Note: This was originally written for Thought Catalog shortly after Shailene Woodley’s first anti-feminism quote1 was released, not the second one.2 Thought Catalog decided not to published it there, so I’m posting it here. The world is full of people who use words that they don’t understand. Unfortunately, sometimes those people happen to be individuals who are famous. When their faux pas relates to a social issue, you can rest assured knowing that people will point this out. Sometimes it seems that simply pointing out the mistake doesn’t do any good, so maybe instead of just telling these celebrities that they are wrong, we should start explaining to society as a whole why what they said is construed as being so offensive. One of the most common words that people have issues with is feminism, especially when it is maligned by women who might be described as feminists. For some very strange reason, celebrities like Kelly Clarkson, Shailene Woodley, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, and even Madonna have decided to go on record as non-feminists while, at the same time, continuing to push for things like equality and strength. Excuse me, ladies, but if you believe that men and women should be afforded equal rights and the same level of respect, that makes you a feminist. Equality is what feminism is about. It is not about being anti-men. It is not about being perceived as more masculine or about bashing femininity. It is not about asking to be given favors because you’re a woman. It is simply about every person being treated as equals. I honestly do not understand how any person, unless they were really into being a bigot or a zealot, could not be a feminist. Somehow, though, people have gotten it in their heads that feminism is a group of angry white women who just want to bash all the men in the world, have wild body hair, hate the color pink, think porn is always bad, think sex itself is even worse, believe that having kids is the worst thing in the world, and just want to be alone and miserable. Some of these things may apply to some feminists, but, as with other groups, we aren’t all the same. First of all, not all feminists are women. Yes, there are actually men who identify as feminists. Another thing is that we aren’t all white. There have been issues within the movement regarding racism, some more recent than others, but inclusiveness is something that is being addressed. We don’t hate all men. I know that some people find this shocking, but many feminists find men to be really awesome people that they can either call a friend or a family member or a significant other. Yes, I just admitted something that many anti-fems don’t seem to recognize: feminists can actually be attracted to men. I know this may have caused some people to faint or to feel dizzy, so, for them, I would suggest taking some deep breaths and come back to this later. Everyone else is stuck with me for now. Where was I? Oh, yes, we don’t hate men. We advocate against a system that bases a person’s value and dignity on the genitalia that they happen to possess. Many times it is the feminists who you might see when a man is being trashed for doing something that is considered to be a female role, i.e. when Daniel Murphy took paternity leave for three days instead of playing with the Mets after the birth of his child. His masculinity was ridiculed for deciding to spend time with his newborn son. It wasn’t the anti-feminists and “men’s rights activists” who were rallying behind him; it was the feminists. Painting all feminists as being volatile and strange is annoying and unfair. We do not deserve to be continuously stereotyped. We are a movement made of individuals, so each member of the movement is different from the next. Feminism is a lot like ice cream. There are many flavors, like sex positive feminism, ecofeminism, trans feminism, black feminism, postcolonial feminism, radical feminism, etc. Each type takes into account the individual’s actual feelings on not just sexual politics, but other less-gender based issues. Maybe differences in types of feminism make it harder for feminists to get the word out that feminism isn’t something dirty that one should be ashamed of claiming. Being a feminist is something that people should take pride in claiming. It shouldn’t be something that we have to hide. And it shouldn’t be something that we are constantly forced to defend because people come out as being not-a-feminist and participate in some verbal diarrhea trashing the movement. It would be nice if people would look into feminism a little more thoroughly instead of continuing to perpetuate the falsehoods that they have heard about it. It would be a lot easier to have the equality we fight so hard for if the ignorance about the movement would just stop. “No because I love men, and I think the idea of ‘raise women to power, take the men away from the power’ is never going to work out because you need balance. With myself, I’m very in touch with my masculine side. And I’m 50 percent feminine and 50 percent masculine, same as I think a lot of us are. And I think that is important to note. And also I think that if men went down and women rose to power, that wouldn’t work either. We have to have a fine balance. “My biggest thing is really sisterhood more than feminism. I don’t know how we as women expect men to respect us because we don’t even seem to respect each other. There’s so much jealousy, so much comparison and envy. And “This girl did this to me and that girl did that to me.” And it’s just so silly and heartbreaking in a way. “It’s really neat to see: there’s that new Judd […]

