Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Why I'm a Feminist

So, I have a friend who doesn't believe I'm a feminist.  Mainly because he has the impression that feminists hate men, and I don't hate men.  But I don't want to paint him as a bad guy.  He's not, and he agrees that men and women should be equal.  I think, like a lot of men, he's a little blind to the ways that men and women are still not yet treated equally, things that women are naturally more sensitive to.  But we have rousing discussions and we still respect each other and its all good.

But I thought, for him, I'd try to write a post that explains what it means to me to be a feminist, and why I'm a feminist.

See, I have another friend, Seth.  Seth recently converted to the orthodox church, and he's been trying to sell Lee and I on it.  So I asked him a quite natural question.  Do they ordain women?  To me, this is one of the most important questions in deciding a church denomination, not as much for my sake but for my daughter's.  And it sounds like there's a lot to like about the orthodox church, but do they ordain women?

Seth's answer broke my heart.  "No, they don't.  I don't have any problems personally with female pastors.  Females can be great pastors.  But not a priest.  A priest is different, and a woman couldn't handle it."

In addition to the fact that this is a really arrogant way to say that orthodox priests and the orthodox church in general is BETTER than protestant Christianity; it was an attempt to sound not sexist when he was really saying something deeply sexist.  I lost a lot of respect for him that day, but worse I find it impossible to like him as much as I used to.  Because he wasn't just insulting women, he was insulting me.  And it hurt me, directly.

Because here's the thing. I am a woman.  And so when you say something like that, to my face, you are saying, to my face, that you think I am not as good as a man.  That I am not as good as you.  That due to nothing more than an accident of birth, of genetics, I am less qualified than you to hold that position.  And what disqualifies me?  Nothing more than what is between my legs.  It's not my brain or my heart or my soul or my personality or any of the dozen quirks that make me ME... its my genitals.  And that's bullshit.

Am I qualified to be an orthodox priest? Hell no!  I'm not orthodox, I haven't studied the religion, I have no desire to be an orthodox priest.  See, feminism is not about me demanding you say I'm qualified for something I'm not.  Feminism is about me demanding you look at my qualifications as a PERSON... that you look at the whole me to determine whether or not I'm qualified, not at what's between my legs.  You know, the SAME courtesy you'd extend to a man.

For the first time in my life, I believe that my worth comes from WHO I am and not what gender I am.  I believe that I am worth every bit as much as a man.  I believe that I should never be disqualified from anything based on my genitals but based on what I bring to the table.  I want to make a world where that is really the case.  I want my daughter to grow up in a world where that's the case.  I am a feminist, and I'm not ashamed of it

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