08 December 2011

A Manifesto

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Cat Power - 'Satisfaction'


Can it really be considered 'coming out' when everybody already knows?

I don't care.

I am a feminist.

People know. My family knows, my friends know, random strangers can tell. One once told me that I “wear lipstick with the irony that only a feminist can.” Whatever that was supposed to mean.

It's interesting to have people know. I'm the go-to for questions, as if I were a member of some sort of exotic club that people are sort of curious about, sort of scared of, but are still convinced that it's weird and wrong and... well... crazy.

Basically, being a feminist is a lot like being a homeschooler,
or a Mormon,
or a home birth advocate,
except that even fewer people like you.

There are a lot of negative connotations involved with feminism.
-We hate men.
-We hate children, especially babies. In fact, we hate babies so much that we go out of our way to kill them when we get the chance.
-We hate families. And everything else wholesome, probably.
-We all secretly wish we were Hillary Clinton.
-We don't like religion, or God. Not only do we not believe in God, but we probably hate Him, too. 'Cause we're haters.

Yes, there are some women out there like that. All of that. They sound scary to me, too.

But dig around a little and actually meet some of us. We're nice people, for the most part. Friendly. Accepting. Big on tolerance and respect for human dignity.

The bra-burning thing mostly stayed in the '70s. Mostly.

We don't all believe in the same things, but here are the basics of what I believe:
-No one, ever, should feel that being female is less than being male. Or vice versa.
-No one should be considered the property of another.
-All thought and action should be evaluated on merit, and not on gender.
-No one should be harmed or be taken advantage of because they are weaker than someone else, or different from someone else.
-Submission is not a gender role.

That's only skimming the surface, but it's enough for now. It's enough for a start.

People get hung-up on the term feminist. I did too, for years. But I like it, and I see no reason to drop it in the near future. It creates a frame of reference, and provides a slight sense of community.

And when almost everyone disagrees with you, you take a community anywhere you can find one.

~

Sadness.
Pain.
Disappointment.
Anger.
Rage.
Despair.

I know what all of these feel like. I feel them every day.

And sometimes, like today, I just feel tired.

I'm tired of always walking uphill, without an end in sight.

I'm tired of the verbal (or literal) pats on the head. Patronizing me will not make me go away. (“Now Dearie, I know you're upset, but...”)

I'm tired of my emotions and opinions beings ascribed to PMS. (“Everyone knows women are irrational; they can't help it—it's all those *hormones*.”)

I'm tired of constantly having to defend my position, even from the people I love. Especially from the people I love.

I'm tired of my questions being answered with “We don't know; that's just the way God wants it to be.” Seriously? Seriously? Yeah, that's why I left before, why it took so long to come back. No God I can believe in would roll His eyes at me and elbow me in the side to shut me up. Do we not believe in the admonition to “ask in faith” anymore? Funny, I thought the reason we were all here was because someone was brave enough to question the way things were. But, you know, I could be wrong. Maybe they took that part out of the book when I wasn't looking.

I'm tired of being told that it's all in my head. That's what we tell schizophrenics. Do I look mentally ill to you?

I don't need you to agree with me. It would be nice if you did, sure; but you don't have to. All I need is for you to concede that just because you disagree doesn't mean I'm completely wrong. I know I'm not absolutely right. But I'm as close as I know how to be.

I refuse to ask for forgiveness, to apologize. I refuse to feel shame for following my conscience to the best of my ability and interpretation.

This is not something you're indulging me in, a phase I'll grow out of eventually. This is my response to a broken system, a broken culture, a broken world.

It's one thing to look forward to Zion, to contemplate and prepare for the Millennial rule and structure and joy. But in the meantime, we live here. Now. And here and now, there are major problems. And until it's time to Kumbayah with Jesus, I refuse to stand down. I refuse to sit and wait meekly in a corner while everything goes to hell in a hand-basket around me.

We're at war with the world, are we not? And in a war different soldiers have different responsibilities, based on their specialties and abilities. This is mine.

Because in God's army, women are allowed in combat zones.

Without hope, where would any of us be?

Love always,
Ashley

5 comments:

Cody said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr. E said...

Ahem. This comment was posted as reminder of the fact that what is said on the internet stays on the internet forever.
If something going on between you two, email may be more appropriate.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps... but she can delete them. (which she very well might)
And no one ever reads the comments. (or at least, that was my assumption.)

Ashley Schaffer said...

I didn't know anyone even really read my blog, let alone the comment section.

But now that we've finished policing the interwebs... let's carry on, shall we?

Mr. E said...

on what?

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