Sasha Fiercely Not Feminist

There is one moment, above all others in college, that I regret the most. Much more than the men, the blackouts, the Hot Topic t-shirts. It took place on the day of my thesis defense.

My creative writing thesis was a memoir manuscript, or at least tried to be. The story followed my first two years in college, a traffic jam of bad dates and evaporated self-esteem. I wore a bright pink sundress to the thesis presentation, the same dress I wore on my first date with Matt, my then-boyfriend and now-husband.

In practice, the undergraduate thesis defense is about as hard-hitting as a preschool gym day game of parachute. Hurray, everyone wins! Your professors lob a few good-natured questions, your friends pretend they read the thing, and no one leaves without a cookie.

A few unmemorable questions in, and my thesis-advisor professor raised her hand. “How would you say your work contributes to feminist literature?” she asked.

I stared out at my crowd of a dozen-ish well-wishers. My tongue seized; I could feel my hands dewing against my dress’s light cotton fabric. “Well I really don’t think of myself as a feminist,” my 22-year-old self announced to the room. “I mean, I’m happy now. I have a boyfriend.”

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Artist’s rendering.

As soon as I saw the slack in my professor’s jaws, I knew I’d fucked up. “I’ve got a boyfriend too,” one of them said with an incredulous smile. “And I’m usually pretty happy. How does that make me not a feminist?”

I had no idea, and someone saved me with a question about friendships or something. When I replay that scene in my head I see everything that has gone wrong with phrase that should be so simple, so painless to identify with.

The moment has been looping on repeat since hearing yet another female celebrity eschew the feminist label. The incredible Beyonce Knowles recently told Vogue UK:

That word [feminist] can be very extreme. I guess I am a modern-day feminist. I do believe in equality. Why do you have to choose what type of woman you are? Why do you have to label yourself anything? I’m just a woman and I love being a woman.

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Like Knowles, I was a child of the nineties. At the time feminism seemed dead, or at least obsolete. We had the Spice Girls flashing peace signs in platforms and prescribing “girl power!” Hillary Clinton fired us up and made power suits badass. We could play soccer and rule Great Britain. When I thought feminist, I thought angry and jilted; Alanis Morisette cursing her ex-boyfriend in grainy footage. Being a feminist felt like a side-effect to burning out, lashing out, and failing. I believed that if I was smart and hard-working, success would find me. Falling short of a man, or being wounded by one, was a victim’s play.

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Somewhere between Madonna and Lady Gaga the term has absorbed the poisonous connotations of equal-rights detractors like Rush Limbaugh, who coined the term “fem-Nazis” to describe loud-mouthed killjoys. C’mon, girls. Why do you want to keep the good old boys down? With strong, intelligent, successful women like Beyonce shunning the designation, hope dims of ever reclaiming a name for “someone who believes that women should have equal rights.” For reminding the world that feminism is still a cause worth fighting for.

Up until I was 22 and leaving warm, fuzzy undergrad academia, I thought saying you were a feminist was like standing up and proclaiming yourself an abolitionist. Why worry about what we already had? And for those first two decades of my life, I was an equal. I had the support of my parents and school mentors. When I worked hard, I saw my efforts pay off with good grades, honors, and scholarships. I wasn’t just keeping up with my male peers—I was running laps around them.

Then I started working. Through some regrettable missteps and bad luck, my corporate career took a fast tumble. I found myself out of work in 2008, when the Great Recession began batting us all around. I took the first job I could find after being laid off, which took eight months of nonstop applying to secure. It was at a small construction company run by a Mad Men-style crew. The VP made the company receptionist coordinate his haircuts at a salon known for hiring hot chicks. “Can you get me Lisa again?” he would ask at the front desk. “Just make sure it’s not Jenna the lesbian. Although I bet I could turn her!”

He made me wrap his Christmas presents that year, warning me not to use “girly paper.” He fought giving me any sort of raise, even though my performance review was stellar and every man in the company made buckets more than I did. “We generally cap out her kind of work at $16 an hour,” was his response.

