Wow, I Can Be a Feminist After All!
By Vincenza M. Carter
Featured Rightgrrl, February 1998
I know, the title seems strange, but hey, after years of describing myself as an "antifeminist," while all the time believing in the classical feminist ideals, I have recently experienced an epiphany. I am really a feminist after all, just not the kind that goes around trying to totally destroy the entire system.
I have to credit Rightgrrl with the first step in my awakening. Finding Carolyn and Steph's web site was a real eye-opener for me. It was great finding out that I am not weird or strange, just because I think the NOW gang et al., is a group of lunatics with penis envy. Actually, in my younger days, I
did buy into all the NOW rhetoric, and was even a member of my local group in Brooklyn. But that was back when equal pay, and equal opportunities were the goals. Then I decided to quit my job as a mainframe operator (computers) and marry the man I loved, who was joining the army. I won't even bother describing the attacks I got for giving up all of my potential, just to follow some man across the country, and the world. That was my last real contact with feminists as a group. I have pretty much stayed clear for the past fifteen years.
Then came the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas incident. My husband was stationed in Berlin at the time and a friend and I were standing outside the post shopping center discussing the Senate hearing. I made the big mistake of telling my friend that there were just too many things about Anita Hill that I questioned. My friend supported Anita Hill, but we were having a friendly debate, each giving the other her reasons for belief or disbelief. Two women standing near us jumped into the debate, and were not friendly at all. I got jumped on for not supporting Anita Hill, one woman even going so far as to suggest that the truth was not the issue here; it was about men harassing women and we all have to stand together as women, or we were labeled. I got the impression that I was being told to think with my uterus instead of my brain and told the women so. Big mistake; a friendly debate turned into a cat fight, and I swore then that feminists were the nuttiest people I have ever met. I also wondered what happened to the good old days when feminism taught us to use our own brains, to think for ourselves, check out the facts for ourselves, and not let men think for us. I thought at the time that I was now expected to let women think for me, and I wasn't buying it. So I became an antifeminist.
Well, then came my epiphany. First I find Rightgrrl, which then leads me to pro-life feminists on the web, which then leads me to start looking into feminist writers, other than the women we see on nightly news. I found Christina Hoff-Sommers and Elizabeth Fox-Genovese. They in turn, in the course of my reading, are leading me to other titles and authors. And I am finding out that I am a feminist after all, and that I am meant to think with my mind and not my reproductive organs, and that my opinion does have value, even if it goes against the politically correct status quo. I am learning that there are "gender feminists," who are part of the group who wants to see our fathers, brothers, husbands and sons oppressed. There are also gender feminists involved in the university system who are changing the way our young ones think and learn, and not for the better. I was suspicious of classes called "women's studies" to begin with, but even more so as I learn more and more what these studies involve. After decades of fighting for the right of women to be educated in the same way as men, after fighting to give women the right to get out of home economics and typing, and into math and science, after all the work done by the early feminists, the gender feminists are now calling these type of studies irrelevant and are leading our young women into spending their time learning how to cry victim and seek out ways of demoralizing not only men, but anyone, male or female, who opposes them. Instead of liberation as the freedom of all, liberation is now freedom for the select few, at the expense of all. Oh, of course, we can all become liberated if we women choose to, but first you better learn how to stop thinking, and don't dare question.
Hello, out there, you gender feminists, remember us, the women who want equality for all people? We are the ones who want everyone, male, female, black, white, judged according to each person's own merits, not judged according to a certain group's specifications.
Sorry, ladies (and I use the term knowing it will annoy them), but if I am going to get a job or an education, I want it to be because I earned that job, or straight A's. Handing me this stuff on a silver platter, just because I am female, means that you don't think I can really do it. It means that you, the gender feminists, are now subjugating me yourselves, without a man even being around. Amazing...
So, now I learn that I am a feminist, one who is known as a classical, or equity feminist. Not bad! May not help me to become thin, or famous, or beautiful, but hey, it's one less confusion in my life, and any confusion that gets cleared up, has got to leave me a little bit better a person. And besides, now I know that I am not fighting against all feminists, that I am not an "antifeminist." It means I am an "anti-lunatic fringe" feminist. And that class action suit against NOW that I often fantasize about is getting more and more attractive everyday...
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