Recently my girlfriend Sophie sent me a picture of what Buzz Feed thought were provocative pictures of “other” feminists, men and women who were gay and self-proclaimed feminists who were also anti-choice, protesting in Washington. One of the young women had perky little sign that stated that she was anti-choice and a feminist. My friend asked me via e-mail what I thought of this, and the kneejerk response at 10:00 at night and after two martinis was that she was a traitor. After sleeping on it, perhaps traitor was not the right word; maybe an ill representative is better. Different people have different feminisms and this was hers. But it got me thinking and I realized that just like so many religions, feminism was being used as a personal ideology to justify bogus behavior.
As she held up her sign, what that said to me (whose feminism regarding abortion is extremely cut and dry, pro-choice until the end) was that she was saying, whatever stances I take are legit because they are backed up by over 100 years of feminism. This is especially aggravating because then basically any person can and will slap the words “I’m a feminist” on whatever crap that they want. Congratulations to these girls for learning how to identify a concept, but to my pro-choice feminism, that doesn’t give them carte blanche to justify every action by leaning on the feminism crutch. Slapping a concept on any old idea is additionally dangerous because those who may not always utilize critical thinking skills believe it to be the final word. But she’s a feminist. It’s like when an ex once said years ago that he read, “feminism was dead,” and said, “well it’s true, a feminist said it!”
And let’s be honest here and call a spade a spade—these anti-choice people are crazy, regardless of what other names they assign themselves. If they weren’t crazy, they wouldn’t be protesting in front of health centers but instead changing legislation to improve sex education and birth control availability to women and men of any economic status.
Obviously, this girl’s feminism is to tell other women how to live their lives and what to do with their bodies, and that is completely antithetical to the history, the spirit and well, even the definition of feminism. But, we’ve seen this all before; during women’s suffrage in the U.S., some women protested against their own impending right to vote, and women like this just serve as a reminder that there will always be women who astonishingly advocate patriarchy. The upside to this tangled mess is that they serve to remind us to fortify our own beliefs in the fight for social, sexual, racial, and economic equality.