Thursday, June 11, 2009

What marks a feminist?

[NOTE: I'M LEAVING THIS UP FOR NOW, BUT I'M INTENDING TO MODIFY IT SLIGHTLY - LARGELY BECAUSE I GOT SIDETRACKED AND CONVEYED SLIGHTLY THE WRONG MESSAGE. It's posted on Feministing somewhere, where someone's comment alerted me to the fact that I was, in terms of my intended message, talking bollocks.]

There are several saying out there which talk about how a true friend will support you through the hard times as well as the good, stick by you even when they disagree with you, that sort of thing. I've been drafting a couple of posts and they got me thinking about some feminist acts I've encountered recently:
  • On the news last night, I saw Zahra Rahnavard, wife to the Iranian presidential candidate and reformist Mir-Hossein Mousavi, stating her view that women should be allowed to choose what they wear without fear of recrimination by people like the current morality police. She herself was fully covered, with not a hair visible, though many of Mousavi's supporters are less strict about their headscarves.
  • I have a few devoutly Christian friends who would never terminate a pregnancy unless their lives were at risk, but have no qualms with other women choosing otherwise.
  • Feminists all over the place decide not to remove their body hair as both a political statement and personal preference, but don't chastise other feminists when they choose to be clean-shaven.
  • Stay-at-home mothers are often uncritical of the decision of other mothers to join the workforce. Don't let the Daily Mail fool you, these women aren't in the minority.
It's all very well to be a feminist, or to follow any political or religious movement because it happens to agree with your own personal choices. But sometimes I just feel that the true feminists among us are those who, regardless of their own beliefs and practices, are willing to trust other women to make their own decisions in life without simultaneously making judgements and demoting them as 'less good' because of their choices. Opposing all attempts to restrict our freedoms, even if you yourself may never make use of them, preferring to spread honest information to allow others to make up their minds as you did rather than force everyone to follow your own line of thought. Allowing women to make truly free decisions.
In essence, supporting every woman's right to choose - in ALL areas of her life.

What would YOU define as truly feminist?

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