"The women of Bikini Kill let guitarist Billy Karren be in their feminist punk band, but only if he's willing to just "do some shit." Being a feminist dude is like that. We may ask you to "do some shit" for the band, but you don't get to be Kathleen Hannah."--@heatherurehere

Monday, March 12, 2007

Another Reason I Call Myself a Feminist

Tekanji over at Shrub.com posted a great youtube video of Kendra Urdang performing a piece of poetry, "To Every Man Who Never Called Himself a Feminist". I hope Tekanji doesn't mind my reposting it over here, because I think it is powerful and it sort of backs up one of the reasons I call myself a feminist (unless I'm in a group of feminists who pretty much don't think men ought to, which is rare): It immediately puts my beliefs up front, and doesn't allow me to stay as safe within my privilege.

Not to take away from the seriousness of Urdang's piece, but here's one more small example of speaking out against sexism and the oppression of women that has to do with why I might call myself a feminist:

The other day I got in the elevator with my new-ish neighbor and she was all dressed up in a way I hadn't seen before and I asked her if she was dressed up for a special occasion. She told me her workplace was having a celebration in honor of International Women's Day. I told her how great I thought it was that her workplace (a university) celebrated that, and she was surprised that I felt that way. This was an elevator ride conversation, necessarily short, so I told her, "Well, I'm a feminist." I could have gone into the ins-and-outs of what that means (some of them, anyway), but it's a great shorthand, most of the time that allows me to quickly explain to a surprised person why I might take an interest in International Women's Day, for instance.

Which is not to say that I don't understand that there are complexities involved with the label (including my deciding, as a man, to use it)--but just to lend some credit to the idea that labeling oneself both 'man' and 'feminist' can help get conversations going, can help me not be silent.

1 comment:

Katie said...