Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Words mean things, imagine that!

I don't like doing the Feminism 101 stuff, but occasionally I'll indulge.

This might be feminism 150, actually. Anyway, if someone wants to claim that they are any of the following:
a feminist
a feminist ally
a humanist (in the contemporary sense)
an egalitarian
not a sexist

Then you should make a concerted effort to not invoke common sexist stereotypes with the words you use. Radical, I know.

Some helpful examples:

Saying that HRC's only qualifications (and therefore lack of substance) is that she was the (bad) wife of Wm. Clinton is sexist. HRC is no more a junior, inexperienced senator than B. Obama, so stfu about her qualifications being limited to her marriage. Her marriage and her political career are not the same thing.

Similarly, criticizing a female public figure for having, oh I dunno, cornrows, cankles, or spending too much on clothes is sexist. Her appearance has nothing to do with her political prowess.

Referring to the likes of Ann Coulter as shrill, also sexist. If you're not also going to call Sean Hannity or Chris Matthews shrill, then yeah, you're a sexist jackass.

Ditto referring to Condoleeza Rice as frigid or closeted for not having a husband and children at her age. Unless you're also going to level that charge against George Clooney, stfu.

When you reinforce and invoke sexist stereotypes, you are reinforcing sexism. You are not being ironic. You are not being un-PC. You're being a sexist jackass. In order to claim to be feminist/ally/not sexist/etc., you should actually make a concerted effort to erase sexist stereotypes from your language and actions. This should be pretty basic, right?

Hope that clears it up!