Wednesday, 7 August 2013

I am not a feminist nor an ally

How often have you heard someone say,

"I'm not a racist, but..."

and then go on to say something outrageously offensive?  I have lost count of how many times.

Everybody is a bigot.  Everybody.  We all have our unjustifiable biases and prejudices, so it is pointless to deny it.

I can not speak for you as a reader, but when the issue or race comes up, I preface my words by saying,

"This will make me sound like a racist, but..."

People may not like what I say, but beginning by admitting instead of denying makes people more willing to listen, more willing to argue reasonably.  And when I describe myself, I call myself a racist who knows he is wrong.

Now think about how that applies to women, feminism and sexism.

I am quite capable of saying things which are stupid and offensive to others.  It is very easy to do, one doesn't even have to think to do it (which, of course, is the cause of the problem...).

I'm a sexist pig who knows he is wrong.  I make mistakes, I am occasionally blind to the white male privilege I have.

I only ask one thing of people who I unintentionally and unthinkingly offend: when  I screw up - not if, but when I screw up  - show me where I'm wrong instead of flaming me.

Educate me.  Don't incinerate me.

So am I a feminist and an ally?  No, because I screw up.  I agree with the goals of feminism and I support them, and willingly admit that human society is patriarchal and unequal.  But I would rather not label myself as a feminist because I do not want my own mistakes affecting what others are trying to accomplish.

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