I’m a Bad Feminist

Women at Work
I went to the pro-choice rally today – to protest the Supreme Court upholding the partial ban on abortion. And I wrote some pro-women comments on the whole Spock flare-up. I get pretty passionate about these ideas, but – and is it superficial and lazy of me- I only want to talk about them with like-minded people! A LaRouche guy on the street today asked me, “Do you want to challenge your beliefs?” I kind of nonsensically replied: “I hate LaRouche.” In reality, I don’t want to challenge my beliefs. And to me, re-examining the tenets is like taking Russian 101 over and over again. Can we move on? And my dislike of talking to folks about why they want to take Russian, even though they aren’t studying it, just won’t be as interesting to me as talking to someone who has moved on from Dostoevsky to Lermontov, not in translation!

I’ve heard from about 5 of my friends that they aren’t feminists. I have no idea really, what that means, or who they think feminists are, that they aren’t one of them. To me, the definition is pretty simplistic with low standards: you believe in equal pay for equal work. I guess if I wasn’t such a feminist snob I would find out why they don’t call them feminists- but then I get into the Feminism 101 lecture loop that we all have freshman year in college, usually with the obnoxious rabblerouser “spock”-ish guy. Wouldn’t it be great if all web2.0 sexist/frat-boy behavior got nicknamed Spockishness?

I volunteer (way too much time) for a women’s group- sf wow!. I like it because it helps with business resources that I think are not readily available to women. We don’t talk about sexual harassment at the workplace, believe it or not. It’s like retreading genetivie cases. Been there, done that. Let’s move on. But then again, the folks who are new won’t understand where we’re coming from.

Not to say that sometimes, I do challenge my own beliefs. At the prochoice rally, 1) none of my friends came and 2) it felt really cliquey and 3) I was just out of step with the whole thing. I got way more out of the recycled art (see photo below) and the artist in front of City Hall then any of the folks at the protest. Instead of being grumpy, though, I went into power amateur journalist mode and interviewed, took photos, etc. for a future post on sf.metblogs.com.

Talking to two male friends about the Spock thing- they didn’t see what was so weird, excpet that it was in poor taste, and then we moved on to talk about how it was all an adveritsing gimmick, since none of us knew their names to begin with. Then I made a movie about sitting in a geek cafe. Again distracted by art!

{vidavee id=”567″ w=”320″ }

If my response two the two incidents (Spock & Pro Choice Rally) is any indication, feminist activism may be changing today. And I think we need to get a hold of it to protect important women’s health rights, as in Roe vs. Wade. My brilliant brainstorm today was to have only women vote on abortion, since they’re the ones that make the decision. Then I extended it to: only car drivers vote on oil issues, and immediately saw the problems with that.
Kyoto Recycled
My friend, who has a few years on me, was criticizing my generation as not caring about the wins her generation gave us. I defended ours, and yet now I’m thinking- there’s a reason the pro-choice rally today was so vastly different from my feminist highlights before. In Portland, we marched on props 8 and 10 and the Indigo Girls showed up last minute. Pioneer Square (the Union Square of Portland) was packed. Abortion issues then were just more raw. Today, we see it getting chinked away by the Right and yes, it’s terrifying, but I feel confident that San Francisco at least will maintain a pro-choice attitude. Portland, at that time, had real issues as a split state- the OCA (Oregon Citizen’s Alliance) were a very strong lobbying party. I guess the rally in downtown SF was more for national media- of which, I didn’t see a lot. So maybe our generation does need a kick in the pants. I did see a lot of older women (30+) at the rally- what we needed was the 15-25 year-olds whose lives will really suck if abortion wasn’t legal. Because my peers could deal fine, financially, emotionally, etc. It sounds so selfish, but I’m just demographically targeting the campaign.

As for the brouhaha with Spock- I guess I’m more of a do-er than a say-er. I have found that my energies helping network with women and helping women that I know are very capable negotiate better salaries, job opps and find mentors- that’s more practical (for my own bandwidth). I don’t expect Web 2.0 companies to be any egalitarian lala-land. Just because they’re young doesn’t mean anything has changed. And men together- oh man.

Still, what was great about the Spock flare-up is that I found out all of my male friends & acquaintances that agree with me. At least listened during those 2am dorm talks about feminism, or, heck took feminism 101. At this point, though, I’d rather get a good night’s sleep and be available to review my friend’s resume for the last minute job. I’m not out to convince anyone of anything.