The Other F Word

It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends. The easiest thing to do when you disagree with ideas promoted by LDS Church members and by the church itself is to leave. It’s what I did. There were a lot of reasons that I went inactive within the church, but one was that I found myself feeling more and more uncomfortable with what was being promoted. I admire Kate Kelly and John Dehlin for feeling able to stand up to the church and continue to go there while being threatened with disciplinary actions, including excommunication. I don’t think I will be going back any time soon. There are certain things that happened while I was active that I never felt comfortable with, as well as things that happened before I was a member that made me feel funny. Right after my mom joined, some members tried to pressure her into getting me to join. Because she didn’t, she faced some ostracism. When Stephanie was baptized, I wore a dress that may have been a little low-cut. I was 16 and a non-member. It didn’t show anything off, but there were comments about it. When I was doing my interview with a missionary and had to answer questions to determine my readiness, some of the questions included my chastity and if I’d had an abortion or helped someone else to get one. I hadn’t had sex and I decided that being adamantly pro-choice didn’t count toward helping someone get an abortion, but the questions made me feel funny. I was told within weeks of joining that I was basically bastard-born because my parents weren’t sealed in the temple. They were married. My mom converted to the church when I was about 10. My dad never did. According to the church, my birth is illegitimate. At an Institute lesson, within weeks of my joining, we were taught that any person who questions the church’s teachings in any way is like gangrene. They’re a gangrenous limb that can be cut off. It made me feel like I had no way of learning about the church. This man also said people who watch horror films are more touched by “the Adversary”, aka Satan; he also said that women’s positions as mothers made them equal to men in their roles as Priesthood holders. Another of his fun teachings, that is actually church doctrine, is that if you have to choose between paying for your medicine or groceries and paying your monthly tithing, you should always pick tithing because Heavenly Father will always provide for you if you do this. Technically, if you pay the tithing, the Church is supposed to help you get by with aid programs. They don’t always do that. And if they do help, it isn’t without even more strings. On the way to a regional (though not our region) YSA conference, shortly after crossing into Tennessee, the co-rep for the Stake’s YSA started calling Barack Obama “Korihor”–aka a Mormon anti-christ.1 The other people in the car agreed with her. Because of her position of power and my tendency in non-internet social situations to be extremely quiet, I just sat and listened to them. I was told that if I really believed in God and in the Church that my mental and physical health problems would be miraculously cured. When friends were talking about homosexuality being unnatural, I said that they were wrong. I brought up that I had 1 guinea pig that had been gay and 1 that had been bisexual, so I knew that homosexual behavior was a natural thing. I was told that was inappropriate to talk about. It seemed odd that it was okay to talk about it being unnatural, but it was horrifying for me to say it was normal. At that same conversation, these two friends were talking about the upcoming election. This was at Halloween 2008. They were talking about how one’s sister had told her class that she supported McCain and had heard little support for Obama. They were talking about how it was nice that so many people in the area were Republicans. They didn’t even know any Democrats. This was when I told them that I was actually a Democrat. They said that wasn’t popular in the church and I should consider changing parties. At the dance, the same member2 who had called Obama “Korihor” was in a costume that seemed to include blackface. She said it wasn’t, but it was pretty clear that she had blackened her face and taken on a costume of an underprivileged person so she could promote some pretty anti-black feelings. I contemplated talking to someone about her doing this at a church dance, but I knew that with the conservative leanings of local Mormons that I might be the one who would be disciplined for not respecting the leader of the group I was under.3 At 2 Break the Fast meals for the Ward’s YSA, there was some political discussion going on. Yet again when I just mentioned supporting another party, the discussion was shifted without any acknowledgement that I said anything. At a combined session of Relief Society and Priesthood, which rarely happens, the wife of the then First Counselor of the Church went on a little rant about how we needed to be especially good about building up our Food Storage because Obama had been elected. After giving a lesson on tolerance during FHE for the group’s YSA, I was unfriended by blackface girl. I also saw that she (and other YSA people) had “Facebook flair” that said gingers had no souls. Though I knew the reference was a South Park one, it felt a little personal. On Internet postings by Ward and Stake members in 2008 and 2012, people threatened to leave the country or suggested that the world was going to end because Obama was elected. Anytime he’s […]

