I Thought I Was a Feminist Until I Actually Joined Feminist Organizations

Boo!  It’s time to reveal a hidden secret in my past.

For a couple of brief windows of time, I was a public feminist.  The type where people would look at me funny when they’d hear about my active membership in certain feminist groups – because everyone knows that most feminists are lesbians, right? ha

I am now probably one of the most anti-feminist, traditionalist, submissive, airy fairy headed girls around. And it’s been an evolution for the better, and I’m happier and more blissful than I ever have been following the girly path.  Yet I feel like I can be even more girly and have to still rewrite a few of my scripts. 🙂

– For a high school American history assignment about influential Americans, of all people I chose to write about Naomi Wolf.  I had first learned about the feminist movement when I was looking at random books in the library in middle school and saw Gloria Steinem’s pretty face on one, haha. I presented my report on feminist leader Naomi Wolf to the class.  I think a few eyebrows were raised, but in typical high-school style, I don’t think anyone really cared as long as their grade was safe.

– For a brief period of time, I attended an all-girl’s school away from home… with enthusiasm.  I was going through a very religious period so didn’t feel the need to be around boys.  And I was really looking forward to being on my own!  It was mostly normal but I somehow ended up surrounded by the feminist chicks at school.  At first I joined the club.  They were always complaining about the patriarchy and organizing weird activities around women’s rights.  I think they even did a Sapphic poetry slam (with verses about velvet tongues and other Too Much Information things).  I was seriously turned off. In fact, grossed out when some of the butch ones started being openly affectionate.

– Later on, I was selected through some leadership program to attend a women’s conference.  The conference was mostly nice and very helpful, as leadership conferences often are.  I looked forward to being a crusading leader, doing all sorts of things as a powerful woman!  However, the labor union organizer who was the key note speaker was so bossy and loud, that I started thinking I didn’t really want to be so powerful any way.  Also, some lesbians in one of the breakout groups I was in started talking some weird stuff about their bodies in detail (something about celebrating the amazing power and flexibility of the cervix?), which really grossed me out again.

– For a brief time, I joined the women’s group at my college.  I even got my very own “This is what a feminist looks like t-shirt.”  I still have it lol.  (I think I’m going to trash it.)  I used to think it was so cool to shock the guys that thought they had a chance with me, that yes I too am a feminist!  Rumors started that I was a lipstick lesbian, and my ultra religious was a front. Haha… I did a good job of hiding the little party and dating experiences I did have (although I can proudly say I’ve never done a hook-up with someone  in my entire life – for kissing, making out, or more).  Any way, this group was the type that would storm the Muslim Students Association meeting and demand answers for why Islam oppresses women.  They would also go to our school’s international student networking events, and accost innocent students about the perceived inequality in their countries.  All this was too much and turned me off again.

So there you have it.  I started off like a wannabe Gloria Steinem (because Gloria was pretty while being powerful, just being honest).  Then I became a wannabe Hillary Clinton or Carly Fiorina or something.

Then I realized that I wasn’t really a feminist in the way these organizations were using the term. I was both dealing with my own confusion about being a girl and what that meant I’d have to be careful about (and recovering from a pretty bad experience where I was almost attacked).  I was also dealing with the conflicting messages I was getting from the society I lived in and that of my birth.  I was being pushed to be smart and accomplished, and that my natural feminine tendencies to want to play with clothes and fashion and look pertty were bad.

Definitely, I was concerned about equal rights for all human beings, but not in the way I found it with these feminist organizations.  I later volunteered with some international organizations which were doing things like trying to peacefully negotiate the opportunities for girls in Afghanistan to learn how to read.  Or the types that were trying to tell men in India to stop harassing women who are completely covered and sober, but happen to look pretty.  (Eve-teasing has almost nothing to do with showing skin or revealing clothing, and more to do with a woman who is single and feminine just walking around alone.  I just think how sad it is if in India a girl is too poor to afford a driver or taxi, and has to walk around… and be manhandled in the middle of the market.)

OK, now things I have done that have not turned me off:

– For a while, I was sort of like an Islamic feminist.  Some of my friends were this kind (and are now happily married with high-powered careers while being submissive perfect wives).  I seriously considered converting.  I liked the idea of wearing modest clothing and covering my hair as a form of power and protection from being made just a sexual object.  I think the ideals of modesty I developed during this brief phase have stayed with me.

– In the evolutionary psych. class I took, my out-of-the-box professor had each student do a paper on two books which supposedly contrasted two perspectives of evolutionary theory.  I of course to compare “Survial of the Prettiest” by Nancy Etcoff with “The Beauty Myth” by Naomi Wolf. If I’m honest, I think my intention more was to learn how to be the winner in the pretty race, haha.

– I have volunteered at conferences for young girls.  I didn’t get turned off, and in a way I think it was good to at least acknowledge to young girls the idea that who your boyfriend is should not define you.  I think this is an indirect way of teaching girls modesty and not being too easy.

The #1 factor in turning me away from feminism?  Learning about evolutionary biology and studying the human mind.  The #2 factor?  Better understanding of the religious texts I revered.

I’m sure I’m going to regret something I wrote above, but so it is.

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3 Responses to “I Thought I Was a Feminist Until I Actually Joined Feminist Organizations”

  1. Vincent Ignatius Says:

    We’re glad you weren’t converted.

    “This is what a feminist looks like t-shirt.”

    I must have it! It’s so obvious that I’m not a feminist that wearing that would fall under anti-hipster irony.

  2. Linkage is Good for You: Filchery Edition Says:

    […] LovelySexyBeauty – “I Thought I Was a Feminist Until I Actually Joined Feminist Organizations” […]

  3. lovelysexybeauty Says:

    That would be cool! Well I looked and I looked… and I can’t find the thing 😦 Maybe I already tossed it? An ex roommate took it by accident? My Guy used it to wipe down his car? lol

    If I come across I’ll reach out to you… would be happy to pass it on for your ironic delight.

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