Friday, December 19, 2008

I'm Sorry If This Makes You Uncomfortable by AS King

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I’m Sorry If This Makes You Uncomfortable

(A series of random thoughts, links and facts about feminism.)

by A.S. King, author of The Dust of 100 Dogs

Hi. I’m Amy. I’m a woman and a feminist. I believe in equal rights for all human beings.

Before the final title, this blog had a bunch of other titles, most of which sounded like this: “Please Stop Bashing the Women’s Movement” but then I realized people who bash it aren’t ready to learn about it. So why should I waste my time writing something for them? Instead, I wrote this for those of you who believe in equality like I do, and might want to learn a little about the women’s movement through history.

Part One - Educate yourself on why there was & is a women’s movement.

In this age of digital media and talk show talk talk talking, people get away with lying to you
all the time about feminism and what it means.

What are women’s rights?

What is a feminist? Some people say feminists hate men and want women to take over the world. Some say feminists want to make all women go to work. Others say feminists want all women to stop having or raising babies. Is this true?

Here’s the Merriam-Webster definition for your convenience:
Main Entry: fem•i•nism

Pronunciation: \ˈfe-mə-ˌni-zəm\ Function: noun Date: 1895

1 : the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes

2 : organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests

Feminists, at first, fought for women to have the right to vote. Do you think women should have the right to vote?
Then you’re thinking like a feminist. Later, feminists fought for a woman’s right to higher education and employment, and fought to stop domestic violence and sexual assault. Do you think women should have equal educational and employment opportunities? Then you’re thinking like a feminist.

Not So Random Interjection #1

Allow me to stop here for a moment, because this is an important issue that still needs our urgent attention.
About 1 in 4 women or girls in the US experiences sexual violence in her lifetime. Girls ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault. Because I don’t want to make you too uncomfortable, I’m going to link some statistics pages here. I’ll warn you. These aren’t happy reading. But they are real facts, and getting educated with real facts is good.

I offer these sites as a way to see the problem. And this is a problem, right? If one out of four people in this country had the measles, it would be a measles
epidemic, would it not?

Part Two – The Time Machine

Meet Jane Doe – Life Before the second wave of feminism.

As a single woman in the 1950s and 60s, Jane was at the mercy of the kindness of her father. As a married woman, Jane was at the mercy of the kindness of her husband. Period. That’s it. Jane wasn’t going to have much of a life unless she fought every step of the way. A few did. Most couldn’t. Jane was not allowed to go to college because people believed college was a waste on girls. Girls could get pregnant. And getting pregnant meant the end of any usefulness that a girl or woman had to offer outside the home.

When Jane and her husband decided to buy a house using a federal loan in the early 1960s, it was made very clear that Jane’s name couldn’t be put on the documents. (Because she could become pregnant and would then have no job.) Jane was lucky to get a job as a receptionist at her local bank’s office. When she got married, she was moved to part time. When she got pregnant, she was let go.

So – sure, when feminist bashers say, “Feminists are a pain in the ass. All they did was complicate things,” what they mean is: it was a lot easier when men had complete control over women, and there were clear roles everyone could fit into.

Not So Random Interjection #2 – Let’s put this bashing into perspective.

Slavery was bad, but for a long time, we fought to keep slaves.

Some people said: Abolitionists are a pain in the ass. All they did was complicate things.

Segregation was bad, but only a few decades ago, it was still law.

Some people said: Those civil rights protesters are a pain in the ass. All they did was complicate things.

Child pornography is bad, but it was legal to possess it as late as 1987 in 37 states, including mine, even though the movement against it started in 1975. (Shocking, eh?)

Imagine someone saying: Anti-child porn protesters are a pain in the ass. All they did was complicate things.

Does anyone else see what I see? Would it be too big of a jump to say that these bashers are afraid of change? Even if it’s good change? And we’re listening to them

Part Three
Here’s a quote from above my desk.

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

~Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

What stage do you think the women’s movement is in?

