15 Days of Feminism: Day 14- What I think Feminism is Today

 

I think we know each other well enough by now to explain why I have been such an advocate for SlutWalk (which is TOMORROW!) and explaining Feminism lately. A couple of weeks ago on facebook I posted an, admittedly out-of-context, quote from Lady Gaga saying that she hates feminists – to which I asked how anyone could like her after something like that.

Well, I’m sure you know what happened next. My humble little facebook status blew up all over everyone’s news feeds and people were commenting left and right about what it means to be a feminist and why we’re still called feminists and why we would still need feminism today…and all that more or less pissed me off and I wrote that first post explaining SlutWalk and the 15 Days of Feminism.

How can people think there’s no place for feminism today? I think we need it now more than ever. Now that we are finally working to fight against Rape Culture (which to quote SlutWalk is the fight against: Misogyny, Sexism, Racism, Homophobia, Transphobia, Class Exploitation, Ableism, Ageism,Fatphobia, Xenophobia, Colonialism, Imperialism, Poverty, Police  Brutality, Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence, and Street Harassment). Now that there are some many ways to get our voices heard (hello, internet), why wouldn’t we say anything.

And for those of you think that this is all ridiculous, please watch the video below and then watch the video of Feministing.com‘s founder Jessica Valenti explain SlutWalk – hopefully that will answer some more questions as to why this is important.

So there’s all that- and then look what happen’s when people try to speak out (sorry, I’m using another vid of Jessica Valenti; I’m trying not to look like I’m endorsing her, but I actually agree with most everything she says, so I guess I am endorsing her):

Yeah, there’s no need for feminism anymore. The world is totally free of misogyny and prejudice and discrimination – now please excuse me for a second, I have to go brush my pet unicorn’s licorice mane with a diamond-encrusted comb.

(because everything in the world is perfect so there is no need to voice my opinion.)

Luckily, there are many people who understand the importance of feminism today and they are Doing. Something. About it. Women are speaking up and speaking out and embracing feminism. This is hopefully where everyone is headed.

I’ll see you at SlutWalk NYC,

Jessica

15 Days of Feminism: Day 13 (CAUGHT UP!)- Just A Housewife

Donna: Mary, have you ever noticed that when you get on a serious subject with men, all they do is adopt a superior attitude?                                         Mary: I know! You start a serious discussion with a boy and he acts as if you should be at home baking a cake.                                                                           -The Donna Reed Show

A while back, I posted a video about Betty Friedan and said that the only thing wrong with it was that it used pieces of an episode The Donna Reed Show as an example of the oppression of woman in the 1950s. Now, never mind that Donna Reed was one of the first female executive producers in American television as well as a prolific anti-war and environmental activist, the particular episode that this person took clips from was called “Just A Housewife” and I believe it to be a very important part of pre-second-wave feminist popular culture.

In the episode Donna Stone (played by Donna Reed) encounters a radio show called “Housewives Corner” where women are interviewed as they are shopping at the supermarket. When the interviewer patronizingly asks the women what they do for a living they answer: “Oh, I’m just a housewife.” Well, Donna is livid.  Just a housewife! A woman who stays at home to take care of her family is far more than just a housewife. Donna begins a small but powerful crusade to remove this word and establish that no woman is “just” anything.Of course the men are upset that the women of Hilldale (where the Stone family lives) are realizing their own power and some people just never seem to get what Donna is talking about (real world, much) – but many of these local 50’s housewives are inspired by Donna’s words and she does actually make a difference.

(Donna Reed is my Heroine.) 

You can watch the episode here; I think it has a great message and is still relevant today. My mother was a stay-at-home-mom* (though now she has her own business, of which ridiculously proud.) for most of mine and my brother’s childhood. Whenever we had to fill out forms that listed our parents occupation we were always stuck as to what to put for my mom.

Housewife/Homemaker/Stay-at-Home-Mom. Nothing fit her. They sounded degrading to me. My mom was (is) so much more than that. This woman is so smart, and creative, and witty. I mean, my mom could be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company if she wanted to be, but she chose to do something else (something that many would say is equally as challenging -especially if you’ve met me and my brother) and I can do nothing, but respect that.

Some of you may think “well, it’s the 21st century, I can understand where a woman who doesn’t have a professional career might be judged, but that didn’t happen in the 1950s.” Oh really? Doesn’t Donna’s husband chastise some woman because she didn’t take her son to the doctors and all she does is sit around the house?

A person that works hard 24/7 to take care of something, build something up, keep something running, cares about something isn’t “just” anything – especially if they’re not getting paid.

-Jess

P.S. SlutWalk’s Tomorrow