Really though, what on earth does a feminist look like??

On the one hand, I don't like telling people that they aren't a feminist. If somebody chooses to take on that label, I hardly feel I have the right to take it away from them. We all know there are as many different kinds of feminists as there are different kinds of women.

On the other hand, there has to be some sort of consensus about what sort of person represents feminism, doesn't there?

But, then, who decides what makes somebody a "real" feminist? Is there a checklist we should all carry in our pockets to whip out whenever somebody says they're a feminist? Do we list all of the issues and positions and then say they need to match 75% to be qualified?

See, this is what goes on in my head whenever I think about this, which is why I've hesitated to write about it.

But now we have this video with the president of the L.A. chapter of NOW endorsing Sarah Palin, claiming "America, this is what a feminist looks like."

Is this what a feminist looks like?? She brings up some interesting [feminist] points: Title IV and equal pay (do we actually know Palin's real position/record on this?). And, of course, she is a woman in power and a working mother, which is worth something, however much or little.

But what about abortion and birth control? What about charging for women for their own rape kits? What about having her husband play an important role in her governorship? What about the unacceptably high rates of rapes and domestic violence under her leadership?

Now I feel like one of the people I don't want to become -- the feminism police. But what are we to do? Do we need a whole new label or a whole new movement? Should consider an approach that's seen as pro-woman rather than just feminist, as Habladora suggested?

What do you all think?

(Cross-posted at The Feminist Underground)


At Mon Oct 06, 02:01:00 PM Danny said...

You are voicing some of the things I've been wondering about feminism in the last few months. However due to the fact that I am a non-feminist (and probably more importantly I'm a man) I try not to say anything for the justified and proven fear of being attacked.

I not only wonder what makes a person a feminst but I also wonder what makes an act a feminist act if a person or act is determined to be feminist does that mean said person or act cannot be anything else?

The reason I wonder that is because of a post over at Alas about Biden's comments about being a single father. Everyone I've seen comment on that has been labeling it a feminst moment. My question is: Are they labeling it a feminst moment because they support single fathers or are they calling it that because they think that feminism has exclusive rights to moments like that? That could very easily be called a father moment, an MRA moment, or to completely avoid genderizing it it could be simply called a touching moment.

Now if I were to ask that over at Alas I know full we I would be attacked for "trying to make it all about men" (despite the fact it was a man making those comments) and they would take the time to tell me that MRAs are all about making sure all men have power over all women. But I don't think that will happen here.

At Mon Oct 06, 02:10:00 PM CA NOW said...

Just stating for the record that Shelly Mandell did not speak for any aspect of NOW at that event. California NOW has issued a statement making it clear that the national NOW PAC supports the Obama/Biden ticket, and no NOW chapter has supported McCain/Palin.

At Mon Oct 06, 02:16:00 PM frau sally benz said...

Thanks, CA NOW, I forgot to mention that (and it does say it in the article I linked).

Danny, you bring up a good point, and you certainly won't be attacked here for bringing it up!

I don't think Biden's moment was a feminist moment, though I guess I see why people would say that. It was certainly heart-warming, and because it was the story of a single father, it was certainly more captivating. (For the record, I'm also a bit more open-minded about MRAs than most, I think they get a bad rap mostly.)

In regards to your greater point, I don't think an act is a feminist act just because a feminist did it. I think feminists and non-feminists can say/do things that empower women and move women's rights forward. I also think feminists and non-feminists can say/do things to hold it back. Hmmm, more to think about!

At Tue Oct 07, 12:48:00 AM HumanRights101 said...

Women Want Safety, not Biden's Abuse of Power

Senator Joe Biden proudly proclaims that he was beaten with impunity by his sister as a youth. This is the same sister that raised his two sons after his wife and daughter were killed in an auto accident.

Biden has often claimed that the Violence against Women Act is the greatest achievement of his career. Yet he fails to recognize the role women play as perpetrators of domestic violence. Hundreds of studies show that women commit acts of domestic violence as often as, or more often than men. Many studies also show that lesbian women physically attack their intimate partners at least as often as heterosexual men.

As a result of Biden's Violence against Women Act, the federal government pays states to create laws effectively requiring that men be removed from their homes and families without even an allegation of violence, with no legitimate standards of evidence, when a woman makes a claim that she is afraid.

Elaine Epstein, president of the Massachusetts Bar Association (1999), has said "the facts have become irrelevant... restraining orders are granted to virtually all who apply. Regarding divorce cases, she states "allegations of abuse are now used for tactical advantage". According to Epstein, who is also a former president of the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association, restraining orders are doled out "like candy" and "in virtually all cases, no notice, meaningful hearing, or impartial weighing of evidence is to be had."

State restraining order laws are starting to fall because they're unconstitutional. The federal law behind them, written by Joe Biden, is likely to fall as well, not because it isn’t popular, but because it is clearly unconstitutional.

Supporting Documentation

Here are some of the facts regarding Biden's abuse at the hand of his sister. During senate hearings held on December 11, 1990, Biden testified to the abuse.

Senate Hearing Transcript (see p. 171-172)

This recent CDC study indicates that women between the ages of 18 and 28 initiate reciprocal violence against their intimate partners about as often as men. It also indicates that women initiate non-reciprocal violence against their intimate partners more than twice as often as men.

Here is a link to a bibliography of over 200 studies indicating that women are as violent as men in their intimate relationships:

According to the US Department of Justice, women also abuse, neglect and kill their children at significantly higher rates than men. Here’s some of the data on child homicides.

Research clearly indicates that lesbian battery is at least as common as heterosexual battery.

Cathy Young reports on the Elaine Epstein quote and the broader issue at here:

and provides in depth analysis here:


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