I used to be one of those women. You know the ones. I believed very strongly in equal rights but didn’t want to call myself a feminist. When pressed to talk (or think) about it I had the same reasons other people have:

-I didn’t just believe in equal rights for women, I believed in equal rights for all humans.
-I didn’t want to be lumped in with the radical feminists, the man haters, or the ‘all hetero sex is rape’ crowd.

None of those things has changed, so what happened?

I got older and I learned a few things.

I learned that in politics and social activism one of the most effective weapons your opponants can use against you is to twist your chosen title around and make it something bad.

I learned that most groups, if not all, have their radical element and that it is often that radical fringe that gets the most attention. They are often the most passionate and vehment and they frequently make the best news stories.

And I learned that quite a lot of modern feminists felt the way I did about equality being a human right and not just a female right. It would seem that many of us take the view that we cannot achieve equality for women without achieving equality for everybody. We are striving for and end to discrimination on the basis of gender, race, gender status, sexual orientation, etc. It’s an all or nothing kind of a thing.

I came to realize that I am a feminist and that the only way to remove the perceived tarnish from the label is to accept it and strive to be heard above the voices of the opposition and the voices of the radical fringe.

First and foremost, I believe that the government has an obligation to uphold and protect the rights of all citizens equally. Full stop.

I believe that there is a fundamental right to equality under the law. Women shouldn’t have to fight for equal pay and equal opportunity.  If opposite gendered couples can marry, same gendered couples should be able to marry too. It should not be legal, as it is in Montana, for gay people to be fired from their jobs or evicted from their homes, simply because they are gay. I believe that trans people deserve our respect and support and should not be hindered in changing their legal gender when they’re going through the transition. I believe that intersex people should be treated with respect and allowed to make their own choices, rather than being medically interfered with in infancy or childhood.

These are all reasons that I’m a feminist. I am glad that I’ve learned to accept and embrace the label. I want to add my voice to the feminists who feel similarly. The sex positive feminists. The feminists who embrace human equality and human rights.

We’re out there, and there are lots of us. Not all of us have embraced the label yet, but hopefully that will change.

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Just a few random thoughts on Dollhouse Ep 3 Stage Fright and BSG S4 Ep 17 Someone to Watch Over Me
Cut for Spoilers

I love this. I love Feministing and I’ve always loved the Friday Feminist Fuck You segments. I’m not exactly proud that Montana is mentioned right off the bat this week, but I agree completely with what Miriam and Ann are saying in this installment: Anti-choicers Gone Wild!

Allow me to add some Montana specific details:

There are three bills right now that have my hackles up. First are a lovely pair of bills that have passed the Senate and will be transmitted to the House. SB 406 (Constitutionally Define a Person) and SB 46 (Protection of Unborn Life as a Compelling State Interest). You can find the bill info (who voted for or against) here SB406, SB46 and the actual bills here: SB406, SB46.

Why are these bills bad? Well, for one thing, they directly contravene the Montana Constitution’s right to privacy. Article II, Section 10 of the Montana State Constitution states: The right of individual privacy is essential to the well-being of a free society and shall not be infringed without the showing of a compelling state interest. (See what the sponsor of those bills did there?) Medical decisions between a woman and her doctor are most certainly private.

Also, defining a fetus as a person grants full rights to a fetus. This could potentially cause all kinds of craziness, including women being investigated for criminal endangerment in the case of a miscarriage. Did she eat right? Did she take any drugs that were bad for her fetus (but possibly necessary for herself)? Did she knowingly do anything that could possibly have endangered her fetus?

I’d also like to point out that Montana voters already pretty much rejected exactly this kind of legislation by failing to provide sufficient signatures for CI 100 last year.

Sen. Shockley has also introduced a rather entertaining bill, SB 497, which protects Clinic Protesters from being harassed the people entering a clinic. (Yeah, you read that right. Apparently the PROTESTERS need protection from the people entering the clinic.) The folks over at 4&20 Blackbirds have written about it. Again here is the bill info and the bill language. This bill is still in the Senate, as of this writing.

I am hoping that all of these bills fail in the state House. In the event that they pass, I have a hard time imagining that Gov. Schweitzer will sign them.

However, I don’t think it’s a good idea for any of us to sit back and expect them to fail. We must all contact our Representatives and let them know how we feel about these bills.

I know who my Senator and Representative are, and I’m lucky enough that they tend to agree with me on most things. However, if you’re not sure who your Senator and Rep are, it’s easy to find out and even easier to contact them.

1. You need to know your full zip code, which you can find here.
2. Using that zip code, the folks at Project Vote Smart will tell you who your Senator and Representatives are (scroll down).
3. Once you have that info you can go here to use the handy online form to contact your representatives. OR
3a. Between sessions you can go here to find their direct e-mail addresses.

I cannot overstate how important it is to contact your representatives to let them know that you want them to vote against these bills. Please write to them right away, even if (especially if?) you’re lucky enough to have representatives who agree with you.

