Feminism 101

I’m a liberal feminist.

Ok, I’m more of a straight-up leftist really, because liberals are kind of wussy and they tend to be corporate sellouts if you’re talking actual politics. I don’t like the term liberal unless by liberal you mean generous.

So I’m a left-leaning feminist, with a career and stuff. You know, Matt Walsh’s worst nightmare. Rush Limbaugh’s nemesis. I believe birth control should be covered under health insurance, because… duh. It’s really basic medical coverage that regulates a slew of health problems at a very marginal cost and thus certainly makes sense from a financial perspective. And also because Matt Walsh and Rush Limbaugh don’t get to dictate how many kids any other person should have or when other people get to have sex, which is really about the only reason not to cover it.

But here’s the thing that might blow Matt Walsh’s mind: I believe this, yet I don’t take birth control. I’m personally opposed to taking it. I’m not just a feminist, I’m a health-nut feminist, and health-nut feminists aren’t into putting artificial hormones and chemicals in their bodies if they can avoid it.

Maybe I should also mention: I hate power suits with shoulder pads, I don’t wear combat boots, I’m not a lesbian, and I’ve never taken a queer theory or gender studies class. Also, I was a virgin until I got married. Just as long as we’re discussing stereotypes.

I don’t have tattoos or body piercings or blue hair. I am conventionally pretty, at least from a body-size standpoint. I teach ballet and I practice gymnastics. I wear makeup and I have a closet of dainty dresses. Beautiful high heels make me drool. Intricate carpentry makes me salivate. I love steak and potatoes and bacon and I eat butter by the stick. I think vegans are funny and misguided. I love children. I’d be a stay-at-home mom if I had my own. I know how to shoot a gun. I date men’s men; the kind with muscles and innovative business ideas — and I’m supportive of their business ideas and verbally admire their muscles. I pay taxes. A variety of taxes. I also pay health insurance premiums, though I rarely if ever cash in on them.

None of these things have squat to do with feminism, in case you were wondering.

Feminism is the idea that women should have equal rights as men, and vice versa. That women should have equal access to education, equal pay for equal work, equal health coverage. That women should not be abused for being smaller (or bigger) any more than men should be abused for being smaller (or bigger).

Feminists, including hard-core leftists, have different views on pretty much everything else under the sun. Because feminism isn’t some religion with a unified creed you recite every Sunday, and it certainly doesn’t require that you kneel and hold out your tongue for the Eucharist of birth control, as Matt Walsh appears to think. It’s an idea; “I have a dream” where people are seen for the content of their character rather than the content of their bras.

Next question?

5 thoughts on “Feminism 101

  1. Thank you for sharing this! I agree with a feminism that supports equal rights for both women and men, and the main reason I no longer call myself a feminist is that some of the most vocal feminists, such as the those who run the National Organization for Women, seem to be opposed to true equality. For example, NOW is opposed to shared parenting after a divorce, and seems eager to continue a situation wherein divorced fathers don’t get to spend nearly as much time with their children as divorced mothers do.

    It also concerns me when some feminists seems to think it’s hilariously funny that men would like an equal right to choose whether or not to become parents. On the one hand, I’m not at all advocating a situation wherein anyone besides the woman herself can decide whether or not she carries a pregnancy to term.

    But on the other hand, I think a man who’s been informed of a pregnancy that he’s helped to create should have the option to forfeit his parental rights and responsibilities in writing. I understand that, because the man isn’t the one who carries the pregnancy, it’s never going to be a completely equal situation. Just as a woman has to deal more heavily with whatever she may feel and experience during and following an abortion, so a man who chooses to forfeit fathering his biological child has to live with the knowledge that, should the mother decide to carry to term, there will a person out there with half his DNA, growing up without his involvement and support.

    I do think that any man who forfeits his rights and responsibilities needs to do so early enough in the pregnancy that the woman can take this reality into consideration while deciding what to do with her own body, so I’m not saying that a man should be able to pull away his support at the very last moment before birth or anything — but I don’t think I’ll find many feminists who’d even agree with me that a man should have a say at all, no matter how early in the pregnancy.

    1. Precisely, Susan. I dropped the label of feminist bc it’s so often poison. And Katie, a woman with a career is not Matt Walsh’s worst nightmare by a long stretch.

  2. You’re also very sensible. And sharper than Maureen Dowd. You should have a regular column in the NY Times.

  3. Awesome post, Katie. I loved this.

    I too am a feminist. And like yourself, I don’t wear a pantsuit and am not a lesbian.

    In fact, I tend to vote for fiscally conservative politicians. Also I’m a generally pro-life and pro-quality-of-life advocate who believes birth control should logically be covered with health care for quality of life both of the mother, and of children born (through no fault of their own) into countless hardships and potentially even life threatening situations.

    I’m a man. And I’m a feminist because I grew up in a highly misogynist patriarchal movement of Christians who earnestly, desperately believed gender-based oppression and favoritism pleased the ‘all-loving, all-knowing’ judge of the universe. People with good hearts who believe God thinks of them as less worthy of freedom and social worth, simply by virtue of their genitalia (which he chose eternally on your behalf). A sad, disturbing commentary on the status of religious thought in the American protestant class.

    When your religious practice resembles ‘The Hunger Games’ or more than it resembles the life of Christ, perhaps it needs to be not just reinvented; but thrown away all together and begun anew.

    I agree with Christopher Hitchens. The trouble with religion is it so easily prompts good hearted people to commit acts of evil in the name of pleasing the embodiment of love. Luring people into committing acts of hate and oppression in the name of spreading a message of love and liberality on behalf of an all-powerful entity who is too lazy or inept to demonstrate said love and liberality on his own. It’s the most clever ruse I can imagine. And yet it works.

    It’s because of those people that I am a feminist. Men, Christian men everywhere, need to stand up and be counted as feminists. I have no doubt whatsoever that Jesus would identify as a feminist, were he on earth in 2015. But what would I know? Many say if I reject patriarchy, I’ve rejected the faith.

    I wonder if they said the same thing to people who rejected kinism and racism in Birmingham in the 1960s. Well actually, I don’t have to wonder, do I?

    Thanks for this post. And any others that pick on Matt. 😉

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