of this in 2014.

And yeah, I know that I said earlier that maybe feminism isn’t for everyone, but I totally take that back. I still think that everyone can and should be feminist. But I also think that it’s super important for people, especially those already within the movement, to be able to take a step back every once in a while, re-evaluate their beliefs and ask themselves if their speech and actions actually do help to promote women’s rights and equality. Because you know what? It’s easy to fall into the trap of offering the appearance of giving a hand up to women while actually actively engaging in pushing them down. It’s easy to feel that you are working towards “equality” while still sliding back into the old patriarchal beliefs that we all grew up with, to one degree or another. And it’s especially fucking easy to find things to criticize about the ways that women dress, act or talk – in fact, I actually can’t think of anything easier than that.

But we’re not here to take the easy route, are we? So let’s all start taking the time to check in with ourselves, to make sure that the stuff that we say and do actually promotes the changes that we want to see in the world. Let’s take a long, hard look at our thoughts and beliefs, and try harder to call ourselves out before anyone else can. And let’s all try to take few moments every night to repeat bodily autonomy is a necessity five times, out loud, in front of the mirror.

Because, you guys? This is our movement. And it’s our job to continue to make it a better, safer, happier place.


49 Responses to “10 Reasons Feminism Might Not Be For You”

  1. R.J. Crum September 18, 2014 at 3:09 am #

    I am really enjoying your blogs and this one is especially wonderful. Thanks for writing- you’ve given me so much to think about. Really terrific topics and I love your no BS attitude. Thanks again.



  2. Louise Fleming September 18, 2014 at 3:31 am #

    Brilliant and funny and well-written and I loved it!

  3. AmazingSusan September 18, 2014 at 3:46 am #

    Phew. I’m still a feminist 😉

  4. AmazingSusan September 18, 2014 at 3:48 am #

    P.S. I stopped watching at “make it more male friendly.” I mean WTF.

  5. smartypants196 September 18, 2014 at 4:06 am #

    Reblogged this on My Blog and commented:
    bellejar tells it like it is, sisters and brothers work to empower women and girls

  6. neighsayer September 18, 2014 at 4:33 am #

    Well done. I especially liked the early stuff in your post, about sub-groups, trans and such. I hate that every oppressed group has to fight for it’s rights alone. How there was the emancipation, then 50 years later, the women’s vote, 50 more years, black vote . . . drives me nuts. There should be one huge ‘Rights or EVERYBODY” movement, everybody helping each other.

    • neighsayer September 19, 2014 at 3:32 am #

      oops – ” . . . rights FOR everybody,” of course . . .

  7. uglyprettypeople September 18, 2014 at 5:38 am #

    Sing it, girl. I love this.
    Also, while we’re on the topic, the idea that being a feminist somehow makes you less feminine is completely ridiculous and I’m on a journey to spread feminism AND femininity. They aren’t mutually exclusive!

  8. amonsn September 18, 2014 at 11:24 am #

    Thanks for the post! It really got me thinking about bodily autonomy and I was so enthused I wrote something much longer than the comments section will allow! 😦 If anyone wants to read it, you can do so here: http://inthelucubratory.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/bodily-autonomy-a-feminist-caveat/

    The upshot: One way in which the misogynistic underpinnings of eating disorders are rationalized and implemented is through a vigilant and punishing notion of bodily autonomy.

    • sylve December 10, 2015 at 6:52 pm #

      I would read your post…but it’s marked private.

