A Feminist or a Bitch?

I never thought about feminism as a movement or even as a word till the year I moved to the U.S.

In 2000 a clueless me joined the Women’s Studies program because I won a scholarship. Back then I did not know that Women’s Studies was not the most popular program at the university, and for a good reason. Women’s Studies was a feminist program in a small Mormon town.

I guess you can say that I discovered American feminism at the tender age of 26.

No, I did not become a bra burning feminist. I did not turn into a radical men hater. I did not become fundamental in any respect. But there are certain rules and beliefs I stand by. They might make me a feminist. They might make me a bitch.

  • I will stand up for a woman if I think she is being treated unfairly.
  • I will stand up for a man if I think he is being treated unfairly.
  • I will stand up for a child if I think that he or she is being treated unfairly.
  • I believe in letting go of the fear to stand up for yourself.
  • I am not afraid to express my opinion especially if I don’t agree with something.
  • I believe that men and women should have equal opportunities: at work, in marriage, in politics, in fashion, in races, in sports… You name it.
  • I believe that the pay inequality should be fought viciously.
  • I believe that women should decide what to do with their own health and bodies. Not the government.
  • I do not believe that because you have penis and identify yourself as a heterosexual male, you are smarter, stronger and more capable.
  • I believe that femininity is not absolute.
  • I believe that masculinity is not absolute.
  • I will laugh at you if you tell me that feminism is synonymous with lesbianism.
  • I will get really worked up if you tell me that feminism is synonymous with abortion.
  • I believe that feminism is not about bra burning (I don’t get it!) but about awareness.
  • I believe that if you take Viagra, I can take my birth control pills.
  • I will tell you that women and not men drive home renovations.
  • I can prove to you that feminism is not identity politics.
  • I believe in respecting people’s rights no matter what gender or sexual orientation.
  • I believe that women should be advocates for their own financial security.
  • I believe that you can be a stay home mom, and still pull your financial weight.
  • I believe in female financial independence.

I believe in women. Because we rock!


37 thoughts on “A Feminist or a Bitch?”

  1. Here here! Great stuff Aloysa. You sound like a strong, intelligent woman. Sadly, not everyone is comfortable with that, hence the labels? I never understood the bra burning either. Guess fire attracts attention?

  2. I love it! I’m what you’d call a feminist, but I believe we all have to reverse the damage done on the female race. It’s a topic that I’m passionate about, but I still see young girls falling victim to gender stereotypes and it makes me sad.

  3. Love this! I too, did not enter the world of feminism until my first Women’s Studies class in college back when I was 18. It truly opened my eyes, and I have never looked back. It really irks me when people equate being a strong female with being something undesirable.

    1. Mackenzie said “It really irks me when people equate being a strong female with being something undesirable.”

      As a man, I can’t understand why anyone would want to be with someone who is not strong and confident. I imagine people who do lack self confidence and strength themselves.

  4. Feminism believes that women should have access to equal opportunity with men, and that a female person is not any “less than” than a male person. I believe strongly in that and I self-identify as a feminist.

    There is a really good blog http://bluemilk.wordpress.com by an Aussie lady who writes beautifully about feminism, motherhood, and raising children (boys and girls) to stand up for gender equality.

  5. At 36, I call myself a flaming feminist. At 18, I didn’t call myself a feminist at all. part of that was because I was lucky enough to grow up in a world where my parents expected me to be as smart and capable as my older brother- where I was expected to mow the lawn some weeks and he was expected to do the dishes. We were both expected to go to college. I didn’t need to be a feminist because they were about special rights, and I’d grown up in a world of (mostly) equal rights.
    Except for a few things- despite the fact that I went shooting with my father and brother, I never got a gun for Christmas. Despite the fact that my brother loved to cook, he was never given an easy bake oven. We combined the My Little Pony Castle with Castle Greyskull and had the GI Joes ride My Little Ponies, but I think you can guess which toys were given to whom.
    I don’t think I ever really thought about it until Christmas 1999, when I saw an ad for a Barbie video game aimed at kindergarteners that promised to help your daughter get over her fear of computers. Apparently, girls had an inherent fear of computers. Who knew?
    Now I’m an advocate for equal rights for all. I believe we have to ask for a mile to get an inch. I believe that if we stop asking for more, there are those who will try and take away what we’ve earned. I believe we must keep talking about it- men and women, because this isn’t an issue that’s been solved, or will be solved in just another couple of years. Sometimes it seems like a lot happened in little time (we haven’t even had the right to vote in the US for 100 years yet), but it still takes time. We’ve made great strides, but close doesn’t count- this isn’t horseshoes (or hand grenades or global thermal nuclear war).
    I keep fighting so that maybe one day, a generation or two down the road, every little girl can think of herself as not a feminist, and never have a reason to change her mind, because she really will be equal with the little boys- even when they grow up.

