Thursday, December 2, 2010
...you say "feminist" like it's a bad thing
Expanding on Betty's awesome "Feminism 101 is not class" post where she mentioned people's general discomfort with the term "feminist", I have to say I've gotten some pretty ridiculous reactions when I mention I'm taking this class.
"So you basically blame guys for everything?"
"A feminist class?! Isn't that super extreme?"
or my personal favorite:
"It's like women's studies? So they teach you to bake cakes, right?" (Everyone is a comedian)
Basically any feminist stereotype they have ever heard.
So, of course, I have to explain (sigh). That no, it's not about hating men, it's about gender equality. Equal pay for the same job. Not bashing "traditional values", but offering women meaningful choices in how they want to live their lives. Sharing childrearing responsibility. Etc.
Suddenly, their attitude changes. They might not agree with every type of legislative action various feminists propose, but "feminism" is no longer this "extremist" label to them. Instead, they are willing to have a mature discussion about these important issues.
I don't understand why people have this gut reaction that feminism itself is one"extreme viewpoint." There are a broad spectrum of feminist beliefs just as there are a broad range of democratic/republican viewpoints.
Regardless, I am grateful for everything I've learned in this class and look forward to changing people's perception of what feminist theory is, one bad cooking joke at a time.