Friday, November 10, 2006

Not a Victim

No, I'm not. I have a good life. Good job, great guy, and a fun hobby. I'm a lot of things, but oppressed isn't one of them.

So why do people think I have to be a victim to be a feminist? I don't get it. Just because I realize that sexism still exists (against both women and men) doesn't mean I think life sucks and I'm oppressed. It just means that I recognize it exists. It's a little hard not to notice when a guy walks up to me during a sound check and says, "Are you really the drummer? Really?" Um, no... I'm just the band's eye candy. And they let me tune the drums. Cuz that's hot.

What is so wrong with seeing people as individuals? Sure, there are gender differences. But we, as individuals, are a lot more than our gender stats. I can't help it if I have a natural urge to want to hit things. (Hey, at least I'm taking it out on the drums!) And just because most women don't play drums, does that mean I shouldn't? What do other women have to do with me?

Oh, right. We belong to the same "class". It's this class-analysis that is at the root of socialist, collectivist thinking. Excuse me while I opt out.

I think you said that you tuned the drums, but probably your servant... me... tuned them at your bidding. Just wanted to set the record straight, that's the feminist way.
Ha! No, that was after the first set that you tuned my drums. This guy came up and talked to me during the soundcheck. Soundcheck is *before* the show. That's when I tuned them.

But hey, no whining. You offered to tune after the first set. Don't blame me!
Most people cannot think outside the box. This box says a feminist is only one of the following.

A Psychotic Bitch on the edge of hormonal induced mass murder

A multiple personality version of the above.

A terribly abused woman seeking vengence on all men for the terible actions of one.

A Stalinist Leftist who is using feminism to push Lenins grand plan.

A princess who has gotten the first taste of the real world and is going to make people pay for losing the peak of princess priveleges

You don't fit the mold so you confuse them. By the way I may have missed one so please tell us if their are more standard boxes.
While I think that it is important to view people as individuals, I also feel a class and/or race based analysis is often necessary to really understand a situation. After I read the book "Promises I Can Keep" it dawned on me that the factors that most often influence a woman's line of thinking regarding something as common as whether not to get an abortion can be rooted in class differences. Why is it that upper-class women-those who are most likely to have the resources and other support to carry a pregnancy to term-are more likely to abort an unplanned pregnancy than poor women with fewer resources?
Y'know, women drummers are nothing new. Does the name Maureen Tucker ring any bells? How about Cindy Blackman or Sheila E? Patty Schemel? Terry Lynne Carrington? Gina Schock? Female musicians are NOT a novelty and should not be regarded as such.
Great post. I'm also a woman - a black one at that - and my life is great. Just because I'm not afraid of all men and I stay 'thank you' when one of them holds the door open for me (as opposed to 'you SEXIST PIG!'), that doesn't mean that my mouth is on the proverbial balls of men 24/7. I'm very much a feminist. What I am NOT is a caricature of one. I can fight for our rights and give dynamite head at the same time. I can even do it while dancing to that oh-so-oppressive rap music (WOEZ!!11). Get the hell out of here with that "we are all victims" shit.
No, it isn't that simple. Feminists do include the types Steve listed & one cannot call oneself one without being duely associated with such loonies. This is because the term Feminism means female fascism. The views drumgurl expresses are egalitarian rather than Feminism, which is specifically anti-male & does not in any way recognise the possibility that sexism could be aimed men. If you posted such views on a genuine Feminist site, u would be flamed.
The question is why do women find it so hard to step away from Feminism? It is not a fair or rational thing & it is not personalised as one often sees described in contexts like this.
You views are your views Drumgurl & personally, I agree with them. But they are not Feminism or even close.
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I don't understand why a modern woman who believes in equal rights calls herself a feminist? Why doesn't she just call herself a woman? Everyone today believes in equal rights. Calling yourself a feminist seems to just be aggressive about it and looking to pick a fight. In fact I bet woman would not even notice that there is still an "issue" with woman's rights if there weren't people going around armed to the teeth for battle with a uniform called feminism.

