Congratulations! You’re alive! Unfortunately, you were born without a penis. Tough break. You get the consolation prize of a lifetime subscription to a system of thought called “feminism”, and it’s a shit-burger of a prize because it’s both necessary and entirely insufficient. Also, frankly, it can be a real buzzkill. But it’s what we’ve got! So, this post is a primer on how to make feminism fun, functional, and fulfilling.
I really resented feminism for the better part of my life. It seemed that whatever way I chose to live, there would be people telling me that I was being a woman wrong. I resented being told that I owed something to my gender; that, for example, I would be betraying my gender if I were to opt to stay home with my children or even if I just stayed home on a Saturday night to watch a hockey game. I resented being told that such desires could only be the result of societal brainwashing. I resented the implication that I couldn’t trust my hormone-fuelled male-dominated instincts. It came down to the fact that I resented being told that there would be a value judgment made based on how I furthered a “feminist agenda” and not by how I fulfilled my own ambitions. Feminism didn’t feel like a tool at my disposal, it felt like I was a tool of feminism.
And then I met existential feminism: a philosophy that basically just says “own it”. I realized that feminism was trying to give me a world of options, and that the error of some feminists was to try to dictate to women what they should want. There were those who believed that, if given the choice, women would be men, and others who believed that women would shun all manifestations of maleness. Meanwhile, all I wanted to do was whatever I wanted… without gendered consequences.
Any brand of feminism that implies that there is a correct way for a woman to conduct herself is as guilty of oppression as any man who believes that it is his right to define the proper role of women. It is not men controlling women that is wrong, it is anyone believing that it is within their rights to control anyone else that is wrong. All we can do is support policies and media that advocate for the freedom to choose. Whether a woman chooses, of her own volition, to wear a burkha or to have sex with multiple partners while serving as the CEO of a cheesecake conglomerate, we can but support the right of women, and all people, to pursue happiness.
So here are the rules for making feminism your friend, and it turns out that they work equally well for men and women: (1) think critically about your instincts, (2) engage in conversations, (3) think critically about what you’re told, (4) own your decisions, and (5) fuck the haters.
Posted in: Progress