I am an angry feminist

sfv CHS-44632 Generally speaking, I try to keep my writing here positive, lighthearted and sometimes a bit esoteric. I don’t like to rock the boat too much, mainly because I dislike arguments and even more than that, I hate internet arguments. At the moment though, I’ve had it up to here with keeping quiet and subdued.

I am a feminist. I wear cardigans. I figured I should just come out and say that. I think more people should come out and say that. While I can remember a time when I might have been nervous about admitting this, nervous about the connotations, I now realize that it is vitally important to claim this title. People are so afraid of this word, afraid of the box it puts them in. This is why I urge you to recognize your own inner feminist, if for some reason you have not already. Caitlin Moran said it best, and I’m paraphrasing here, that if you have a vagina and want to be in charge of it, you are a feminist. Granted, you can also not have a vagina and be a feminist, but for the sake of you ladies that are too afraid to get with the program here, let’s simplify things.

What are the connotations here? It means I care about laws that are passed about women’s health. It means I care about the stories that are told about women, or not told for that matter. It means I care about equal pay and opportunities for women. And because I’m paying attention, because these things matter to me, it means I’m keenly aware of the cultural subtexts that are going on day in and day out about what women are capable of. It means I get angry.

I am an angry feminist. I get angry a lot. This is what happens when others are constantly trying to define you as lesser, repeatedly trying to take away your human rights and perpetuating a culture of male dominance. You have the choice to get angry or risk beginning to believe these lies. I know when I was younger I definitely fell victim to this. Now, every time I hear “women are crazy” a little flame of rage ignites in me. When professional women are defined by their diets and whether they plan to stay home with the kids, how can you not be immeasurably frustrated?

Every day there is something. But I will not let my soul be bled to death by a thousand tiny pin pricks. I’m thankful for this anger, this reminder that there are still bridges to cross and progress to be made. It is a reminder that I haven’t given up, that I haven’t settled with “that’s just the way it is.” This anger gives me power.

Occasionally, all of this is a nuisance. Sometimes I wish I could just watch a movie without taking into account the blatant misogyny. Sometimes I wish I could tune out so many dim-witted comments. In the age of the internet opinion, there are so many stupid comments. But who would I be then? It might be more comfortable in a haze of ignorant bliss but it certainly does me no good in the long run.

The only way out of this mess is for us to join together, for all of us to come out from this fog and defeat that which plagues us, men and women alike. Here is your chance to come into the light. I hope you’ll join me.

Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Collection, USC Libraries. To see more photos from early Los Angeles, go here.