just an opinion.
I honestly don't even know what issues "feminists" can fight for these days while keeping a straight face. Enlighten me.
Good for you! Some day the word "feminism" will return to its original meaning, without involving pathological hatred of men.
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Some of these comments make me sad. The Webster Dictionary defines feminism as: "the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men." So when people stigmatize feminists as being anti-male, it not only is inaccurate, it takes away from the message of feminism. This attitude and label is the backlash of feminism and the feminist movement...which was about EQUAL treatment and gender equality. And while we've come a long way we're still not there. As long as we live in a patriarchy (research this word) and as long as women are seen as objects, there will be no equality, because consciously and very subconsciously dehumanized objects won't be treated equal to humans. We have to look beyond our conditioning, beyond the propaganda our patriarchal society has fed us. I saw a great bumper sticker that said: "Feminism is this radical notion that women are people!" That's what the "fight" and passion is about. It is no different than racism, only sexism is much more accepted and indoctrinated. You don't hear people labeling and stigmatizing black people for fighting for equality. So my advice is to educate yourselves...look into women's history (you won't believe the injustices, and the ones still going on under some guise) read "The Beauty Myth" by Naomi Wolf, and stop being on the defense. See through the conditioning and look at the human condition. The feminine has been suppressed and the world has and is suffering because of this imbalance.
Jennifer- If you can give dynamite head while dancing to rap music, my hat is off to you, madame.

I'm a feminist (not sure what kind, but I lean toward radical) who largely disagrees with the gist of this post and the subsequent MRA comments and the stereotypes of feminists as hairy-legged-man-haters, and I too will not scream "YOU SEXIST PIG" at a guy for holding a door open for me.

I honestly don't even know what issues "feminists" can fight for these days while keeping a straight face. Enlighten me.

There's equal pay for equal work, the right to go out in public without being harassed, equal representation in all branches of government and in the media, the right to sign on for the military or any other traditionally male-centric field without being assaulted and harassed for it, the dissolution of binary gender roles, an end to homophobia, transphobia, racism, an end to FGM, the right to have a few too many at a party without being raped and then being blamed for it or accused of lying about it, punitive sentencing for "honor killings" and "crimes or passion," the right to not have your value as a human being based on your physical appearance . . . you know there are books you can read. They're at the library. Enlighten yourself.

I agree with compassionspeak.
Whoever the "snobographer" is, thank you! I think that since women have come such a long way in becoming equals in the eyes of society, many think that we should just leave it at that and call it good. Unfortunately, there are still vast gaps in the "equality" that we are offered today, and many women either don't notice them or choose to ignore them. You don't have to scream at someone who opens the door for you, refuse to shave your legs, or walk around angry at the world to be a feminist. Oh, and for the last time, just because a woman wants to be treated as an equal doesn't mean she hates men!!!
I agree that you don't have to be a victim to be a feminist. I personally believe that I have been victimized, but perhaps not in the most obvious of ways. So, in a way, you've probably been victimized, but not in the way that people would commonly view victimization.
Maybe it was a rarity for this man to see a female drummer. And since the human brain is the greatest instrument of pattern recognition on earth, humans tend to take normal patterns for granted and are surprised by hiccups in their accustomed patterns. If this man is accustomed to seeing only male drummers, it would only be natural for him to ask you to confirm what his eyes plainly saw. I doubt this was an example of sexism. In fact, I was quite surprised to see a blog by a feminist who states that she is also a free market proponent, and a libertarian; specifically because all the feminists I ahve ever met and spoken to have, besides a chip on their shoulder, socialist tendencies. They want government to force equality on everyone, but they don't realize it is government intervention that breeds group-ism, tribalism, racism, sexism, etc. If only gov't would mind its beezwax, and protected individual rights, then all would have their rights and none would need to band into groups to fight for what rights they feel they lack. Anyway, glad to see a free-market feminist!
"what do other women have to do with me?"

that crock of shit is the reason we haven't come up yet.

honestly, i like your blog. but that's just not okay.
I understand what you're saying here, especially in the music scene. I play bass for a band and am always questioned about if i'm any good, or if i really am the bassist. It drives me insane! What's so unbelievable about women musicians?
Men are disgusting !!!
I to ask myself as a feminist why it is that feminist seems to equal victim. I have an entire blog dedicated to this whole idea, you might like it if this is a debate you're open to as a feminist.

