Friday, August 15, 2008

Re: Am I a Bad Feminist?

I mostly agree with Emily’s post on Bikini Coffee — women volunteering themselves up for ogling isn’t number one on my priority list when it comes to feminism. Anyway, attacking Hooters and its derivatives is something of a pet issue for Feministing writers and isn’t really indicative of its larger mission. Emily says, “when I read blogs like Feministing, I don’t really find myself getting worked up about a great many issues that I should probably be concerned about.” Although Emily isn’t afraid to call herself a feminist, her tone suggests that she just isn’t that into it. There are plenty of people out there that don’t identify with feminism and find it outdated.

Honestly, I used to fall into that camp too. I never really found a use for feminism until I graduated from college, got a “real job,” and moved from Minnesota. I began to realize that I was getting harassed and objectified almost every day of my life. After I got stares, honks, leers, “how you doin’?” comments, and straight-up offers of money for sex when I did nothing but walk down the street, I started to realize that street harassment is a real problem. Very few people find such behavior flattering. Some may have just given up on getting angry about it and figure they may as well make money off of it, like the baristas at Bikini Coffee.

Certainly seeking to end violence against women and pushing for pay equity, affordable birth control, parental rights, access to abortion, quality child care, and equal-partner relationships rank higher than bikini baristas on the platform of gender equality. But the third wave of feminism noted that the cultural stuff is important. As long as women out there feel like they are at their most valuable when they are selling their bodies, we have a problem.

Cross posted at pushback.

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