The "F-Bomb"

Kenia
Posted September 26, 2011 from United States

Here’s the problem: Nobody likes the word “feminism.” It’s icky. It’s got a bad rap. Women (in general) don’t want to associate with it. “Me? A feminist? I believe in gender equality, but I’m not a man hater!” sigh Let’s look up “Feminism” in the dictionary, shall we? Webster’s dictionary states that “Feminism” is “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” Oh gee…they seem to have left out the “man hating” part. rolls eyes

So! With that in mind, herein lies the rub: Figuring out how to fight hidden sexism with hidden feminism, so that I don't immediately send people running in the opposite direction. (That wouldn’t be very conducive to spreading a message.) While many forms of the feminist movement need to be completely overt in their efforts in order to be successful, I believe that “stealth feminism” also has its place. There are many rational people who would agree that equal pay for equal work is fair, would agree that genital mutilation is wrong, and, in general, would agree on many pro-feminist ideals; but when confronted with the dreaded F-bomb, rationality flies out the window and resistance takes its place. This is the psychological phenomenon called Reactance: You tell someone to do something (i.e. consider an idea), and they refuse—not because they wouldn’t agree with the idea, but because they perceived you as bossy and they don’t like being bossed around.

And speaking of bossy, I must quote Tina Fey from her latest book “Bossypants.” In reference to an infamous Saturday Night Live sketch, where female politicians Palin and Clinton give a speech, she writes, “You all watched a sketch about feminism and you didn’t even realize it because of all the jokes. It’s like when Jessica Seinfeld puts spinach in kids’ brownies. Suckers!” I couldn’t have said it better. Tina Fey perfectly encapsulates my solution: Let’s hide the spinach in the brownies! Let’s hide feminism—something that is healthy and good, but unpleasant—inside fun and humor. It’s a simple, yet highly effective, solution.

Implementing this solution is the goal with my upcoming blog, Ms. Jane of All Trades. I wish to utilize “Stealth Feminism” as the weapon of choice against those sneaky, stealthy sexist messages that make their way into our heads. Our blog will be fun, informative, and useful—all while soft selling strong feminist examples that defy gender stereotypes.

Voices of Our Future Application: Challenges and Solutions to Creating Change

Comments 13

Log in or register to post comments
  • YAOtieno
    Sep 27, 2011
    Sep 27, 2011

    I like your idea. I musts say thata i am one of those who prefer the stealth feminism....:-) . Looking forward to reading your blog.

    Cheers,

    Y

  • Osai
    Sep 27, 2011
    Sep 27, 2011

    Hello Kenia,

    We should not try to be anything else than we are. However because we like our comfort zone, we want people to like us and not hate us. Like you noted there is some sort of hidden feminism because feminist means different things to different people. In addition, people do not want to be misunderstood or classified negatively.

    I am a Feminist, no ifs, no buts!

    Thanks!

    Best wishes, Osai

  • Kenia
    Oct 03, 2011
    Oct 03, 2011

    "I am a Feminist, no ifs, no buts!"

    So happy to hear you wear that title proudly Osai!! :)

  • Cali gal Michelle
    Sep 28, 2011
    Sep 28, 2011

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your piece! I loved the humor, too for sure! I see your point of view and can appreciate where you are coming from. I'm also totally looking forward to reading your blog.

    However..... (you knew that was coming, didn't you?)... when my dear friend gave me the cook book 'deceptively delicious' I was a little disappointed. I'm all about putting it out there and not hiding. I introduced my kid to veggies as they are in order to appreciate them fully- color, texture, aroma, taste. He has learned to plant seeds, grow, and harvest veggies (thanks to grandma!), thereby being more enticed to try things he might not have otherwise.

    I don't want to sweet-talk anyone, nor hide behind something I am not. I do not want to cover my bold ideas in yummy goodness. If you don't like it or can't take it, then, well.... just then.

    But, I am open to learning and changing, so I will not close my ears to your ideas. I just want to make sure that we are all being true, and not sugar-coating ourselves just to please those who otherwise would not give us a chance. If they pass us by, they don't know what they're missing.

    Peace and love to you-

    M.

  • Kenia
    Oct 03, 2011
    Oct 03, 2011

    LoL! I knew, as I was reading that there was a "but" around the corner! (In this case, it was a "however.")

    I'm actually so glad to hear your "however" point of view. You've actually given me the chance to explain myself a little more clearly, which I'm very grateful for.

