I’ve written extensively (or half-assedly, depending on who’s reading) about the fact that many people, women in particular, do not identify as feminists for some very good and valid reasons. While doing so, I have always affirmed and re-affirmed my own intention to keep calling myself a feminist.
Am I a feminist blogger, however? For the first time in a number of years, I have started to ask myself this question seriously. No one’s come along to take away my Feminist Clubhouse key (many have tried), but for a number of years now, since I’ve been living outside the United States, I’ve been noticing I can now rarely relate to much of the language of the feminist blogosphere.
I can’t deal when someone lists the various “intersecting oppressions” they face, and then asks me to go ahead and list mine, so that it can then be determined which one of us has “more of a right to speak.” I cock an eyebrow when someone suggests that an argument in the comments section of a blog may drive them to suicide. Particular discussions body image issues – particularly the whole earnest “I have my mother’s thighs. I have accepted that,” make me feel sadness (not a superior kind of sadness, I have body image issues too – I also just wonder what the hell is wrong with the United States, when this kind of experience has to be viewed as downright revolutionary). I oscillate between stupefying boredom and mild irritation when reading most feminist criticism of shows like “True Blood.”
Why this gradual change? I’ve had to ask myself. Did my life as a “lapdog of the patriarchy” become even more easier by comparison? Have the biscuits been upgraded? Did I get a new bowl?
When I consider my life from all angles, though, I come to the conclusion that it has gotten tougher. More interesting, more exciting, but with more responsibilities and less material comforts. I live cheaply, take public transport everywhere and save money on groceries by riding a streetcar to the bazaar. I deal with things I said that I would never ever deal with again – by choice. I see and hear things that many of my classmates in North Carolina considered to be purely in the realm of movies. And I got my first grey hairs this year. And taking pictures with a RIA Novosti photographer for a story at the end of summer, I noticed the deepening wrinkle near one corner of my mouth – from the lopsided smile I always make nowadays.
I don’t have time to think about body image as much as I used to – because I have been reminded of what a Russian banya and a nude beach in Ukraine are like. I can’t take fights in the comments section of blogs as seriously as I used to – because there are too many fights in the world of sullied flesh. I find myself emotionally relating to a show like “True Blood.” I’m not going to list my damn “oppressions” to you, because I take the word “oppression” more seriously than I used to, and try not to take it in vain if I can help it.
I’m still a feminist blogger. But I like to think of myself kind of like “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” to the original “Terminator.”