CLICK! Becoming a Feminist. When Did it Happen to You? (Member Comments #2)

FROM CINDY:  Our interview with J. Courtney Sullivan about her book CLICK! evoked revealing, heartfelt and very moving comments, so we’re going to post them in groups of ten.  Add yours to the post and it will be featured here too. (Full disclosure: I know and admire Courtney and we share an alma mater  - many years apart though!)

In addition to what I said previously: I think that getting militant and forming groups with labels to fight about it isn’t going to work any better than it did in the 60s. It just gave women a reputation for being butchy, bitchy, and pushy.

The women with ability will shine through the fog and be noticed. Then it’s up to each individual woman to stand up for her own rights and make her own fair demands. 
WOMEN have to learn to speak up for themselves because all the groups in the world will not help a woman who THINKS she is a victim and needs a lynch mob-like group to do her fighting for her. Marilyn D.

 Identifying with a group and using labels can hold you back. When you’re being the very best HUMAN you can be, and doing your best at what you do, it won’t matter what gender you are.

Palin should go back under the rock from whence she came. Marilyn D.

“You’ve come a long way, baby,” and a lot further to go. Chrystle A.

 Almost forgot, thanks for the article :) Quanta Kiran

@ Sue you are very lucky. I work in a male dominated industry and have to put up with a lot of chauvinism. 

When I first started, I was forced to climb an 80m tower to prove I wasn’t afraid of heights. The reasoning used: well men go up and get afraid; one guy needed to be rescued so since I am a women I am more likely to be afraid. 

Some women get more of the BS than others and it’s definitely more in industries where men are more predominant. You also get the boys clubs that cover each other’s butts. Quanta Kiran

Having been part of the Women’s Liberation Movement I always found the term “Feminist” offensive. It seemed to me a term that either emasculated men or referred to women who were pandering to men…neither of these things were what my view of what I believed in was….or is. Here we are, two different sexual beings on the same planet who should not be opposing one another but should be intertwined, helping, supporting, advocating the belief that each is the best they can be and achieving whatever goals we have for ourselves whether they be corporate presidents or housewives. Maybe I just hate labels. The fact is that men and women are different, viva la difference but they need not be opposing one another. Women can admire men and men can admire women, equally…that’s what it was all about….equality, hand in hand, equal paycheck, equal vote, and equal choices. It was about pink for girls and blue for boys; Barbies for girls, G I Joe’s for boys; Nursing careers for girls, Doctor careers for boys; one paycheck for men a lower one for women. As the years have gone by it has gotten muddled but it is still the same for me. We are not separate, we are together, men and women, women and men, equally trying to make sense out of a world that has gone haywire. Becky Y.

@Harriet – that made me smile! I don’t know that I’d agree that you should regret it – I think what we know is that the Barbie doll can be seen now in so many different ways! There’s the young girl view of it through play, through the different things Barbie can be, to discussion of the role of image etc. And then there’s the strong history now available to look at regarding the woman who created Barbie (who was Jewish but clearly didn’t make Barbie look stereotypically Jewish!). 

Anyway – it’s something to think about, but I would dissuade you from feeling regret. :) Jill Zimon

When my daughters were growing up, I didn’t allow them to have Barbie dolls. Now, I regret it. I should have let them come to that decision on their own. Harriet J. B.

@Sue – you ask, “Is it not a person’s personal responsibility to be the best they can be whether they are female or male?” Sure it is – but in helping humanity along in being the best we, collectively, can be, and individually we can be, efforts can take the form of a movement. I’d say that feminism occupies that category of action, just as environmentalists seek to have us all take care of our planet in the best way possible. Neither (nor any movement) is an indictment of the goal (to seek to be the best) or whether someone reaches the goal of being their best. Rather, they exist as a recognition that it’s a lifelong pursuit that often benefits from being organized, even if loosely. Jill Zimon

OK….What is a “feminist? I know a lot of men. Very Very few of them treat me as a 2nd class citizen, Is it not a person’s personal responsibility to be the best they can be whether they are female or male? I find this really sad and divisive. Sue Terry

Open Democracy via Flickr/Creative Commons
BY Care2 Members


johan l.
paul l7 years ago

I always love reading about women who make a difference!
I hope the book by J. Courtney Sullivan gives women a push to get more involved in women's rights!
Great for you, girls!
Keep it up and more power to your elbow!

claudia O.
claudia O7 years ago

when I was born in Mexico there was a sayin " The last one is a female"..I think when I firt hear it

Lisa M.
Lisa M.7 years ago

An alternative way is to be an advocate for feminism instead of being a feminist. I am currently enrolled in an university and did a work study in the Womens studies center, I learned a lot there. I now have a minor in Womens studies and feel much more confident to be an activist on many different levels.

