It’s been a while since a Best of the Rest post, but this one cannot pass without note.
Feminism is a term much branded and bandied, but rarely do we stop to honestly reassess what it means to be a contemporary feminist, foibles and all.
The genius of the subject lies in its frankness – I know that I can see myself glaring back petulantly in sections such as this:
Oddly enough, feminism does play a huge role in the most personal, the most painful moments of my life. It’s when I’m screaming things like “you just want a woman you can CONTROL!” that I’m being a real feminist, not the flirtatious “hardcore” girl you might meet at the theater or in a club, but someone who, when the layers of make-up and mini-dresses are stripped away, just wants to be treated like a human being, goddamit. And it’s when I’m crying about a guy who faked friendship for a chance to be with me that the phrase “but you can get by on your own” becomes the equivalent of a warm and reassuring hand squeezing my shoulder. [Source]
Equally, she touches upon the struggle between sustaining the battle-hardened feminist values that have sustained us, but bring future happiness into peril.
We want to independent, but all too often this proves irreconcilable with the conventionality of relationships.
Although it may seem a pitiful call from a 1950s male, I often wonder whether The Man has a point when he states that my “fierce independence diminishes his masculinity”.
While it infers that we should soften our approach as female companions (as girlfriends, fiancees, wives), it is easier to imagine than done.
On the one hand it makes sense and works: when I shelve an outburst that would otherwise strike a point for feminism, life runs smoother and more sweetly.
Consessions are made, but not easily.
Feminism, as Natalia notes, gets us through the bad times.
It is our moral and political saviour: picking us up when dejected, strengthening our resolve as women in the inexorable march towards a seemingly unobtainable goal.
But what price with love?
On a personal level each concession feels a risk: if I give this time, would it constitute another step towards doormatdom, or merely the compromise that renders relationships workable?
And therein lies the crux: love is a risk that involves compromise.
I just loathe that the indomitable feminist has to be that sacrifice, even if partially.