Category Archives: Queer Issues

You Say ‘Feminist’ Like it’s a Bad Thing

It’s something that everyone who’s even passingly interested in not treating women like crap has heard once or twice. “What are you, some kind of feminist?” “Ugh, stop being so feminist about this.” “Oh great, here come the feminists, time to stop having fun.” Because wanting equal rights for women is such an obnoxious and horrible thing, I guess!

There’s a definite stigma against feminists in our current society, which likes to portray us as ball-busting man-haters and/or hairy lesbians. (I mean, personally I am a hairy lesbian, but that has very little to do with my feminism.) Because the only reason you could want positive change for women is because you hate men? After all, it’s not like feminism is about equality or anything, because then it would be called equalism! And it would talk about men’s issues all the time, as is proper. Feminism must be about female superiority or something.

(Obviously this article isn’t trying to change anyone’s mind about feminism, because let’s face it: if your mind is already made up about how awful feminists are, reading feminist articles is probably not going to help. Actually, if you’ve already made up your mind about how awful feminists are, why are you reading feminist articles in the first place?)

There also seems to be this conception of feminism being unnecessary in modern society. Oh sure, historical feminists were important and all, getting women the vote and getting us out of the home and into the office. But things are equal now, so what on earth do you have to whine about? I had a roommate in college who told me, with a sneer, of an acquaintance: “And she’s a feminist.” I looked at her sort of blankly. “So what?” “You know it’s because of feminists we have to write he or she?”

God, what horror. (Did I mention this roommate was majoring in biochemistry and had no interest in marriage or children? But feminism wouldn’t have anything to do with that!)

Feminists these days complain about such stupid things, like shows about colorful ponies! Aren’t there bigger things to worry about, like actual sexism? Because what we’re exposed to as children can’t possibly have an affect on our perceptions of masculinity versus femininity, or what it’s acceptable to do and be as a woman. And obviously caring about some minor things means you have absolutely no care left to spare on major things. (Because choosing to write an article about a specific facet of society while not simultaneously writing about every other facet of society means you clearly don’t care about the big picture.)

In my ideal world, everyone would be a feminist, because I think it’s pretty cool that women someday achieve equal standing with men; that one day women won’t be forced into rigid boxes of societal acceptability, and that likewise, men aren’t forced into other boxes (while avoiding the feminine boxes as their life depended on it– because sometimes it does). But I guess that just makes me a lesbian.

Homophobia’s a Bitch

I’m sure a good number of you have seen Rick Perry’s recent campaign video, “Strong” (if you haven’t, the link is here— go ahead and downvote it and/or flag it for hateful language). There’s certainly something wrong with this country when a person can run for president on a platform of “Christians are more oppressed than gays.”

Being a queer American and a Christian— and realizing I’m considerably more oppressed for the former than the latter— I went to Governor Perry’s facebook page to let him know what I thought of his recent video. While I was there, I checked out what some of the other commenters were saying. Several of them, like me, expressed distaste at his campaign choices, or posted pictures of gay men kissing, or pointed out that his jacket is oddly reminiscent of the one worn by the cowboys in Brokeback Mountain. A few were expressing their support for Perry and reminding him not to let the godless heathens and queers get him down. But in one of the comments, I noticed something odd.

“Why don’t you come to [city redacted] so we can teach you the manners that your whore of a mother obviously didn’t bother to.”

Wait a second. What? What does Perry’s mother— especially her promiscuity, or lack thereof— have to do with his campaign video? She didn’t make it. And even if she had, it wouldn’t make her a whore, or appropriate to call her one. I replied to the commenter, politely, that calling out homophobia with misogyny is no more acceptable than homophobia itself.

Her response to me was that my comment was “well put”… as she continued to completely disregard my point and place all the blame for Perry’s disgraceful campaign squarely on his mother’s shoulders for not aborting him when she (didn’t) have the chance. As if she should have known what he would be doing sixtyish years down the line and aborted a presumably wanted child for that reason? (And if we are blaming his parents for his upbringing or his existence in the first place, why does his father get no mention? He ought to be equally as responsible in that process as the mother, oughtn’t he?)

The (lack of) logic displayed here is disgusting, but unfortunately, not uncommon. How many times have people been called “r*tarded” for engaging in homophobia, or “f*ggots” for being racist? How many times has the c-word been used against female politicians for espousing unpopular opinions?

Slurs are slurs are slurs, even when slung about for the “noble” cause of calling out bigots for their bigotry. It isn’t okay. It doesn’t make you look good. In fact, it makes you look about as bigoted and narrow-minded as the people you’re attempting to call out.

It’s always good to call people out on their hateful rhetoric, but please. Take a minute to think about the language you’re using before you do.