4/16/2013

She is a feminist.



A few weeks back I stumbled upon the Wikipedia entry for Amy Poehler, one of my all-time favourite famous people. Whilst reading it, I was thrown off by one, simple sentence. At the very end of the "Personal life" section, there it was, without any context or reason: "Poehler is a feminist." And to prove this apparently outrageous accusation, there was even a footnote, linking to the website of the Daily Mail, more specifically to an article about a feud between Taylor Swift versus Amy Poehler and Tina Fey following the Golden Globes.
Since I read it, I have been trying to figure out, why exactly this sentence made me want to smack someone. To me, being a feminist is not an insult. Neither is it a privilege. It is the same as having two legs or a nose or the ability to whistle - it is normal! Being a feminist does not mean that I want to hold a knife to every man's crotch and cut his cock off, neither does it mean that I am marching the streets, chanting and burning my bras. That is crazy people you are thinking of. Being a feminist simply means - and here I am directly quoting from Caitlin Moran - you believing "...that women should be as free as men, however nuts, dim, deluded, badly dressed, fat, receding, lazy and smug they might be". So being a feminist can be roughly translated with "being a woman with a brain and a minimal amount of common sense".It is not an exclusive club. Being sane is basically the only qualification one needs to become a member.
With that established, I finally figured out why that sentence on Wikipedia made me so angry. Every woman, who is not willingly a slave to her man, renouncing any independence for herself, is a feminist, whether she is aware of it or not. So the fact that Poehler is a feminist is certainly not important enough to be put on Wikipedia. At least not more important than the name of Poehler's first pet as a child or whether she likes peanuts or walnuts better. Yet, I was and still am pretty sure, that the person who put it on there did not mean any harm. And when I figured that out for myself, I realized that I wasn't pissed about the sentence being there, I was pissed about the things it implied. Because "feminist" is still an abusive word to many. Some men use it to describe a certain kind of woman, you know, a mouthy one, a troblemaker, one that will speak her mind instead of keeping her head down. One that will probably start a riot everytime some man opens a door for her or stands up as she enters, one that will name her daughters after Greek goddesses and go to lesbian poetry readings. And women - instead of redemanding the word, often feel insulted by it. As if it was a libel. Well, it isn't. Neither is it a badge of honour. It's a fact. Do you have tits? Do you have a brain? Well, then you're a feminist. Deal with it.

(By the way, the same test goes for men, as well. Minus the tits thing, obviously. We take men without tits, too.)

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