Stupidity comes in all shapes, sizes and sexual orientations.

8 Feb

Once upon a time, two people of the LGBT persuasion sat in a room.   The following conversation occurred:

**Names have been changed to protect their misguided identities**

Dana: I’m brainstorming.  What do you think of when we talk about Take Back the Night?

Julie: Women’s rights?

Jodi: Uhh, I don’t know… Activism?  Awareness? …Feminism?

Dana: Ew.  I can’t believe you said that.

Jodi: Oh my god I know.  I HATE feminists.  I’m definitely not a feminist at all, it’s just so stupid.

Dana: Right?

Julie: 

Jodi: I mean… We should promote EQUALITY.  Not just equality for WOMEN, right?  Feminists ruin that.  That’s what I hate about feminists.  They’re just all about women.  Women, women…WOMEN!

I know…it HURTS just to read it.  I don’t know how many different times or how many different ways feminists can explain to the rest of the world that being a feminist does not necessarily mean that you are a radical, hairy, man-hating, bra-burning lesbian who spews fiery monologues about patriarchy and the fate of the free world whenever possible.

Feminism means that you believe in equality for women.  Period.  End of story.

It’s especially difficult to hear this kind of anti-feminist rhetoric out of the mouths of people in the LGBT community.  These people are no strangers to minority status.  LGBT people know what it is to be misunderstood in today’s world.  Additionally, LGBT issues have long been on the forefront of the feminist agenda.  There are undeniable connections between a feminist’s fight for equality and an LGBT person’s struggle for rights.  The LGBT and feminist communities should be natural allies working together to achieve equality, not pitted against each other in a bitter war of semantics.

That’s why it’s so shocking to me that two such college educated women can be so ignorant to the feminist cause.  And what’s more, be contributing to “the F word” stigma associated with feminism, that stigma that keeps feminist opinions in a little box labeled “radical” and kept out of mainstream discussions.

And it is those mainstream discussions that are powerful enough to enact change.  So as long as the anti-feminists out there can associate feminism with radicalism, they can keep women where they’ve always had them: under the glass ceiling and in silence.

In order to combat this horrible misconception and try to restore honor to our favorite “F word”, Madison Equality-JMU’s on-campus LGBT and Ally organization-is proud to be hosting Mitch Hobza, a JMU student who is going to speak honestly and openly about the misunderstood definition of feminism.  Mitch currently works on JMU’s premier feminist literary magazine “Sister Speak”, blogged on ShoutOut last semester, and is extremely educated about feminist issues.

Warning: Shameless Plug.

Come out to this meeting February 15, 2011 at 8:30pm in Taylor 302.

14 Responses to “Stupidity comes in all shapes, sizes and sexual orientations.”

  1. grrrir 02/09/2011 at 9:27 am #

    woooo I can’t wait! sigh, yeah, I feel a lot of anti-feminist dwellings around the queer community. so sad.

  2. grrrir 02/09/2011 at 9:30 am #

    perhaps it’s less “stupidity” and more ignorance??

    • The Singing Mum 02/13/2011 at 7:38 pm #

      Mmm, good point. While we’re talking about semantics, let’s not use a derogatory word like “stupidity” if we want those targeted for the remarks to take heed, and perhaps learn something. :-)

      • FamilyJules 02/13/2011 at 8:45 pm #

        Oh, I absolutely agree with you both! The word I meant was “ignorance,” not “stupidity.” Alliteration was the cause for the use of that word, and solely that. I suppose they’re not as synonymous as I was shooting for.

  3. harold 02/10/2011 at 11:07 am #

    It is apparent simply from the wording of the conversation that the 2 other females are being quoted correctly. If one is going to judge someone else’s views on a subject, they should at least try to fairly represent the other side.

    If that is an exact quotation of what was said, then it is highly doubtful that you sat in silence, since you are a feminist, after all. In the time it took you to write a rant on a feminist blog about how their words angered you, that time could have been better spent recognizing the opportunity to listen to their views, sharing your own views and possibly opening their minds (and your own) a little more.

    • harold 02/10/2011 at 11:07 am #

      *incorrectly

      sorry for the typo

      • FamilyJules 02/10/2011 at 7:19 pm #

        Well, Harold, the purpose of this post is to raise awareness of ignorance toward feminist issues in the LGBT community – the same community that most feminists are trying to achieve equality for. The point is not who-said-what, the point is to raise awareness of this issue within a community that I am highly invested in. Making a blog about this issue, rather than address 2 people, is NOT sitting in silence (though I did not sit in silence at the time, but I left that out of my blog for better writing purposes) This will be able to open up the eyes of 100’s, rather than two individuals. Hopefully these two people will have read this post as well.

        Furthermore, as I’ve mentioned earlier, that is EXACTLY why Mitch will be coming to speak at Madison Equality – to discuss these issues directly.

        I’d also like to add that there is no judgment within this blog. My post, personally, was not unlike “overheard at JMU” or a dart and pat. This dialogue that did, in fact, occur, merely guided an issue that needed to address. Anyways, our purpose in this blog is to educate and help break down the barriers that keep people from accepting or “opening their minds” towards feminism.

        Thanks for your concern for these other students, though.

  4. somethingbeany 02/10/2011 at 10:52 pm #

    Harold–thanks for your readership! We really appreciate your interest, especially if you believe there’s a misrepresentation.

    However, I feel you may have missed the point of this post! ShoutOut: JMU is committed to bringing the attention of our readers to feminist issues in our community. The goal of our blog is not to “rant” about things or to point out specific people. That’s not what this blogger did. She is using a conversation between a few people to educate the greater world community. I personally think she did it very well!

    When you walk away from this post, I hope you’re understanding that its point was to support the mutually beneficial connection that should exist between the LGBT and Feminist worlds.

