I'm sure you've all heard of Ms. magazine's "This is what a Feminist looks like" campaign. They nicely photoshopped Obama into one of their tshirts for their winter 2009 cover. Their publisher, Eleanor Smeal, explains the rationale (in - I believe - a very loose way) here at Huffington Post.
Anyway, my roommate brought this Obama covered issue of Ms. home a few days ago and I've been thinking about it ever since.
Sometimes I look like a feminist. Sometimes I don't.
I guess most of the time I look pretty feminist. Let's be honest: I have short hair. I wear men's clothing and menswear inspired women's clothing. I buy little boy's tshirts. And I prefer to open the door for someone (anyone) than have them do the same for me.
So what's the problem? What is the big drawback of looking like a feminist?
I don't think I'm a feminist.
Not any more, at least. I grew up a very conservative person. Everything around me was conservative and I was all in. The church I grew up in taught me that "liberal" meant bad and "conservative" meant right. At the time, I believed it.
In college, I was presented with options. Options regarding everything. Religion. Politics. Philosophy. Sexuality. Ideology. Clothing. Gender. With all of those options swirling around me, I wrote my first feminist theory paper on Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon. From that point on, I guess I just figured that educated, open-minded people (especially women, duh) were feminists. So I wore that badge (with pride?).
I'm tired of it. I'm not tired of caring about women; that's just silly. I believe in women's rights and women's voices and women's choices and all that important stuff, but I'm tired of being a "feminist." I'm tired of being offended and defensive and continually put upon. I'm tired of having my paper topics chosen for me. I'm tired of arguing that women should get this or that better. I'm tired of having to justify The Bachelor: it's a show that demonstrates the ridiculous stupidity of the participants of both sexes.
And perhaps the biggest annoyance for me right now is the feminist approach to literature. Sure women could be treated better in literature, but so could men! There! I said it! So what if the author is clearly praising men and overlooking women?! Why should I take it personally when the only character to die is a woman? It happens! Why can't I write a paper about male achievement?
Why does feminism allow me to prioritize women to the point of demonizing men? I don't think that it should. I want to be a humanist. So, no, I'm not a feminist. I once was a feminist. In the future, I might be one again. But right now I'm over it.