I Do Need Feminism and Hope I Always Will
By Alexa Day
So last week, I was introduced to this hashtag: #WomenAgainstFeminism. I checked out this gallery to figure out what they’re all about, and I have to say I was a little disturbed by it.
The gallery features 15 young women holding up little handwritten signs describing all the various reasons for their animosity against feminism. They like chivalry. They don’t want their sex lives politicized. Most disappointing, they seem to think that one cannot enjoy sex and be feminist.
I think everyone in the gallery is at best a little confused about what feminism is.
Listen, I get it. When I was a college student, just half a lifetime ago, I was somewhat dismayed by feminism. Not only did it seem joyless and more than a little angry, there was a strong thread of weight room know-it-all running through it. You know what I mean. While you’re going merrily about your business, someone comes along and says, “You’re doing it wrong.”
Thankfully, I have learned a thing or two about feminism since then. And thankfully, feminism is not static. My mom’s feminism is different from mine. Her mom’s was different from both of ours. My niece’s feminism will hopefully be different, too.
I don’t want to be the know-it-all in the weight room, but this is what feminism has done for my family.
My grandmother needed a harder, angrier feminism to climb the professional ladder in New York’s fashion industry and bring her daughters to America. My mom’s all-or-nothing feminism, I think, was designed to keep the momentum up. Her mother had kids and a career, she had kids and two careers, and by God, her daughter was going to have it all, too. After trying to drink from that particular firehose long enough to get through law school, I turned to a new feminism, one where you can have as much of “it all” as you want, when you want it.
As far as I’m concerned, you can have sex, enjoy chivalry, cook for your boyfriend (or your girlfriend or whoever else) and still be a feminist. You can swear off sex, shun chivalry, never cook anything, and still be a feminist. You can be a man and still be a feminist. There’s always going to be someone out there to say otherwise. Sometimes, that person’s a woman. Feminism says other people — male or female — don’t get to tell me how to be a woman. It says that I get to handle my own business. It encourages me to help other women handle theirs. I do my part by writing “slutcelebratory” erotic romance and telling people what law school did to me, in the hope that my choices help inform theirs. They’ll do what I did or they won’t, but thanks to the feminists who came before me, both options are available, and we can all investigate them more thoroughly.
Because of the tremendous (and ongoing) efforts of a great many feminists, both male and female, we’re able to live up to that promise so many of us heard as little girls. We can do anything we set our minds to. And we don’t have to do it alone.
That includes participation in tumblr blogs insisting that feminism is now unnecessary.
So I’m not going to tell anyone they can’t be an anti-feminist. It’s my job to protect choice, and that’s a choice. I will tell the world that I think we need to examine what feminism is and what it has been and what it might one day be.
If my niece’s generation is going to abandon feminism, they should at the very least know what they’re missing.
Choose Lady Smut today. Feminism’s never been so much fun.