I was just made aware of an app called Whisper and it allows its users to anonymously ‘confess’ their innermost deepest thoughts and secrets. Whether it be confessing to an infidelity, feelings of jealousy, envy or anything that is deemed taboo whereby the user may feel judged if he or she said these things out loud to their peers. They can download the Whisper app for free on their phone and unload their innermost feelings without fear or judgement. The most current stream of confessions are the ‘why I am not a feminist’ sort by female users and they range from the mundane to the nonsensical:
‘I’m not a feminist because I don’t believe in man hating and having gross hairy armpits and bad hygiene. I believe we should be respected no matter what gender. Without both we all wouldn’t be here.’
‘I’m not a feminist because I would be perfectly content not working and living off a rich spouse’s money, as bad as that sounds.’
‘I’m not a feminist. I’ve never felt oppressed as a woman, on the contrary I’ve gotten many perks for being female. I DON’T want to be treated like a man, but like a lady.’
‘I’m not a feminist, I plan on getting married being a virgin, I will cook and clean for my husband, and I am a Christian. If you really have a problem with that then hey just don’t talk to me.’
I have choice responses to each of these well meaning but misinformed ladies. First of all, in order to become a feminist, you are either born with that consciousness of unequalness between the sexes or you become one through your own life experiences and I am of the latter, so I will impart them here:
‘I’m not a feminist because I don’t believe in man hating and having gross hairy armpits and bad hygiene. I believe we should be respected no matter what gender. Without both we all wouldn’t be here.’ – Feminism isn’t about man-hating and poor hygiene, it’s a crude stereotype, which some radical feminists have come to epitomize. I recommend you read Simone de Beauvoir’s ‘The Second Sex’ and Betty Friedan’s ‘The Feminine Mystique’ and a good anthology of Gloria Steinem’s articles and books. To go back even further, read the writings works of early suffragettes who fought for our right to vote, Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood so that women would have some control over their bodies and how many children they wish to have. There is nothing ‘man-hating’ about their work and activism. They simply demanded equal rights for women as they already exist for men, which include the right to vote, the right to equality in the workplace, the right to control our reproduction and most importantly bringing awareness to the inequality women as a gender have suffered throughout the history of humans. To make aware the misogyny that we are faced with if we don’t conform to standard ideals of beauty, or if we don’t do what society expects of us.
‘I’m not a feminist because I would be perfectly content not working and living off a rich spouse’s money, as bad as that sounds.’ – I can’t argue with this one, it is nice to live off of a rich spouse, but there is a price to pay for every choice you make in life, and I will give this girl the benefit of the doubt that she’s very young and watches too much reality TV. The rich spouse can leave you and trade you in for someone younger and firmer and leave you on your ass with possibly children to support. You’ll be viewed as a ‘has-been’ or the pathetic ‘first wife’ and have to start over again. With divorce rate hovering at 50%, the chances of this happening is very good.
‘I’m not a feminist. I’ve never felt oppressed as a woman, on the contrary I’ve gotten many perks for being female. I DON’T want to be treated like a man, but like a lady.’– The ‘perks’ you talk about are only present for you because you are still young and perky. Wait until you are of a ‘certain age’ and see where those perks go. Ask any woman over 40 and see if she gets any ‘perks’ for being a woman. As for being treated like a lady, it’s got nothing to do with feminism, it’s how you demand to be treated. One last thing, women still earn less than men for the same work, I hope you don’t consider that a perk too.
‘I’m not a feminist, I plan on getting married being a virgin, I will cook and clean for my husband, and I am a Christian. If you really have a problem with that then hey just don’t talk to me.’ – This one, believe it or not, actually applies to me so I will speak openly about this. I too, am a Christian, Catholic to be specific, married, a work-at-home wife and mother, and it’s what I always wanted too when I had children but now I am more of a feminist than ever. There is nothing that can kick your feminist consciousness into high gear than when you spend your days cleaning up messes of your 3 year old and 20 month old, wiping their butts, changing their clothes umpteen times a day because they can’t help spilling everything they touch, cooking all the meals, cleaning the home and never getting any acknowledgement for it, and occasionally you get the odd complaint about the food, the untidiness or anything else. There is nothing which lights the feminist fire more than being a work or stay-at-home mother, when you are treated like the help sometimes and your days revolve around small messy people who don’t yet realize what a big mess they are, and on a bad day you think if this is what you went to college for, to be up to your eyeballs in kids and their messes, you become a feminist. You begin to demand respect in areas you didn’t even consider before. You speak louder and demand to be heard by everyone and you don’t take bullshit, not even from the little darlings you spawned.
You see dear Christian virgin girl, once you become a mother and adopt the role of a full time mother, you are viewed differently by society and your peers, and it’s not different in a bad way but different nonetheless. Prior to becoming a full-time mother you were perhaps a full-time professional, a productive go-getter, you get things done, you make things happen, you had drive and ambition but as a mother it’s a different kind of productivity and a far more strenuous one. When you are viewed solely as a mother in the eyes of others, people tend to forget that you were not always a mother and that you once partied, drank, swore (or swore more) and had a job that didn’t include wiping anyone’s bottom. You become this more tame and mundane version of yourself because of the demands of motherhood, and it’s precisely at this time, I chose to become a full-time feminist.