Cindy B.
Cindy B7 years ago

Please forgive me, but now that I'm on a roll here, it occurs to me that I've always worried more about MEN'S liberation -- masculism, maybe? -- than vice versa. I mean, look at the poor men among us. Stuck in those stupid monkey suits all day every day, while we ladies get a gamut of choices for general artistic self-expression. Look at the huge cache of emotional roles and reactions we enjoy, while men are quite limited lest they be branded "sissies, weirdos, losers, bums..." Society grants men, basically, only ONE lifestyle choice: be serious, work hard, prepare to support others. Women, on the other hand, are granted much more funkiness and flexibility. Heck, a girl may be whisked from rags to riches in an instant if she's cute and nice... that's rarely true the other way around. Women complain it's boring & constrictive running the household, tending the kids, etc... Well, would you rather write auto loans or ins. policies all day, stuck behind a desk in your monkey suit, or would you rather mold young minds, teach, play, wear a thousand different hats doing work that's intuitively richer, more nuanced & creative? I'm not saying this perfectly captures the division of labor, but it does ring truer than not. Is it any wonder men are so messed up, so repressed, so violent &/or clueless at times? I think we often confuse men's "token" social power with the existential, spiritualistic, emotive freedoms smart women have always embraced & utili

Cindy B.
Cindy B7 years ago

I have NEVER given 2 hoots about feminism or even thought about it much. And yet I ski, hike to the high wild snowy peaks, solo trek through 3rd World countries, etc...I'm extremely self-indulgent! I've known so many ladies who left me totally embarrassed about sharing my sex with them; e.g., they wouldn't even drive anywhere at night; "What if I had a flat tire...? What would I DO?" They kvetched about their husbands but admitted they weren't about to bring up their concerns due to hubby's possible reactions... (etc. etc...!) OH, the horrors. Especially when I know that women are, bottom line, the stronger, smarter, more existentially resilient of the 2 sexes. Whenever I DO encounter a vexing situation that seems somehow linked to my gender, I just rack it up to the natural stupidity of men, or dysfunctional social mores. Which I tackle from a humanistic perspective, not a feministic one. In playing pool, extreme skiing, and many other of my pursuits, I'm often given "extra credit" simply because I'm a girl and "not really expected" to perform very well. Do I take it anyway? Yeah, and I'm "LOL all the way to the bank!" I know I do owe a lot to the brave women who've worked to change social norms and expectations. But on a personal level, I've found that being bold and fearless yet kind and direct, open and interested in everyone, and COMMUNICATING EFFECTIVELY without hesitation vs. repressing and resenting, has worked fabulously for me. Cheers!

Morgan G.
Morgan Getham7 years ago

Why haven't I seen anything here about this issue? This is absolutely atrocious:

Lori Homayon-jones

everyone who is human should be a feminist
i cant remember not being a feminist..i despair that in my middle age i see women of 18 who think that getting drunk and playing the field makes them depressing as the violence against women committed in the name of religion in countries across the globe......the good news? my 8 year old son is a feministxxx

Ruth Barrett
Ruth Barrett7 years ago

I call myself a feminist and I think that most people (men and women) are - anyone who believes that a woman should be able to make her life choices on her own merits, not what someone else thinks she should do, who thinks a woman should be judged as a person and not a gender stereotype, or that women should not be discriminated against due to their gender is a feminist. I believe that portraying feminists as radical separatists so that people stop identifying with "the F word" is the first step to stopping the movement towards true equality, and starting to erode the gains that society has made.

I'm proud to call myself a feminist.

Ruth Barrett
Ruth Barrett7 years ago

I wasn't allowed to have a barbie doll as a kid (my mother wanted me to have dolls that were shaped like little girls), but I don't feel the slightest bit deprived by it. As a girl I had no interest in dolls, and much preferred toy animals, and lego and stuff.

Ben T.
Ben T.7 years ago

This all is very sad. This "movement" I believe is a form of spiritual bankruptcy and another ploy of our real enemy. I've learned not to judge anyone, because the judge is standing at our doorstep always. We all have to learn how we do it. :(