I am a feminist because I believe that people of all genders are equal. All human beings, no matter what gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or creed, are equal. We all live on the earth and we are all homosapiens. We also all have to perform basic bodily functions, such as eating, sleeping, hydrating, and eliminating waste, on a daily basis. We all need food, clothing, and shelter to survive and we all need the interaction of other human beings in order to thrive. These are basic facts. They are not beliefs and they do not need faith in order to understand them. Human beings of all shapes, sizes, intelligence, and talent are equal. Our actions show us to be leaders or followers, innovators or users, but at the base levels we are all equal.
There is a book that exists that has many stories in it. Many people read this book and make decisions for their lives based on these stories. This is good in practice, for personal growth and development, but when this book is used to tell other people how to live their lives, this is where a line should be drawn. Inequality exists for many reasons, but the main reason, the first reason, is the ways in which this book tells stories concerning roles of the sexes. This book depicts a world where men are in charge and women are merely property. It pushes the ideals of patriarchy which have been detrimental to our collective consciousness. This is why we must set the book aside and enact laws from a state of equality. Pass amendments to insure that all human beings are treated equally under the law and follow through in maintaining these amendments. Women were not made fully equal by the voting rights that were won by those that came before us and fought with all their might to obtain, but by a constant daily struggle toward equality. This also includes the rights of non-cis people who are or will become trans gendered.
Time for a quick gender studies (yay sociology!) lesson: cis is a term used in gender studies to denote those individuals that have sex organs matching their gender orientation. Let me go back another step. The sex of an individual is determined by ones sex organs, the gender is the way they perform their orientation. Even easier, sex equals male/female/intersex, gender equals masculine/feminine/asexual. Sex is related to biology while gender is related to performance.
Example – I have female sex organs, I feel like a woman, I dress the way I want so sometimes I may be performing what society would deem masculinity, but overall my clothing is feminine. This makes me a cis female, meaning my sex organs match my personal identity. If I had female sex organs, but I felt like I should have male sex organs, that would make me trans, but not lesbian. I am only lesbian if I am also attracted to women. If I then go forth and have an operation to become a man, I would be a trans gay man. This makes sense in that they call the surgery reassignment surgery. This means that they are reassigning the sex organs from female to male or vice versa. This does not change the sexual attraction that an individual will feel. This is why we can definitively state that sex organs do not link to attraction. They do not link to gender. They only link to sex assignment and reproduction.
So now that you know what cis and trans mean, let me continue to explain why I am a feminist and will continue to be one throughout my life.
There are young women that feel like feminism is no longer necessary. We can vote and work and now we can fight in wars, so why do we need to keep fighting for equality? Well, it is simple really, complacency. If we put down the struggle and just live our lives, we will find ourselves back in the past quicker than we can blink. Once we settle we sign our inequality warrant. If we do not continue to look at sexism in popular culture, and critique it in order to end it, it will get more out of control than it already is.
This is where I live, feminist-wise. In the land of feminist critical studies. Watching movies and television shows and commercials, reading the latest literature, and then using my pen (or computer keyboard, I suppose) to fight the good fight against misogyny and institutionalized sexism. This may make me a pain to some or a thorn in the side of organized religion, but it is what I must do. Ministers speak of a calling that they have to do gods work, well this is my calling. I am called to right the wrongs of years of oppression by a system that makes us feel like everything will be okay if we just sit down, cross our legs, and shut our mouths. Well, I never cross my legs and I will definitely never shut my mouth. The struggle is long and difficult, but we can muddle through.
Thanks for reading this and please keep coming back. Without you, I have no voice. If you are interested in reading more about cis, trans, gender performance, feminism, and other good stuff, please click on the links below and sign up for some feeds. Information is the best defense against inequality!
gender binary primer
who needs feminism? – yeah, that would be everyone
feminist majority foundation – the ms. foundation on the web
feminism in the 21st century – a little piece I wrote in 2003
Judith Butler on Gender Perfomativity – the mother of gender performance discourse
feministing.com – one of my favourite feminist places on the interwebs
sociological images – discourse and visuals
why i’m adding feminist to my online profiles