    In a nutshell, I'm not sugar-coating Feminism in order to please others, or out of some sort of need to feel accepted by others. I agree with you, that if people pass us by when we reveal our true selves, then they don't know what they're missing! But (and here's my "however"! LoL) I'm not creating my blog for me. The focus and priority of my blog will be its readers (who, unlike children, have strongly-held beliefs that don't like to be challenged with other "out there" ideas). While I'm no expert in psychology, I do understand that my blog will very easily bring in like-minded readers: Readers who already believe in feminism. Ironically, those very people who won't give spinach a chance may be the very people I need to reach out to the most.If I dish out the spinach too boldly, I will only reach those who already think like me, and I won't create change (not much, at least).

    In any case, I assure you that what I write comes from the heart, and will always be authentically Me. :)

    Thanks again for the comment Michelle! :) Kenia

  • Kadidia Doumbia
    Sep 29, 2011
    Sep 29, 2011

    Hello Kenia,

    The main point is to know what we want and to stand for it. Whatever the vocabulary we know what we mean. We all have our free choice. The path one decides to walk to makes the only difference. We HAVE to fight for respect and be pro-active whenever the media is sending the wrong message. We receive every minute and every day a sexist message even in school books, everywhere.

    Reactance, I absolutely agree with you. I am so happy that once in a while a woman is honest enough to state the facts. As women we need to understand and decide who we are who we want to be so that we won't be manipulated but stand as one to be strong and fight for our rights.

  • Kenia
    Oct 03, 2011
    Oct 03, 2011

    "As women we need to understand and decide who we are who we want to be"

    This is SO important. Specifically, this caused me to think about how much women are expected to be self-sacrificing, and so give up (or never develop to begin with) the ideas of who they are and who they want to be.

  • Kadidia Doumbia
    Oct 03, 2011
    Oct 03, 2011

    Absolutely. And the social pressure can be terrible in certain communities. For those of us who can speak up, we should never stop speaking.

  • Purnama Lestari
    Sep 30, 2011
    Sep 30, 2011

    Hi Kenia!

    Glad to read your stories dear! I'd happy to say that you have different point of view about what is 'feminism'. It's been a hot topic to be long-discussed in many events and seminars. I also agree with you it's not only about gender equity but also the role of women in dealing with some issues which are quite complicated. Otherwise, most women have thought that they're men-hater. Personally, i'm not that really have the same perception on that phrase. It all depends on our experience in life. Basically, God creates us to help each other to build peace and live with dignity.

    Sincerely,

    Tari Indonesia

  • Kenia
    Oct 03, 2011
    Oct 03, 2011

    I agree that the perception is highly dependent on the experiences one has in life.

    Thanks for the comment Tari. :)

  • Rebecca Lerner
    Oct 03, 2011
    Oct 03, 2011

    Kenia,

    You are a really good writer and great communicator of ideas. I enjoyed reading your journal entry (and great title, by the way). Yes, it does seem like, in America, people think we've already won the battle because we women can vote and there is a tendency to think that continuing to discuss feminism is passe or that it is about man-hating. I think your observations about that challenge, and about how it relates to 'reactance,' are astute. Humor is definitely one tool that can disarm us and open us up to new ideas and critical thinking. And "stealth feminism" as you call it -- a catchy, clever phrase, by the way -- is another. I like, and I will look forward to reading your blog when it launches.

    I would love to know if there are specific issues you want to address. It sounds like you might be hinting towards looking at gender stereotypes. I would love to hear more about that in future posts.

    Keep up the good work!

    Rebecca

  • Kenia
    Oct 03, 2011
    Oct 03, 2011

    Rebecca,

    Thank you for the compliment about my writing! :)

    I'll definitely be letting you and the rest of the PulseWire community know about my blog as soon as it launches! The focus is on "How-To" with respect to cars/home/electronics, etc, with a side of "feminine" topics such as beauty and relationships, and a side of other "masculine" topics such as finances or "testosterone-fueled hobbies" that we're involved in that (hopefully) will serve as a "You Can Do it too!" inspiration to our readers. The idea is to deliver all this content in a non-threatening, non-intimidating way where women will feel it's ok to respond with their own ideas or ask questions. We hope to build confidence in women who either want to learn how to tool around out of interest, or need to because they don't have a tool-savvy man in their life. I also hope that delivering that mix of content in a "girly" way will help to dissolve gender stereotypes that tell us we have to fit into either a "feminine" box, a "masculine" box, or any fill-in-the-blank gender box.

    P.S. - "Urban Foraging," hm! I've never heard of that, how interesting! I'll be RSS subscribing to your blog. :)

  • Rebecca Lerner
    Oct 03, 2011
    Oct 03, 2011

    Thanks! Yours sounds great. I look forward to reading it!