Thursday, May 27, 2010

Feminism isn't relative.

Towards the beginning of the semester, I asked my sophomores, "Are you being intolerant and bigoted if you say that you hate racists/bigots/homophobes?" Overwhelmingly, they responded with "Yes - all hatred is bad. People should be allowed to believe what they want to believe, even if it's bad."

What few of them know (because only a few of them actually asked me) is that I wholeheartedly disagree. And my reasoning is that if you hate someone based on their skin color or sexuality or religious beliefs, it is entirely likely that you are seeking to limit their rights and privileges and to basically treat them as lesser than you, and in some cases, to even destroy them. If I hate someone because they are racist, I'm not saying that they don't deserve the same rights and chance at happiness in life - I am really only asking that they don't take that away from someone else. I don't want to oppress THEM - I want them to open up their minds and stop oppressing others. I do not believe that tolerance is relative.

Nor is feminism. Sarah Palin has decided to call herself a feminist, attempting to create her own brand of feminism. Well, in my opinion, her "brand" of feminism is NOT feminism. I'll be the first to admit that I haven't read every thing in the world written about or by her, but from what I've gleaned, she's anti-choice ("pro-life") and anti-gay marriage. And that's enough for me to raise my eyebrows at her calling herself a feminist.

I will admit that part (just PART!) of how I define feminism is the freedom to express myself and make my own choices about my life according to my own will, as opposed to be pressured by society and gender roles and the patriarchy to live my life a certain way. And I believe that other women should have the same freedoms. Even Sarah Palin should have those freedoms.

But SHE doesn't believe that every woman should have those freedoms. And that's the thing. According to this article, she is so NOT a feminist. Feminism isn't just about letting women do their thang. It's NOT a "to each her own" sort of thing, at least, in my opinion.

I don't understand how you can be conservative, anti-gay marriage, anti-choice (yes, I'm using that word deliberately), pro-abstinence and ALSO be feminist. Because none of those things allows women to choose what to do with their lives and their bodies. A big part of feminism is women's rights! (I personally also tend to include men's rights under "feminism" as well.) If you take away women's rights, then you're taking away a major part of what feminism is. If the implementation of your beliefs eventually leads to women having to step back into the outdated, old-fashioned gender roles that we were trying to break out of in the first place, then how is that feminism???

Give me back your feminist card, Sarah Palin. I'm not even sure how you got one in the first place (it's probably like how kids can get fake IDs to buy alcohol?), but you don't deserve it.

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