A year into my tenure, I had just finished throwing the best customer appreciation event they had ever seen. A special announcement, I was told, awaited me at the office. This was it, I thought. I’d get a promotion, finally be running my department. I was right; my work paid off.

What awaited me was a demotion. They were hiring a man with no marketing experience (the VP’s insurance agent) to lead my department. Fortunately, I was told, this would free up some of my time to help back up the receptionist on phones. That’s where I really shined.

A few minutes later, the head of training came into my office, which I had been instructed to vacate (I was moving into the call center). She was the only woman in the company to hold a management-level position, after a lifetime in the industry. “Every successful man in business has an amazing woman behind him,” she told me. “I was one. When the man I worked for moved up, I moved up right along behind him. I bet that will happen to you. Just support him, and you’ll be all right.”

Why did I have to be behind a man? Why wasn’t I good enough with my experiences and talent? Why couldn’t I break through this barrier? And how is this the year two thousand and ten?!

I felt powerless, humiliated, unmoored, and totally insane–the power of sexism on women for centuries. I had thought I was capable because I was, but the executive bias shut me up. It made me second-guess.

It’s a sick lesson we learn as optimistic go-getters, that the world hasn’t caught up with us. It’s an attitude our mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers fought against, but we have yet to change for our own daughters. And every time we squick around with calling ourselves feminists, we continue to appease the status quo. We sell ourselves short with our fear of being loud, or offensive, or ugly. It’s not a label, it’s a fight. One that is eons away from over.

I hope Beyonce and other non-feminist icons soon cringe at these words as much as I regret mine. Because at least when you write a crappy thesis, or lip-sync the national anthem, no one loses their voice.

90 thoughts on “Sasha Fiercely Not Feminist

  1. It is just what it is , we run things lol . just joking I’m not sexist , hence I can’t agree to the fact that we live in a male dominated society, I believe you can achieve and get anywhere in life / the western society regardless of your sex, infact I so strongly believe that women of the 21st century have a better chance when entering the” world of Corporate ” than Men do, I think its the other way round , then again depending on the chosen field or your chosen field .
    Most public sector company’s or establishment , have majority of women being the head , also in Science, Education, politics , athletics you name it ,the list goes on women run things , off course their would be that small minority that will have difficulties , depending on their discipline and how dedicated they are in reaching their goals.

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  2. I fully agree with you. I do not define myself as a feminist besides that I believe in equality. And even though we are at a slight disadvantage because of the idea of men being superior is so deeply ingrained in society, we should see it as a challenge with a much sweeter reward at the end. Booker T. Washington had the right idea when African Americans were looking for equality, take small non radical steps and allow equality over time. Bra-burning feminists are not looked at like idols, they look like the crazy lunatics that they are. We need to slowly but surely move up in the eyes of men, you can’t force someone to change their views over night.

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  3. I have to wonder what happens between college and entering the world of corporate that makes things turn out the way they do. Why are we still so male-dominated?

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  4. After Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance, an article came out lauding her “Defiant Dance of Power”. Many of my academic friends heaped on the praise, assigning their own attitudes and messages to Beyonce, without critically questioning whether that actually was Beyonce’s message.

    At the time, I thought about commenting that Beyonce probably could not read the referenced article and paraphrase it back, but I decided that would be too crass. But I still think it might be true. She’s not an academic; she’s an entertainer. She was not on that stage to promote a message of feminism; she was there to sell records.

    I think your article provides an excellent explanation of why Beyonce and other women eschew the feminist label. Much of the problem is that there is so much division even among feminists. While much progress has been made over the last several decades, I fear that no more will be made until women stop attempting to speak for other women in the name of feminism. When feminists co-opt Beyonce’s dance for feminist purposes without her permission, we commit the same crime we accuse misogynists of: objectifying a woman’s body and appropriating its use for their own ends. When we speak as feminists, we must realize that we will not necessarily speak for every woman, or even for a majority of women. To assume otherwise is to reify the very nature of womanhood, and to pretend that one feminist speaks for all women or knows what is right for all women is the very attitude that turns women (and men) off to feminism.

