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Saturday, June 4, 2011

How SlutWalk changed my identity

so this is something new to me.

i have never labelled myself a feminist. i have never felt the need and  enjoyed the reaction i would get from people when i said this. especially feminist men.

growing up in anthropology. studying an engendered perspective of human history through archaeology, does not usually equate to a woman who does not identify as a feminist.

i grew up in a relatively safe community. i hated high school. never thought much of myself. somewhat abused by men growing up. all of which i allowed. potentially sought out. i never really stood up for myself.

most people today would see me as strong. independent. opinionated. an intrepid explorer, who rode for 50 hours in a vegetable truck with two Moroccan/Berber men through the western sahara, fearlessly.

they probably see me as a feminist.

i recently came across this article about SlutWalkToronto on Facebook and have not stopped thinking analyzing and reformulating my identity.

I haven't stopped having conversations with people about it.

The author of the article is a "traditional" feminist (excuse my ignorance of the variety of feminist labels).
SlutWalk is some sort of third wave post feminism, that as far as i can see are comprised of women who want to embrace their sexuality.

now in no way am i criticizing a woman's right to be sexy, but from what i am understanding, participants of SlutWalk are diminishing women who do not want to doll-up, call themselves sluts and walk over men. this may be a harsh and grilled down analysis, but there seems to be a lot of disconnection between these groups.

this is where i am lost. why are women calling each other disempowered because of differing few points? i don't see the value in attacking each other.

in my discussions with people on SlutWalk's "taking back" the work slut and claiming it as their own, the value in women identifying their power within their sexuality is questioned.

ok. stop. i have to say i like to feel sexy. i pluck my eye brows, i wear make-up, cute shoes, dresses. i can be a girl, dare i say WOMAN by societies stereotype and i can feel good in this role. there is nothing wrong with that. but i can go weeks without shaving my legs/armpits, i use natural deodorant my sister and i made on my stovetop. i don't manicure my yoni. well, maybe sometimes i'll trim, sometimes i'll shave. but to be honest, the shaving is because i would feel uncomfortable in a bathing suit. i know i'd be judged. not because i really think it needs to be done.

this is kinda important. it's been ingrained on me, on me as a woman, that i have to be hairless to be sexy, or really even to be considered to have good hygiene.

this is where i have claimed my place as a feminist.

beauty fades. intelligence and self respect for being comfortable in your own skin, no matter what that looks like, lasts forever.

what does my feminism look like?

  • men and women are equally oppressed, by the "man"
  • our world is not solely a dichotomy of man/woman. there are children and grandparents and genders that represent all colours of the rainbow.
  • we have to stop fighting each other and look at who really has the power over us. government, business. healthcare. 
Becoming a midwife may be an innately feminist profession, but i don't see it as solely protecting the rights of women. families choose to birth at home (or out of hospital). a midwife protects and serves the familial unit, she may fundamental support the woman in all her decisions and needs, but that doesn't have to mean to the exclusion of "men".  it might look that way in some cases, but not all. 

I first met one of my best friends Jamie when her and her partner Peter came into our practice, transferring late to care after realizing bringing their child into this world with an OB in a hospital was not the right thing for them to do. they had some pretty crap experiences in that pregnancy. THEY DID.  

at the first appointment Shell held the doppler to Jamie's 38 week beautiful life giving belly. the room was silent and through the doppler was the strong beat of Ollie. Peter held Jamie's hand and cried. I cried. It was one of the most beautiful moments in my life. this wasn't just about jamie and her empowerment by birthing on her own, it was about sharing that experience with her partner. i think peter became empowered through that birth. 

if that is not a feminist belief, then well, think what you want of me. i'm comfortable with all the manifestations of my self that i may express. changing. day to day. 

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