Wednesday, January 11, 2006

"I'm a woman, I've been around awhile"

So in answer to my own question below (and you can probably guess the answer), when I think of feminist, I generally think of someone like me. I'm always a tad bit shocked when I learn that a liberal minded person does not think of themselves as a feminist. I think of it a bit like Fred put it, that it's about the rights of people regardless of gender (or race or creed or ability, etc.).

I know that often people today associate feminism with hard-core, radical, often lesbian, activists. But really feminism is about women having the same rights and access to all of the things in society that men have rights and access to. The idea that a feminist is unattractive or strident is a backlash against feminism...a very old one, but still terribly effective.

Okay, enough about that right now...I'm sure it'll come back up someday. It always does.

Sunshine posted a very interesting question for me in the comments below. I can't remember exactly, but I think it was because she was my 10,000 visitor (and now my 15,000!). The question is that finding myself in a situation in which I witness a man abusing a dog that has just attacked him, what would I do?

I guess that it depends on whether or not I was aware of the attack by the dog. I have to admit that my first inclination would be not to try to break up any situation in which there was violence occuring (unless there was a child in danger, then I would jump in). I'd probably call 911, especially if I thought the dog was dangerous or if it was obvious that the man was injured. However, if the dog was not currently menacing or was obviously not in a position to defend itself, I would probably try to stop any needless suffering of the animal.

I am of the opinion that a dog does not attack without some kind of provocation or training/abuse, unless there is something very wrong with the dog. My order of priority would be that nobody was in danger from the dog, then to see about securing the safety of the dog.

Okay, I'm done. I'm not looking forward to work tomorrow because I get to deal with that leftover situation from Tuesday that still makes my stomach hurt.


Aravis said...

My definition of feminism is the same as yours so yes, I'm a feminist.

That dog question was interesting, and tough!

sunshine said...

Thanks for answering my question.

It is a tough one for me. I mean does it really depend on who starts the brawl? If the man attacked the dog first or vice versa? At first thought I would save the dog, for I think he doesn't have the common sense to know better, but if he did the attacking first and the man is just using brutality as self defense than I side with the man.

It's one of those situations I will never know the answer to.

Alecya Giovanni said...

I think every woman should be a feminist. Its a shame they aren't.

As fo rhte dog situation. This is my feeling. Animals act on instinct, and upon learned behavior based on past experiences. Humans, on the other hand, are empathetic, and have the ability to judge right and wrong.

In that situation, if the person is not injured [in which case you call for medical help] you pull them away from the animal. Then you do what you can to calm the animal down and discover why it attacked. Treat the animal's agression, and then, take the time to treat the human's agression as well.

LavaLady said...

I grew up knowing a lot of the "classic" 1970s overall wearing, Dworkin spouting feminists, and I have to say that is why I have never called myself a feminist. I've been harassed and shamed by women who did call themselves feminist and that sealed the deal. I do believe in what most people I talk to now name as feminist values, but I still don't label myself as one. I also believe in many things that people call themselves socialist believe in, but I don't really think of myself as a socialist. Funnily, both my bf and my best male friend both consider themselves feminist.

I've been thinking about this lately, and I want to keep an open mind, but I really doubt I'll ever self-identify as feminist.

Mark said...

erm, tea and lemon? would that make it better? (I was writing specifically about someone else you know, someone I really don't like).

Hippy Chick said...

what's wrong with being an overall-wearing feminist? I take the point about Dworkin-isms but it feels bad to me that women who don't look traditionally feminine are still slagged in 2006. It's shameful, really.

Ka said...

Consider me among that group of people who had the word "feminist" dirtied by self-described feminists. I once left a Women's Studies class halfway through because I was livid that these ostensibly intelligent women would not even consider the possibility of biology determining at least some degree of gender behaviour. When I brought up the argument, I was labeled a chauvinist and a tool of the establishment.

So do I call myself a feminist? No. For me, feminists are those who take on female empowerment as a political cause and fight it rabidly. I am an egalitarian, who believes that men and women ARE different but that our differences are of equal potential and value. Should a woman be allowed to be a fire fighter? Yes, if she can heft the required weight.

Them's my two cents. I'm not sad about the appropriation of the word feminist - I always felt it had an us versus them ring to it anyway.

spinsterwitch said...

It makes me sad that people have been shamed by feminists or attacked for their beliefs. But I would put out there that there are as many forms of feminism as there are of other belief systems.

Me, I'm a femme-y, romance-novel-reading, tattooed feminist who loves her alt & punk rock boy bands.

Go figure.

sunshine said...

Here's another ? for you.

Do you read my blog?

spinsterwitch said...

Sunshine - see your blog for a return comment :).

Mr-Mystic said...

I am glad I'm Canadian because we don't see Human Rights as anything having to do with gender, masculinity or feminism.

We believe that all humans are equal regardless of their sex.

I have never associated feminists with Lesbians. I have always believed that most feminists are women,but who they have sex with is nobody's business but their own.

P'tit-Loup said...

Oo! A Canadian twist. Mystic, I have to disagree somewhat, as to my knowledge, human rights still are in great need of improvement, even in my dearest of dear Canada. And from what I read of your blog, you are a feminist, really. As I said in the last entry, I consider myself a feminist and can go from high heels to overall, depending of my mood and the occasion. Biology affecting behavior? Maybe somewhat, but a lot is the influence of environment (says the behaviorist in me). Some men are born leaders, some women are as well, they just have been taught that it was not their place and to let the good old boys do it several time. Then again, several men from the wrong side of the "track" have been told as well.

As for the dog question, I can hardly picture "brutality" in a self defense way. Brutality to me means intentional actions meant to harm, so in that case I would defend the dog. But since I am not confident in my physical strenght, I probably would call for help rather than enter the fray. (I know, I know, I am somewhat of a chicken).

Fred said...

Hope today went well, Spin. I know you weren't looking forward to the day. Let me guess - it went well, right? :)

LavaLady said...

Oh Hippy Chick~ There is nothing wrong with Overalls, if you so choose them. There is nothing wrong with being who you are, traditional or otherwise. The women I am most inspired by are very much their own people, not tethered to an idea of who they Should be. Spins, I read your blog in part because you inspire me to accept myself for who I am!

Like I said in my original comment, I have been shamed by women who call themselves feminist, and it had a HUGE impact on me from the time I was 10 years old. Maybe it matters that I'm not white? That has something to do with it as well. Feminism as I experienced it was very much an upper class, white women's world. The fact that I straddle not only race lines but class as well seems to be in play here.

I am a woman and I believe in women's rights. Women's rights being human rights. For a while I called myself a womanist, but that seemed contrived. As contrived as it would be for me to call myself feminist.

You've got to realize that to admit this, knowing how unpopular a sentiment it is, is a huge breakthrough for me. I'm subverting a dominant paradigm in my life, and I for one, applaud myself.

Mr-Mystic said...

Okay P'tit, that does it. I am going to have to answer you on my blog. Thank you for snapping me out of my depression.