Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The coolest women I know are Feminists

From feministing.com

One of the worst anti-feminist stereotypes is that we’re all humorless, dour and scary. At least, it's a pet peeve of mine. The term “ball-breakers” seems to come up a lot.

I can't tell you how many times after telling a guy I'm a feminist, he'll jokingly throw his hands up in defense as if I'm gearing up to attack him. Now of course, this is tremendously stupid and annoying on a number of levels: first, it plays on the idea that feminists are scary and man-hating, but more importantly it’s meant to be mocking. (Haha, don’t hit me, little cute feminist girl!) I even had someone, after telling him that I run a feminist blog, lift up my arm and peer into my armpit jokingly—looking for hair. Yeah, hysterical.

What’s truly kills me about the “oh so scary feminist” stereotype is that it’s generally a big joke to the people who perpetuate it. The implication is that while we’re unattractive and annoying (bitches and ballbusters, all of us), we’re not really a threat at all—just bothersome. It’s a sweet little way to make feminism seem uncool and unimportant all the same time.

I think what's most important to remember about this stereotype—and most hackneyed bullshit involving feminism, really—is that is serves a specific, strategic purpose. Not many people want to be considered nasty and scary—especially young women. It’s a great stereotype for keeping girls in check and away from feminism. And that’s why, while it’s definitely dumb, it’s also effective.

Some of the coolest, funniest women I know are feminists. (Shit, you need to have a great sense of humor if you want to survive the patriarchy in style.) Do we get in someone’s face when confronted with sexist tripe? Of course! But that doesn’t make us scary or humorless, it makes us fucking awesome.

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