After commenting on this Critical Masculinities post about Pro-Feminism, I reflected on something I sometimes forget; When caught up in the passions of my belief, I must remember to maintain respect for other people’s positions.
See, for me, feminism is a term that I understand to be very broad in its scope. The only statement I feel assured in making is that feminism about is women’s rights. I know that’s really simplistic, feminism is far more complex than that, but sometimes I have to simplify it in my head to make sense of things.
So when I’ve heard someone say “I don’t call myself a feminist”, I prickle up a little. But I’ve realised something, I need to listen to their reasons. Because there are some very smart people with some very good reasons – pro-feminist men, former feminist women, and so on. Though their viewpoint is not my own, I think they make good arguments that make sense for them.
I guess I’m writing this article because I’ve been in a couple of feminist arguments that have gotten pretty ugly and I’ve seen some even uglier feminist flame wars. Often what the ugliness seems to stem from is people’s lack of respect for each other. A taking of sides, no finding a middle ground.
It pays to remember that each of us is on our own, unrepeatable journey. Each of us has a wealth of personal experience and knowledge. Though some of us may have more evolved, considered opinions than others, it doesn’t mean others have nothing useful to contribute. Ultimately “right” and “wrong” are slippery, tricky, abstract concepts and it’s probably more useful to realise that our version of “right” isn’t the same as everyone’s. But if we speak to each other rationally and calmly, perhaps we can come to an understanding.
I don’t always live by this mantra, I’m a pacifist with a temper. When I come home from a bad day, when being lectured by sanctimonious little vegan* girls I’ve only just met at parties about how porn by definition exploits women – sometimes I get angry, we all do, but it never achieves anything. So I try to be constructive. I really did want to slap that girl though. But I didn’t. Yay pacifism!**
* No offense to vegans, I’m vegetarian myself and respect vegans immensely. It’s just this girl just irritated me with her superior attitude and the fact that her and her boyfriend had “V” for vegan tattooed on their wrists… which wouldn’t usually annoy me but she annoyed me so it annoyed me!
** I should have called this blog The Kinky Pacifist. Spank the Kinky Pacifist. Heehee! Oh, that’s only funny to me, isn’t it? :(
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