Every day is Blog Against Sexism Day here at Feministe, but it’s nonetheless valuable to give it special focus on International Women’s Day. First, check out the Tenth Carnival of the Feminists at Indian Writing (a great blog — be sure to check it out beyond the Carnival). Submit entries for the next carnival to Angry for a Reason.
It should be fairly obvious to everyone here why we blog against sexism. It’s because women are still considered sub-human baby-producing vessels, instead of individuals with full rights of self-determination. Because women’s bodies are still seen and used as property. Because reductive gender constructions hurt women and men, and shame people out of supporting equal rights. Because we still have to answer these questions. Because some people still fail to recognize that there’s work to be done here and abroad. Because woman = sex, and our bodies are fetishized and labelled deviant, dangerous, and sinful. Because sexism, heterosexism, animus/discrimination/violence towards women and animus/discrimination/violence towards the LGBT community are inherently intertwined. Because the rights of the woman still come last.
Despite all these things that we have to continue working for, I’m hopeful. Most of the women and many of the men I know aren’t afraid to define themselves as feminists. There’s a huge feminist presence in the blogosphere, and for me this blog has become a great feminist community. Women’s rights are gaining ground world-wide, and women are working within their own countries and cultures to empower themselves and their daughters and their sisters. Feminism is present in journalism, politics, and advertising. Almost all the women I know grew up playing sports; almost all the women I know feel entitled to an education, to a job that they enjoy, to their own bodies, and to a satisfying sexual life. I’m living my ideal life and doing what I damn well please, and I have infinitely more choices and opportunities in my life because of the feminists who came before me. I hope that the women who come after me will have infinitely more choices and opportunities than I did, and I see communities of women working right now to make that happen.
Feminism isn’t finished, but it has been a success. It has made things better, and, provided that we continue to do the groundwork, it will continue to make things better. There are days when I read the newspaper and I turn on the TV and it’s disheartening. But then I look around and I see the people in my life, you all in the blogosphere, and everyone else working hard and moving forward, and I’m optiministic.
I’ll end by borrowing from Amanda and leave you with two of my favorite ultimate-stereotype feminist quotes (and even though they’re stereotypical, I love them and find them particularly poignant):
“I have had something to prove
As long as I know something
That needs improvement
And you know that everytime I move
I make a woman’s movement.”
Feminists have a vision of women, even women, as individual human beings; and this vision annihilates the system of gender polarity in which men are superior and powerful. This is not a bourgeois notion of individuality; it is not a self-indulgent notion of individuality; it is the recognition that every human being lives a separate life in a separate body and dies alone. In proposing “the individuality of each human soul,” feminists propose that women are not their sex; nor their sex plus some other little thing—a liberal additive of personality, for instance; but that each life—including each woman’s life—must be a person’s own, not predetermined before her birth by totalitarian ideas about her nature and her function, not subject to guardianship by some more powerful class, not determined in the aggregate but worked out by herself, for herself. Frankly, no one much knows what feminists mean; the idea of women not defined by sex and reproduction is anathema or baffling. It is the simplest revolutionary idea ever conceived, and the most despised.
Happy International Women’s Day. Now go blog against sexism.