Sorry I've been absent for a little while. Sometimes life smacks you full on in the face and you don't know whether to be happy or sad: nutty little neurons firing all over the place and no where to go but crazy. In the interest of distracting you from my slow dissent into madness, I would like to rant endlessly on things that have bugged me this past week.
Apparently, we still live in the 9th Century BCE (thanks for the heads up, Autodidact). Gosh! And here, I thought the purpose of International Women's Day was to reflect on the rights of 51% of the world's population (now would be a moment to enjoy a UN with enforcement power). In reaction to this heinous miscarriage of justice, let's consider the way our laws surrounding rape and their prosecution also demonize the victim. Surely, our courts are not nearly as villainous as this one, but we should be cognizant, too, of our attitudes towards sex, shame, and agency.
Speaking of women, rights, and meaningless rhetoric, let's address one of my least favorite phrases: "I'm not a feminist, but..." I first heard this phrase in high school, after we read Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own. Young women in my class would stand up and say, "I'm not a feminist, but... I think that Virginia Woolf makes a good point about the need for personal income and property to support artistic endeavors." Think of what that phrase means: I'm not a feminist. What you are literally saying is, "I am not an advocate of the rights of women (based on the theory of equality of the sexes)." (For those of you who are wondering, I lifted that definition directly from my one true love, the OED.)
Why would you say such a thing?! Why would you announce it? If it's actually true, if you do not advocate the rights of women (and NB: equality does not necessarily indicate sameness, although I personally don't approve of the Plessy v. Ferguson principle), then that's one thing. I disagree with you and I will use every rhetorical tool in my kit to convince you of that, but more power to you for stating your principles so baldly. Yet, I do not thing that's what you mean, is it? It's not the first part of the phrase: "I'm not a feminist." It's the second clause, "But..." You are about to contradict yourself. You are a feminist! A closeted, rights-desiring, equality-grubbing feminist. You dirty, dirty feminist. I know your secret.
I am not the only person with this pet peeve. Check out: Laura (and her aptly titled blog), Runes, the 21st Century Mom, as well as this article in the f word, an online journal about contemporary feminism in the UK (those crazy Brits: they call masturbation, "flicking the bean"-- delightful! What will they think of next?).