Remember when I got all cranky because I was at a women in computer science conference and a bunch of the women there were all 'no, we're not feminists' and I was all 'dude, you're educated successful women, why the fuck not?' and they were all 'because feminists are scary' and I was all 'well YOU'RE scary' and then I didn't really win that argument? Aa few months ago a chef named April Bloomfield said:
I don't think of being a woman in an industry of men. I didn't walk into the kitchen and go, ‘Ooh, I'm a girl!'
Ms. Bloomfield is the chef at The Spotted Pig, a gastropub that has Michelin stars and all kinds of shit. She's a hundred kinds of awesome. However, she felt it necessary to tell the interviewer in this instance that it isn't about her being a woman.
It's ALWAYS about being a woman. It's always about being a man. You cannot divorce yourself from what you are, and I recently learned a word that helps me put my finger on why being a woman is so often discounted in the fact of accomplishment. Androcentrism. Via Jezebel:
We know we live in an androcentric society because masculinized things (playing sports, being a doctor, being self-sufficient) are imagined to be good for everyone (we encourage both our sons and daughters to do these things), but feminized things (playing with dolls, being a nurse, and staying at home to raise children) are considered to be good only for women.
This means that men are teased and ostracized for doing feminized things.
I venture to add that this may also mean that women, when successful in a masculinized field, downplay their femaleness because it may make the success seem somehow less ... successful. I think that's what Ms. Bloomfield is demonstrating, and I believe that's what the brilliant nerd ladies at the conference were doing as well.
Being a women who is good at something that men have traditionally done does not in any way affect that you are good at that thing, ladies.
Let's go over this again. If you recognize the inequality that exists for women and you hope for or work towards the elimination of that inequality, you are a feminist.
Today I read this:
Feminism is a whole state of being. It's having lenses on your eyes, your ears, all your senses all the time. You're not a feminist just when you're doing activism work; you're a feminist all the time. You're a feminist when you're watching a movie, where you decide to go out, the way you make your economic choices. All the smallest details and the biggest details.
Different approach, isn't it? That's the beauty of it. You can be a feminist in your day to day choices or in your big decisions. You can be a quiet feminist or a loud feminist. You can be one while you watch movies or you can enjoy Katherine Heigl and move on with your life.
What you can't do is disassociate yourself from your femaleness. Ms. Bloomfield may not want to be known that way, and I can respect that - a woman is not ALL she is. However, she is a woman. Until we're able to simultaneously own our awesomeness and our femaleness, androcentrism will be alive and well. Good things can be feminized things, and feminized things can be good things. Masculinized things can be good things, and vice versa. The danger comes in when we assume one is more likely to be true than the other, and women denying their femaleness is a step in the wrong direction.
Yes, I am a girl. Ooooh.