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  5. I really enjoyed your story! Congrats on Freshly pressed. I find, (as a feminist who is aghast at the amount of women who don’t even vote- don’t get me started) our beliefs as a whole that women are somehow to “serve” men. Not only do I find it men’s attitudes, but women’s too, which to me is the more upsetting of the two. A great group to point out how our media is extremely sexist still is “Miss Representation”. Our world sometimes seems like a giant middle-school experience from hell. I am glad there are some good people out there. Too bad we don’t see them in the media.

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  6. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. Your writing is invigorating and so deserving of being spotlighted on WordPress.
    You have an authentic voice that is rare on this forum. Keep up the good work..you have a fan in me and I will be following your blog closely. Bravo! Dennis http://www.dlmchale.com

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  7. The worst part of all this is how it cripples you psychologically, makes you wonder if you really are as good as you think you are, and was that really sexism at work or just bad luck? It’s strange how simply applying discrimination becomes an effective tool in enforcing it. I’m glad you found a better group of people to work with!

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  8. I do appreciate this post and it’s funny I found it after reading similar things recently.
    But, what is the message I’m supposed to get out of this? I feel like I’ve been told… be afraid to express your honest opinion (like Beyonce) just in case that accidentally takes away someone elses =/
    But I will say it is ‘scary’ to identify as a feminist not from societal pressure, but from associating yourself with something you don’t really control.
    I am not any word or a part of any other peoples.

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  9. I really enjoyed your article! I think the employment crash really brought out the worst in business men because they suddenly had total license to do what ever they wanted because no one could find another job easily. At Horrible Job #1 they had several meetings about my appearance including one round-table style one where each man (there were only men in the room) made suggestions about what I could do to look better at work. I quit a week later. At Horrible Job #2 I was bluntly told that I was paid less because I was a woman and should have a man at home bringing in the majority of the income (he was shocked when I said I did not have such an arrangement in place and was told that I should fix that). Good luck out there and thank you again for a great article.

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  10. Well said! I’ve identified as a feminist since the age of 12, though what it means to me has changed from “I can do whatever boys can!” to “What is deemed ‘feminine’ by the culture is not less worthy than what is ‘masculine’!”/”Intersectionality!!” And as a 90s child, that was considered to be weird and “extreme.” I’m sorry you had an awful workplace, but I’m glad you found your voice, and I especially love the closing lines. Congrats on being FP’d!

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  11. I thought this was a very eye opening post. Let me just start, I’m a man and I’ve been fortunate in my life to have worked for several companies in which women were in the majority at most, and many had very high positions (VP’s etc). Growing up, my mother was the educated one with a Masters degree and had the consistent salary out of the family (my Dad was a farmer and a bus driver). My mother was and is a fighter. She fought every day to get what she had, and I don’t doubt that she experienced discrimination by both men and women for the way she fought for what she felt was right. My family was also very deeply religious (still is), but that never stopped both my Mom and Dad from showing my 2 brothers and I that women are just as capable and often more to be leaders in the community and at work.

    That being said, I’ll guarantee my mother would never call herself a feminist and it’s likely the same reason I’ll never say I’m a Democrat or Republican. She doesn’t agree with all of the major causes that are associated with feminism. When you identify yourself with a cause, you tell people you’re in agreement with the major beliefs of that cause. For my mother, there are just too many big topics that she disagrees with to say she’s a feminist.

    Reading your post certainly gave me a reality check that the world and the US isn’t perfect. I avoid guys that can’t figure out that the dirty sexist jokes don’t belong at work. That doesn’t mean I don’t make jokes and say inappropriate things, but I save it for poker night with the guys, not when I’m at work. Work is for work. I would also recommend that women would keep the gossip for after hours as well. That would go a long way for the feminist cause. Guys should steer clear of that too for that matter.

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  12. I applaud this post. It pains me when I hear a woman say that she not a feminist. I want to ask,”So, you don’t believe in equal rights and equal pay? You don’t think the glass ceiling, though rising, should be shattered?”

    I’m upset to hear that another woman told you that behind every man is an amazing woman, but I am not surprised.