  6. I am with you. I grew up with two younger brothers who got more privileges than I did even tough I was the oldest, simply because they were men. I HATED it.

    I also hated the association of feminism because it’s got this negative connotation to it, but frankly it’s the idea that all women are just as equal as men. Even the little things bug me, like how even though I work a full time job, I am still expected to be in charge of maintaining the home and if the fridge isn’t cleaned, it’s my fault. like, um hello? DO i not work too? Do i not contribute financially to the household? why does my husband get a free pass?
    That is NOT how I plan on raising my children.

  7. Aloysa.. Nothing about your thoughts above says “bitch”.
    You are just being real..

    I see some society biases towards women, in experiencing what my wife goes through.. Why is it so hard to breastfeed your babies, for example? The health benefits of breastfeeding are well established and accepted, yet it is always a big deal.

    1. I did always surprised me that breastfeeding is not quite understood on society. I always wondered why,

  8. Awesome post Aloysa and I agree with every single point you made, excepting one. If you are a man you are almost certainly stronger (physically). It’s just a fact of our hormonal make up. Testosterone = bigger muscles/more strength.

    Other than that I agree with you wholeheartedly and live my life accordingly.

    1. It is interesting that men usually understand the word “strong” purely from the physical aspect of it. 🙂 There is more to this word than it seems.

      1. Yes I know there are many ways to be strong, that’s why I included (physically). I suppose men always see it from that perspective first because physical strength is…well…one of our strengths 🙂

        There’s no doubt in my mind that women are stronger than men in other ways. Comparing men and women is like comparing apples and oranges (well sort of), they are totally different in many ways, physically certainly, but also psychologically, emotionally and even in the way we respond to various stimuli. Certainly both sexes should be treated equally, but within the boundaries of what is most acceptable and desirable. I’m gonna stop there because I know these things have been debated and written about by people much more qualified than I. And with your background I’m sure you’ve read quite a bit of much more detailed analysis re: gender equality.

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  10. As someone noted, feminism just means you believe in equal opportunities for both sexes.
    Not sure why that’s so threatening to so many people.

    1. From Wikipedia: Identity politics are political arguments that focus upon the self interest and perspectives of self-identified social interest groups and ways in which people’s politics may be shaped by aspects of their identity through race, class, religion, gender, sexual orientation or traditional dominance.

      I don’t believe feminism is something that one identifies as but what one is. Does it make sense?

      1. Ok, so you reject it as a label that someone else tries to use on you? That makes sense.

        So a more accurate statement would be: some feminists practice identity politics, but feminism itself is not identity politics

  11. Dannielle @ Odd Cents

    Love it. My bf needs to read this. He has me pegged as a feminist, but I’m not. It’s just that I don’t like to see anyone treated unfairly. But I would admit that I’m a bit more sympathetic to women and children.

    1. To quote someone (but I don’t remember who) Feminism is the radical notion that women are men’s equals. If you, in fact, believe that everyone should be treated equally, you are a feminist.
      I am tired of seeing women shy away for this label (I did myself 15+ years ago).
      Feminism is not a dirty word. It is not code for man hater or lesbian. It is simply a label for those of us who believe in equal opportunity, equal pay for equal work, and the idea that we should have sovereignty over our own bodies.
      Why should that have negative connotations?

    2. Interesing… you are saying you are not a feminist but then you are saying than you don’t like to see anyone treated unfairly. Then by definition you are a feminist. Does the word “feminism” have a negative connotation for you? If it does, why?
      Someone once said “Feminists are just women who don’t want to be treated like shit.” Are you one of those women? I am!

  12. Dannielle @ Odd Cents

    The truth is that I’ve never researched the word. But I am a feminist based on the definitions that were given. But it has been equated with the “man hater” title and I suspect that many people (including myself) do not have a clear understanding of the word. Thanks Aloysa and Shanendoah. I learnt something new today – now I can pass it on.

  13. It’s sad really that we still have to argue about the rights of women. The law has been slow to ensure that in such areas as the workplace women have equality in pay and opportunities, but things are improving, slowly.

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