Once upon a time, two people of the LGBT persuasion sat in a room. The following conversation occurred:
**Names have been changed to protect their misguided identities**
Dana: I’m brainstorming. What do you think of when we talk about Take Back the Night?
Julie: Women’s rights?
Jodi: Uhh, I don’t know… Activism? Awareness? …Feminism?
Dana: Ew. I can’t believe you said that.
Jodi: Oh my god I know. I HATE feminists. I’m definitely not a feminist at all, it’s just so stupid.
Jodi: I mean… We should promote EQUALITY. Not just equality for WOMEN, right? Feminists ruin that. That’s what I hate about feminists. They’re just all about women. Women, women…WOMEN!
I know…it HURTS just to read it. I don’t know how many different times or how many different ways feminists can explain to the rest of the world that being a feminist does not necessarily mean that you are a radical, hairy, man-hating, bra-burning lesbian who spews fiery monologues about patriarchy and the fate of the free world whenever possible.
Feminism means that you believe in equality for women. Period. End of story.
It’s especially difficult to hear this kind of anti-feminist rhetoric out of the mouths of people in the LGBT community. These people are no strangers to minority status. LGBT people know what it is to be misunderstood in today’s world. Additionally, LGBT issues have long been on the forefront of the feminist agenda. There are undeniable connections between a feminist’s fight for equality and an LGBT person’s struggle for rights. The LGBT and feminist communities should be natural allies working together to achieve equality, not pitted against each other in a bitter war of semantics.
That’s why it’s so shocking to me that two such college educated women can be so ignorant to the feminist cause. And what’s more, be contributing to “the F word” stigma associated with feminism, that stigma that keeps feminist opinions in a little box labeled “radical” and kept out of mainstream discussions.
And it is those mainstream discussions that are powerful enough to enact change. So as long as the anti-feminists out there can associate feminism with radicalism, they can keep women where they’ve always had them: under the glass ceiling and in silence.
In order to combat this horrible misconception and try to restore honor to our favorite “F word”, Madison Equality-JMU’s on-campus LGBT and Ally organization-is proud to be hosting Mitch Hobza, a JMU student who is going to speak honestly and openly about the misunderstood definition of feminism. Mitch currently works on JMU’s premier feminist literary magazine “Sister Speak”, blogged on ShoutOut last semester, and is extremely educated about feminist issues.
Warning: Shameless Plug.
Come out to this meeting February 15, 2011 at 8:30pm in Taylor 302.