What is a Feminist?

(Previously published in the McTavish Opera blog 25 November 2013)
 
Why I am one, and why you should be one too.

I have noticed that there is quite a lot of people, both male and female (but mostly male), who show antipathy to the term “feminism”. It would seem that the public perception of feminism is that of a fat, angry, man-hating, bulldyke Lesbian with a shaved head and wearing a boiler suit.

Let us be clear about something right off. Feminism is not about hating men. It is not about placing women above or apart from men. Feminism merely seeks equality for both women and men, nothing more. The Oxford English Dictionary gives the following definition;

“The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.”

For US readers, Merriam-Webster gives this definition;

“The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. Organized activity in support of women’s rights and interests.”

Okay, have you got that? Equality of sexes concerning sexes, based on rights and opportunities, and activity in support of women’s rights and interests. Notice that at no place do these definitions state that women should ever be seen as superior to, nor apart from men. You may also notice that at no point do these definitions state that feminism is a female-only aim.

It is without a doubt the fault of certain people who call themselves “radical feminists” who are responsible for the public perception of the misandric (anti-male) woman; an image which has not been at all helped by the mass media which jumps upon the more outlandish ideas of radical feminists and portrays and parodies all feminism in that vision.

The idea that a feminist must be misandric is utter nonsense. Much more than that, it plays directly into the hands of people I refer to as “feminazis”. And don’t think for one moment that is strong language. There are some such people who honestly believe that women are superior to men. Given that they see women as a ‘master race’, I would venture that ‘feminazi’ is a fitting title indeed.

Feminazis are not only not feminists, they often do the feminist cause and that of women in general a great deal of harm indeed. I recall reading a book by Valerie Sonas (founder of the Society to Cut Up Men) in which she banged on about how men cannot know what a woman feels or thinks, then went onto to try and tell people what men feel and think, and stated “Every man deep down knows he’s a worthless piece of shit.” Well Valerie, dear, if I cannot know what a woman feels and thinks, then it logically follows that neither you, nor any other woman can possibly know how a man feels or thinks – or indeed what he knows deep down; apart from the fact that you have deep psychological problems.

Feminazis do indeed harm the cause of feminism and the rights of women in general. They portray women who do not prescibe to their brand of “feminism” as not being feminists at all, deride them, despise them, and make them feel less than whole. So even when women do set out to achieve, some in fact turn their back on what the public perception of feminism is and even openly deride it. As one who lived under the disastrous misrule of Margaret Thatcher, even I have to admit that given she was not only the UK’s first woman Prime Minister but gained that title three times in succession, she should be seen as a feminist icon. Yet Thatcher rejected feminism completely. She once stated to her secretary “The feminists hate me, don’t they? And they should. I despise feminism. It is poison.” And what followed was not Thatcher championing the rights of women but rather coming down heavily on single mothers and instead strongly emphasising the traditional family (with dad in charge) as the basis of civilization.

Not that there is anything wrong with the family, or of a woman being in a traditional family, or for that matter being the homemaker and mother. It is perfectly possible to be such, yet be a feminist at the same time, so long as the family relationship is based upon equality of gender roles. I wanted to despair at one woman journalist once, in an article in which she said she was not a feminist because she was happy with her job, her husband, and her family. The irony of course is that the woman in question had accepted the feminazi/public perception of feminism, when she herself was indeed a feminist.

Equality apart, feminism is about choice; a woman’s choice to do with her life and body as she wishes. By insisting that ALL women should be “coming out of the kitchen” (apologies to Annie Lennox – I’m not trying to deride her), feminazis in fact would refuse women the choice to do with their lives as they choose. My own mother was a great homemaker and mum but she never, not once, let my father rule the roost. And what is more had any feminazi tried to tell her that she was wrong to live her life in that way, she soon would have given them a piece of her mind.

One of my favourite lines ever concerning this comes from Lois in the cartoon Family Guy:

Gloria Ironbox (Rad Fem): “Peter tells me you don’t have a career of your own.”
Lois: “No. Life outside my kitchen is so bright and scary. You just caught me between pregnancies.”

But not only do feminazis hurt women, some are more than willing to harm others – and to side with those who would stamp on women’s rights to further their own twisted agenda. One particularly odious case in point is Cathy Brennan of Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists (TERF) – a group of radical feminists who reject male-to-female transsexuals on the basis that if they were not born female, they are not female.

TERF have in the past have spouted hate and venom, and even issued threats, to transsexuals and their supporters on the internet and elsewhere in public. Cathy Brennan, one of their leading lights recently hit a new low.

In October 2013 a story broke on Christian Radio in the USA claiming that a male student, claiming to be a transgirl, was harassing girls when using the girls’ restrooms at a school in California. The entire story was based around a letter from one parent to the conservative Christian law group Pacific Justice Institute (PJI). PJI then took up the case and sent a letter to the school, demanding protection for the girls. This story was splashed across the world by Fox Nation the Examiner and the Daily Mail in the UK. The transgender group TransAdvocate examined the story and interviewed the principal of the school. There was indeed one transgirl in the school, who was welcome to use the girls’ restrooms. No incidents of harassment had occurred and the students had no problems with the transgirl in question sharing restrooms with them. When TransAdvocate made this public, The Examiner and the Daily Mail dropped the story from their websites. Fox is continuing to pursue it.

