Courage

Declaration: I am a feminist.

I. Am. A. Feminist.

I am a radical feminist. I believe with all my being that all women are human beings, inherently worthy of all the rights and dignities that other human beings (men) enjoy.

I have been hesitant to ‘out’ myself to certain people I know; mostly conservative men, all of whom have no actual authority over me, some of whom are relatives, all of whom I consider to be friends. I have been afraid of losing their friendships and love because of my beliefs.

No more.

If I can remain friends with them, despite having serious objections to some of their beliefs, then they can remain my friends, if they don’t agree with me. If they can’t they were never friends to begin with. If they can’t love me and know I believe these things, they cannot really love me.

We women are asked, every day, to be silent about disagreeing with others so that we don’t upset them, so we don’t ‘rock the boat’, so we ‘aren’t a bother’.

No more.

Listen up: I am a radical feminist.

I don’t believe in limiting a woman’s control over her own body; I don’t believe any man has any right to exercise any control over a woman’s body, mind, speech or actions; I don’t believe any woman has any right to control other women either, whether of her own choosing or in the name of a man.

I believe anyone who attempts to control women’s bodies, minds, speech or actions are misogynist: including rape apologists, rape celebrants, Men’s Rights Activists, promoters or supporters of pornography, promoters or supporters of prostitution, people who seek to limit or obstruct women’s access to health care, contraception, safe and legal abortion, STD prevention, higher education, a living wage, food for her children, her choice of partner(s), her choice of clothing, her choice of sexuality and sexual expression, her bodily autonomy.

If any of these terms or concepts are confusing to you, or if you aren’t sure what I mean by any of them, you may read for yourself at any of the sources listed below. I will be happy to have a civil conversation with any of you about any of these things, where ‘civil conversation’ means you listen to what I have to say, and I listen to what you have to say, and we respond to each others’ concerns. Basically, all the caveats of this blog apply.

If you cannot understand, that is fine. If you will not try to understand, or will not read those things which I suggest that might help you understand, I will have neither sympathy nor time for you. If you cannot treat me like a human being, I will not stay around for the abuse.


Places to Learn:
Finally, a Feminism 101 Blog
Official Shrub dot com Blog (right hand menu)
Andrea Dworkin, I Want Twenty-Four-Hour Truce In Which There Is No Rape

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15 thoughts on “Courage

  1. Beautiful. That is getting printed out and taped to the inside cover of the copies of “women’s bodies, women’s wisdom” that I am giving out this year for the holidays. (With your permission, please?)

  2. Thanks, both of you.

    Cara-he, if my truth speaks to you, then by all means, share it. If you want to include an author’s name, please use “Jocelyn C M”.

    Thank you, sincerely. This outpouring was absolutely necessary to my sanity and continuing growth. I’ve been struggling with the usual cognitive dissonance and realized yesterday that I have to have the courage to speak up.

    If I can’t tell this to my friends, whom can I really truly tell? If I’m not honest with people I trust on some level, then am I really being honest with myself?

  3. I heard this (re-?) assertion of my feminism caused me to “ruin” a 2 year relationship. I’d been vocal about my beliefs when we’d met, and slowly got pushed out of the ‘talk space'(“let’s move on from that ‘level'” sort of nudge, then into the “stop making me feel bad” space, to the “if you mention irrelevant feminist factioids about women’s fight to get credit extended to them GOD right in the middle of a normal discussion about predatory lending that we agree on, I’m going to accuse you of starting a fight, and I’ll thereby start a fight.”
    “AND THEN, because I’m really subversive, I’m going to imply that you are masochistic or relationship phobic because you keep bringing up feminism after I’ve made it clear that it is a no-no. I’ll scream “agree to disagree” repeatedly and “I don’t talk about my politics!(subtext “your” politics).
    Ta-da! In 2 years, I’ve gone from being a courageous attractive person to a self-destructive harpy. The breakup was my doing.
    Next time I will push the fast forward button.
    Just a snapshot of the up and coming entire lifetime of trying to voice your thoughts and KEEPING them voiced. But worth it. What people of different opinion call fem(ale)inst self-sabotage,rules! No one should have to sit around only getting to listen to what their friends/lovers/co-workers think. Bordom kills. And just for airing an opinion among those who disagree, one should not have to always defend it. Or rather, friends should not make you defend yourself for joining in with your honest thoughts. It’s not debate class, there’s no one on trial, it’s a friendship.
    I hate the sense that I have to ‘rent’ a space for “my feminist topics” (like they aren’t already there, being screamingly ignored and sidestepped).

  4. Fantastic!
    The word still catches in my throat. It is, as Ginger Spice will be happy to tell you, a stodgy old lezzie word. Or, it’s a political word. A divisive one. At the very least, a confusing one – because there is no great big Feminist in the sky declaring what is or is not Feminist.

    But since I’m doing feminist studies, I have to suck it up. I’m a feminist. It’s easier with qualifiers… I’m a white feminist, a Western feminist, a feminist who has to be careful not to tromp on other feminists in my own self-interest. That’s, for some reason, easier for me to get behind.

    Thanks for making me (us) stop and self check – again. And again, if need be. And again, just to make sure. Cause the moment we stop checking is the moment the word feminist ceases to apply!

  5. @tanglethis — I’m GLAD there’s no great big Feminist In Teh Sky dictating the mores of feminism! Sure as shootin’, someone would jump up and form a priest(ess)ly class who were the only ones Able To Discern The True Word Of Feminist and would be charged with distributing Teh True Word to the masses of feminist believers.

    I can’t help but think that sort of system is doomed to failure.

    So it’s good we don’t have it.

    Feminist is a much maligned word — we shouldn’t fault it, though, if the P has taken a word we apply positively to ourselves and made it Teh Evil Badword. Silly P, wanting all the labeling rights for itself.

  6. @witchy-woo: So I’m noticing. ^^

    I has new commenters! Yayz! *winks* I’m feelin’ the sisterly love, that’s for sure. ^^

  7. You are a hero… to every woman of every stripe. To accept yourself as a feminist, a HUMAN-FUCKING-BEING!!!! A woman is a human! No less and no more than a man. You deserve everything.

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  9. Aww, thanks monika. ^^ I’m not as brave as I claim to be yet, but knowing that I’ve declared myself to myself (and to other trusted blamers) I can start to out myself to others whom I don’t trust quite as implicitly.

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