  9. julietjeske September 18, 2014 at 11:41 am #

    The biggest problem I’ve run into again and again is #10. I feel like there is a script and if you don’t follow it. 100% you get trounced on. I think that’s bullshit. I’ve also seen things I thought were deeply troubling such as a gif on a feminist website that showed a woman decapitating a man in a highly realistic way. It was the author’s logo and some clip from a film taken out of context. I was the only person who dared to comment that the image was disturbing and actually quite damaging to the pro-sex arguments the author was making. Just think if a man had a gif of a man cutting a woman’s head off as if it was a joke on his blog? There would be outrage. Why is it funny or ironic when a woman does it? That’s just one of many examples. Also one would think that to be a feminist one has to be a white well educated woman who chooses sex work and then blogs about it. I get it, but I’m over it. We have far more issues that I would rather read about – equal pay, sexual harassment, sexual violence, disparities of women in the media, how women are sexually objectified, protecting our reproductive rights, getting equal representation in congress, getting more advancements in women’s health, and on and on and on. Sure a blog about a prostitute will get a lot of readers but it seems like the bulk of what’s out there are white privliged sex workers who distill feminism down to a one topic slut shaming tirade. Yes sex workers shouldn’t be stigmatized, harassed, or harmed but it seems like sometimes they are the only ones who get press and god forbid if we get sick of that topic. Porn stars are not my heroes, women who sell their bodies are not the ultimate feminists they are sex workers and that’s their choice. And for some of the. It’s the best choice but others it might it be, but you can’t dare say that. I know women who have thrived in that work and others who have been destroyed by it. It’s a very specific type of employment that not every woman is suited for , but you can’t say that either. I’ve made different choices as have many other women and we aren’t all white and college educated but you would never think that to read some feminist blogs. And if you dare to even bring this up some will come down on you as if you are a traitor to the cause. It’s insane. A feminist can be a stay at home mom, a soft spoken teacher or a introverted mathematician. We have so many voices. Why are we reduced to just one?

    • Alex September 18, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

      Yeah, # 10 and # 2 kinda counter each other out, cuz some feminists (this Sommers lady who’s recently shown up on the scene or Camile Paglia) get shit on by other feminists because they’re not focusing on destroying patriarchy.

      As for #1: What about that guy who thought that bears were awesome and that bears were people and he went out to go live with bears and he got eaten by bears. Can I blame him for getting eaten by bears?

      • julietjeske September 18, 2014 at 8:54 pm #

        HA! The bear analogy is pretty funny. That guy was out of his mind.

      • Auntie Alias September 21, 2014 at 8:11 am #

        You can’t be a feminist if you’re a misogynist and that’s what Christine Hoff Sommers is. She’s also full of shit.

      • Alex September 22, 2014 at 3:07 pm #

        You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

        Wanting equality without necessarily wanting to subvert/destroy gender roles =/= hating women. You can think that she’s wrong. You can think that she’s unhelpful. But calling her a misogynist is asinine.

      • Auntie Alias September 23, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

        Alex, women can be misognists too. When I feel hated because of the words coming from someone’s mouth that denigrate women, that’s misogyny in my book. The woman works for a right-wing think tank and those people are intent on keeping women subjugated.

        There can’t be equality without an adjustment to traditional gender roles. The social aspect is a big part of the problem.

      • Alex September 23, 2014 at 3:19 pm #

        She seems to be less about hating women and more about wanting women who do not subscribe to socialist, statist, communist or progressive politics to have a safe space in a movement that should be about equal rights. As it is, many women who do not subscribe to certain political ideologies are at risk of being shouted down because of those differences.

        Sommers publishes in many outlets, though she’s using this one for her videos. Could it be that her content is being published by this outlet because she felt that it was one of the few places where a moderate-left academic could publish and express views safely about a movement that has become dominated by the political and academic far left?

      • Alex September 23, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

        The equivalent in the field of constitutional law would be someone like Alan Dershowitz; though he’s a self-proclaimed left-liberal, he’s more and more often seen as falling on the conservative side of the spectrum, not because of any change in his own ideology but the radical shift in the political left that has occurred over the last 20 years.

      • Auntie Alias September 24, 2014 at 3:27 am #

        Alex, despite the fact that Wikipedia says she’s a registered Democrat, she’s got the right-wing talking points down cold. Republicans pay her salary. She’s a darling of the men’s rights movement and the only women they tolerate are those who spout misogyny.

        She misrepresents what feminism is about in that video and keeps making up her own labels for different types of feminism. Maternal feminism? Freedom feminism? Give me a break, lady. She not nearly as subtle in the two other videos I’ve seen. She’s dishonest, she makes claims that she doesn’t back up, and she resorts to name-calling. That’s rich coming from someone who calls herself “The Factual Feminist”. It’s right-wing, anti-woman propaganda.

      • sellmaeth November 22, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

        “As for #1: What about that guy who thought that bears were awesome and that bears were people and he went out to go live with bears and he got eaten by bears. Can I blame him for getting eaten by bears?”

        No, you can’t. First thing you blame this guy, next thing you do is blaming women who think that men are awesome, that men are people, and who go to live with men for being raped by men. It’s a slippery slope.

        Also, #notallbears

      • Cirsova November 24, 2014 at 8:35 pm #

        You sound like a bear-apologist. ;D

        If I were actually a twitter user, I would steal the hell out of that hash-tag.