Did this stop PJI? Indeed it did not. They continued to pursue the girl in question. Then in stepped Cathy Brennan who openly supported PJI and even delivered a reply to TransAdvocate on behalf of PJI;

“We’ve seen similar claims. It is our position that the intrusion of a biological male into a restroom for teenage girls is inherently intimidating and harassing. We have received additional reports of particular incidents of harassment, and we are working to corroborate those reports. In our letter, we specifically asked the school to notify us immediately if they disputed any of the factual allegations. To date, they have not done so. The core of this story — that the school is elevating the rights of one self-proclaimed transgender student while minimizing the privacy rights of all the biologically female students, has not been seriously controverted. We encourage journalists to continue their important work of investigating the details of this story independently and not simply accepting the statements of either side, and certainly not pulling their stories simply because activists demand this story be silenced.”

But then, Cathy Brennan went one step further – she publicly named the transgirl. This has subsequently led to the girl receiving threats of violence, death threats, suffering depression and missing school.

So we see here that not only is Cathy Brennan and her TERF group willing to attack transgender, they are not above attacking children either. Also however, by championing PJI, TERF have effectively allied themselves with a group which is openly anti-LGBT and which also strongly stands by traditional conservative Christian ‘family values’ – in other words a group which would happily trample on the rights of women.

But then, feminazis have some very strange ideas about sexuality. A great many of them describe themselves as “political lesbians”. In other words they seek lesbian relationships purely out of their misandry, but more than this, some at least choose to be lesbians. This is a very important and disturbing definition. One of the continual claims homophobes make about the LGBT community is that they are choosing that lifestyle. This is in turn continually countered by gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals, etc, that there was no choice involved but they were born that way. Indeed, while the science is as yet undecided, research strongly promotes the belief that sexual and gender identity are formed in the womb, rather than a result of cultural and environmental factors. For heterosexual or bi feminazis to claim therefore that they are lesbians for purely political reasons, not only do they do women born lesbians a disservice, they play directly into the hands of homophobic bigots pushing the choice argument.

We therefore see that feminazis, rad fems, call-them-what-you-will, are damaging to the cause of feminism, to the rights of women, to kids, and to the LGBT community. We see in fact that they are not feminists at all. Margaret Thatcher had it partially right – they are poison.

So can a man ever be a feminist? Absolutely. It is non gender specific, and to imagine a man can never be a feminist is as much a nonsense as to claim that a white person cannot stand against racism. And to state any different is to play directly into the hands of the feminazis.

Of course some would have you believe differently. Cornish comedian Bill Bailey, who is balding, has a beard and pot belly, was once photographed with a pipe in his mouth and wearing a t-shirt with “Thsi is what a feminist looks like.” printed on it. Well the feminazis had a field day with that one. They immediately claimed that Bill Bailey was parodying feminists. He was doing no such thing. Bailey’s appearance happens to be well known. The man cannot help the way he is built (and neither should he have to make excuses for it – think on that feminazis). He also happens to be a former winner of Pipe Smoker of the Year, so to see him with a pipe in his mouth is quite normal (I have one myself). By wearing that particular t-shirt, he was merely making a statement of solidarity with feminism and the rights of women. Incidentally, President Obama has been photographed holding up a t-shirt with the same wording. Is he then portraying feminists as middle aged black men? No doubt the feminazis would have you believe so.

Anyone can be a feminist; regardless of being male, female, transgender, intersex, heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bi, pansexual, or asexual. They can be the career woman, the homemaker and mother, or both, or the househusband, or the guy who works long hours to support his family. They can be the single parent, or the single person without kids. All that is required is to seek equality and parity for women, to seek to remove traditional patriarchal barriers to women gaining their full achievement and successes and to combat views and cultures which suppress women, which see them as being inferior to men, or merely as chattels to be owned and/or the sexual playthings of men. In short, if you believe in human rights, you are indeed a feminist.

And there is another important point here. If some men will not listen to women with regard to women’s rights, then perhaps they will listen to other men. Whenever we man encounter any patriarchal view which suppresses the rights of women, we should be ready to combat that wherever possible; from calling for women’s rights to education and employment around the world, to oppossing to female genital mutilation, to pointing out to idiots who say some women ask to be raped by what they wear that they are being stupid and not a little creepy.

Perhaps it is because I have always been surrounded by sort of strong women which Scotland seems to produce in excess that I have always championed women and the rights of women. My mum was one such woman who, although my family were poor, managed to bring my sisters and I up in very difficult circumstances I once had an elderly great aunt, who was every inch the genteel little old lady. Yet to look at that frail creature you would never believe that she once fought for the vote in the suffragette movement. My grandmother once found out that my grandad had fathered a daughter who had ended up in a children’s home. She took that girl out of that home and brought her up as her own child – tell me that is not strength. When I met my partner we bonded immediately because we recognised in each other that we were equals on an intellectual level, as well as on an emotional and physical one. There is nothing would drive me mad more than to have a partner who was some “Barbie” bimbo, or a subservant “Stepford Wife”. To Hell with that – I need someone I can have a bloody good argument with now and again.

That is why I am a feminist. That is why it is badge I am proud to wear. In the final instance I suspect a great deal of people are indeed feminists but do not realise it. And the more people deny it, the more that they play directly into the feminazi agenda, and that stereotype which the media is all too happy to portray, in order to keep women subservient to men.

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