Thursday, March 09, 2006

blog against sexism a day late.

ok, so i didn't get around to it last night. i went to the grocery store, then realized i should get started on my book for bookclub in two weeks, then of course there was project runway. chloe dao, america's next big fashion designer? really?


anywho, as i was traipsing around the internet yesterday reading everyone else's great posts for blog against sexism day, i came across hugo's contribution, "What I'm doing and what I have failed to do": a long and personal meme on anti-sexist work. i really liked his two part question both to himself and to his readers:

1. What are three ways in which I am working to end sexism in my personal life and in the broader world?

2. What are three ways in which I am continuing to "fall short of the mark" in terms of embodying my ideals?

these queries are thought-provoking for me, and i hope he doesn't mind that i'm borrowing this format to blog against sexism today.

three things I'm doing:

1. trying to make a career out of advocating for women's rights.

i'm not there yet, but my ultimate goal is to be working for an agency or organization that is devoted to advocating for women's rights. i'm trying to build my professional skill set so that when and if such an opportunity does arise, i've got a shot at the job. i'm also working on continuing to stay current with developments on the local, national, and global level that affect women, so as to be connected to what's happening, what's being done, and what needs doing.

2. i embrace the term "feminist" to describe my perspectives and my goals.

this might seem very basic, especially to other feminist bloggers and thinkers for whom this is second nature. it's become second nature to me to, and i never really hesitated to adopt the feminist mantle as i learned more and more about what the term meant. but for many people out there, there is still (unfortunately) a dissonance between the term and their lives. i think i'm good at never shying away from the term "feminist," and that i do my best to promote its use among other, like-minded people.

3. i work hard to live out feminist principles, not just espouse them.

in other words, i try to walk the walk as much as i talk the talk. BoyCat and i work at making our relationship as egalitarian as possible and are conscious of the way that gendered expectations can affect a relationship. it doesn't mean we always succeed at being a model "feminist" couple! just that we continue to try. there are other issues, too, that i remain conflicted about for feminist reasons (see my blatherings about marriage last month as a shining example of that!), and i try not to make decisions about them until i've thought through the implications on my feminism, my other belief systems, and my life in general. it's not the neatest, cleanest mental process in the world, but i feel it's vital and try to never get too fatigued to keep doing it.

three ways that i "fall short of the mark":

1. i could give more of my time and energy to the women's movement right now.

though i do ultimately aim to give all my professional time and talent to women's rights, at the moment there's much more that i could contribute on the ground. i don't really volunteer or work with any women's orgs right now, though i really could if i just got off my lazy butt more often. there's always work to be done, and i should be helping to do it - paycheck or no paycheck!

2. i should stop shying away from a feminist fight.

as opinionated as i am, and as much as i know that my opinions are backed up by logical, rational arguments and thus deserve to be heard, i often hesitate to really engage in a battle of wits with someone who disagrees with my position. now sometimes this is a good thing - i don't really want to be like that girl from grad school who won't sit down for a game of cards because the deck is misogynistic (the king's higher than the queen, doncha know). i also don't want to be that person that seems to pick a fight about everything. but on the flip side of that, i think i let a lot of opportunities to have a real, lively, interesting debate slide because i'm more concerned with people liking me than being right. the thing is, with many people i either shouldn't care whether they like me because they're raging idiots, or they're good rational people and would probably continue to like me even after a vigorous debate about abortion, or gay marriage, or whatever. so i should pipe up more often.

3. i should start walking the walk more when it comes to body image.

i think i've made serious strides in this area over the last five years or so, but as a woman, it's really hard to match your feminist theory with your daily reality when it comes to accepting your body. we're fighting such a tide with pop culture and its size 2 norms, it's so ubiquitous and insidious at the same time, that it's hard to wake up every day and think "i'm fine the way that i am." i can do it sometimes - i should try to do it more.

ok, that's enough introspection for now. thanks again to hugo for the format, it got me thinking.


Hugo said...

Yay! I was hoping you'd do this! Terrific stuff. Your second #3 is a huge one for so many of us, including men -- we give great counsel to others about resisting cultural messages about beauty, but have a long way to go in our own lives.

rwilymz said...

Patriarchy, n., The whine of a woman who desires to blame all men for what no man has done to her.