If You Are A Feminist, You Should Call Yourself One, Regardless Of Your Gender

Over at The Fivefold Path, Jeff wrote that he thinks men should call themselves pro-feminists, rather than feminists.

I responded,

Interesting.  I’m a lady, and a feminist, and not a radical feminist according to the accepted meaning of radical feminist within the community, though I may be radical in some ways.  And… it actually annoys me when men who hold feminists beliefs refuse to call themselves feminists.  I think I understand your reasons for doing so, but in general, when I see a man calling himself a feminist ally instead of a feminist, it makes me think that he is trying to separate himself from feminism and from being too identified with women and womanly things.  By assigning himself a different label, it seems like he is saying he isn’t on board with what feminism is– that he must differentiate himself from using a term that normally denotes female, which reflects on the normal trend of men dissociating themselves from the stereotypically or superficially feminine.

I do think the word feminist loses something when people use it incorrectly, but I don’t think that one’s sex or gender automatically causes them to be using it incorrectly.  Rather, it’s the Sarah Palins of the world who are calling themselves feminists when they ought not be.

I wish more people who believed in women and women’s rights, in equality, and in an end to a patriarchal system of government and enforced societal codes of patriarchal living would call themselves feminists.  Maybe then women who haven’t learned much about feminism wouldn’t be scared away from learning more.

 

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Entitlement To Sex: It Has A Place In Relationships, But Not In Dating Or Hooking Up.

One of the big problems a lot of women run into in dating, friending, hanging out with guys is that a surprisingly large number of men think that, in exchange for gifting women with their scintillating wit and presence, the woman must then owe them sex.  This is, obviously, a Bad Thing.  And its very badness leads to a lot of people stating that people feeling entitled to sex is always bad. That, I can’t get on board with.

I think that feeling entitled to sex is actually pretty ok when the condition of having regular sex has been pretty much established as an important part of the ongoing relationship– like an entitlement to knowing about a partner’s debt or illnesses, or an entitlement to wearing your holey tshirts to bed when you feel sick instead of cute lingerie, or an entitlement to conversational time, or an entitlement to honesty and good night kisses and stealing sips from each other’s water glasses.  It’s and important part of most long term romantic relationships, and if the relationship was established and maintained with an even implicit understanding that sex is an important part of it, I think it is perfectly understandable, maybe even healthy, for a partner to feel pissed off, confused, or resentful if hir partner stops wanting to have sex.

I think this holds true even when it isn’t the partner’s fault they can’t have sex or have no libido!  Sex wanting partner can feel grumpy all ze wants as long as ze doesn’t take it out on the other partner!  Hell, even when sex-not-having-partner is somehow at fault for a dry spell, sex-wanting shouldn’t take it out on them.  Because you should also be entitled to some fucking civility in a romantic relationship, regardless of what reality tv and the movies might want people to think.

But being entitled to sex– in this way, at least– doesn’t mean you get to force your partner to have sex. It isn’t an excuse for rape– not for rape by physical force, not for rape by coercion, not for any sort of rape or sexual assault.  Because you can’t force someone to do something ze doesn’t want to do, that’s just not right.  

So… if I’m saying it’s not ok to force hir to have sex, how is it that it’s ok to feel entitled to sex?  Because you’re being denied what is, for most people, an essential part of that sort of partnership.  And it means that, because it is a thing you are entitled to and it’s off the menu, that it’s time for you to do some thinking, possibly reevaluating the relationship and its boundaries, possibility reevaluating the role sex plays in the relationship, possibly even leaving the relationship.  Because, while sex isn’t as important as communication, taking it away still fundamentally changes the nature and tone of the relationship.

 

 

Coming up: thoughts on why entitlement to sex outside of such an established relationship is stupid, arrogant, and harmful.


Bra Sizes Are Fucked The Hell Up

I saw on Tumblr a meme where people are reblogging their bra sizes.  

Well, I wear a 36 C. Or a 34 DD.  Or a 32 F.  Or a 34 D.  Or a 32 E.  I mostly wear two bras, a 36C by Wacoal and a 32 DDD by Chantelle.

They basically fit the same.  They offer the same support, but one is a flesh toned smooth bra, and one is black and pink lace.  And they have wildly different sizes.  

I actually hate bra shopping a lot, because it is so freaking hard to find anything that fits well, regardless of size.  I can go to Victoria’s Secret or Macy’s and walk out equally frustrated when nothing seems to fit– and I try a lot of styles when I go bra shopping.  I make it a damned production.  And yet, I still have so much trouble and usually walk out empty-handed.  It would be easy if sizes were even really standardized within a company but due to the mind boggling array of cuts/styles/fits/materials bras come in, it just… doesn’t happen.  And regular stores really only carry bras in a relatively narrow range of styles and sizes.  You want a longform bra for a strapless dress?  Fuck you!  You want a small band size paired with a large cup size?  Fuck you!  You want a longform bra with a small band size and large cup size?  Fuck you A LOT!  And fuck you if your boobs aren’t quite the same size, if your band size is large and your cup size small, if your tits are wider or narrower apart than the current trend, if your nipples tend to point to the sides rather than straight forward, if your boob-flow is more horizontal than vertical, or… gosh, any number of things.

And yet bras are one of the most essential parts of the wardrobe for non-flat ladies.  I have to wear one to walk comfortably.  I have to wear one to look professional at work.  And I have to try the damned things on to make sure they fit.  But no one these days is really interested in selling bras that fit– we’re instead supposed to smash ourselves into bras made to fit an ideal figure that very few women have, and as a result we don’t look or feel our best.  There’s some statistic out there about around 80% of women wearing the wrong sized bra– well, no shit.  Unless you live in a major city with one of those Intimacy stores, you’re screwed.

 

Pretty lingerie is one of the things I’d love to buy as an indulgence that I wouldn’t even feel guilty about.    But I’m not even given the option, and that’s annoying as hell.