Feminism is the new racism

They can indeed. Talk about it, that is./ Smithsonian Institute

They can indeed. Talk about it, that is./ Smithsonian Institute

Was that insulting enough? Good. Keep reading.

Author: Jamie Orr

I know this may seem out of place for someone who is described as “humour girl” in this newspaper, but I assure you this is not the case.  I am not, in fact, a shitty superhero drawn by a thirteen-year-old 30 Rock fan, but rather an adult English/French near-graduate at the U of R.  This means I have much less integrity than the preteen comic book motif you thought I was.

I’m writing this because I saw something on Facebook that bothered me. This particular Facebook post was, in theory, really nice.  A colleague had posted a few paragraphs about the importance of treating genders equally and loving everyone the same and all that good stuff.  People liked it, shared ‘you go girl!’ comments; love was in the air tonight. All in all, it was a good time.  But I am an Arts student, goddamnit! I took a vow to never be satisfied by anything anyone says, ever!  So, I am focusing on her first phrase: “I don’t consider myself to be a feminist, but.”

Look, I’m not mad, but I hear a lot of people saying things like this. They will say they’re not a feminist and then essentially recite and fight for the feminist definition and goals word for word.  This is what I mean about it being the new racism.  Sentences like this remind me of my inherently WASPy relatives at an uncomfortable family reunion saying “I’m not a racist, but” and proceeding with the most racist statement I have ever heard in my entire life.  Don’t get me wrong, convincing my great uncle to not say ‘the blacks in Ferguson are at it again’ is the definition of titillating conversation, but it absolutely negates the beginning of his argument.

If you are just skimming this and think that I’m comparing this lovely woman on Facebook to the Ferguson police department, all the power to you.  Thank you for truly reading between the lines of this overstepping and downright rude article that you actually judged by looks instead of content (Jeepers, that sounds familiar, but I can’t put my finger on it…). For everyone else, however, I’m simply asking for some continuity.  If this woman would have said, “I don’t consider myself to be a Feminist, so I’m totally not ok with being allowed to vote this year”, I would have thought “alright” and then maybe not invited her to my next birthday party.  But, thankfully, it’s not 1907 anymore and phrases like that are only now common in discarded Saturday Night Live skits.

Feminism is humanism.  Associating it solely with man-haters in the darkest corners of Tumblr is like arguing that all Christians hold themselves up to the Westboro Baptist Church’s standards.  Extremists are going to take things out of context, no matter the medium.  Feminism is actually everything this woman on Facebook described, except that she chose not support the title.  I’m not saying that feminists have to delete everything on their iTunes except for TED Talk excerpts from Beyoncé songs, or even post every Emma Watson speech with the caption “yes bae yaaa!” to their Twitter victims/followers; I realize that people like being normal human beings.  All I ask is that people stop shunning the horrible and tarnished label ‘feminist’ while living in a society that is evolving and more accepting today because of the progress of women who adhered to these feminist beliefs.  Can you imagine if Ruth Bader Ginsburg had said she wasn’t a feminist? Who would Leslie Knope even stalk anymore?  The world would be in shambles.

So here’s to changing the stigma about the term “racist.” …Wait. That’s a different issue.  For now, before exiling yourself from the term all together, maybe just read up on what it actually entails.  Then, if you’re still not into it, that’ll be your call.  But don’t expect an invite to my totally rad birthday party later this year.

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