Queen Emily at Questioning Transphobia has an awesome theological critique of the Pope’s address against “gender theories”. I added the following comment:
To add another theological critique of the Pope’s words, look at the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch (read: transgendered) in Acts 8: 26-39. In Deuteronomy 23 it clearly states that eunuchs cannot enter the “assembly of the Lord”. But post-Jesus (who came pretty much to do away with religion and dogma and open up God’s love to everyone ever), the evangelist Philip is like “F*** Deuteronomy” and baptizes him anyway. Yey Philip!
I see conservative Christians who have a problem with gender theories etc as just as silly as those who deny evolution because they take Genesis as a literal scientific narrative. *Science* will tell you gender isn’t binary. *Science* will tell you some people have a divergence between their body’s sex and their brain’s gender. *Science* will tell you ‘men’ and ‘women’ do not fit into tiny little boxes with fixed characteristics. *Science* will tell you intersex people exist. It’s not some figment of their imagination caused by their rebellion against God. Like, hello.
Oh, and by that token, *science* will tell you that sex is not inherently for procreation *cough*clitoris*cough*…
I am a recovering Catholic myself, having been almost put off the idea of God by the Catholic Church – I’ve never gained anything from going to Church, it’s rarely challenged me or helped me grow as a Christian. Having at this point experienced Churches where you’re encouraged to think and grow and transform, I can safely say that the Catholic Church has missed the point. It’s entirely souless. In the Christian tradition, sin is not defined predominantly as rule-breaking, but as anything that blocks or leads people away from God. Which is exactly what dogmatic traditions do. Would it not be fair then to say that the Catholic Church borders on sinful?
Or maybe I’ve just been reading too much Peter Rollins lately…
I’m so sick of this kind of shit…
A few things that make me a “bad feminist”:
- I love pink stuff.Every time I read one of those articles bemoaning the fact that everything is turned pink, I secretly think “how cool!”
- I rarely leave the house without makeup
- I would LOVE to take a pole dancing class
So shoot me.
I wonder if someone asked her if she’s a feminist in an interview would she say yes?
Le me preface this post by explaining a few things I believe to be true about feminism:
1. Feminism has many different definitions and means different things to different people. It is a very broad subject area.
2. Damn right it is. Feminism is arguably the oldest and most successful social justice movement in the world (it goes back much further than the suffragettes, y’know). Moreover, it pretty much touches every aspect of our lives. So it had bloody well better be a very broad subject area.
3. This is why people often refer to feminisms, not feminism. It is not monolithic.
Now we’ve got that out of the way, let me explain something about my particular feminism.
For me, the more my feminist consciousness grows and develops, the more strongly I believe that feminism is not just about women, it is a movement for men as well. I believe there are as many restrictions placed on man by the patriarchy as there are on women, and no doubt I will elaborate on this in a future post.
But now, on with my main argument: Why we should keep the word ‘feminist’.
There have been a few times where I’ve found myself in discussion with non-feminist friends and acquaintances of mine about feminism’s relevance in the world, and I have explained that I don’t really consider feminism nowadays to be about “equal rights” so much as about liberating people from restrictive gender roles. Therefore, it is just as relevant to men as it is to women. The typical response goes a little bit like this:
“Then why is it called ‘feminism’? Why don’t you just call it ‘humanism’ or ‘equalism’ or something? ‘Feminist’ implies it’s only about females by virtue of its very name.”
My problem with this is threefold.
1. The word ‘feminism is important because it gives our thoughts, actions and ideas a context.
- Feminism’s history is colourful, varied, fascinating and inspiring. Feminists today may have shifted their focus, but they (‘we’, I should say), are part of a long and rich tradition of fighting for gender equality. It is important to see our struggles as part of a bigger picture.
- Changing the word ‘feminism’ to something else would rob us of this history.
- Feminists (as well as people with a burgeoning feminist consciousness who do not yet ID as feminist) often feel a strong sense of isolation – sometimes it seems as though you’re the only one who notices that there’s anything wrong with the world.
- Knowing that there are others who feel the same way is very important in combating this isolation.
- As such, the word ‘feminism’ unites us under a common banner and gives focus and meaning to our thoughts, actions and ideas.
2. Feminism is traditionally about women, hence the name. Do you have a problem with that?
- However much I feel that feminism benefits everyone, sexism has throughout the course of history disproportionately hurt women.
- Moreover, although great strides have been made in terms of legal and social equality, the fact remains that pretty much every society in the world sees females as inferior.
- Although many feminisms (such as mine) focus to varying degrees on how to benefit men, we should honour our history by keeping the female-centric nature of the word in acknowledgment of the fact that women have been, and continue to be, more negatively affected by patriarchy than men. And we should never, EVER be ashamed of it.
3. People who advocate a rebranding of feminism to something more gender-neutral are ass-kissers.
- Whether you realise it or not, your unwillingness to align yourself with feminism may have something to do with the fact that it’s predominantly associated with women.
- There’s a stigma attached to anything seen as overly female. Think about it. Boys and men who want to do traditionally female stuff are seen as ‘cissies’, whereas girls and women who aspire to do traditionally male stuff are either lauded or seen as over-ambitious.
- As a result, a movement which unashamedly benefits women and fights for their place within society (even though, as I say, it helps men too) is ghettoized. It’s somehow not ‘worthy’ enough.
- Much as I hate to generalize, chances are if you’re a guy and you disassociate yourself from feminism you are to some extent afraid of being seen as being ‘pussy-whipped’. And if you’re a lady who does the same, you’re kissing the ass of the patriarchy in order to get a pat on the head. Of course, this only applies if you support the general aims of feminism in the first place; if you’re a right-wing misogynist ignore what I just said.
So there you have it. If you want to read a much better worded, better structured and more interesting piece on a similar theme, try Catherine Redfern’s ‘Feminists are Sexist’. I promise you will be enlightened.