Dining with Lesbians

A bowl of personal identity served with blueberry pie

Anything Ending with -ism is Too Extreme

It was like watching a movie reflected by a foggy mirror and the characters’ gender had been smudged by the steam. I’ve never seen a person identifying as female argue so vehemently against feminism. I’ve seen women, lots of them really, who can’t care less about the ill fate of fellow women. It has always amazed me how so many of us can feel entirely detached from the woman who doesn’t get paid as much as men, the wife who has to do twice the amount of housework as her husband or even the girl who gets harassed by that dirty old guy on the bus.

But this girl, sitting on my side of the couch, was different. Not only was she indifferent, she was an anti-feminist (or a mannist?). She denies being so of course and says she wants women to be treated equally to men. Then again, she doesn’t see the need of gender quotas or confronting companies on their imbalanced salary structure for women. Instead, she worries that women will be selected for higher roles because of their gender instead of actual ability if the gender quota existed and she thinks women will be paid equally as long as we work hard. Interesting, I wonder why that isn’t happening all over the world or in any part of the world in fact.

On the other side of the couch, arguing in favor for us was no other than a wonderful gay guy! I always welcome men who identify as feminist because it really takes more than women to fix this problem. He was eloquent and knowledgeable in reasons why women will never reach the top without the gender quota or why reaching equal status for all genders will never be possible if we don’t make our stance loud and clear.

It was a very strange dialogue, as if the two had mixed up their scripts. But I guess it wasn’t such a mismatched scene if you put in race and sexual orientation. The girl was white, straight and spoke with an American accent even though she was Spanish in origin. The gay guy was half Egyptian and half German who spoke with a romantic accent. The guy had clearly understood inequality through his race and sexuality but the girl had been blessed with a world where anything ending with -ism was too extreme for her taste. There were times I wished that I could be like the girl who saw nothing beyond black and white, but then again, I know I would never forgive myself for blinding myself from the world.

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4 comments on “Anything Ending with -ism is Too Extreme

  1. Ellen Hawley
    August 23, 2015

    For what it’s worth, I just the other day read a blog by an very angry African-American woman who’s furious at white feminists for not take black women’s lives seriously. I agree with her in large part, but I disagree with the sweeping way she applies her judgement to all white feminists. I raise this only to say you can be white and straight and still be a feminist–and you can piss off a lot of people on all sides of many divides by being that.

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    • nmwords
      August 23, 2015

      I totally agree that you can be white and straight and still be a feminist (which was the case for many early feminists in both the first and second wave movement as it were), I didn’t mean to imply otherwise. It’s just that for this particular girl it seemed like these were the two factors contributing to her stance against the gender quota and feminism.

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  2. rebbit7
    August 23, 2015

    Enlightening post! I agree with you that anything ending with -ism (feminism, Judaism, etc) can be quite extreme. Our society today is going towards the trend of “de-labeling,” and so these -“-isms” are sort of categories that we’re trying to get rid of. I can see how the woman you were talking about said what she said, considering that she comes from a privileged background (I presume). Her thoughts, albeit contradictory, are nevertheless expressive of just how complicated this issue of gender equality and ability is in the workplace, let alone in the world. The gay guy you mentioned had his valid points as well. Wonderful job!

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    • nmwords
      August 23, 2015

      Thanks, I was actually trying to say that it was the girl who thought anything ending with -ism is too extreme, though I do wish we didn’t have to have labels. I believe we still need -isms to group people together for a united cause in face of a difficult world (just like feminism!) and that, yes, it’s a complicated issue that needs more than one stream of -ism to fix.

      Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on August 22, 2015 by in equality, Feminist, Gender, Identity, LGBT, LGBTI, SOGI, Women and tagged , , , , , , .

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