Monday, October 27, 2008

The small victories in a feminist's life

Olives' quote a couple of weeks ago about the perks of feminism got me thinking about the benefits of feminism in my own life. I had a couple this week that made me realize that just living life in a way that is atune to the various injustices placed on women has at least had a small influence on the world. Often Olives and I talk about the frustating tendency of people to reject our criticisms of culture on the basis of our womanhood, or the frenquency with which people think our views are funny and not to be taken seriously. This week, though, I realized that beyond people's initial reactions to my comments and their propensity to laugh at yet another piece of feminism, I might actually be getting my point across.

First there was the friend who I was hanging out with when I got Olives' email about Hustler's latest porn movie "Nailin Palin." I was horrified and told my friend all about it. He listened and tried to mask the humor he found in "Nailin Palin" while I showed him the promotional materials for it and tried to get over my shock. Of course I was frustrated that he just thought the issue was funny and didn't seem upset at all that it was happening, the most he agreed to at the time was that it was kind of messed up. But then, magically, a few days later he brought it up again and told me he had discussed it with his roommate and that she had also been upset by it. Then we talked about it more and it seemed he saw how messed up it was. Or at least, me expressing my views had planted something in his brain which then caused him to spread the message further and engage in dialogue about it.

A similar thing happened with my roommate the next day. She's not really "into" feminism and seems to harbor a benevolent tolerance for my usual commentary about news media, advertising, etc. But while we were doing our homework on Sunday she turned her head up to look at me and said, "This picture in my textbook is perfect material for one of your feminist criticism things." I laughed because, although she was not saying "This picture is cleary sexist, offensive, and damaging to the perception of women in our society," she also kind of was. She was acknowledging the fact that I would have a problem with it, which is in a way acknowledging that there is a problem with it--a problem which she recognized and paid attention to because she has a feminist in her face all the time.

I'm not trying to blow myself up into some kind of feminist hero opening people's minds. I'm just saying that maybe the things that we often find discouraging might actually mask a bit of the positive influence we have. Here's hoping!

1 comment:

Olives said...

way to be hopeful etheline! i could learn a thing or two from you. keep it up! haha...

feminist hero...

maybe that's what I'll be for halloween.