In this culture of polarization and nit-picking politics, I have no trouble with those people who think all feminists are crazy women out to ruin everything. I will work just as hard to make sure their daughters have a better life, even if they fight me while I’m doing it. Why? Because moving backward is not acceptable, standing still is getting boring, and I’ve got the guts and determination to move forward. Do you?

Start by going on a journey in your own time machine. Talk to your mothers, fathers, grandparents and friends about the past and about the issues we still have to solve – about our violence against women and children epidemic. Then, talk to your friends and your sisters and your brothers and boyfriends and ask them to join us. Why? Because this is your fight. Because you’re worth it.

A.S. King’s feminist stats**:

Married to man (also a feminist) almost 17 years.
Mother of two.
Shops at Target men’s department & Goodwill.
Last time shaved legs: over 6 weeks ago.
Wears very, very comfortable shoes.

**Oh have a sense of humor.
That was an AWESOME guest blog, wasn't it? Thanks, Amy! To find out more about A.S. King, go to

Girl Week is a week-long event here on the blog celebrating strong YA heroines and feminism. Find out more about it here.

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Amee said...

*Sigh* The last Girl Week post. Til next year. ;)

Anonymous said...

Amazing blog entry, I do concur! Absolutely spot-on!

I'm going to miss Girl Week! :( But, but, but ... YOU MUST GET SOME SNOOZING DONE before you go like this ... Zzzzzzz ... ZONK! BLONK! DONK! (<- that's you collapsing, by the way) :P

You did an AMAZING job, my dear! Many, many, many thanks and much, much, much love!

Alea said...

Saving the best for last are we? This was great, I really liked that quote!

Liv said...

AMAZING post! I agree with everything. Let's hear it for the women. :)
And um, I haven't shaved my legs for over a month either. :P Just in case you wanted to know. Haha. But hey, it's winter; I need some extra insulation.

Thank for an awesome week Steph!

Unknown said...

Wow, that was fantastic! Absolutely inspirational. Loved it.

Kimberly Derting said...

Thanks for the freakin' great week, Steph! You rock!!

MySharonAnne said...

Ok A.S. King is now my new favorite person!

Lenore Appelhans said...

I need to make a few people I know read this. Love that quote.

Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks for all the great tidbits of facts. It really makes you think about life as it is now and what we can do to appreciate it and make it better for everyone.
Great blog!

Shalonda said...

Man, she is awesome! She had me at, "I believe in equal rights for all human beings."

Her feminist stats were hilarious! She might be my new hero!

Carolina said...

Awesome guest blog!Now, I'm a huge A.S. King fan. :)

So sorry that Girl Week is over *sighs*.

Sarah Woodard said...

Awesome Guest blog.

Liviania said...

Love this! I hate when people try to tell me I'm not feminist because I shave my legs or something silly like that.

Alessandra said...

Awesome guest post. Very informative but also hilarious. I loved the "last shaved her legs: over 6 weeks ago" bit.

Joanne Levy said...

Hi Amy. You are one smart lady.

jocelyn said...

That was fantastic! Very interesting.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Great guest post! It's crazy because since I go to a public school, anybody can come on campus and talk about their beliefs and whatnot (anti-war protesters, drug awareness people, etc.) and I heard that there was a guy who came before who thinks women shouldn't wear makeup, shouldn't be in college, etc....I have yet to be there when he was talking, but it would be quite interesting, b/c obviously, that's messed up and totally backwards.


ellie_enchanted said...

That quote really struck me as true. I'm not sure why, exactly, but I think this is the guest blog I'm going to remember the most.
They were all good, of course!

Anonymous said...

Amy, I know that I've already told you that you rock but after reading this amazing blog entry you'll just have to listen to me say it again!

feminist C.K.
- also married to a male feminist
- also lives in comfortable shoes
- is tired of our culture denying the epidemic of violence against women

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Hey! For some reason, this embedded comment form makes most people click twice before the comment is processed and published. It's not you - it's just that it's a new Blogger feature with kinks and all that. (But I adore it and don't wanna get rid of it!) I removed Captcha to make the process easier. You don't have to rewrite the comments twice; just click on SUBMIT twice and it should work. If not, email me. Thanks! -Steph