Well. You would have thought I said I performed recreational vivisection on puppies and kittens. The outrage poured forth all afternoon and into the evening. How dare I not call myself a feminist? How dare I say anything that seems critical of feminism? Lordy.
The funny thing is: the reason I stopped saying I was a feminist is because I got tired of defending myself against outraged feminists who insisted that I wasn’t. I’ve had feminists go after me for: being a sex worker, being kinky, being femme, fucking men, being poly, and being bisexual. I’ve been hissed at, shouted down, poison-penned, and boycotted. I’ve been called a “delusional tool of the patriarchy” in front of a college classroom and ignored by a woman I was supposed to be politely debating. Not only was I not a feminist, they said, I was actively hurting the feminist movement.
Those are all real incidents in my life. But apparently it’s bad of me to mention them, even casually, without the polite disclaimer that not all feminists, etc, etc. It certainly isn't that no one who isn't a feminist has ever done anything like that. Far from it. But one expects to be attacked by winger Jesus freaks. I spent years being confused and hurt by (some) feminist's refusal to even civilly disagree with me. Many of them still don't - but I just don't care anymore.
However, never let it be said I don't respond to my readers. Here we go, forever and all time:
Many feminists are not… (insert negative feminist stereotype here). Many feminists are smart wonderful sexy fabulous people who do good things.
There. I hope anyone who was mortally offended by my post yesterday feels properly soothed. God, talk about your no-win situations. The only way I could have gotten more flack on that thread was if I'd said I was a feminist.
On the bright side, Rachel Kramer Bussel wrote me a very sweet thank you note for mentioning her in the Stranger blog, and offered to send me some of her books. Smart, sexy and polite. What a nice combination.
(Edited to add a link to RKB's blog on the matter, here.)
P.S. While I was annoyed by some of the responses on that thread, that doesn’t mean I’m going to listen to anyone spout nasty anti-feminist crap on this one. I’m in favor of most stated feminist goals - even though most feminists do not, as a group, support mine. (Perhaps it’s my version of a D/s relationship.) So, meaningful discourse and personal experience, yes. "Feminists are ugly bitches", no.