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Fucking feminism, you guys.

August 6, 2012

Over a year ago, I posted about my decision to take my husband’s name in marriage and characterized it as a feminist decision. Yesterday, someone found this post and had a lot to say about this decision, including:

Sure, it’s your choice but it was not a feminist decision. it was your decisions and yours alone to make. And to be blunt, I do think it makes you less of a feminist…Again you are the one compromising. It’s too much of a hassle to have your name different or your children’s names hyphenated, but it’s okay for you to have to go through the hassle of publishing under a different name. Again you as a woman are making the sacrifice in response to a silly patriarchal tradition. feminism 101…

I’m not sure which Feminism 101 class this person has taken, but mine taught me that policing or judging others’ definition of their feminism is detrimental to the fundamental goals of feminism. Who are we to say what is or isn’t feminist? We can argue our opinions, but the truth of the matter is there is no fixed definition of feminism. Personally, I subscribe to bell hooks’ definition:

To me feminism is not simply a struggle to end male chauvinism or a movement to ensure that women will have equal rights with men; it is a commitment to eradicating the ideology of domination that permeates Western culture on various levels—sex, race, and class, to name a few—and a commitment to reorganizing U.S. society so that the self-development of people can take precedence over imperialism, economic expansion, and material desires.

How I conduct my business in regards to that definition is strictly personal, as should be everyone’s feminism.

That said, here are some more things I do that others might deem less than feminist.

  • Right after I read the aforementioned comments, I made my husband a sandwich. Fucking seriously. Because he forgot to make himself lunch for today and I love him.
  • I cook us dinner nearly every night. I LOVE TO COOK, OKAY?
  • I let my husband drive when we’re in the car together.
  • I let my husband do anything numbers-related. Fucking math, amirite?
  • I GOT MARRIED. TO A MAN. WE FILE TAXES TOGETHER.
  • I fucking love high heels and dresses and makeup.
  • I shave my legs and pits. Usually.
  • I participate in capitalism. I consume goods.
  • I listen to crappy top 40 music. And I love it. And I sing along. This includes One Direction.
  • On Saturdays in the fall, there’s no place I’d rather be than parked in front of the TV watching football. The one exception is if I’m at Notre Dame stadium… watching football.

Do me a solid, you guys. If someone says they are a feminist, and they have the knowledge to back that shit up, don’t try to tell them they’re not. If someone wants to claim the feminist title, that’s feminist enough for me.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. August 6, 2012 9:26 am

    Okay, so, I love this post. I am so happy that you made your husband a sandwich after reading that comment. People are ridiculous. You chose to take your husband’s last name because you two want to create a family together who all have the same last name. Sure, he could have taken yours or you could have both hyphenated or you could have both created some wild new name for you both to have. But you didn’t. Because YOU both didn’t want to do that. People are so quick to judge with no knowledge. What if you maiden name was Renee Fart? And you hated that name your whole life? Would that information change this person’s mind?

    But that is getting off the point. I completely 100% agree with your note where you say, “policing or judging others’ definition of their feminism is detrimental to the fundamental goals of feminism.” What real feminist feels comfortable condeming another feminist’s choices? If you ask me, that is completely against feminist beliefs, but apparent’y, we don’t know what feminism is now, do we?

    I’m sorry you had to get such a hateful comment. People stink.

  2. August 6, 2012 10:46 am

    As a child of two people who combined their (both kind of complicated) names to make a hyphenated last name for my sister and myself, I fully support anyone’s right to do whatever they want with their names, including ditching them to take another. Let me just tell you what an effing headache it is to have a hyphenated last name, and how I’m seriously considering taking his name when I get married just so that I never have to write or spell out my last name ever again. I would also like to point out to people who get their panties in a wad about keeping their maiden name the fact that your maiden name? Is your father’s name. And even if it’s your mother’s name, it’s her father’s name. And so on, back through the men in your family, until the beginning of time. So everyone just calm down about this already.

    I will now step off my soap box to say I love this post 🙂

  3. August 6, 2012 1:40 pm

    Ugh, the feminist policing thing KILLS me. I hate when it becomes a ridiculous pissing contest of” who is more feminist than whom,” or “this is what a Real Feminist would do, look like, etc.” I think your original post showed that you had given real thought to whether you would change your name, and that seems pretty damned feminist to me. I think it’s fine for people to disagree, but really? The best thing about the internet is that, when you come across something you don’t like, you can just click that “X” in the upper right corner and move the hell along.

  4. August 6, 2012 8:45 pm

    This is the reason I typically hate what should be known as feminazis. If you’re policing someone’s decisions on how they live their life — particularly in regards to feminism or any other -ism, you might want to check your own life out first.

    There are only a few reasons I want to keep my name when/if I get married. Most of them are a connection to my heritage and not just my family, but others are just because I don’t like how my name sounds otherwise. I’m just too used to my name as it is, and I don’t feel like going through the hassle of changing it on everything. It’s more out of convenience/laziness.

    That person, however, can take their asinine comments and politely shove them. Real feminism is about trying to gain equality, not be a douchetart to every person who thinks differently than you do.

  5. August 6, 2012 11:57 pm

    Seriously, anyone who believes that people should be judged on merit and quality rather than sex, race, socioeconomic status, or whatever else, that’s what a feminist is to me. I actually don’t even like the term feminist because it implies that one gender should be focused on.

    This whole thing has made me so much more excited to move closer to you!

  6. August 7, 2012 9:00 am

    I loved this entire post and I also love everyone who commented on it already. I had to restrain myself from commenting back to everyone with a, “THIS!” or a “YEP!” or a “+1!”

    Go back and read everyone else’s comments and pretend they came from me.

    High five for pit shaving and high heel wearing and good consuming, girl. A mother fucking high five.

  7. August 7, 2012 6:24 pm

    You are phenomenal. I love your list of other things that make you “less” of a feminist. It is ridiculous to think that you are less of a feminist because you do things that relate to dominant culture. I am glad you wrote this.

  8. August 7, 2012 7:37 pm

    and this is why you are awesome renee. seriously. all the time awesome.

  9. August 8, 2012 4:08 am

    Wow…I am stunned. As a feminist, I never thought about the “feminist ideals” and how they can be flipped to show a more disgusting side. There is a level of outdated feminism, such as the right to vote and such. To me, feminism is more about being an empowered woman and having the right to do anything a man can do. It also means breaking conventional thoughts about the woman staying at home and raising the kids while the men work. Women can work and the men can stay home with the kids–if they even decide to have kids! Feminism is about moving forward…but thanks for sharing a lot of interesting perspectives about current events.

  10. August 9, 2012 11:10 am

    I also agree that you are awesome. 🙂

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