Different Types of Courage

mmmqimmedat: liberallogic101: mmmqimmedat: janersm: mmmqimmedat: Update for this post: It took a while for him to respond, but he eventually did. When are people going to realize that past revelations within the church seem to happen at pretty coincidental times? Once again feminists using third world incidents for their first world bullshit. Take your asses over to India, Iraq, Kuwait, and more. Go fight over there; that’s where your silly ass movement is actually needed. What the fuck are you even talking about? This had no mention of third world events. It’s discussing the rights to access the priesthood within the context of a particular religion. Please No rebuttal? Please. My rebuttal as usual is “dyke” Ah. Yes. I support women having access to priesthood in a religion I grew up around and eventually joined, so this makes me a dyke. Way to combine a lack of information about the topic at hand with some sexism and homophobia. Thumbs up. Stellar job. Maybe next time you could call me a baby killer or some other stereotype you have about women who don’t believe that they should be subjugated because of their sex/gender. via Tumblr

Update 2 on Silencing Dissent

putmeincoach: janersm: putmeincoach: janersm: shaeroden: papa-and-the-sea: shaeroden: papa-and-the-sea: shaeroden: draumbouy: papa-and-the-sea: draumbouy: soyeahitsdevin: mankindglobalmedia: No, that’s the Feminism you wish to convey. The one at the top is the Feminism that we encounter. No, the one on the top is the one that is noticed. Radicalism is always easier to notice than fair minded social justice. NO THATS THE ACTUAL FUCKING FEMINISTS.  ya know id think you people would actually do some goddman research once in a while to look into feminism and the current leaders and the roots of its political birth. currently feminists are royally fucking men over in court among other things these arent radicals. these are college educated feminists with law degrees and womens studies degrees doing literally everything they can to fuck men over. not some stupid teenage misandry4lyfe bitch on tumblr, though that is also problematic. and nobody is trying to stop them. and you saying “not all feminists” doesn’t mean shit. nobody fucking cares about your stupid blog. you aren’t doing anything. you’re just spewing rhetoric and acting like it excuses the connotation and association you have with psycho bitches. what people care about is that you chose to take up the banner of a hate movement without even remotely researching it to find out wether it was a good idea. people care about the stuff that the real politically active feminists do. people care when valerie solanas a feminist revolutionary writes books about gendercide and attempts to assassinate andy warhol. of course you probably have no idea what the fuck im even talking about because you didn’t do your research. you dont know what the fuck you are talking about and you side with a hate movement that had roots in white supremacy if you dont like the shit a political party does stop defending it and leave the party. you choose to be a feminist instead of an egalitarian or what have you. you’re choice sucked and we are tired of hearing you defend it. shut up. Ahh another idiot who just believes anything they hear and believes fucking Bullshit CONGRATULATIONS I linked everything to a list of proof…..this is kinda awkward for you. if the above image were true, feminists would have no problems at all with the men’s right’s movement. i have yet to see any feminist express any sympathy for the MRM. Why would amyone show sympathy for people who have EVERY right but are working to somehow get more? > “men have every right” > “men want more rights” can you even math? Yes you just proved how stupid MRAs are because there are no more rights they can even have. oh yeah.  men have all the rights, huh? you mean like the right to not have our dicks sliced open shortly after birth? you mean like the right to refuse to sign up for selective service? you mean like the right to custody of our own children? oh yeah.  so many rights.  i’m just about drowning in them. Stop blaming feminism for Selective Service, circumcision, custody rights, etc. Male circumcision? Did you realize that “feminist friendly” countries have already banned it? Yep. Don’t believe me? Check out Scandinavian countries. Don’t want to be drafted one day? (Even though the draft hasn’t been enforced in about 40 years. Odd how feminists who weren’t even around in the 70s get blamed for this and other shit.) Tell your Congressional representative. The Congress is predominantly a Republican institution right now. Explain to an anti-women’s rights political party that you feel your rights as a man are being violated because women aren’t being drafted. I’m sure they’d be willing to swap it over to women being forced to sign up if you do that. By the way, when Carter originally reactivated the conscription process, he said it should apply to women as well as men. Congress said no. Clinton also tried to include women. Guess what happened?! Congress. Said. No. So blame fucking Congress for that. As for what does the MRM do that goes against feminism: Supporting 2013’s House version of the VAWA is the first thing I can think of. I know the name throws some MRAs off, but the House version would have stripped the rights of abused people and strengthened those accused of DV. This included taking rights from male victims. Advocating against rape shield laws. Not only would this have publicized the sexual history of female accusers, it would have publicized the sexual history of male accusers as well. Denying the wage gap. I’ve seen some acknowledgement that there is racial pay inequity, but no real acknowledgment by MRAs that even amongst different racial groups, men still make more. Custody rights are unfair. Despite numbers that show they aren’t the gender biased issue that many think they are. Most men don’t seek custody of their kids. (Sad, but true.) And in cases where they do, men being awarded primary or sole custody is more common now than it has been in a long time. Also, protective divorces and lack of custody can be a result of domestic violence. Being completely opposed to child support. I have seen so many MRAs complain about paying child support and then talking about how their greedy bitch of an ex won’t let them see the kid until they pay up. Here’s the thing you guys forget sometimes: child support is meant to take care of your kid. It is based on your salary and the cost of living where your child lives. It is not alimony. If your ex misuses it, tell the court, but do not complain about supporting your child. Slut-shaming. If a woman supports free birth control pills, she’s a whore. If she talks about not being a virgin, she’s used up. If she wants to have sex, she’s a Jezebel. If she complains about being viewed this way, she’s a tease who likes to friend zone men. If she refuses sex, she’s a prude. If she […]

