I have not yet restricted this blog to advanced blamers only (and in fact, probably never will) so it behooves me to take a moment to explain a few things for friendly visitors who are unfamiliar with the radical feminist movement in particular.

Radical feminists are interested in dismantling The Patriarchy.

We believe in the absolute equality of all people, and we are working to ensure that this equality includes equal pay for equal work, an end to violence perpetrated by those in power on those who lack power, universal and equal access to health care, sustainable means of production and reduced (or eliminated) dependency on products which are unsustainable (oil, for example). We believe that every person has the right to eat whole, satisfying, and healthy meals every day, the right to shelter that is comfortable, clean, and affordable, the right to clothes suitable to the environment and the personal aesthetic of the person wearing them.

We believe that violence is not limited to bruises, cuts, and bullet holes, but includes psychological damage resulting from ongoing harassment, from living in an environment that is hostile to one’s wellbeing, from being told both subtly and blatantly that one is inferior to another through an accident of birth. We believe that porn is violence perpetrated against women, and that torture of any kind is inexcusable.

We believe in the rights of persons with disabilities to equal access to all public and private arenas, the rights of persons of every gender and every sexuality to the same. We believe that jobs should not be restricted to one gender or another, that bigots should not have the right to decide who may or may not declare their love for each other.

Radical feminism is NOT just for women. We are feminists because we are capable of perceiving the myriad of injustices that are heaped on women simply for existing. We are feminists because we believe that injustice is wrong, and that by recognizing that which is unjust – by naming it – we can begin to eradicate it. Every person who believes these things is a feminist.

That said, being a feminist is not something to do because it earns you brownie points. It is not something to do because you think more women will sleep with you if you call yourself a feminist. It is not something to do to gain the admiration or sympathy of others.

Feminism is what you do when you know that inequality and injustice is wrong, and you want to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

If you are saying feminist things because you want admiration for being a good person, you are not a feminist. Feminists rarely, if ever are praised for their opinions – certainly not by the vast majority of non-feminists. Feminists are people who are compelled to say the hard, scary truths of the injustices of this world, who are driven to search out the root of privilege and inequality and to eradicate them.

If I don’t praise you for doing feminism, it is not because what you have done is not good. It is not because what you have done is not worthwhile. It is because I expect feminists to know that feminism is the basic requirement of being a decent human being. And while I am certainly glad that you are committed to being a decent human being, that does not make you a superhero or a martyr. It makes you someone that I can love, and respect, someone I can sit down to dinner with, someone I can have a conversation with. It makes you someone I can trust.

~ by heycarahe on November 26, 2007.

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