"I have a unique take on feminism and therefore life in general, my career etc... I look to the left and I see the stereotype of the man-hating lesbian in flannel and Doc Martens. I look to the right and I see women like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears who portray women as ditsy and unable to manage their own lives and success. Those are the options ladies, sign up now! Dyke or Ditz. Please politely put yourselves into one of the two groups so that society knows exactly how to deal with you.

I'm a feminist and I wear high heels. So what? I believe that women have the ability to take ownership and control of our lives, our bodies, our appearances, and the markets in which we profit. To me being a feminist means having the courage to stand up for myself as a human being, and for others who may not be able to do the same. It means having the power to choose how I dress, speak, act, and work, and doing it for myself, not the masses. I believe that the last leap for feminism is convincing women to simply stop entertaining any oppression. Just be, and the rest of the world will eventually catch on!"
Jenn Astle
Anyone who recognizes that society has clearly defined gender roles is a feminist. Anyone who realizes that a double standard exists is a feminist. It doesn't mean you have to go out and change the world, but anyone who has questioned why we automatically put pink on our baby girls and blue on our baby boys is a feminist.

feminism is about one is trying to make men servants here.

oh yes, and feminists believe that women are more than pieces of meat who can be used for sexual pleasure.
In Defense of Men 
(c) 2000 Sheridan Hill   
I never thought I’d be the one to stick up for men’s rights. I've been a feminist since I was 14 and discovered that my 1967 Webster's Dictionary defined boy as "a male child," while girl was given as "not a boy." It started when he told me that men are afraid of women.
“Men afraid of women? No, it’s just the opposite,” I say, and run to the Web to collect gender statistics on crime and domestic abuse. In a matter of minutes, I will prove him wrong. But the facts that surface are hard to swallow. Half of spousal murders are committed by wives? No way. But there it is, a 1985 National Family Violence Survey of 6,000 cases, funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health, conducted by Murray A. Straus and Richard J. Gelles at the University of New Hampshire.    

