I Don’t Particularly Want to be a Feminist

I’m a feminist, but I’d rather not be.  It’s not like questing after equality is particularly fun, and the label feminist comes with lots of fun and interesting stigmas that make identification as such just unpleasant.  I would love to stop being a feminist, and go wandering merrily through a world that’s kind to all living in it.  But:

  1. Street harassment
  2. Being lectured condescendingly about how I shouldn’t mind item 1.
  3. Being lectured condescendingly on how to not be raped.
  4. Living in fear of assault when alone at night because of items 1& 3.
  5. Being irritated about being socially conditioned to fear rape when alone at night, when odds are, if I’m ever sexually assaulted it will be by someone I know and trust. Granted, poor risk analysis is a general vexation of mine.
  6. Being mistaken for a bookkeeper at work (I am currently the only full-time female engineer on staff).
  7. Being lectured condescendingly on my field by men who know nothing about it.
  8. Being groped when I go to social dances by myself.
  9. Being hit on constantly when I’m alone in public.
  10. Being told I have to be rude if I don’t want item 9 to occur.
  11. Being socially conditioned from a young age to never be rude combined with item 8.
  12. Being lectured condescendingly on how as a woman in a tech field I should be more assertive when I know damn well no one ever tells men to be more polite.
  13. A ridiculous concern with when the first time I have sex of the penis in vagina variety occurs.
  14. As an example of item 13: the healthcare provider for my first pap smear, realizing I had yet to take my first lover, telling me how much she loves virgins and shows her 14 year old daughter gross pictures of STDs for “virgin therapy” and then showing me gigantic speculums (specula?) and telling me she’d use those if I weren’t a virgin.  Most humiliating and scary pap smear ever.
  15. Waiters at restaurants always handing the check to my boyfriend when we’re out together, without even asking.
  16. Men saying I can’t be a feminist if I smile and say “thank you” to men who hold doors for me.
  17. Men who take it as a personal insult if I don’t make a flaming deal of recognizing their wonderful chivalry if they hold doors for me.
  18. Growing up assuming that I would have to marry and marriage must mean vowing to obey some man.
  19. People who would say meaningless sympathetic things about other complaints who respond to complaints about sexism with condescendingly lectures on how any particular incident isn’t a big deal, and besides, sexism doesn’t exist in the U.S.

So I’m a feminist. I could go on, but 19 is a prime number.

Your reasons for feminism, darlings?

Featured image is Maria Callas as Medea

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Elizabeth is a professional belly dancer, a flaky computer scientist, and a returned Peace Corps volunteer. She lives in Georgia (the state of the U.S., not the country) but is nonetheless somehow not a combination of stereotypes from Gone with the Wind and Deliverance. Her personal blog is Coffeefied. Operafied. Fluffified. Beglittered.

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