Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Feminism, Fashion & Other Ramblings

I read a post on Modern Mrs. Darcy about women's choices to work or stay home. Then a fashion blog I read (I've recently started checking out a few fashion blogs as I think about kicking up my personal style) directed me toward "feminist fashion bloggers," which led me to this post by a computer programmer who hides her love of fashion... and now I have various thoughts in my head to share.

I should mention that I AM A FEMINIST. No disclaimers, no buts. I am a feminist. Sadly, there seem to be a bunch of misconceptions about what that means, such that people who are feminists say they aren't and I've even read a bunch of bloggers who blame feminists for this that and the other thing--and they are just wrong.

Feminism is (textbook definition here) the belief that men and women are equal. Not the same, but of equivalent worth. {What exactly is my authority? I have taken a variety of classes on feminism, including Sex Equality and Feminist Legal Theory, taught by my idol Catharine MacKinnon. So I have some credibility on the subject.}

For the record, Miriam Webster's online definition is: "the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes."

Feminism is not the belief that women should be like men. Have individual women tried to advance through our patriarchy by being more "manly"? Certainly. But that doesn't change the definition of feminism. Have some women claimed that they do what they do (e.g. dress like tramps or act bossy) because they are feminists? Yes, but that doesn't mean the doctrine of feminism includes "act bossy and dress like a slut."

Also, being a feminist and being a SAHM are not mutually exclusive. Hello, I am both and proud of it! It is not un-feminist to sew or like fashion or do other "girly" things. Feminism is about CHOICES. Women can do anything (be CEO, be a SAHM, run for President, make clothes, fix cars, be a nurse) and so can men (be CEO, be a SAHD, run for President, make clothes, fix cars, be a nurse). Ideally to a point where sewing isn't considered "girly" and fixing cars isn't considered "manly."

I don't deny that there are biological differences between men and women (another thing feminists are accused of). There are physical differences. {Also, feminism doesn't mean we will no longer have separate bathrooms--all the laws governing equality for the sexes have an exception for things that are biologically different. Rest assured.} It's true that even outside of socialization, females tend to be drawn to dolls and boys to cars. I think there are 2 main points to feminism. First there's the traditional: you shouldn't have to be a man in order to get the highest paying jobs, the promotion, the raise etc; but also there's the broader point: if you aren't a girly woman or a manly man, you shouldn't be penalized for it.

Okay, I could go on and on, but I think I'll just do some future posts on some spinoff topics. Meanwhile, I had to add, I am a feminist and I've spent this morning doing laundry, calming a screaming toddler and getting dinner in the crockpot. Sometimes I wonder what I'm doing with my life but I don't doubt my feminist cred. ;-) In fact, I want to get one of those T-shirts that says "This is what a radical feminist looks like" and wear it to the playground and other SAHM activities. :-) But I digress.

Ugh, I wish this post was better written, because I think this is an important topic. Alas, this is all I have time for. Hopefully, I can devote more time to the subject soon! I guess the main point of this post is: you can be both a feminist and unapologetically girly.

What do you think?

1 comment:

Sarah @ Loved Like the Church said...

I use to be pretty hardcore in my feminism. However, slowly I started seeing how feminism {in culture} was going in the wrong direction. It seemed like it striped away our femininity and left us with a dog-eat-dog, be-like-a-man world. And frankly, I hate that.

In the textbook sense, I'm feminist {equality for sexes}. However, I really dislike the culturally feministic approach that women who choose family over career are somehow less and allowing males to rule over her. It seems like we beat other women down in order to prove ourselves better.

But, given my personality {very outspoken, very adventurous, very unafraid of "guy" things, but very soft, and girly} I'd say you can be a girly feminist.