Between 1975 and 1985, male-against-female domestic violence decreased, while women's violence against men increased. In Straus and Gelles' second study, in 1986, 1.8 million women suffered assaults from a husband or boyfriend, but two million men were assaulted by a wife or girlfriend.
Wait a minute. Women have good reason to fear men. We are afraid to leave our houses without the safety of deadbolts, a look in the back seat, automatic door locks and a purse-sized canister of mace like the one on my key chain. Some of us live with men who beat us black and blue. Many of the women in these studies must be fighting in self-defense.   
No, says the National Family Violence Council: "The fact thatwomen had higher mean and median rates for severe violence suggests that female aggression is not merely a response to male aggression.”
For several days, I read online citations from Journal of the American Medical Association, studies from the Department of Justice, and “men’s issues” web pages, which are filled with testimonials from men who are or were abused by their spouses
A 1984 issue of the Justice Quarterly says that in domestic violence, women compensate for their size by using weapons. In 6,200 domestic abuse cases, 86 percent of women who assaulted men used weapons: guns, knives, boiling water, bricks, fireplace pokers and baseball bats. Only a quarter of men who assaulted women used weapons.
Mothers kill their children. After surveying murder cases in large urban counties in 1988, the U.S. Department of Justice reported that women made up more than half the defendants (55 percent) in cases involving parents killing their offspring. (1994-95 U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics Publications Catalog, publication #. NCJ 43498, “Murder in Families
In May, 2000, the Justice Department loudly announced the good news about domestic violence: in the years 1993 and 1998, the rate at which American women were attacked or threatened by loved ones (husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends) declined 21 percent. The Associated Press stories buried the statistics for men: the number of men who were attacked by wives or girlfriends remained stable, with 160,000 attacks both years.
The good news in the new Justice Department stats is this: Women may be attacking their men as much as ever, but they are apparently less successful at actually killing them: the number of men killed by wives or girlfriends declined 60 percent from 1976 through 1998, representing a steady 4% decline each year.
But the abuses committed -- and untold -- by women are widescale. Women are responsible for one-third of the sexual abuse of boys, according to the Dec. 2, 1998 Journal of the American Medical Association. Women pressure boys emotionally by saying something like, “If you don't do it, you're not a man, and I'll tell everyone."  
Matt Vegh, a Canadian charter rights advocate, has spent two years assisting male victims of domestic violence in the provincial courtrooms of Ontario, Canada.
"Make absolutely no mistake," Vegh said. "Women can smoke dope, booze it up, throw a fist, wield a knife, use a gun, beat their spouse, and beat their kids. It is a type of violence that is ignored, condoned, and treated as frivolous by a justice system that survives by feeding on the one individual who is easily stereo-typed, lacks public sympathy, does not raise fear of reprisal in politicians, and often does not fight back."
Vegh  recently took a month-long sabbatical to the Arizona mountains, where he mused that the most important service he offers his clients is not legal advice, but simply to believe in them. To listen. “These men are victimized by their spouses and then ridiculed by a justice system that denies what has happened to them,” he said. “They are stereotyped, labeled, and unheard by any authority. The human toll is staggering.”
As the weeks go by, I talk it over with three men friends, and am shocked to find that all of them were abused by either their mother or their wife.
“My life would have to be in danger before I would hit a woman,” says my friend Al. "I took a lot of scratches and bruises from my wife over the years because she knew I wouldn’t hit her back. But it will affect me for the rest of my life. It demoralizes you. It makes you almost dysfunctional with the opposite sex. People don’t understand; it’s not a matter of being more powerful.” Al never sought counseling to heal from spousal abuse because, “It’s shameful to talk about being beat up by a woman.”
I understand why women might be angry. We are beaten, too. Our mothers and our grandmothers and our great-grandmothers have lost hundreds of years skulking in the shadows, laboring quietly and longing desperately for the glance that says, “You are my equal”; looking and working our best and waiting patiently for the promotion, the hand up, the acknowledgement of a job well done, the camaraderie for chrissake.
But my feminist ideals are crumbling against the gender truths of the new millinneum. Boys are shorted in school, too. In Atlantic Magazine (May, 2000), Christina Hoff Sommers refutes the landmark studies of the past three decades and demands that boys, not girls, are the emotional and academic underdogs. Hoff says that data from the U.S. Department of Education, the National Center for Education Statistics, and university studies show that” girls get better grades, have higher educational aspirations, outnumber boys in student government, honor societies, on school newspapers, and in debating boys.
Girls read more books, outperform boys on tests for artistic and musical ability. On the other hand, more boys than girls are suspended from school. More are held back and more drop out. Boys are three times as likely to receive a diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. More boys than girls are involved in crime, alcohol, and drugs. Girls attempt suicide more often than boys, but it is boys who more often succeed. In 1997, a typical year, 4,483 young people aged five to twenty-four committed suicide: 701 females and 3,782 males.
“A boy today, through no fault of his own, finds himself implicated in the social crime of shortchanging girls. Yet the allegedly silenced and neglected girl sitting next to him is likely to be the superior student. She is probably more articulate, more mature, more engaged, and more well-balanced. At the same time, he is uncomfortably aware that he is considered to be a member of the favored and dominant gender.”
Mary Matalin was right when she wrote in a 1993 Newsweek column: “We are not victims; our daughters are not infants; our sons are not brutes; our men are not monstrous pigs.” If women hate the idea that only men can be strong, we’d better reject the myth that only women can be gentle. If we aspire to leadership, it’s time we take responsibility for our own capacity to abuse and victimize others.
As for me, I am weary of the gender war. Besides, men don’t look so scary as as they did when I was in my 20s and 30s. Today, they just look like people walking down the street.
I just wanted to say that I whole-heartedly agree that being a feminist isn't necessarily about having been victimized. Although I, along with most women, have been the "victim," so to speak, of men making opressive comments, or some jerk boyfriend breaking up with me for another girlfriend, I've never dealt with anything that society would consider "major." But, still, I consider myself a feminist, much for a similar reason as to the reasoning you gave. I was the only girl on my high school wrestling team, and I dealt with many people thinking that I was "strange," and some people even claimed that I was "going against nature." I think that it is ridiculous that women aren't allowed to have natural "manly" urges, to participate in activities that aren't quite "feminine."
I think this is an issue that people tend to either over-simplify or over-complicate.
I think that in a lot of cases we have no choice but to think of things along the lines of class and gender: of course we are more than the statistic we represent, but when we are trying to analyze the world and our culture, these things need to be taken into consideration. Class differences (sad as this may be) do indeed make a difference in the way women (and men) approach the world and their lives.
You don't have to be a victim to be a feminist, obviously; nor do you have to victimize yourself to realize that sexism exists. Awareness is often enough; activism is even better.
Nice blog.
Why do you need a great guy in order to have a great life?
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My comment might be a little out of scope for this post. But I can't wait to ask. After going to a couple of feminist groups, I found a disconnect between groups and feminism. But they are not interested in listing.

