Monday, 2 March 2015

The Feminist label. 03.03.15

I've had problems for years with the Feminist label. Most of the problems have had f.all to do with beliefs, ethics, and behavior. It's been a problem of defining terms. The meaning of the word varies hugely historically and geographically, yet people tend to assume that what I mean is the Feminism *they* know and either love or hate (and so do I; I'm a person too, at times.). People also tend to assume that if you're "not an X" it means you're "anti-X", because if you're not an apple, clearly you must be an aardvark. And if you say that you are "an X", then you must believe in everything that X ever stood for, even when it was grossly misused. Labels suck like that.

I've tended to resort to pre-emptive clarifications. Depending on where I was, it may be something like "I'm a feminist but I don't believe all PIV is rape" or "I'm not a feminist but I believe in equal opportunities" or something equally fudgy and half-explanatory. That didn't generally help much, because it still got some people's backs up and made communications more difficult.

Why do I need the label? I can just say "I believe in equal rights, opportunities, and responsibilities regardless of gender and sexual orientation" sans label. Hey ho, that will not stop me having to define my terms, but it ought to cut down on the unnecessary bloodshed.

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