    Pop culture promotes the image of a manly, angry lesbian as the only type of feminist. If Beyonce had claimed being a feminist this would have helped to rlessen the strength of this image, but I don’t think she wanted to tarnish her sex symbol image — pop culture says feminism isn’t sexy. What a shame.

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    1. Why do you have to identify as a feminist to believe those things? Or is anyone who does believe those things automatically feminist despite how they choose to identify themselves?

      Tbh I am more interested in ensuring society values the unpaid caring work that women do within society, than shattering the glass ceiling. This is exactly why so many people don’t identify with feminism, because it is irrelevant to them. It is very middle class in its platitudes.

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      1. You don’t have to call yourself a feminist to believe in correcting these issues, but these are values that were fought for by feminists in past years. Moreover, you mention that you would like there to be pay for caring work, normally performed by women, I took a course in college regarding this very subject — many, many feminist scholars have written, discussed, and fought against this very issue.

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  13. I don’t get not being feminist. What, exactly, are you against? It’s kind of like if someone were to ask someone, are you PC with racially -charged topics? And they deflect on how whiny people who are PC about things. As if they don’t want to admit that being politically correct or feminist aren’t good things intrinsically. Or they don’t want to be either because they are asses.

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  14. I used to feel stifled by the misogyny of the workforce too. Then, I got a new job under a high-powered woman and thought I had hit the jackpot. It took me over 3 years to get a raise and a promotion at my previous job where I assisted the (male) vice presidents of the firm.

    In this new job, I was under a woman. After a few months I realized that I was more stifled than I was at the previous job. As if she was afraid I’d be better than her so she kept me under her at desperate measures. I worked with other women and at first I thought it was wonderful to be in such a female-driven work environment. And then I learned quicker than anything that I had to watch my back. These women were vicious – tearing each other down, throwing the other under the bus, just to make themselves look good. As women they (we) were spending more time ripping each other apart to get the top we weren’t working together to build each other up as a unit. It was disappointing and a rather unpleasant experience. I have vowed since not to work under a woman again, or in a field that is predominant with women, because the experience was so bad.

    I still can’t decide what is worse…not being acknowledged by men I worked with, or bring ripped apart by the women I worked beside (and beneath).

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  15. Yes, yes and yes! So many of my friends are so against the word ‘feminist’ and it’s like ‘if you’re not a feminist then you’re a sexist because you either believe women and men are equal or you don’t’, a bit like being a racist, oh but I mustn’t get un-pc. Just written a blog about women at work so was so thrilled when I saw this on my reader, would love to get your opinion on it! Hope the job worked out in the end and you got the recognition you deserve! 🙂

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  16. Great post, thank you. Thought provoking and beautifully written. Recently, my younger sister asked me if I thought of myself as a feminist, I said yes without blinking. It’s not a word we can afford to avoid no matter how far into the future humanity comes. It should not be viewed as man vs. woman but rather woman vs. society. Look at micro-credit created by Nobel Prize-winner Muhammad Yunus in Bangladesh. He found that women repaid loans quicker and spent money wiser than men. You bought up the recession of ’08 and it all makes me ponder.

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  17. I balk at calling myself a feminist not because I think everything is great and there’s no sexism, but because I don’t want to be stereotyped or assumed to hold certain views. However, I do catch myself saying I’m too feminist for one thing or the other at times.

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  18. If I may, I would like to throw this question out there. What if you’re a woman but don’t identify as a woman because you’ve experienced far worse treatment in the workplace by women than you ever did with men? I’ve worked in various jobs (including doing stock work at Home Depot) and have continually dealt with insults, condescending behavior and outright career sabotage from women while the men were far more likely to provide mentoring or insight into a particular field? Sure, I have had men push back on things I specifically request, but a walk through my resume shows that this is not often the case. Do you think it’s possible that some outlying women are lucky enough (or have just the right set of personality traits) to work better with men and thus feel uncomfortable identifying as a feminist for that reason?

