Because I too was once like that blogger. Well, not that blogger, but we all have to start somewhere and we all have to learn things and no one gets it right first time, and this is why the internet is so great. We can read pieces written for people like us by people like us instead of dreary academic tomes on the nature of kyriarchy or whatever. YAY INTERNETZ.
A lot of my beliefs are so far from the mainstream that it's hard to even explain them to newbies, and it's bloody frustrating to try for the eight-hundredth time why CAPITALISM IS BAD M'KAY and so on, so I kind of rarely bother. Most of my readership by now know me and know what I mean when I talk about the kind of weighty issues surrounding feminism, intersectionality, anarchism or whatever I'm rambling about on a given day and so I don't have the impetus to word my posts in ways everyone can understand, and that is not cool of me. I've always tried to link to definitions when I first use a word from the social justice lexicon that people might not have come across, but I shouldn't get mad that not everyone can understand me immediately, I should be more accessible.
Which is why I am not shouting at this blogger or any other blogger who says similar things.
I've always advocated giving people a chance to show their true colours in potential call-out situations. You know, asking them to not, e.g. say the word 'retard' and explain why, then go full on RAGE if they object. I'm usually pleasantly surprised, and I'm not surprised by the people I'm not surprised by, if that makes sense? *side-eyes Vagenda and Jezebel*
Anyway, introductions aside, I'd like to do a bit of a Feminism 101 today. Maybe that blogger will see this, probably she won't, but other people who were about to say or have said the same thing (it's shockingly common) will see it and think 'Yeah actually, Nat has a fair point there and also she likes cats so I'll trust her on this and stop saying it'.
Here is a picture of a cat to prove I mean SRS BSNS:
So today we will be discussing why it's wrong to say things like
"Yeah, I'm a feminist, but I'm not like, a shaven-headed, hairy legged lesbian bra-burning one."This is wrong for several reasons, and I'll try to address them as best I can. Firstly, there's the glaring historical inaccuracy - the burning bra thing is a lie. If you are going to smear the more radical actions of a group, at least make them historically accurate please. Also, you had better have a good definition of what is 'too radical' because that vote you have? Won by suffragettes who smashed windows, went on hunger strike and taught themselves ju-fucking-jitsu in order to fight the police. So, you know, radicalism isn't half bad sometimes, especially when it comes to winning basic human rights.
So now that we have our short feminist history lesson out of the way, let's address the rest of the statement...
When you say 'I'm not a shaven-headed, hairy legged lesbian', what you're doing is two things that roll into one big bad thing. Thing one is that you're implying that those of us who shave our hair (or bits of it), or don't shave our legs or are fond of shagging other women don't have legitimate viewpoints and shouldn't be listened to. That what we have to say isn't valid because we're just big weirdos who are probably wearing silly trousers and everything. This is where Thing two comes in, and just like in the Doctor Seuss novel they work together to mess everything up and leave before your parents come home. Like gits. Anyway, torturous metaphors aside, this is also bad because you're buying into an INCREDIBLY patriarchal and misogynist idea which is doing feminism, and so YOU SPECIFICALLY, no favours whatsoever.
Because what you are doing is reducing women - all women, yourself included - into People Who Men (And Patriarchal Society At Large) Deem Fuckable and People They Do Not. What this does is implies that a) this is a correct and good legitimate thing to do and b) only people in the first group deserve to be treated like human beings.
This is a BAD THING.
To start with, who gets to say who's fuckable? Dominant trends and concepts of desirability vary wildly through history and different cultures - hell, even in a matter of decades tastes and concepts change. Still think this is the definitive level of hot?
Thought not. But it illustrates my point. Actually, even if you DO think mid-1990s Nick Carter is still in full possession of the sexyum, it proves my point, because it's rare to see people with hair like that now, so even if your tastes haven't changed, you can see how our society's tastes have.
And why should any of us have to justify our rights because someone doesn't particularly want to stick their penis in us? I mean, there's plenty of men I wouldn't want to sex up, but I still support their right to a basic standard of living. No one thinks men are lesser people if they don't want to fuck them, yet here we still are having to make sure we're boner-ific before someone will deign to give us a job or listen to anything we have to say. Which is very much something feminism, and you as a feminist, should be concerned about.
Whether someone is hairy or smooth, pretty (according to your and society's subjective standards) or not, long head-haired or short head-haired or paints themselves bright fucking blue and wears ponchos on the weekends, they still have thoughts, opinions, feelings and rights which they deserve to have listened to.
So please stop apologising for being a feminist, and stop trying to justify being one by essentially saying 'I'm a feminist but you can still stick your penis in me!', because reducing women to objects who can be fucked never did us any favours.
I'm giving this about three comments before someone tells me they don't want to stick their penis in me so therefore I am a) wrong about everything and b) jealous and hate sex, thus proving my point perfectly.