No woman is ever going to be perfect. Repeat after me. No woman is perfect.
We all have our flaws, our weaknesses, our blind spots. Feminism isn’t about creating a super race of perfect women who all reiterate the same personality-less mantra. It’s not about manipulating everybody into behaving in the same way. It’s about recognising and representing minority groups for who they are, whoever they are, with a focus on women as human beings. It’s about giving them the same rights as the other human beings – straight, white, cis men. And it’s about freedom.
Now, there are lots of articles knocking around that don’t quite agree with this. They claim quite emphatically that there are some things a true feminist just wouldn’t say. I’m thinking about one in particular but naming no names.
To be honest, I agree with most of the things on the list. Like, I’d never judge a woman for sleeping around, and I wouldn’t chose to not vote for someone because they’re a woman but I am totally guilty of referring to myself as a slut, or calling it my friends affectionately. Doesn’t make me any less of a feminist though. I’d also say ‘not all men’, simply because people are often intimidated by feminism and I don’t want anyone to feel marginalised by my views. The best way to stop a guy feeling attacked or isolated is by saying, ‘yeah I totally understand that not all men do this stuff, but some do and I don’t think we should put up with it.’ And it’s true, thankfully not all men are misogynists . In fact I’d like to think it’s just a minority. For me, saying ‘not all men’ is just an easy way of making things much less hostile and usually whoever I’m talking to comes around to the idea of feminism once they know I don’t think they’re a massive dickhead just because of their gender.
I HATE the whole ‘no feminist would ever say this’ thing. Surely that’s just another form of oppression? Surely that’s just another way of making people not feel good enough. It alienates people from a movement that aims to accept everybody. I don’t want anyone to think they can’t be a feminist because of a slip of the tongue.
For me it’s probably just a matter of word choice; if they’d change the title to something a bit less dictatorial then it wouldn’t be so bad. Perhaps, ‘Fourteen things a feminist probably shouldn’t say but might do by accident’, or ‘Ten things no super-human saint would ever say but a real person might if they’re angry or drunk or tired and we should forgive them for it because we’re all just people trying to live our lives.’ Or something along those lines anyway…
Show me a woman, or a man, who hasn’t said something stupid and regretted it and I’ll bet they’re a two dimensional ‘Angel of the House’ from Victorian Lit. Sometimes we just say stuff and know it’s stupid. Sometimes we’re in a controversial mood, or want to show off. Sometimes we’re hammered, or angry or hurt and just say whatever comes into our heads first because (I’ll say it again and again and again) WE’RE NOT PERFECT! No one is. Ever.