Am I Bad Feminist?

Olga Wolstenholme's picture

I have a confession to make. I know jack squat about feminist theory.  No, really, it’s true. I’m busted!  You found me out!  I’ve never read The Feminine Mystique (I can’t even tell you who wrote it with utmost certainty), I’ve never read The Second Sex (the only reason I know who wrote that is because I love me a French existentialist), and I have no idea what the difference is between first wave, second wave, or third wave feminism.  Seriously, I have no idea.  Although, I’m confident enough that I could probably fake my way through a pretty decent guess.  At least with someone who didn’t know any better.  And even then most of what I’ve picked up is from movies, TV, and every other form of media, but then only by chance.

I can pretty much count on my fingers the number of books I’ve read that weren’t novels and that were somewhat related to feminist theory.  I remember when I was about 18 I bought two books from the woman’s studies section at the new Indigo bookstore in downtown Montreal the titles of which were Bitch and Slut.  The only reason I picked up these particular books is because of their succinct and titillating titles.  I only got around to reading them about four years later and anyone with a mind can figure out the premises: i.e. women who hold power are bitches and women who have sex are sluts.

Most of what I know I know from having a good sense of observation. I learned about racism growing up in a small town where the population was solely consisted of French white people, English white people and Natives from the nearby reserve.  I know about queer theory from living in Montreal’s gay village for three years.  I know about trans rights from going to my first bar when I was 15 and seeing a male to female transgender person getting their ass kicked by some ignorant fools on the street.  You don’t need much of an education to learn about civil rights (i.e. human rights), all you need to do is look around and sure enough you’ll learn from your own experiences or from the experiences of those around you.

What’s sad is that even the people who are fighting against one issue or another don’t seem to realize that it’s all about the same thing: basic human rights, yet you still have all these different groups fighting for freedom and whatnot AND also fighting with one another.  Some feminist groups exclude men, as well as non-white woman.  Some gay rights groups exclude transgender people, and on and on like this. It’s such a waste of time and resources.  It’s also very sad, don’t you think?  What happened to supporting one another?  Just because I’m a woman and that’s the perspective I’m coming from doesn’t mean I’m blind to the issues men have to deal with as well.  One person’s suffering isn’t more valid than another’s.

(Posted at Cuntlove)

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