05 August 2008

It's Different for Girls

Recently, there was an outrage over at Jezebel due to two of its editors. Tracie and Moe, appearing on a local show called Thinking & Drinking and, taking the latter part to heart, the former took a backseat to some questionable comments. The interview then caused a lot of lamentation about the editors letting down girls & women who saw them as their new "feminist heroes" and others wondering why anyone would see these women as such in the first place.

Moe has since moved from Jezebel to Gawker.com, although I believe she will still continue to do some of her regular Jezebel features. Tracie on her personal blog eventually posted this statement where she questioned the idea of whether there can be a "good" or "bad" feminist. Although I found her final post on the topic to be the most well-thought out and honest viewpoint of the situation, her blog was littered with comments such as:
You are putting women, not even feminists, to shame with your attitude, outlook, and disregard. You words are trash and shouldn't be taken with any more validity than a cheap add in a porno mag.

You're not a "bad feminist"...you're just an immature, cold, insensitive, self-centered bitch

Now while I do believe everyone is entitled to their opinions, I find that when addressing the issue of feminism, many women seem to believe that they have the definitive or the authentic feminism locked up somewhere. And throwing around the words "bitch", "whore" and "slut" don't help anyone.

Am I not a feminist (or a "bad" feminist) because I haven't read the literature? Is my feminism less authentic because I believe that being a good mother is the best job a woman can do? (On an aside: I also believe that being a good father is the best job a man can do. When you work with children, you realize how important good parenting is.)

I'm just wondering because it seems as though feminism, the way it has been set up, is still largely about middle-upper class white women who have time to contemplate these issues and denounce other women who don't because they are trying to survive economically or a stay-at-home mom or a sex worker or something else that doesn't jibe with the idea of a woman throwing down her apron and entering the workforce.

As I see it, the truth is that it's different for girls. There's always going to be a barrier to breakdown, an image to overcome, a double standard to navigate. But lately it seems like women are throwing extra barriers at each other to further judge your authenticity. I believe that a women should be able to have responsible sex with as many people as she wants, but I don't think anyone should be running around putting their sexuality in people's faces (male or female). I think a woman can do any job a man can do if she puts her mind to it. I also think there is a certain grace and beauty that women have and that should never be lost in the attempt to "equal" men. I don't know what kind of feminist that makes me but I also believe that this whole thing is a process. And it's still happening everyday.

Full interview of Thinking & Drinking (I really suggest watching the entire thing as the clips are a bit taken out of context): Shoot the Messenger

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