Saturday, September 8, 2012

Why I'm a Feminist (Part Three): Gender Inequality Makes Me Angry

Assholes like to belittle women’s rights activists, dismissing us as “angry feminists.” Normally I bristle against stereotypes of any kind, but especially ones that try to limit who I am as a person. Just like being a virgin doesn't make me frigid or judgmental, being a feminist doesn't make me a bitch or a man-hater.

But the assholes have one thing right. 

I am angry.

I’m angry that the War on Women isn't just a political catchphrase. Republican legislators across the country, at the federal and state level, have introduced, and often passed, legislation 

I’m angry that Bill Clinton is still the Democrat’s Golden Boy. I don’t care that he cheated on his wife—that is his personal business. But how many women have accused him of sexual harassment, like Paula Jones? Of sexual assault, like Kathleen Willey? Of rape, like Juanita Broaddrick? Accusations date back to BEFORE he was even governor. So all you rape apologists who want to doubt his victims’ credibility can just stop. I thought the Democratic Party supported women’s rights…

I'm angry that my twin brother called me a slut and a whore for years, in front of all our mutual friends, and not a single one of  them stood up for me. I had committed the unforgivable crime of developing breasts, and I had to be shamed for it.

I’m angry at the number of times I had to ask to choose a famous person not on the proposed list for essays, papers, and projects. Why? I wanted to write about famous women.

I’m angry that I earned a reputation in my non-WGS history classes as the feminist. Why? I was the only one who consistently questioned gender bias, who asked about the women. In today’s day and age, what kind of history students ignore the history of half the world’s population?

I’m angry that my home church won’t allow women to serve in ordained positions. Women are allowed to be deacons, but not elders or ministers. My father is an elder, and I know he does his best to represent my mother and me, along with my brothers. I remember how proud I was when I found out he had been nominated. I cried when he told me he almost didn't accept it. He had to pray about it and talk to my mother because he wondered if it was wrong to accept a leadership role denied to my mother.

I’m angry that women are held up to an impossible standard of beauty. Be skinny, but not too skinny. Be curvy, but not too curvy. Be really pale or really tan, but not in-between. Always wear make-up in public, but never look like you’re wearing make-up. Wear the latest styles, but only wear styles that flatter your figure. Wear the latest colors, but only wear colors that flatter your skin tone. 

I'm angry that a sexual double standard still exists. My blood boiled when I first heard the comparison of men and women to keys and locks. 

I'm angry that most movies and TV shows fail the Bechdel Test.

I'm angry that so many of the twitter accounts I follow do stupid trending topics like #MyPerfectHusbandIs and #HowToMakeAWomanHappy, both of which just reek with outdated gender stereotypes.

I'm angry that I can't tell anyone from home that I'm bisexual. I'm angry that my sexuality is dismissed as greedy, or experimental, or denial. I'm angry that I have to lie to my family, to all my friends from high school, to most of my friends from college, to everyone at church. I'm angry that I can't marry a woman in my home state.

So go ahead.

Call me an angry feminist.

You are 100 fucking percent correct.


  1. Well said! This made me so angry I tweeted a series of angry feminist tweets (with typos in them, showing how angry I was) about why it sucks when patriarchs (or patriarch sympathisers) play the "angry feminist" card.

    Basically, it's so maddening because they assume we're angry over nothing, so they can just dismiss anything we say. And of course, nothing we say will convince them that we have some reasons to be angry.

    1. Exactly! My twin brother used to do this whenever I was upset over anything. He would tell me to "Calm down" or "Stop overreacting," as though there was something wrong with having an emotional response to injustice or cruelty!

      A few months ago I was on the phone with my mom. She very carefully remarked, "I agree with everything you're posting on facebook, [post-Sandra Fluke] dear, but you should know your tone is just a little bit angry." My reply? "Good! Because I'm LIVID."

    2. Yeah, I don't understand the idea that feminists should always tread carefully around people's old-fashioned and harmful ideas about women. As if being polite was more important than trying to fix those harmful ideas! As if politeness required me to just smile and nod, even when someone treats me condescendingly or violates women's human rights on account of religion. As if women weren't really allowed to stand up for themselves. That's BS.

  2. Great post! I'm also angry that a moderate man (Romney) feels the need to kiss the ultra-right's ass and backpedal from his pro-feminist viewpoints of old.

  3. I completely agree with everything you said here. Everything. I'm angry at republicans, I'm angry at the church, I'm angry at women's magazines, I'm agree at those stupid men who have stupid double standards about women and sex.

    Especially the locks and keys thing. I've heard various versions of this that would make your blood boil.

    Thanks for being so honest.

    1. Thank you! Most of the time, I'm pretty patient and polite and understanding and explain my feminist frustrations calmly. I am definitely the person who can introduce others to feminism and win them over slowly. But sometimes, I just need to let it all out with my pissed off indignation at sexism and patriarchy and everything that hurts women.


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