Is feminism nothing else bullying?

Check out my blog at and feel free to leave a comment.
I think it ironic and ignorant of you to say "I am not oppressed" and then to use an example of your own oppression within the same posting. I won't try to tell you that you are not a feminist, because it takes all types....but, a truly feminist argument to make would be to challenge those who are short-sighted enough to believe that feminism is necessarily about the hatred of men or that of feeling like a victim. But instead your approach was grounded in misogynistic logic that itself perpetuates the very "labeling" you despise. You feed the machine you hate and don't even know why. You claim to think outside the box, but in your attempt to distance yourself from "those that whine" you but both yourself and anyone who might think a little differently than you in a nice and neat place. And this type of thinking, built on the inability to perceive and grow from our own ambivalence (might wanna look this word up), is the type of thinking that created the need for feminism in the first place. You should really know your history!
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To Jenn Astle,
I ask you, who defines beauty? Who tells you that stilettos are sexy? Who woke up one day and said "I will be powerful if I stick on a pair of stilts"? Consider where these ideas came from. You may think that it is beauty you are claiming to attain, while promoting yourself as a feminist. But, ask where these beliefs stemmed from? It is only when we realize where our generally held beliefs came from that we can truly change women's place in society. I think the rest of your message is a powerful one, and I agree with you. I agree that feminism has its place and that what I percieve to be a kind of "anti-feminism" (concurrent to a kind of "anti-intellectual" movement) is disturbing. Although we have attained a kind of legal equality, we have not attained a social one (as one suggested on this blog), nor a cultural one. The flight continues ladies, and I don't need to appologize for being dissapointed, or enraged, or quiet or loud, or butch or femme, or lesbian or strait, or male or female, or masculine or feminine. Neither do you. I am a feminist, and regardless of the unnessisary sterotyping and "unti-feminist" propoganda I have been witness to, I refuse to back down from that definition of myself (I have many do we all).
I am definately for womens rights but feminism is a step beyond women's rights and I believe is a dangerous ideology. Feminist is a sort of personal anarchy which tramples the equality mentality.
Most people cannot think outside the box. This box says a feminist is only one of the following....

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