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My private feminism

28 Feb

I’m re-posting this from Tumblr. What are your feelings on separating a name from a movement?

“By definition, feminism is ‘the principle that women should have economic and social rights equal to those of men’. Given this definition, a Harris poll recently found that 71 per cent of all women in the US identify themselves as feminists. The most common comment from young women who are asked about feminism is ‘I’m not a feminist but…’ The ‘but’ usually goes on to include a laundry list to the effect of-‘I want equal pay; I want access to better jobs; I want to have the right to choose whether to have an abortion’. Essentially, these women aren’t ready to join a feminist movement of women and men because of the stereotypes attached to the label but they want to reap the benefits from it.”

The F- Word, by Amy Richards and Julie Parker (via sallydraperbitch)

If people are paranoid about the word, but are ok with the concept, would it be possible to just ditch the word and keep the concept?  Once a word has negative connotations attached to it, they become very hard to shake.  Would it be possible to create routes of action that are feminist in nature but not in name?  Could that make them more subversive, to remove the most recognizable and objectionable aspect, but leave everything else in place?  I mean, the Girl Scouts is not marketed as a feminist organization, but from all the women that were once girl scouts that i know, it certainly was a feminist organization.  Is the word more important than the concept?

Just something I’ve been thinking about.

(via themundaneworld)

[The following is my response.]

The word isn’t more important than the concept. The word is the concept. The word feminism encompasses a history that includes the 19th Amendment, Roe v. Wade, as well as the ongoing fights for autonomy over our own bodies, equal pay for equal work, etc. To sever the idea from the word would be to deprive it of over 100 years of history. And for what? Because when people hear the word “feminist”, they automatically picture a bunch of angry, unshaven man-haters? So. Fucking. What. There will always be people who are uncomfortable with change, who are narrow-minded and bigoted and scared. Changing the word “feminism” to something else in an effort to get scared, narrow-minded bigots on board seems wildly counter-productive.

As far as the but-feminists (“I’m not a feminist, but…”), they’ll get on board or they won’t. The goal of feminism is equality and change, not recruitment. Yes, I personally find it frustrating when people (especially women) try to distance themselves from the term “feminist”. However, I have to remind myself that part of this big crazy idea that I so fervently believe in is choice. And that includes the choice of what to label yourself. The Freedom Riders didn’t come back from Mississippi and proclaim that equality would only be extended to those who were on the buses. Susan B. Anthony didn’t just want votes for one generation of women. Harvey Milk didn’t believe that gay rights should stop at the San Francisco city limits. Just because you don’t identify as a feminist, that doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve the same rights that we’ve been fighting for.

So, what if, instead of trying to change the word “feminism”, we tried to foster a culture that has a better handle on what it actually means? What if, instead of bending to the societal pressure that feminism is somehow gauche, we just ask about it? “Oh hey, you’re a feminist? What does that mean?” I guarantee you’ll get a different answer every time. Words have power. So why should we give ours up?

Climbin’ back on the bloggon (that’s a portmanteux of blog and wagon, btw).

4 Feb

Happy February! I’m a little embarrassed to admit that it’s been so long since I’ve been on here that I not only had forgotten my password, but had also forgotten how to add new posts! You’re lucky I’m not just mashing my fingers into the keyboard; thank god for facebook and internet porn sites, I probably would’ve forgotten how to type without them.

So, a feeble-as-ever explanation for why I haven’t updated in a really long time: I’ve basically been hiding out at my parents’ house, eating Qdoba and watching Dr. Who, and generally trying to avoid contact with anyone who will want to know what I’ve been up to since last Spring. In short, 2011 was a shitty year, and I’ve been trying to pretend it never happened. Denial is so much more than a river in Egypt.

But now it’s 2012! Hooray! I have all kinds of exciting things to tell you about, dear readers, so pull up a pillow and break out the glitter nail polish and back issues of Tiger Beat, cause I’m gonna braid the shit outta your hair. With words. Because that’s totally a thing.

This is hard, this is happy.

6 May

This last week has been exceedingly hard, made harder still by the choices I’ve suddenly found myself confronted with. I’ll probably write more about this in the near future, but, in the meantime, here are some things that are making me smile despite my life kind of falling apart.

Scheduled maintenance

9 Jan

As much as I love that swatch of Eames fabric that’s been adorning my header for the last several months, I’ve been feeling like a little blog makeover-action was due. So thank you in advance for your patience while I play around with some new things on here.

In other news, it’s not too late to enter the giveaway! Just sign your name and something fascinating about you in the comments, first four (I’ve already gotten one) will get some kind of fabulous pretty thing.

Introductions, shall we?

14 Aug

This is a blog about magic. And wonder. And whimsy. And impulsiveness. And appreciating small things that make me inordinately happy. Which, as it turns out, is what the title, “Ricky Still Loves Lulu”, is actually about.

On southbound I-25, in between Ft. Collins and Denver, there are numerous spots where you go under train bridges. On one such bridge, for several years, was a piece of graffiti that I found particularly fascinating. The letters were clearly visible, even though they obviously weren’t new. They were also highly legible, a rare case of street art where the message is more important than the font in which it’s conveyed.

Years passed with me not really thinking about these words, except when I drove under them. Then in high school, my curiosity grew as I began driving to Denver more frequently. So I asked around. Turns out that several decades ago, this kid Ricky proposed to his girlfriend, Lulu, by spray-painting “Ricky Loves Lulu” on the side of the bridge that I’d been driving under for so long. Then, years later for their anniversary, Ricky, no longer in the bloom of youth, sneaks back out to the same bridge, with a similar message.

Ricky Still Loves Lulu.

I don’t know how much of that’s actually true, but I’m happier believing it is.