    • i8there4irun September 18, 2014 at 11:25 pm #

      Well said. Or, if you are feminist but lack the educational credentials…you know where that song leads.

      • julietjeske September 19, 2014 at 4:36 pm #

        Actually I have a college degree but it’s in theatre and music so it’s basically useless. HA!

      • i8there4irun September 19, 2014 at 5:13 pm #

        Wouldn’t say useless, especially if it keeps that sense of humor intact!

  10. Rachel B September 18, 2014 at 11:45 am #

    Absolutely fantastic. Shared far and wide!

  11. prideinmadness September 18, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

    I need to ponder number 2. A male friend of mine who works with men to end violence against women and is a feminist was concerned with number 2.

    I disagree 100% with the video you posted (I was yelling at her actually the whole time). I was especially pissed off at the idea of the “traditional maternal feminism” which to me insinuated that being a Mother can’t be associated with radical feminism which makes my skin crawl.

    I struggle with understanding how feminism isn’t anti-man but anti-patriarchy then you say it’s “toxic” to suggest we need to be more friendly towards men. I guess what needs to be defined is what would it mean for feminism to be more welcoming to men. Any historically oppressive group needs to face up to what their privilege has done and if being more welcoming means asking men to not acknowledge their privilege then yes, feminism should not be more welcoming. But if more welcoming means acknowledging the ways in patriarchy has also controlled the lives of many men (ie: defining masculinity as violent) and letting men know they have a role to play as our ally in feminism then yes, I think that should be done.

  12. chiilmama September 18, 2014 at 2:59 pm #

    Heck yeah! Well said.

  13. AMM September 18, 2014 at 8:15 pm #

    As someone who by the usual criteria counts as male, I think feminism is pretty male-friendly already. IMHO, what it is is jerk-unfriendly, esp. male-jerk-unfriendly. But as someone who has been on the receiving end of a lot of jerkishness, mostly from males, I see that as a _good_ thing. (Unfortunately, society sends the message that to be a Real Man(tm), you’ve got to behave like a jerk.)

    As for femininity vs. feminism: it might be worth mentioning that while a woman can be both feminine and feminist, she can also be not-feminine and feminist, too. Neither compulsary nor forbidden.

    For that matter, a corollary of this is that it should be okay for _men_ to be feminine, too.

    • listengirlfriends September 19, 2014 at 2:51 am #

      I really liked this post, but why is Zooey Deschanel wearing a peter pan collar internalized patriarchy? I get what you are saying that society can influence a lot of our choices that we make regarding self-presentation, but a lot of women enjoy fashion/makeup because it’s a way to express their creativity. Many even consider it an art form. And I struggle with this idea that playing with gender and being ‘girly’ is a form of brainwashing. Femininity is not necessarily negative right?

  14. i8there4irun September 18, 2014 at 11:21 pm #

    Right on, sister! It never ceases to amaze me how young the “tearing down of other women” starts. I just had a full blown pro-feminism rant when my 14 year old daughter and her friend were talking about another girl that was “too mainstream”. They should both know better, as 1) They were not raised to be that way 2.) My daughter is a member of the SGA (Straight Gay Alliance) and anti-bullying and acceptance of others has been drummed into their little melons consistently. I guess all we can do is stand strong in our solidarity, and hope the younger generation follows by example.

  15. Gilraen September 21, 2014 at 8:29 am #

    Reblogged this on Just a link and commented:
    Just found myself nodding at every reason. So decided to put it onto my own blog.
    Well written and thought provoking. Looking in the mirror makes me again realise that I too sometimes still step into my white-middlelass-educated-woman traps that are so clearly written out here. I guess it is not wrong to fall into that trap sometimes, after all I am only human, but to realise that I have done it and learn form my mistake.

  16. viralkumqats September 21, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

    I have certain reservations about #3 and #8… Feminism isn’t simply about “choices” – that’s kind of a reductionist approach that empties the word of its politics and makes it a lifestyle. I hope that we can still invite one another to think critically about our lifestyle practices and the extent to which they are in line with patriarchal ideologies. True, we shouldn’t shun women simply because they choose to abide by patriarchal standards, and we should be friendly to them. But ultimately, more than being about “choices,” feminism is about critique and change; it’s about transforming and organizing society in a way that’s fair to everyone, and I don’t see how we can do this without having conversations about the implications of our everyday gestures and choices. I’m worried that this post is, in some way, falling into the trap of equating an identity with a politics (i.e., I am a feminist, therefore everything I do is necessarily a feminist gesture). Feminists, too, are vulnerable to false-consciousness, and we should all encourage each other to be more critical and to engage in solid reflection.

