As long as I can remember, I have considered myself a feminist. I believe in much of the basic values that put me in that category, and I have always walked the walk instead of just talking the talk. On the other hand though, I have always firmly felt that much of the natural power of the universe rests in a female’s hand. We have the gift of childbirth and nurturing, and in many instances, we hold the key to sexual power.
My question is this: Where is the line drawn in feminism?
Let me explain. Last night, I was sitting down, looking at a stack of magazines in my living room. Among the pile were issues of Maxim and Stuff. I had purchased and heartily read these magazines, and hadn’t once thought about the implications of it. As an avid reader, it isn’t odd to find men’s magazines in our house. I read a vast array, ranging from Vogue and Vanity Fair- glossy, picture-filled affairs, to news and fitness magazines. There isn’t a “taste” or “favorite” I seem to hold.
When I look at Maxim magazine, I glance at the cover featuring a scantily clad female. I don’t usually dwell too long, unless I am really hypnotized by the amount of air brushing that has been done. I usually am quite eager to peruse the articles, which vary a great deal. I will start with the monthly reviews and releases and work my way through page by page. I have learned everything from how to keep a nice lawn to how to install 5.1 speakers for my DVD. I have also read hard hitting articles that explore true crime and mystery, but I also like the funny articles that help fellas snag a lady, or play a prank. The actual interviews with aforementioned scantily clad celeb usually amuse me, as I can hardly believe how hard these babes are trying to sell their new projects. Part of me if filled with admiration at their ability to market themselves, but then I become ashamed because this kind of selling isn’t part of my basic feminist doctrine.
But I digress.
I have another shameful secret. I love “R” rated schlock comedies. From an early age, I remember watching Animal House with my dad and thinking it was the funniest movie I had ever seen. To this day I can still watch it over and over and get a laugh. I have pretty much memorized the dialogue, and my favorite part is when the guys head over to the women’s college and pull of a prank of the highest order. The problem is this: the movie features female nudity and male humiliation. I know that it is not cool to objectify women and make them appear to be the lesser sex, but I have always felt a sense of power in the fact that in many respects, the man in question has had to embarrass or objectify himself in a sense to make said female nudity happen. When John Belushi spies on the sorority women changing, my thought is that he is the pathetic one. My mind never dwelt on the fact that he was getting an eyeful; I have always loved the fact that he gets his in the end, by falling off the ladder.
Other movies I enjoy are Sorority Boys, EuroTrip, Booty Call, and Wedding Crashers. I love movies that are low brow. I can’t help it. I am not sure if it is a love of the genre as much as I appreciate not having to over think my entertainment.
What this boils down to, is that I have many characteristics that make me a feminist, while exhibiting suspicious traits that may say otherwise. Are there any of you other ladies out there that know what I mean?
Let’s simplify this to a list of traits that do and don’t make the cut.
FEMINIST QUALITIES I EXHIBIT
1. I believe in equal pay for equal work.
2.I think that women can do anything they put their minds to, through hard work and talent.
3. I can take care of myself without having to rely on someone else for support.
4. I can change a flat tire and check my car’s oil and filters.
5. I really hate the fact that there are men out there that are physically abusive and that at this moment yet another woman is being raped. It makes me mad as hell, and I want to castrate the men that are like that.
6. It makes me uncomfortable and upset to see men recklessly devalue our femininity through glorification of the sex kitten image or by literal means.
7. I think that women are the “better” and “fairer” sex.
8. I have an equal or greater say in my financial decisions then my husband.
9. I have no problem speaking my mind, whether it be a delicate matter at work, or a frank discussion with my husband, family, or friends.
10. I am happy to see a more equal ratio of female comic book readers, and love the fact that there are so many different, but unique women out there with blogs.
NON-FEMINIST TRAITS I EXHIBIT
1. I read magazines like Stuff and Maxim without a second thought.
2. I watch “R” rated movies with no thought of consequence.
3. I really like it when my husband hugs me and holds me, making me feel more secure.
4. Sometimes I don’t want to make the decisions. I just want my husband to take the lead, or my father to advise me. I appreciate their input, especially in figuring out where to go eat!
5. I read Lost Girls and forgot it was, indeed, porn. I think it is an incredibly important piece of work.
6. I have no problem letting my husband win an argument. Next time it will be my turn. Some things aren’t worth going to bed mad. But watch out next time!
7. I prefer male company to female company for the most part. I was raised in a predominantly male environment and feel comfortable in that setting.
8. I like to go to the restroom with other women and have an awesome gossip session, only to return and leave the men at the table guessing.
9. I really like the art of Jim Balent, Frank Cho, and Adam Hughes.
I like to think that I am a free-thinking, self-reliant woman. I truly believe in a woman’s power. I know that if we wanted to, someday we could rule the world; we have just been too busy raising the next generation of men to do so. In my mind this and many other qualities make me a feminist.
What do you ladies out there think? Do any of you have qualities that make you second guess yourself? Do you revel in your true self, or sometimes question the basic nature of things? I am interested in thoughts from all of you.