    We hope you’ll keep reading ShoutOut!

    • Harold 02/12/2011 at 10:10 pm #

      I understand what the blogger was trying to do (to raise awareness about something that caused her emotional distress as a feminist) but she was unsuccessful at making her point in writing. This blog, unlike many other blogs on this site (aside from the bitchin’ table ones) had absolutely zero educational information or substance. She contributed to the very stigma she claims that other people have towards feminists; the hatred for differing opinions and equality for JUST women.

      This may not have been the intention, but that is certainly all I got from this post. Had this been a personal blog it would be different, but I have always felt that this blog was a place for educating and creating change, not tearing down those who disagree and turning to other bloggers from this site to create the change for you.

      FamilyJules, if you are so invested in the LGBTQ community and feminism, why not host a meeting yourself? Why not leave out the conversation entirely, and simply post about how the communities are tied together? Don’t just state that the communities are linked together, don’t just state you are invested in both and that they are important, FIGHT for your causes. Present facts on how they are linked (cite sources) and back up the claims for the importance of feminism. Don’t rely on the other bloggers on this site to do it for you. Don’t dismiss others views immediately because they do not support the same things you do. To quote you: “Feminism means that you believe in equality for women. Period. End of story.” <— This only backed up exactly what the people you disagreed with said! Your gender, race, or anything else shouldn't matter. The point is (and of which true feminism is only a fraction) equality for all people because when it comes down to it, that's what we all are: People.

      I thank you for your responses, but I will have to kindly agree to disagree. I hope that I will see blogs of more substance in the future. You wouldn't be working for this blog if you didn't have potential to produce great ideas for change.

      • FamilyJules 02/13/2011 at 10:10 pm #

        I’m not sure what you mean by “relying on other bloggers from this site to do it for you.” We all write our own blogs and are active in the feminist community in our own ways.

        And, I thought I mentioned this in my post but maybe that was misconstrued, as well. Actually, I AM hosting a meeting myself. I encourage you to attend, if you go to JMU. Tuesday night, February 15th at 8:30 pm in Taylor 307. I will be leading the first half of the discussion, and a former blogger will be leading the second half. Perhaps this meeting will clear up any confusion on my blog :)

  5. Concerned 02/11/2011 at 8:37 am #

    It’s people like you, FamilyJules, that make me ashamed to be a feminist. What a waste of my time. I wish you had put half the effort into educating the “greater world community” that you did into calling these individuals misguided and stupid.

    • FamilyJules 02/12/2011 at 1:23 pm #

      Hm, I’m sorry to hear that. I would hope, as a feminist, that one individual wouldn’t deter you from claiming a term that has a much greater impact in the world as a whole, than the word choice of one said individual. But, you are entitled to your feelings and this post, like I’ve said many times, was not intended to make anyone feel stupid.

      I hate repeating myself but I guess I am not getting my point across. I hope this doesn’t sound like it is stemming from frustration because it’s not. I appreciate the opportunity to explain myself.

      The title was merely alliteration. I don’t actually think these individuals are stupid. I don’t even know them well enough to judge their intelligence, nor would I if I did. Misguided was, maybe, the wrong word. Intelligent people can make problematic comments though. This post has absolutely nothing to do with the individuals, as I’ve said. If my mother had said this, I would have blogged about it, and I would have hoped that she would have read this and got something out of it, rather than get defensive. My sole purpose of this post is to educate and raise awareness.

      Perhaps I went about this the wrong way. Perhaps this post sounded like it was attacking people. That was not my intention. That’s why the names were changed and the dialogue portion was so brief – so I could address the point, not the people.

      So, I guess you’ve shown that I didn’t get my point across. Here is my point:
      I feel very strongly about the interconnectedness between the LGBT and feminist communities. It is terribly unfortunate if there is any animosity between these communities because they ARE extremely connected. In fact, gay rights didn’t even exist until second wave feminism. The LGBT community has rights because of feminists. I’m sorry you feel ashamed to be a feminist, but if you support or are a part of the LGBT community I hope you can step back and reconsider these choices.

      However, kudos to you on reading ShoutOut! Reading a feminist blog is a great step toward feminism! Perhaps you care about these issues more than you realize :) We all hope you’ll keep reading!

  6. Hannah Grace 02/13/2011 at 12:39 am #

    A professor recently told me, “Feminism does not belong to anyone,” and if there is one thing I have learned within the discipline it is that we feminists are a very unique group of people. Some of us are women, other men. We are straight, gay, trans, black, white, christians, athesists, and any other label you can think of to slap on us. There are certainly feminists out there whose agenda is women’s rights and that is it; however, there are many others, myself included, who are also concerned with the larger picture of gender and sexuality. I personally believe that queer issues belong in the forefront of feminist action, but I am a young feminist working on a college campus. There are others fighting a very different fight, which is great. We are all part of a much larger picture, and we are ultimately fighting the good fight together!

    That said, I can understand how two girls (college educated and all) have formed a false view of feminism. Maybe all they knew were feminists interested only in women – and that’s not the groups I belong to at JMU! Maybe they only saw misogynistic messages about feminism on main stream news sources. Maybe they were never informed at all.

    And Jules – you are taking action. What good would it do to start an argument in Carrier? “Oh there’s that crazy feminist, starting fights and generally stirring up shit.” As fems, we know that the facts and the truth often do not matter to our mis-guided audiences. We can make powerpoints and fight and even scream, but often we will not be heard. However, this blog is an exception, as is the work of Madison Equality and Sister Speak. These are places on campus where voices are heard and real change is facilitated.

    And Harold is welcome to join.

    • grrrir 02/13/2011 at 8:48 pm #

      Here here!

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