We're Just the "Fuck You" Feminists
By Emily Spennato
You’ve heard it all. Feminism is the new F-word. Man haters. Somehow, our socially- constructed cultural consciousness has created the illusion that Feminism is only synonymous with the feminine. Feminism is for everyone.
When we have a commander-in-chief whose acting motto is “grab ‘em by the pussy”, it’s easy to see what keeps our society so deeply skewed toward the patriarchal. It’s easy to see where feminism and the stigmas that follow accrue their negative stereotyping.
When a president takes office, he becomes an example for his political party and more broadly, for the nation as a whole. In a (seemingly) progressive day and age, there are many negative aspects of, and associations with the Republican party. They support the right to bear arms, discouraging effective gun control. They discourage abortion, often taking away a woman’s right to her body. They create economic solutions that allow the rich to become richer and the poor to stay poor.
My family has never talked about politics, which was always fine with me. We were all happy with me forming my own opinions and them seldom talking about theirs. Like all families, we have the occasionally spirited drunk aunt who forces their political views onto others like glaze on a ham. It didn’t take me long to realize my parents were Republicans. It didn’t take them long to realize, after I turned eighteen, that I was not.
I come from an upper-middle class suburban neighborhood. What’s black and white with red all over? Certainly not my high school, a limited demographic that is replicated in suburban towns all over the country. My parents’ political views and the views I was surrounded with never seemed to bother me until the 2016 election. The phrase, “as a woman, how could you…” haunted me. As a woman, how could you vote for a president who grabs women by the pussy, who lies, and who shows hatred towards minorities? As a woman, how could my mother have voted for Donald Trump? As a woman, how could I have not said anything?
Collectively, my family and extended family share the same political views, but are respectful of other people’s. I am the black sheep, and I have had to learn to be okay with it. Political divides between Democrats and Republicans have created a crack in our country that hasn’t found its glue; this is apparent. It’s often the case that children’s political views are shaped by their parent’s and older generations, but lucky for us, that doesn’t seem to be true any longer. Movements like #TimesUp, #MeToo, and #NeverAgain show that not only are millennials embracing change, they are evoking it too. As the black sheep, I have done a lot of observing of what the far right thinks of these movements, and particularly of feminist movements. I’ve heard arguments in my house that indicate feminism is “excessive”, or “getting out of hand”. If that is how the right feels about the equality of women, it’s about to get a lot more out of hand.
Identifying as a feminist does not mean you have to wear “Free the Nipple” t-shirts or bet your life that Christine Blasey Ford was telling the truth (but let’s be honest, you totally should). All it means is believing in equal rights for all people. It means believing that women can change the world just as much as men can. Believing that women are entitled to their bodies just as much as men are entitled to theirs. Believing that no means no. Believing that it’s not just her problem. Believing in something much bigger than a man who grabs women by the pussy. Believing that your vote matters. Believing in “the advocacy of women's rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes”. This isn’t a new battle, and it’s far from over.
I won’t stop until Republicans aren’t afraid of the F-Word anymore.