The "F" Word - Again!
I figured if she could do it, I still probably couldn't do it, but I'm willing to entertain the idea.
Now. Let's get down to business.
No - not that "f" word. I have no problem (probably a sad thing for my mother) with the f word.
I have written about this before but I'm much too lazy to find it in my archives.
It's "feminist". The reaction to this word has always surprised me. If you were a regular reader you may remember that my female students often included a phrase like this in their writings, "Not that I'm a feminist or anything, but I don't think that women should . . . " be forced to wear burqas, experience genital mutilation, be date-raped, slipped the date-rape drug, get beaten by their husbands . . . choose one of the above or insert your own.
I haven't thought about it in a long time and then today I walked past a colleague's office. She was lunching with her assistant and I heard her call my name: "Hey! Teacher Lady" I stuck my head in to say hello and she said, "Let me know if I'm crossing inappropriate boundaries," (wait - are you going to tell me you have Herpes? No, different job). How do you feel about Sarah Palin?"
My response: "She's basically a conservative white dude with an NRA membership card who happens to have a pesky little thing called a uterus."
Colleague looked at assistant smugly: I told you she wouldn't like her!
Assistant looked at me, confused: But I told you, TL's a feminist.
Colleague shook her head, "The feminists don't like her."
I was thanked for my time and then I wandered off to my meeting and proceeded to be pretty useless because I couldn't keep myself from wondering what "feminist" meant.
I was extra confused b/c colleague is a very successful 40-year-old who is married but kept her own last name (apparently that's a BIG tip-off to all the other feminist hunters out there) and would seem to be very assertive in her marriage (at least the way she tells it).
Assistant is the primary bread-winner in her household while the spouse stays home with 3 children under the age of 5.
Mr. J. pays all the bills and manages our finances to the point where I'm embarrassed to admit it because I'm pretty much as ignorant about money as the average 1950s housewife.
But I'm the feminist?
What does that mean? To my knowledge, I've never been recruited. I don't own a message tee that reads, "This is what a feminist looks like" (although I don't care if someone else wants to wear one).
I don't have a membership card, I haven't paid any dues since, oh, I was born and if there are weekly meetings, I've never been invited.
And let's say I were to be recruited - where might this happen as I'm going about my day? In the dressing room at Nordstrom's while I'm trying to wrestle myself into size 6 jeans? (Yes, I know - I'm quite the dreamer!) Suddenly, I hear - "Psst - you don't have to take this anymore" and I see an unmanicured hand slip a business card under the divider. The card reads, "Feminists. World Domination is Just One Bra-Burning Away." On the reverse side is an address to a Tarot Card parlor which serves as the "front" for the operation.
This has never happened to me (and I'm pretty grateful actually because no one likes to see strange hands appearing from underneath dividers of any sort, especially if they're in politics) and I think if it ever did I'd probably have some sort of fit that would involve me soiling myself.
I don't know where I'm going with this (oh, blogosphere - you are kind and understanding because I suck right now) but ultimately: What did I do, say, wear, carry, mention, sing, eat or _______ (something, right!?!) to announce to my colleagues that I am a "feminist".
And again - would someone please tell me what that means, exactly? Was it Gloria Steinem who said, "A feminist is anyone who distinguishes herself from a doormat"? I like that definition. Too bad it never really caught on because then world domination WOULD be just one bra-burning away!