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Is LOUD Feminism Really Making an Impact?

Now, I’ve realized the sad truth that most guys (and I don’t mean all!) don’t follow feminist ideas or even know what it truly means so I wasn’t shocked to know that my boyfriend didn’t even know Women’s Studies was a minor. He believes in necessary equality for women and men, but just hasn’t had exposure to feminism. Well, he hasn’t had enjoyable exposure to feminism. He told me, like many other stereotypical instances that I’ve heard about, that feminists are loud, obnoxious, and talk way too much. He even told me, “You’re not like every other feminist I’ve met. You’re not like…loud.”

Isn't that what all feminists do??

As he waited for me to attack, I knew that this was a good time to tell him that all feminists are not alike and feminists are not to be feared. I told him calmly that I knew where I stood and I would share my ideas and beliefs when it’s necessary. I don’t need to stand there and shove feminism down his throat. He expected me to flip out and start on a feminist rampage about how his and his friends’ jokes and demeanor is wrong and sexist. But I didn’t. I simply ended it with, “That’s just what I think feminism is about. Believing in changing the sexist ideals and doing something to influence change and encourage thought…not forcing people to change or think what you do”.

I told him that even though I dislike and discourage sexist jokes and actions, I’m not shocked that they act like that. Society influences and propels most of people’s actions and thoughts…following the crowd makes you less of a target but sexist, racist, and all of the above at the same time. So which one is better? I think that not following the crowd is one quality that all feminists have in common. Otherwise, we’d be too scared to even call ourselves feminists. But how do we get others to not follow society and the accepted rules of patriarchy?

It seems as if people, like the boyfriend, only see those over-bearing, in your face feminists who often leave the rest of the feminists to clean up society’s disregard towards feminism. No wonder why we struggle daily to spread the word about feminism, people have had it screamed in their faces so many times that they tune it out and become numb to it. Once they become numb, they see it as something to be brushes aside and expect others to take care of it. Think about it, it’s not just with feminism. For instance, take the Go Green campaign that has been plastered all over media, companies, people, and buildings for years. I’ve seen plenty and have heard plenty of ideas regarding new green technology, treatments, and procedures. So of course, I recycle, reduce, and reuse. But I’m not the one out there creating new products or even raising money for it. Why? I think it’s because of those messages that attack me from the minute I wake up and make me feel bad for living how I was. I do what I can but then I see those extreme environmental people doing their part and I can’t help but think that we’re pretty safe in their hands. So how can I blame other people who believe in equal rights but continue to uphold the patriarchy when I want to help the environment but still use aerosol hair spray?

I blame the messages that are being sent and created about feminism. Telling someone that they’re wrong for their beliefs is completely against mine. So I want to influence people and enlighten them about feminism. I want them to believe that they can make a change, even if it’s in a small group of their friends. And I want them to have that “a-ha!” moment instead of the “ok, fine. I’ll support feminism” moment after they’ve been broken by an opinionated feminist.

I think that there are times and places for in-your-face feminism but I also think that most of the time, feminism just needs to be talked about in a in-depth and understanding conversation. Now, I didn’t attack my boyfriend for his stereotypical view of feminists but explained to him what we really stood for: equality and for women’s voices to be heard. But of course, if he didn’t catch the gist of it the first time, I’ll be sure to get on my soap-box next time.

4 Responses to “Is LOUD Feminism Really Making an Impact?”

  1. ihavemythings

    I recall hearing the discussion of what a king is a few years ago. A king (or queen in this case) is not a king when their voice is the loudest and most heard in a room. Rather, a king is a king, when that individual walks into a loud room, headstrong but soft, and the room quiets to begin paying attention to the king, as he or she enters the room.

    This illustration I want to equate to feminism. For protesting and being ‘loud’ does make well, noise, but does it compel others to listen? Sometimes loudness, as you’ve seen yourself, compels others to run the other way. Now, I am not saying protesting or loudly proclaiming one’s ideologies etc. should cease, but when a feminist is loud- what is the purpose or intention behind the volume? Is it to get things off her chest, or is it have others listen in order to have them alter their views about gender equality- both? The purpose behind a feminist’s loudness must be analyzed.

    In a classroom however, I’ve always noted that a person who articulates their opinions in a well-mannered, quiet in fact, is the one who always gets to peoples heads, and hearts.

  2. kabers

    This is a great post! I’ve found myself in similar situations with my boyfriend. He’s been exposed to feministists who are, well, annoying, and he tends to label every mild thing I say about feminism as radical only because of his skewed exposure.

    I’m in a class where gender is the main topic, and there is a guy in the class who couldn’t be more anti-feminist. It’s like the teacher paid him to come into class and just spew the other point of view just to get discussions going. Unfortunately, he really thinks the borderline sexist comments he says in class. I want him to be influenced by positive feminist thinking but one feminist in particular always yells at him and is, for lack of a better word, pretty bitchy to him. He’s only going to be more swayed in the opposite direction because of her unwillingness to have positive dialogue.

  3. emalijah

    ihavemythings, I love that quote! I think being headstrong and confident is one of the key things that any person with an opinion needs. I think that if all feminists were to follow suit, more people would be willing to listen. And I agree that not all protesting needs to stop because I think people also take notice of large gatherings, but does it necessarily make them stop and think deeply about the reason for the gatherings?

    Kabers, I know what kind of person you are talking about. I’ve noticed one male in my classes as well that doesn’t agree with sexism, but often doesn’t disagree with sexism. But when his ignorance is matched with another exuberant feminist, the conversation becomes, to put it simply, annoying. I often feel as if I should be backing the feminist up, but all I want to do is to tell her to calm down…should I feel bad for thinking that her stance is a little too much? I think that if both sides calmed down, they would be able to have an intelligent conversation and maybe understand and learn a little from both sides.

  4. Jennie

    So I guess “quiet feminism” would be more acceptable to MEN and the world at large. Ever hear of Andrea Dworkin? She is my idea of a large-fabulous and loud feminist!! When life became suddenly difficult for me here’s what I’d do-hurt MYSELF. I would internalize what “he said” or what “she said behind my back.” Instead of using my voice (which is a powerful tool) and confronting them-I said forget it. Well all this anger started building up inside of me over the years! Now I CAN yell-scream-or curse at anyone who messes with me:) I’m not afraid anymore. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a “LOUD scary feminist” in my book! If someone tells me to shut up I tell them “you can’t and will not silence me!” I live in nyc so being loud helps alot. Fuck what the guys think!


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