Back and Forth on Feminism vs. MRAs

thebadmormonhandbook: antodav: And if you do so, you can expect to suffer the same fate as them eventually.  #Apostate stupidity Excuse me, but no. It is okay to ask questions. It is okay to point out unfairness. It is okay to point out discrimination. It’s healthy to do these things. Asking questions, making things more fair, and eliminating discrimination are not things that lessen faith. They strengthen it. via Tumblr

“Here’s the thing, celebs don’t think they need feminism because the issues don’t directly effect their lives. Do they worry about taking maternity leave? Losing their job because of sick children? Needing a livable wage? The Capitol’s real–Hollywood.” – notanislander via Tumblr

(More tweets like this can be found here.) Twitter has become such a drama pit lately. I made the mistake of pointing out to a Men’s Rights person that though suicides by men happen 4x’s as often as suicides by women, the attempt rate by women is actually 3x’s higher.1 This led to her telling me that I hate men and am okay with their deaths.2 When I tried to explain that that wasn’t true, she kept going on and on about how I just didn’t care about men dying. Eventually I had to resort to the tactic that I use when I’m afraid and in an uncomfortable situation, I started just basically smiling and nodding and expressing how I understood her perspective and agreed with it.34 Of course, she had posted that I said I was cool with their deaths, so I was inundated with MRAs calling me names and telling me that women were horrible. I even got one who said that scratching at your wrist shouldn’t be considered a real suicide attempt. This guy went on to ridicule borderlines and say that we5 were all whiny women6 and that the solution was to “just zap them silly and scramble their brains like a soup. Or, do an old fashiond lebotomy [sic] on them.” He said that there was not any other method of treating us.7 When he found out, at the end of all of his borderline ranting, that I had been diagnosed with BPD over a decade ago, he called me a crazy asshole.8 I ended up blocking him.9 I had another guy tell me that women who attempted suicide were drama queens; and a few of the people suggested that women who try suicide or who self-harm were somehow deserving of less respect.10 The female attempts = drama queens guy also said I didn’t understand mental illness, as did a few of the other people.11 The cause of suicide that was listed by the MRAs? Divorce and alimony.12 Part of me wondered if they were including the suicides that are part of a murder-suicide in that, because I’ve seen a lot of “they were getting divorced, so he took matters into his own hands” stories about that has happened.13 Another part wondered why it was okay to call people with BPD and other issues that lead to suicidality in women “drama queens” for their attempts, when their disorders can be caused by abusive childhoods, chemical imbalances in their brains, etc., but that no one recognized how killing oneself as a reaction to a divorce might be considered a bit melodramatic. Before anyone launches into a “how dare you suggest their pain isn’t real” type spiel, I get why they do it. I understand why divorce can lead to suicide. I understand that grieving a loss increases a person’s risk of suicide. I just feel a little odd paying respect to one person’s grief while dismissing the fact that anyone who chooses to harm themselves (in any way) has something that is making them feel like their life is no longer worth living. This is not a game of whose pain is more real. This is talking about a decision that some