  17. manpreetkaur35 September 23, 2014 at 2:22 am #

    Reblogged this on theproamateurblogger and commented:
    Beautifully spoken, its a shame some women deny their own rights.

  18. alyshafisha September 24, 2014 at 8:17 pm #

    I loved this article! I really did. And I love all of the other articles I’ve read of yours since I discovered your blog today. That being said, #9 made me a little uneasy. I am 100% pro-choice, no matter what. I have always been of the opinion that abortions should be accessible and safe and available for all people who need them without explanation or apology. However, I’m troubled by the idea that an anti-choice woman cannot be a feminist. While I do not agree with them, I don’t believe that women who believe that abortion is wrong and criminal can’t also advocate for gender equality. I would hope that there are fewer and fewer of these women every day as they learn more about the science. But until that day comes, I don’t think we can across the board say that anti-choicers are all “bad feminists”. Just my two cents. Keep up the good work, bellejar! Sincerely, your newest fan.

  19. Heather Milkiewicz September 27, 2014 at 9:22 pm #

    Excellent post. I enjoy your cadence and tone in addressing a serious topic in an accessible manner. I look forward to reading more!

  20. Kele September 29, 2014 at 1:16 am #

    Love the article and your blog! I was just wondering what your opinion on sex selective abortion in relation to bodily autonomy is? I am extremely pro-choice but I’m confused as to how the two fit together? Can you shed any light? Thank you! 🙂

  21. cailitn October 18, 2014 at 1:11 am #

    Wow this article is absolutely amazing! Everything was extremely well said. I especially love the part when you talked about victim blaming. I’m with you 100% on that one! For me, it’s super irritating and, not to mention, messed up whenever rape victims are blamed for being sexually assaulted. No, just because they were wearing something revealing does not mean that they were “asking for it”. Like you said, no one is ever deserving of violence and I couldn’t agree more.

  22. Sophie March 9, 2015 at 12:20 am #

    I can’t help but think that you are opposed to free speech. I agree with a lot of your ideas, I am pro-choice and I believe everyone deserves equality, but I also know that some people have differing opinions than my own and it is not fair to silence them because I feel offended. Preventing people from speaking their mind only makes them feel marginalized, it doesn’t change their opinion. I believe there are people who say things in rude ways that could be phrased better and I will open my mouth when I think they are wrong, but they need to allow me to speak my mind as well, if communication only goes one way that does not improve anything. With tape over my mouth and someone I disagree with telling me their opinion only forcefully, that isn’t going to make me agree with them.

  23. doormat April 6, 2015 at 7:26 pm #

    after watching the calling out video you hyperlinked, I’m going to call you out on something. I skimmed through this list and I identify as queer woman of colour. I am interested in disability activism and one of the things my prof said people think there is either “prochoice or prolife” no inbetween the former is feminist and the latter antifeminist. Now since I’m Indian, female feticide is a form of abortion which I believe is wrong. Moreover, as I discussed with my prof, abortions that are caused because the “fetus” may have some sort of disability is ALSO wrong. It’s important to look at the issue of abortion from a cultural and intersectional lens and not from a western understanding of what feminism is. There are “ifs” and “buts” in feminism and as much as I support women rights (the right to govern her own body and choose if she wants to give birth), I’m way more concerned the intersectional analysis of ableism and sexism perpetuated by certain abortion practices. I read your other article about white feminism and policing white feminists to not respond a certain way. I advise you to do the same and look at western philosophies from an other lens.

  24. ditajessica June 8, 2015 at 6:17 pm #

    It’s so easy to feel pushed into a corner in social situations and resort to number 7. Definitely something I will try my best to avoid in future.

