crossposted from Bi Times
I remember….not being feminist.
I saw the Vagina Monologues because a friend made me go when we were probably 18. After that I had a falling out with that friend, so the word “feminist” became sour for me. It’s not that I didn’t believe in equal rights – like most people I just felt like this was as good as it gets. Second wave feminist, if you like. Or maybe post-feminist? I thought, this’ll do, right?
I remember seeing a Guerrilla Girls poster at school at some point. And I remember thinking, and in fact proclaiming to a friend, that of course there were more female nudes in the Met. Women are more beautiful than men.
Jesus Fucking Christ! If me no had been there then, me-now would’ve slapped me-then. What a moron. I totally disagree with that thought. Women more beautiful than men? Well, if beauty is the standard by which we judge femininity, sure. Men, are of course, gruff and unfeminine, thus making then not beautiful, but manly, right? Fuck that shit. My definitions of beauty are way different now.
Its probably also worth mentioning that I was freshly out of the closet in those days. I was only just maybe kind of starting to get used to the idea of saying “I’m bi” instead of, “no, I’m not gay, I’m straight, I swear!” (I was also certainly not interested in polyamory: I remember a bisexual girl in high school dating both a man and a women, which I was wholeheartedly opposed to!)
I took a women’s studies class, just because a friend had said it was fun, and I needed an extra credit. That was the beginning of my feminist education and a huge shift in the way I viewed myself and the world. I think my sexual orientation and my feminism fed into each other. I was bi, so I wasn’t the traditional “man”, and that helped me relate to feminism. And I was feminist, learning about the bullshit gender roles I was so used to, which helped me come to terms with being queer.
It was a gradual process. But now, I’m far from the man I was when I first saw that Guerrilla Girls poster. Now when I see it, I think about what we can do to change that, and how beautiful the male nude is to me. Thank God.
Anyway, I think remembering so clearly that thought process helps me relate to people who don’t identify as feminist, and who aren’t aware of third wave values. I understand not knowing – how could they? Not their fault. So I try to be kind and understanding when talking to them. Of course, sometimes, when drunk, I might just talk to them like they’re an idiot (it’s easy to make someone else sound/feel stupid when they’ve never read anything on gender or race or sexual orientation, though its not the best method of convincing someone!).
So that’s my little confession. I used to be a dumb ass!