And I’d like to say Thank YOU to the lovely ladies at Feministing, especially Miriam and Ann, for this week’s installment of Friday Feministing Fuck You. I hope my fellow Montanans will see it and contact their legislators right away.

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more about "Sarah Haskins in Target Women: Skin C…", posted with vodpod

Like many feminists bloggers, I have a total crush on Sarah Haskins. Target Women is made of win.

This week, Sarah talks about beauty products and the way the ads use images and words that sort of appear to be… scientific.

Apparently I cannot figure out how to embed video on wordpress, which is weird. So for now, follow the link to current.com and I’ll figure out this whole embedding thing shortly.

Sexual Desire

February 17, 2009

Oooh, my first link post.

Via a quick hit at Feministing I found Amanda Marcotte’s blog post entitled Not Tonight, Honey, and Who Know’s Why?

Female Sexual Desire is one of those topics. Everybody talks about it but nobody seems to understand it. Ms. Marcotte puts forth some ideas regarding why so many women report low libido and how the current view of what constitutes a sexual problem is problematic. The entire article is interesting, but it was the final paragraph that really got my attention.

It’s an indicator of how male-dominated our society is that the fact that women have diminishing libidos and don’t seem to care that much about it is treated as the problem, when in fact it’s merely the symptom of a larger problem–that women feel overworked, underpaid, underappreciated, understimulated, and shamed about their bodies. If we treated the actual problems that women face, higher libidos would be the happy result, I’m sure. But in order to do that, we’d have to treat male domination like a problem to be solved, and since few people really want to do that, instead we’re left with articles that note women’s lack of libido, but carefully resist asking why.

I think Ms. Marcotte is probably correct, in a lot of cases. However, my own experience is on the opposite end of the spectrum.

I have never been one of these ladies that has low libido. I’ve always been the one in the relationship who had the higher libido, which brings about its own problems. Rather than being made to feel that I’m a bad girlfriend for not wanting sex, I’ve been shamed (directly, by boyfriends) for wanting to have sex. As a direct result of this, I have a hard time initiating sex.

It seems as though we’re shamed if we want it and shamed if we don’t.

I suspect that, in addition to the potential causes Ms. Marcotte lists in her post, a lack of communication between couples is probably a major factor. As mentioned in her post, a recent episode of Mad Men showed the men wondering what the women want, but not even thinking to ask them. As of my reading, at least one commenter suggests that asking women what they want is futile, as it results in unintelligible answers.

I don’t know what to suggest beyond keeping the dialog open. If your significant other seems to have a drastically different libido than you do, talk about it, frankly and try not to be judgemental. You may find that the issue isn’t really libido at all.

I didn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day this year. I just didn’t feel like it. In years past I’ve celebrated as part of a couple, when I was in a relationship, or celebrated my happy single self with other single friends. This year I actually pondered renting a bunch of horror movies and avoiding anything remotely romantic, but didn’t follow through.

I am not one of those who hates Valentine’s Day, single or not, though I do recognize that it’s a completely artificial holiday. I don’t think there is anything wrong with taking a day to pay special attention to your significant other (or others), or with finding other ways to celebrate or enjoy the day.

When in a relationship, I haven’t really felt that Valentine’s Day was a day when one partner was supposed to pull out all the stops for the other. (That’s what birthdays are for. But everybody has a birthday, so that tends to work out equally. :)) Romance really should go both ways and both partners should make an effort, whether on Valentine’s Day or an anniversary or just a special surprise.

I don’t think Valentine’s Day should be the only day we stop to honor our relationships (when we have them), but I learned long ago to be suspicious of men who don’t want to celebrate the day. My experience has been that men who protest that Valentine’s Day should be ignored, in favor of making time for their girlfriend year round, don’t actually follow through. Maybe that’s just my bad luck, but to a man, the men who were good boyfriends the rest of the year didn’t express reservations about celebrating Valentine’s Day and the ones who didn’t want to celebrate the day turned out to be inattentive in general. I don’t know if same gendered couples share this experience, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

What bothered me about Valentine’s Day this year was the extent to which I was made aware of the way our society is geared towards couples and how some people seem to think that single women simply cannot be happy. It’s not that I dislike being in a relationship. Dating can suck, certainly, but having someone special to spend time with, snuggle with and all those other things is nice.

On the other hand, I have grown attached to certain aspects of being single. It’s really nice to have my space and freedom. I’m one of those people who requires a lot of “me time” and it’s often difficult to get when in a relationship, particularly a new one. It can be hard to make your significant other understand that you need some time alone. It can be difficult to even find a way to broach the subject.

I’ve also been lucky enough to have the opportunity to learn just how much better it is to be single than it is to be in an unhappy relationship. I’m not being facetious. I see so many people stay in relationships that make them miserable, even getting married to people they don’t love, simply because they are afraid of being alone.

Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic, but I’m holding out for the right person. Even if it takes me until I’m 60 to meet that person, I don’t want to settle. In the mean time, I may miss certain things about being in a couple, but I’m content with myself and all this me time I get. Nobody should feel bad for me or doubt that I’m happy, though I’m sure the doubters will never be convinced.