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    1. No… well I guess you could call it that. I found a new job because I found the company intolerable, but it took a while to apply and be offered something new. But I couldn’t walk out. The bank wouldn’t be too understanding of my inability to pay my mortgage on moral objections (stupid bank).

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      1. Nice one! Glad you got out… God damn mortgages, they really are the modern form of indentured slavery aren’t they?!

        Great post (should have said that earlier)!

        Keep fighting the good fight…

        Steve

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  19. Reblogged this on The Arkside of Thought and commented:
    I never understood why a woman would claim not to be a feminist. When you always have members of my sex against you, from politicians, to the religious, to even the grass-roots, it seems a shame that some would cave for little more than feeling secure with what they have instead of recognizing that women, all over this earth, are still being seen as less than men. From the Middle East to the US; throughout Islam and Christianity; at work and at home; on the street and in bed. Women, do yourselves a favor and read this. Men, you too.

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  20. Great, great post – well received by the rest of us feminists :).

    After reading some of the responses to your post here I also thought about why it is so hard to talk about sexism in the workplace – some of which is so subtle, but culminates into big demotions and pay differences. Like all the subtle peices of your boss saying he doesn’t want the “lesbian” to cut his hair, or that you really “shine” at receptionist-type work. This kind of stuff can also make you paranoid, and you aren’t sure which battles to choose. I remember once I had had a bad stream of men asking me out to coffee in the workplace (professionally guided), who all subsequently acted very inappropriately as if it was date. Later a now good friend and colleague asked me to coffee and I avoided him like the plague – not realizing that he was genuinely trying to be supportive and collaborative. Women stunt themsleves in the workplace in that they both don’t want to be feminists, or that we assume that we are alone in these kind of hostile work environment, practically becoming the cold feminist that we never intended to be. I guess I try and balance between being protective and entitled, while still trying to be open as I would be in an ideal work environment.

    Thanks again for your post, I’m also really happy that such a great feminist post was freshly pressed. Here are some more relevant thoughts I had recently on the same subject:

    http://meetmehereandthere.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/an-argument-for-the-female-protagonist/

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    1. Great thoughts, thank you. Absolutely, it’s hard to identify bad behavior when it’s happening, because often it’s not blatant. People find sneaky ways to slight and demean others. Without hardcore, court-admissible evidence that you’re being harassed or discriminated against, you often have to just deal with it or go somewhere else.

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  21. People see feminism as a very set stereotype of extreme, often angry and resentful bitterness. It doesn’t have to be seen that way. Just like our generation has learned that sexuality is a broad spectrum, so are beliefs.

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  22. As a man, I’ve seen the mentality of other guys with no girls around. It’s rather disturbing. Women get objectified and subordinated in the minds of their male peers, and it’s ingrained at a subconscious level. You always see guys with their hands all over their girlfriends and holding them while walking as though showing off a trophy they had won, or how guys always force their girlfriends to tag along with all his friends but rarely the other way around. This sexism is hard to fight, because it’s in the head, in A LOT of heads, and not written down on a law or something tangible to fight.

    Boys get exposed to sexism the moment they can read or watch Television. Our literature, our movies, our TV shows and all our media tend to portray women in subordinate positions to men, and tend to define a strong woman as someone supportive of others and accepting that subordination. Very rarely do you see strong female characters with an aura of command, with the dominating presence of a powerful leader. These traits are always given to the male characters, and there’s almost always some weaker-willed woman behind that man. Boys read, watch, and hear our media and literature and then observe the subliminal sexisms taking place in reality and make the association that men command women, that men are stronger than women.

    The literature itself can’t be attacked, because decrying a character portrayal as sexist and enforcing a character stereotype is an act of sexism in itself.

    Feminist Literature helps, but I don’t think it provides insights to the right people. It’s kind of like watching Democrats or Republicans talk at conventions to people already holding up banners in their name. Sexist men won’t read it, and probably won’t even hear about it.

    I think as far the literary battle goes, it needs to be waged in genre fiction, in popular fiction. If a book gained renown on the level of Harry Potter, but wielded an incredibly powerful and formidable woman as the main character, that personality would seep into Internet culture, into media feeds, and begin affecting other pop-culture fiction. It would become unavoidable, so to speak, and would force many sexists to at least confront their own perceptions about women.

