When Taylor Swift dropped her album Red late last year, she was asked if she considered herself a feminist. She said, “I don’t really think about things as guys versus girls. I never have. I was raised by parents who brought me up to think if you work as hard as guys, you can go far in life.”
Uh, Taylor, that sounds a lot like equality. But heaven forbid anyone call you a feminist for suggesting that men and women can do the same things. Some of my younger female friends have told me that they are not feminists either. Well fine, darlings, but if you are also going to refuse to give blow jobs because it’s “degrading to women,” then it feels like you are trying to have your cake and eat it too.
I don’t understand this wholesale rejection of the term “feminist.” Do girls not know what feminism is? Do they think being feminist will make them unattractive to men? Do they associate feminism with old women, and want to distance themselves from old age as much as possible?
I absolutely consider myself a feminist. I don’t think much about whether I’m a seperatist feminist (“Straight relationships are weird, dude”) or a lipstick feminist (“I’m taller than you in my high heels”) and can’t editorialize on first, second, and third wave feminism. Still, I get to call myself a feminist and here are three reasons why:
- When I was young I remember going to friends’ houses and they had tiny stoves and toy kitchens and plastic babies that peed and mini Hills Hoists and even a very small me was not down with that at all. To me, playing was inventing monsters, being a rebellious princess, and devising convoluted kidnapping plans. I didn’t even have a Barbie until I was 11 and wanted a Ginger Spice Barbie. Girl power!
- I think removing female body hair is pretty weird when taken to extremes, like face and arm hair. It’s there for pretty decent reasons, like standing on end so you know you are being watched and reminding you that you are descended from apes. At some point, women with body hair became unattractive, which is stupid because hairy parts of your body have aprocine glands which basically fan pheromones out at the world.
- If a girl wears a short dress or is sleeping with a few people and gets called a slut, I get a bit yelly. If a woman is direct and assertive in the workplace and gets called a bitch, I get even yellier. I loathe when men and women are held to different standards. And you know what? I bet Taylor does as well.
I feel very lucky that I can think about gender in the context of science, philosophy, body image, and relationships and then I can go away and make a choice and do what I want to do. I don’t have to do what I don’t what to do, and that works too.
See, we have moved on from apes a bit.