Born Again Femenist

Hi, I am JayMonster and I am a born-again femenist.

[Hi Jay]

Now I realize this may sound like a stupid comment coming from a man. This has been pointed out to me by the likes of Christine Flowers, a Philadelphia area attorney who called me a “Alan Alda femenist” because I blasted her everywhere I could when she wrote an OpEd piece (the original article is gone, but you can see a reprint here) comparing breastfeeding to urinating in public, smoking, and blaring hip-hop music and suggests that women who breastfeed should use the bathroom.

For those that don’t quite get the reference (I didn’t either at first, I had to try and figure out what she was calling me), esentially calling me an “Alan Alda femenist” was to suggest that I supported woman’s right only for the sake of “being popular with women.” Since I doubt I will be on her Christmas Card list (I was going to say Holiday Card… but I don’t want to go there) anytime soon, I can only assume, that this only makes me “popular” with those people that actually believe that women should have rights. And to that end, I guess if it were true, these are the type of people that I would want to associate with anyway, so it is only a bonus.

But the truth of the matter is, I have never been against women’s rights (unlike, say Ann Coulter who suggests in her latest book, that it would be beneficial to society if the right to vote was taken away from women), but maintained more of a sideline approach to things. I admit falling prey in the past to the media based ripping of people like Gloria Steinem and organizations such as NOW as being “radical” and “extremist” and “taking things too far.”

My enlightenment started (and probably no surprise here) with the birth of my daughter. But what really made me realize how wrong I was about the previously mentioned “radicals” was when last year, conservative groups such as Mississippi based American Family Association launched a protest against The American Girl Doll company. What did the dollmaker do to garner the wrath of these people? Simple, they launched a campaigned called, “I Can” which promotes the idea that a girl can do or be anything she wants. Money raised through the campaign was donated to Girls, Inc. The “radical feminist ideology” (according to this WorldNetNews article), is that the group is “dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold.” To these means the group also has the “audacity” to support women’s right, which includes a pro-choice stance and that being a lesbian does not make you a bad person. This is not what the group is “about” but as an advocate for womens rights, they are certainly logical, and not the “radicals” that these conservative groups would like you to believe they are.

So what does that have to do with it? Well, what I realized was how I was getting played. Groups that do not support women’s rights continue to lauch a negative campaign trying to call back images of the late 60’s and early 70’s of woman “militantly” fighting for their rights, burning bras in protest, and other things that that are promoted as extreme. And to some extent maybe they were. But (and here is where the enlightenment came it), it took these extreme measures to be heard and to be accepted as a “force to be reckoned” with. Would they have been heard otherwise? Sometimes you need to fight the extreme WITH the extreme.

The funny thing is that the “Radical Right” are the ones that are so quick to call others radical and to try to use tags such as “looney lefts” for those that support women’s rights. And now it seems that when they don’t have facts, people like Dr. James Dobson and his Focus on Family group, will not only try to call back the spectre of “bra-burners” but will also make things up in order to besmirch people.

These groups really frighten me. Not for me, but for my daughter. Because as you listen to their messages, it is disconcerting. Basically the message they give is, “Women – you have the right to be anything you want to be, You can be the wife of a lawyer, or the wife of a doctor, or perhaps even one day the wife of the President of the United States, because this is after all the land of opportunity.” And I am sorry, I realize that I may be grating on some peoples conservative nerves here, but I don’t think that the doors that are opened to LatteGirl, Halie, Catie, Rosie or any girl growing up should be decided by anybody but themselves. And if it takes me being an “Alan Alda feminist” to keep those doors open, then that is what I will be. I just can’t understand why anybody that has a daughter wouldn’t be.


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