Am I a feminist?
Well, I really don’t know. I have read Simone de Beauvoir and Benoîte Groult during my youth, I still read a myriad of studies and articles on the subject daily, and I still don’t know.
What is feminism?
If I take the CNRTL’s (National Center for Textual and Lexical Ressources in French) word on it, it is a “social movement that aims at emancipating women, extending their rights in order to make their status towards men’s more equal, especially in the judicial, political and economic spheres” and it is also the “corresponding doctrine, ideology”.
This is of course the strict definition, which does not find any particular echo with me, seeing as I did not study feminism, that I am not a female emancipation activist and that I am always very careful with ideologies as a general rule.
Saying that I am a feminist would be rather pretentious, given that I don’t participate in any collective promotion of women’s rights. I always smile when I hear “I’m a feminist” when no actions corroborate this claim.
If I go deeper into the debate, I understand that feminism is absolutely and totally multifaceted and different currents exist, depending on times and places. I have an infinite debt towards my ancestors who fought so that my judicial status would be equivalent to that of any man, so that I could dispose of my body and my consent freely and this I say extremely seriously. However, I cannot call myself a feminist, on the basis of the actual terms and conditions provided by the various feminist movements.
Do I have a feminist consciousness, which is different? I’ve always lived with thinking that I am a human being who had the same rights as her neighbor in a comparable situation, be they a he or a she. My attitude has therefore always been extremely clear, from financial retribution to the respect that I am owed as a human being. It’s a sort of posture, an implicit negotiation that distinctly conveys “Don’t bother me with your bullshit”. Nothing to do with gender, or rather everything to do with both because I feel deeply feminine AND masculine and, depending on the circumstances, I am more or less one or the other.
Once again, this is only my opinion, about my kids this time, but I hate putting people in boxes. Boxing things up helps create archetypes and produces simplistic, limited ways of thinking and acting. My son sometimes plays with my daughter’s dolls, whereas she sometimes wants to play war games, which is totally fine by me. Boys can enjoy dressing up as knights and still cry their hearts out when they feel hurt. Girls can be warrior or adventurers without having to wear a – I quote – “princess dress”, Princess Leia was the best example.
For the rest, I honestly don’t really have a feminist consciousness, for the simple reason that using the sole term “equality”, which is the common denominator of feminist movements, on its own is a problem for me. I am obviously the first to recognize the necessity of judicial and social equality for women. But once this equality is achieved though (even if I know that it has not been achieved everywhere on in every field), another fundamental point should be put on the table: the full recognition of each gender’s singularity.
This is why I prefer the term “equity”, or the just and fair appreciation and respect of what is owed to each individual. Beyond a certain point, it has nothing to do with the judicial or the social – it has to do with the human makeup – and one cannot deny each sex’s singularity. Anatomical differences, of course, chromosomic, hormonal, which influence male and females’ systems of action and reaction differently.
I voluntarily separate the above from neuronal differences, because this last point is way too influenced by the socio-cultural context in my eyes.
I don’t really have a feminist consciousness for another reason: I don’t like movements “against”. And it appears to me that, to this day, feminist movements are against the male population, which is not productive at best. This is why I was pleasantly surprised by Emma Watson’s “He for She” campaign with the UN, for she invites men not only to participate in promoting women’s rights but also to break their own set of painful archetypes (quick summary: man = strong and insensitive).
I don’t really have a feminist consciousness for one last reason: I hate the extremeness of outraged feminism. I find the omnipotence that women are given in certain circumstances absolutely disgusting, for instance regarding custodial rights after divorce, the untouchable image of the mother, or the possibility to impose an abortion or a birth without the longtime partner’s consent, solely based on the claim that “it’s my body and I do anything I want with it”.
I am not sure that I am a feminist. I am not sure that I have a deep feminist consciousness. I don’t think so. I believe that today, feminist action is – globally – limited because what we really need is to go beyond women’s rights and include men’s rights in the debate. I think men need help in some fields too.
Perhaps I am more of a “genderuniversalist”, or simply a humanist because I love women infinitely (but I hate bitches), but I also love men passionately (and I hate pricks). Not because they are women or men but because, every single one, in his or her singular way, is full of treasures of humanity.
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