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  23. It blows my mind that there are companies out there that still act the way you described. Actually, no it doesn’t. And that’s sad. Where was this company’s HR team? Did they even have HR? If they did, the HR team was failing at a core HR function. (I work in HR, so this one is personal for me!)

    I’m glad you were able to get out of there and find a better situation.

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  24. I got fired recently because the bar I worked at got wind from a former NFL player that he did not like me here is Scottsdale AZ (a married regular). The reason he did not like me is because I called him on his shit after he tried assaulting me after work. BTW the manager of the bar who I caught steeling from me was not even fired. But all the women who worked there were talked to like teenagers and expected to pick up the slack.

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  25. I think the reason why Beyonce and other female celebrities such as Katy Perry decide not to claim to be feminists is because they hardly feel the weight of misogyny. They are multimillionaires with fame and power to boot, so it makes sense why it’s hard for them to see the barriers. However, in defence of regular women like myself who choose not to identify as feminists, I’d like to say that I simply identify as egalitarian because I feel that not only women need to fight for equal rights. There are, for example, LGBT rights and minority rights.

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  26. Wow, but I feel for you at that construction site job. I worked at one too: http://cyclewriteblog.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/drama-at-construction-sites-things-i-never-knew/ Yes, there were incidents of overt misygonistic, negative attitudes which I don’t mention in that blog post. And many of the men were university educated.

    I’ve always considered myself feminist in orientation. Otherwise I just couldn’t have made the decisions in life that I did so far. My mother was a picture bride and has high school level education up to gr. 10.

    Honest, I believe it is different if the woman began life in a low-income family in North America and is non-white. You already experience some of life’s inequities ..as a child growing up in North America. (But could be worse in Europe, etc.)

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    1. Jean, I look forward to reading your blog. Thanks for sharing. I think that was the true “kicker” about The Boss, someone I didn’t want to dwell on too much in this piece. He was a university graduate, and not old at all–between 40 and 50. He had daughters of his own, still in high school and college. The idea that we don’t need to fight for feminism or talk about these problems because the perpetrators are dinosaurs who will soon die out is absolutely incorrect. I often wondered at that desk what he would do if he found out his daughters were being treated in such a fashion. Tell them “boys will be boys”?

      I realize I was lucky to grow up believing in myself and with opportunities. But it’s amazing how quickly that feeling gets squashed when you’re in a demeaning, demoralizing situation. And no one should ever have to experience that. Thus, why we are all FEMINISTS!

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  27. In my opinion the best writers are women. I don’t know that you needed to contribute anything to feminist literature. It has been done and it’s strong on it’s own.

    The bad experience at the company makes me sad. As a man, I recoiled hearing your bosses misogyny.

    The thing to realize is that it’s certainly not like that everywhere and most of the laws and corporate attitudes have changed and are very equal, sometimes going to the detriment of men for the sake of window dressing.

    I want to live in a world of equality but I don’t want to be afraid that my “natural” attraction to your breasts will be considered an afront. Make sense?

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  28. Feminism is so strange in how it still divides opinion so strongly, over a century after it first started to appear. So many people are afraid to call themselves feminists just because they are afraid of criticism. That is not a healthy attitude for anything. Stand up and speak out!
    Inspiring article, thank you.

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  29. Somehow I grew up with the notion that feminism was bad. Who knows where it came from, but it was around enough that I felt ashamed to jump on the feminism bandwagon—even when inequality and abuse of women drove me bonkers. Thankfully, somehow I got over that in the last year, and I can say I’m a proud feminist for life.

    If feminism is bad, I hope my daughters grow up to be TERRIBLE.