people make because their pain is so real for them that they see no way out. It is not something where people should be thumbing their noses as other sufferers over. A divorced person’s pain is no greater or less than the pain of someone who was beaten as a child or of someone who saw their friends die in combat or whose beloved family member or friend or pet died or whose business burned down. The hatefulness of some of the people compounded with the fact that I actually went to my Seeking Safety group this week was a bit triggering, but I got through it. By Friday, I was muting most of the users who were sending rude tweets, which made things more tolerable. On Saturday, a troll sent some rather fucked up messages because I posted a link to this post from Tumblr. He was saying things like “all mass murderers/serial killers are homosexual btw. look it up. they probably react that way because they are told to repress homosexual feelings.” I pointed out that I happen to like learning about serial killers, so I knew that claim was bullshit and he told me, “you need to do more studying. repressed sexual instincts and emotions can lead to some serious mental health problems. even in women.” Freud would be so proud of him for spewing that, as would Marvin, the physician’s assistant for a psychiatrist14 I never actually saw, that tried to convince me that my hallucinations and self-injury were part of my being a sexually frustrated sixteen/seventeen year old.15 He also ended up being muted. At some point late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, someone else decided to bring up that feminists were responsible for terrorist threats against men’s rights movement. This led to the first MRA person to end up calling all feminists terrorists.16 I pointed out that this was hypocritical because she (and other MRAs) have said that you can’t link Elliot Rodger to their movement because he held beliefs that were inconsistent with their particular brand of Men’s Rights activism. If all MRAs cannot be held responsible for the action of one guy, then all feminists can’t be held responsible for the acts of some feminists. To believe that one bad apple can’t spoil their movement, but that one bad apple can spoil ours is hypocrisy. She called me a liar for that.17 So I told her how I felt.18 I also told her that I was not amused by some of her other behavior with regard to mental health issues.19 Basically, I told her that she has her own personal double standards when it comes to extremism.20 I have muted her for for now, but I’m now trying to decide if I want to block […]

I’m Your Hell, I’m Your Dream

“ A woman in South Dakota who wants to get an abortion, for example, is subject to so many hurdles—geographic, financial, and legal—that getting an abortion is near impossible. Sarah Stoesz, president of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, says that in her region, the obstacles make don’t women so desperate that they take matters info their own hands. Stoesz tells me the story of an eighteen-year-old living in western South Dakota who had an unplanned pregnancy. Because of financial constraints that prevented her from traveling across the state to the Planned Parenthood clinic in eastern South Dakota, this young woman inserted a toothpick into her cervix in desperation, hoping it would induce an abortion. After several days, she became afraid and called a local doctor to help her. The doctor informed her that removing the toothpick from her cervix might cause an abortion, so he refused to see her. ” – Jessica Valenti, The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women