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Being an angry feminist

May 13, 2009

When we started Happy Bodies, we were hoping (among other things) to create a space where it was safe to say, “Hey, that’s sexist.” In social and academic settings alike, women get a lot of flak for making any statement that suggests that it is Not Okay to degrade, disrespect, or ignore women, from a whining “Is this really relevant?” to a dismissive, “There she goes again!” Women say “I’m not a feminist, but…”

There is this sense that women who would dare point out the pervasive sexism in our society (and others) are just “angry,” unreasonable, humorless, looking for a fight. I take offense to that, of course, because it diminishes the reality of our discrimination. But you know what? I am angry.

When I read that Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg has experienced this same dismissive attitude (h/t David), it makes me angry. When women writers tell me that women experience sexual violence because we live “high risk” lives, it makes me angry. (See also, hilzoy.) When a woman faces death unless she denies that she experienced sexual violence, it makes me angry.

But when I read that there are other “angry” women out there, like the California high school students who succeeded in getting a bunch of misogynistic songs banned from their prom, it’s heartening. Of course, not everyone was on board with that: the women said that many thought they were trying to “ruin [our] prom” (because, you know, your classmates feeling welcome and safe is way uncool).

The club members now hope that the effort they launched this year translates into a “misogyny free” dance next school year.

“I think we definitely made some progress,” said Conrique. “We are not trying to silence anyone. We just want people to listen to the lyrics.”

Like them, I am angry, but I am hopeful.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Tinicard permalink
    August 16, 2009 1:46 AM

    I have the exact same feeling! It has become inevitable that everyday I will hear or read something humiliatingly sexist which succeeds in riling me up for a good hour. But as bad as it gets, I know it’s better to face these ugly facts than ignore them.

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