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  30. I lost a 20 year public sector career after a superior accused me of “Using my looks to get ahead” and having an affair with the Boss. He’d known me for three weeks and at the time I was engaged to a man who worked in the same place. The last comment he made to me was, “Don’t worry Madonna, most women in (this industry) sleep their way to the top.” Three weeks later he demoted me in favour of the only man in the Department- who had only been working for a few years and was nowhere near as qualified as me. I had beaten him for the promotion in a full application process only a few months before- when I also won a coveted industry award. The Boss did not support me at all (I suspect he was behind the demotion as I have made it clear I was not interested in a personal relationship with him during one of our many “meetings”) I was so upset I fell down thirty stairs and seriously injured myself. I didn’t work for 6 months. I made a formal complaint through the correct channels and they took 2 years to investigate. I was dragged through a very harrowing investigation while trying to start my career again in another location and still suffering from a head injury. The boss was able to get people to say whatever he wanted about me (the same person he had nominated for an award only a year before) I was not allowed to read these statements or have any right of reply. At the end of the 2 year process I received a letter saying nothing could be done as the events had occurred more than 2 years previously. The men at my new workplace were told I was a, “Dangerous troublemaking woman” and to stay away from me. A few men tried to bully me but were hot down pretty quickly by my new supervisor who had known me for 20 years. This is not an isolated incident in my life. It’s simply the latest incident in a long line of sexist and demeaning treatment, even though I am a highly educated professional. Any woman who thinks feminism is unnecessary is a complete moron who deserves whatever she gets. By the way, very few woman supported me through this. The general attitude was, “The skinny bitch deserved it.” Apparently. Sorry for the long post! I loved your piece, by the way. X

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  31. This is such a relevant article, people need to learn that the meaning of “Feminism” has evolved. It doesn’t mean that you have to run around burning bras and hating men, it means that you believe in equal rights between men and women. I’ve seen a lot more articles on feminism recently and I think it is being brought back into the spotlight.

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    1. Agreed. I think part of the problem was that feminism, much like the civil rights movement, was originally focused on laws and legal inequality. They won, and now Women and men have equal legal rights, thus a lot of people jumped off the feminist group, believing the battle was won.

      The issue now revolves around social inequality. There’s no law in tangible print to be taken down. It’s social bias; a pervading perception that women can’t do as much as men (absurd), and it’s hard to recognize a prejudice that hides behind fake smiles. I think this lack of a tangible opponent, such as a law or an outspoken sexist congressman, makes it difficult for some women to perceive the social inequality until they run right into it.

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  32. Was in a situation once in a male-dominated ‘arena’ but found it more facinating than anything. There was the occassional sexist remark but it seemed more friendly and effectionate than deliberately descriminatory (I was called ‘girly-goo’ because our group leader never remembered my name). I found that I wanted to compete with them which was very hard to do – but fun! – and the blokes seemed really simpathetic. It’s when people are intentionally mean that I feel passionate about being a woman but other than I that I wouldn’t call myself a feminist at all. Men and women are very different and so interesting just watch and observe how they act sometimes 🙂 I really enjoyed your post, has given me a lot to think about as you see!

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  33. Tabitha, you are lucky that you got through your first two decades with your self-esteem intact. Not easy in our society. (Worse in China or India or Pakistan, I”ll grant you.) Women, let’s stand up for each other here. We all need to self-identify as feminists. The goals are far from won.

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  34. I’m proud to say that I now work for a company that values the contributions of employees equally, and conducts operations in an ethical fashion. I simply had no idea that such a find would be a challenge!

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    1. I don’t identify as a feminist, but that doesn’t mean I don’t share some goals with some feminists. I mean the spectrum of feminist thought is so wide, you have radicals who most women can’t identify with. These are the people that usually spring to mind when they think of feminists. I don’t think I need to “be a feminist” to believe that DV is wrong, or women should be paid equally and valued. Also a lot of these posts are from women who work. Some SAHMs feel their choice is looked down upon by those who identify as feminist, therefore obviously the wouldn’t identify as such themselves.

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      1. I think part of the movement should be in recognizing that true feminism means that we respect the ability for women to choose. Just because a woman decides to quit her job and stay home with her kids doesn’t mean she’s not a feminist. It means she made her own choice for herself and no one forced her into it. It’s true that a lot of “feminists” lose sight of this.

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