Are You a Feminist?

That’s a question I’m sure every woman asks herself at some point or another in her life, or someone asks her, usually with a note of contempt in their voice.  It’s a question many women are quick to answer in the negative.  Some even offer the information up front, as if to bracket their opinion:  “I’m not a feminist, but…” as they go on to point out some obvious, or not so, act of discrimination toward women. 

I often wonder why it is, that women who have so clearly benefited from the actions of feminists are so quick to denounce them.  For hundreds of years, women have shown remarkable courage in standing up and speaking out against discrimination in education and for a voice in government.  I’m talking about the whole spectrum of female radicals, from those who have fought to have their say in crowded rooms amid catcalls and jeering threats to the more respectful matrons of society who fought for the recognition of women as persons.  Sometimes it seems that the battles are won, the causes quashed and life is now played on level ground.  We couldn’t be further from the truth.  And if we want to be truthful, we only need to scratch the surface of society to find evidence for feminists to speak out.

People:  We have a cause before us, the women ski jumpers, denied to compete at the Olympic Games because they are women.  I didn’t know that there were female ski jumpers until I heard that they had been denied competiton privileges at the Vancouver Games.  Everywhere, I thought.  We have to fight for entry everywhere.  No one is going to come up and say, hey you women, we haven’t let you compete before, but now we realize that it’s not fair for you not too, so c’mon in and have a go.

No, we have to point out, YET AGAIN, that some things are inherently unequal.  And the B.C. Court of Appeals has decided that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not apply to the International Olympic Committee.  What a cop out. 

This sets a precedent.  It tells the world that the standards that we have set, that women, and men, have fought for and that are enshrined the Charter of Rights and Freedom don’t apply to Non-Canadian organizations operating in this country.  Is this a double standard? 

Canada can proudly say that it leads the way in recognizing the impact of gender on the lives of people, not just women.  We recognize that safety from gender violence is a human right.  We recognize that gender must be considered in policy development, in health care, in education.  To deny equal access to women ski jumpers is to accept the backward and ignorant thinking that costs money, time and supreme effort to fight, but that will, ultimately, be overturned.

Every woman in Canada should be crying out in outrage over this blatant dismissal of our basic rights and freedom.  What if it were your daughter, your sister, your niece, or your son’s girlfriend?  Wouldn’t you want her to fly too?

Too bad the male ski jumpers don’t have enough compassion to step up and support their sisters.  Threaten to boycott the games, you guys.  Do you think your dreams of flying through the air for gold are any less than your sisters?

See PlanetSki; Globe and Mail; Reuters Canada; even the Brisbane Times!

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3 responses to “Are You a Feminist?

  1. This is a great blog post! I find that girls my generation( im 22) do not want to be associated with being a feminist because of all the stereotypes that go along with it. I catch myself saying “Im not a feminist but…” and then I would say something that is clearly pro-feminist. I once heard my friend say “ I am not a feminist because I personally have never been discriminated against for being a woman.” I completely agree with this statement but at the same time I do understand that we have not been discriminated against because of the work feminist before us have done. I went to an all girls catholic school and they emphasized teaching us to be strong, independent women, but they never used the term feminist which is very interesting…

  2. Thanks for your comments dawdra. Feminsts are for freedom…..not further segregation, compartmentalization. Feminists say that women can be persons, not “just” women.

  3. Hi Margaret. Well I can safely say i never considered myself a feminist. I always found it an other reason for segregation and excuse. I do believe as women we should all have equal rights, however at the same time I do respect our differences, phychologically and physiologically as our counterparts. Still, it’s nice to be treated respectfully as a person, not just because I am woman.

    I appreciate your thoughts on this, quite valuable.

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