There was a meme floating around Facebook for a while titled “25 random things about me,” or something to that effect. My friend Erin participated, but changed it to “25 reasons why I am a feminist.” (You can find Erin’s list here, if she allows non-friends to view her notes, which I’m not sure about.)
I decided to do the same thing. Here’s my list (note that I wrote this a few months ago, so some reasons referenced current events that are no longer so current):
1. The craze over Natalie Dylan’s virginity auction. I’m not exactly sure how I feel about how that looks, about her reasons, or about the whole idea in the first place, but that’s part of the problem. It’s not my place, or anyone else’s place, to decide what another woman should or should not do with her body or sexuality. It’s hers, period. This is clearly a choice, not coersion or desperation, and therefore it should be allowed to happen without scrutiny from people not involved.
2. Men who cite “but I’m expected to be manly and make a lot of money and never show emotions” as a reason why they think that feminism is invalid, useless, or that men are “more oppressed.” It’s not because our society is oppressing men, but because the things men “aren’t allowed” to do is show any sign of weakness or other stereotypical feminine quality. Because femininity is not valued in our society and masculinity is. That’s institutionalized misogyny.
3. We are all held to rigid and unachievable gender expectations. This will continue to happen as long as we don’t acknowledge feminism (aka, as long as we continue to act as though females are inferior to males– even if we don’t say it out loud).
4. Any time I go to get a haircut and tell the stylist how short I want it, they ask if I’m sure, over and over.
5. There are still people who think that my potential fetus is more valuable and important than I am.
6. I get letters at work every day from customers who address them “Dear Sir(s).”
7. People think that a good insult for a woman they don’t like is to call her a “cunt” — a name referencing her genitalia. As though we should be insulted by a reference to it.
8. I’m marketed to EVERYWHERE by companies owned by men that sell products to get rid of any natural vaginal odor I might have, cream that will rid me of any sign that I’m over the age of 21, that promises I will get rid of stretch marks from childbirth, “mommy surgery” to rid my body of any signs I’ve given birth and bewilderingly, to change the shape of my labia to match those of airbrushed, surgically-enhanced centerfold models. Similar products are not marketed to men in any similar frequency or abundance on mass media (not including email spam about penis enlarging that even I’ve gotten). And if they were, we should STILL be concerned, but that’s another issue.
9. Many men, most of whom don’t even realize they’re doing it, will all but completely ignore my presence in, potential interest in, or ability to contribute to, a conversation that starts with him, me and another male about politics, science, music, or anything else that requires any level of critical thinking or opinion-giving. I may have contributed to the beginning of a conversation, sparked a conversation thread, but it will consistently end up being the males that make eye contact with each other and finish the conversation. I stop being included once my token contribution time has expired.
10. When I was a kid and into my teens and twenties, when I would walk to work along a busy road, I would be cat-called, whistled at or yelled obscene phrases to, regardless of how I was dressed, what I was wearing, whether I was even paying attention to the cars on the road. It’s only less frequent now because I work with my male significant other, and when I’m walking around downtown before or after work, it’s generally with him. Men won’t hit on me now because they see a man with me, which indicates that I am someone else’s “property,” an idea that they are willing to understand and respect over someone being their own person, instead of someone else’s property.
11. Any time I sign on to MySpace, Facebook or LiveJournal, I see advertisements for new diets, how to lost 25 pounds in 10 seconds or something, and even one banner with a before-and-after picture asking me, “Are you 25 and overweight?” My boyfriend primarily sees either ads for electronics, or ads on how to meet hot, single women.
12. Pixie waifs as the new trendy way to look if you’re a female, because long-haired waifs are SO last season. Not because there’s anything wrong with someone who would fit into the category of “waif,” but because only showing that one image of beauty is only reinforcing the idea that we are only valuable if very thin.
13. When I go to Target to buy deodorant withOUT antiperspirant, I have a choice of 3 over-priced and stinky “all-natural” scents, from one brand. When my boyfriend goes there for non-anti-perspirant deodorant, he has the same options I have (they’re unisex) PLUS an additional variety of non-anti-perspirant in all the major, recognized brands.
14. When I was in high school, my friends and I were being picked up after school by a male friend of ours who had long hair that he wore in a ponytail. When he drove up to the front of the school, a group of guys talked about the chick driving the nice car and, upon realizing it was a male behind the wheel, proceeded to make fun of him and laugh at how “girly” he looked, just for having long hair.
15. When I worked at the Geek Squad and would answer the phone “Brooklyn Center Geek Squad, how can I help you?” I would often hear a long pause, then, “Uh yeah, can you transfer me to the Geek Squad, please?” This did not happen to other departments located in the same Best Buy we were in, who were each also given a “for (blank) department, press (numbers)” option like we were, and who did NOT say the name of their department in their telephone greeting. I know this because I worked in other departments before transferring to the Geek Squad. This also did not happen to the rest of the (male) Geek Squad employees.
16. Because transgender people who transition from male to female are routinely made the butt of jokes, even on prime time television, and routinely abused, murdered, or driven to sex work because of their MTF status. They are overly sexualized the same way (if not more derogatory) as non-trans women while simultaneously being ostracized for giving up their inherent male privelege and social status– not to mention their PENISES, OMG, while transgender individuals who transition from female to male are hardly even mentioned at all. This is not only because they tend to “pass” more eaily as the desired sex (because we rely primarily on masculine cues to help us distinguish between genders in others), but because it seems more accepted, even expected, to want to trade in womanhood for manhood, femininity for masculinity.
17. Because I can’t just bleed on my damn kitchen floor.
18. Because if I wanted to spend my entire paycheck on a bra for some reason, Victoria’s Secret’s sizing is as follows: For underwear, take whatever size you’ve worn your entire adult life and purchase the one 4 sizes below it. This is to make you feel like your butt is smaller, because we’re all concerned about that, right? Then take your bra size and add 4 inches and at least one cup size, so you feel like your boobs are bigger. Obviously, we all want giant boobs. Or, you can just do like I did and live with too-big underwear and a too-small bra because you don’t want to return to the store for a 3rd time to exchange the bra you should have just tried on at the store but didn’t think you needed to since you’ve worn the same bra size for 7 years… and returning underwear is gross and probably not allowed, anyway.
19. The fact that someone adjusted the way women’s clothing is sized so much that they had to create a size zero
20. If I actually had any desire to try to be in the modeling industry, I would need to lose at least 20lbs to be considered “normal” weight for my height (not that I’m tall enough to be a runway model, anyway, but proportionally-speaking). The only person/entity who would consider me to be overweight would be that particular industry.
21. On some level, that actually bothers me, and it wouldn’t if unrealistic and unachievable expectations weren’t placed on women and their physical appearance
22. When I’m a mother, whether I stay home or go back to work right away, someone will be pissed off. If imnotme went back to work, no one would bat an eyelash, and if he stayed home, he would be praised for being such a wonderful daddy.
23. Because some people think that just because we can wear pants to work and vote, we’re equal and now we’re just complaining too much.
24. Valid emotions and feelings are brushed off as PMS, menopause, pregnancy, or just “girly melodrama.”
25. Because a lot of people, both women and men, haven’t even considered many of these things at all.
Anyone have anything to add?