Sunday, November 4, 2007

2) Do you agree with Becky, that women who don’t consider themselves feminists are “masochists”? Should negative connotations matter when self-identifying?

4 comments:

Background Noise said...

I think that calling somebody a masochist or immature because they are uncomfortable with the label “feminist” shows a great deal of disrespect & prejudice. Although somebody might not be okay with the label (because it does hold negative connotations to some people) they might believe in all the same ideals that feminism strives for… and what should we ascribe more importance to; the labels or the principles?

Although not caring about what others think of you is a nice idea, humans are social creatures and part of living with others requires that other people have a good opinion of you. In a perfect world maybe people wouldn’t make incorrect assumptions about us based on labels, but in the real world it happens. If I say I am a straight girl, then everyone who hears that is filling in the blanks making assumptions based on that statement, labels work really well to get a lot of information across in a short time. However; when a word has no simple or static cultural definition, people have a harder time filling in the blanks and sometimes make incorrect assumptions about you. I believe that in these situations, it is often easier for people to just explain their ideals and beliefs without using the label.

The way I see it, if you’re unhappy with a label that you identify with having negative connotations to others you can choose not to use the label, you can react with anger, pity & disregard, or you can choose to change their minds by example.

Anonymous said...

or you could gain courage to identify with what you believe in. You have the same ideals and you act the same way, but you don't want to identify with what you are? That is like saying like, I am a woman-identified woman, i like to be in sexual relationships solely with women, I am not physically attracted to men, but I am not a lesbian.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough, but I think people should be free to take or leave labels... and if a word or label bothers you, you should be free to not use it.

My real grandfather was a really cruel man to my grandma. He abused her both physically and mentally. He lit her hair on fire (twice, and made her THANK him for putting the fire out.) He cheated on her and told her- in great detail- all about it. After many years she found the courage to leave and eventually met Ralph; who was very great to her & treated her family like his own. I never called Ralph "grandpa" because the word held such negative meaning to me, personally. Some people thought it was strange that I called him by his first name even though he and my grandma had been together for 16 years, I just discarded a label that didn't feel right to me. It didn't hinder my familial relationships, or demote Ralph at all.

Some people, for whatever reason, don't feel like the label "feminist" suits them like a glove. Some people feel that its too dated, narrow or exclusive. All I was saying is that when a self proclaimed "feminist" resorts to namecalling and personal attacks(e.g."masochist" "immature")it only solidifies the person's discomfort with the label, and shows a great deal of disrespect for people in general.

I do consider myself a feminist, by the way. I also believe that I have the right to not use the label if (for whatever reason) I don't feel comfortable with it or believe that it no longer suits me. I believe in your right to do the same, and I respect you nomatter what labels you give yourself.

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