Sunday, July 27, 2008

Growing pains

The other day Master and I had a conversation about feminism. He feels that the feminist movement has evolved so much since its inception (and it has; just compare second wave and third wave philosophies!) that the word "feminism" can no longer even be accurately applied to it. I disagree, considering that a sizable chunk of words in the English language have meaning that are far evolved from their origin, and also because "feminism" has almost become a slur - I want to change that.

Master certainly respects my decision to label myself a feminist, since he agrees with its ideals, but he wanted to make sure I'm solid in my reasoning for adopting the label and not just the philosophy. The way he made sure was by testing my reasoning - by poking and prodding and shaking the foundations of my philosophy to make sure they were solid. He pointed out the faults in my arguments, asked questions that I didn't know how to articulate answers to, and when I tried to retreat defensively he dragged me back out.

I understand that he was doing this to help me - after all, if I can't defend my choices against someone I love, then how could I against someone who's outright hostile? But it left me feeling emotionally drained afterward. I really could have used some aftercare, but, alas, he was several hundred miles away - another reason why long-distance relationships suck hardcore.

So. Why do I choose to identify as a feminist?

For the same reason I choose to identify as kinky, polyamorous, liberal, queer, and all the other labels I've decided to pin to myself. These labels resonate with me deeply because behind those labels are a set of philosophies and entire communities that make me feel more at ease. They give me something to ground myself with, something to identify with. Being and individual is cool and all, but it's scary being all by your lonesome. That's why almost everyone has at least one group they choose to associate with. And even though there are people whose interpretations of kink/polyamory/liberalism/queer activism/feminism I'll disagree with (an inevitability, really), there are still hundreds of awesome human beings that I've met or heard of who helped me understand who I am as a person and where I fit in this world. I want to associate with them, I want to help others find their place in the same way that these people helped me.

And, yeah, I do kinda want to save the world.

That's why I call myself a feminist.

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