  25. Serahe (@SeraheShoes) October 16, 2015 at 6:20 am #

    All your blog posts are so great. You are amazing. ❤

    • Elizabeth December 10, 2015 at 3:34 pm #

      I like your writing and your ideas, but they tap into a long-standing difficulty of mine. Re# 9 — Is it not possible to be a feminist who is not 100% on board with abortion? I am deeply conflicted about abortion, but I consider myself a feminist. I have tried to get on board with supporting people’s right to abortions whenever they want them — I am nauseated by the history of women as sexually enslaved, and I really wish that I could embrace the power that I see as so threatening to the patriarchy to decide in that way when and if we are going to have children. But in the end, I feel like the person at the other end of the abortion procedure is alive — to use a common metaphor, not an acorn as opposed to an oak tree (that would be the egg or the sperm), but a very small sprouted tree who is — not cute, not a baby — but a vulnerable human being. I can’t not think that, even though it puts me in conflict with other feminists and in bed with people who want to control women’s bodies in the worst ways. I support women’s having sex whenever and with whomever they want. I support birth control. (In college, a guy I knew removed all the condoms from the women’s dorms because he didn’t believe in birth control, and I told him what I thought of him, found more, and put them back — I don’t just give it lip service.) I support helping women without judgment, giving them free and easy access to health care, giving them access to all possible information, respecting their decisions. I support sexual freedom for everyone. I vote feminist. But, though I have tried, I cannot accept free and easy access to abortion. I even feel like my feminism informs my opinion in a number of different ways — e.g. the prospect of being able to abort people freely who don’t suit a family’s idea of the perfect future child is, to my mind, threatening to women in a patriarchal culture. I know this comment will probably go nowhere — in this crowd, the few people who see it this far after the date of posting will slam me for it — but I suddenly got tired of being silent about it.

      • emtvalerie March 29, 2016 at 7:21 pm #

        I for one thank you for posting this. I think it’s also worth pointing out that unlimited access to abortion has enabled other kinds of misogyny, for instance, sex selective abortion, continued pregnancy discrimination, failure to recognize breastfeeding rights, and judging a woman’s worth on maintaining an appearance of sexual availability. Having some slightly eco-feminist leanings, I also don’t see a woman’s body as something that needs to be controlled by anyone, man or woman, unless there are health problems. Others are free of course to believe differently, but when people tell me that women need unlimited access to abortion, I feel a need to point out that all our rights depend on our right to live first being recognized. Take out pregnancy discrimination and the crazy idea that a woman who carries an unplanned pregnancy to term has just “ruined” her life and her body (the body shaming associated with pregnancy is astounding, even when magazines “compliment” photoshopped celebrities for how quickly they’ve slimmed down post-baby), and you remove most incentive for elective abortion.

  26. Amy Johann December 11, 2015 at 8:26 am #

    It’s funny how this bodily autonomy thing doesn’t extend to the bodily autonomy of other sentient beings, with most feminists. “It’s my body and I can do whatever I want with it”, including pay for the torture of other subjugated, sentient beings so I can stuff my face with their dead bodies. The logical disconnect is sort of cute.

    • emtvalerie March 29, 2016 at 7:06 pm #

      What more alarms me is that the demand for respect of bodily autonomy also doesn’t extend to respecting the bodily automony of all humans, for example, the human fetus, whose bodily autonomy is violated most often for reasons of convenience.

      I’m okay with eating meat because the human species is omnivorous by design and some people need more vitamin B and/or iron than a vegetarian or vegan diet offers. (I was personally the most unhealthy while a vegetarian. I think it’s healthy for some people, but I just couldn’t make it work for me.) A vegetarian or vegan diet also doesn’t jibe well with peoples that still exist in the US that live off their own land, including land that’s under snow for a quarter of the year, and therefore hunt for survival. Also, unlike most omnivorous or carnivorous animals, we have the capacity to care about the welfare of the animals that we choose to put on our plates. (I order my milk from a dairy that’s well renowned for treating their cattle so kindly, they actually enjoy the company of humans.)

      However, we can’t cite the existence of incisors and a need for micronutrients that are more abundant in meat than in plant matter as an excuse for deliberately denying the humanity of other living human beings and violating the bodily autonomy of innocent human beings in the name of enforcing our own. If meat is murder (and I don’t believe it is if we are mindful of the animal’s welfare and the fact that we take animal’s lives in order to eat), how much more is actually taking the life of an innocent living human, which science has proven is exactly what the human fetus is?

      I find that item #9 really doesn’t have a place in such a list, especially since item #10 immediately contradicts it. The only “feminism” that’s not for me is one that doesn’t allow me to form my opinions based on sound science and that denies the personhood and allows for the deliberate and unrepentant violation of the bodily autonomy of human beings science is increasingly proving are people.

      You don’t believe all people are equal if you think it’s okay to kill an innocent human being. The feminism that is for me is the one that pushes for the recognition that all human beings are equal.


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