I need a patient feminist

I’ve never really liked the term “feminist”, and thought a lot of it is a lot of fuss, calling myself a lot of the time more of an “equalist”. But the truth is, I really am very confused about the whole “thing”. But it’s gone too far. I want to ask questions, and say things, then say “Why is what I’m saying ‘wrong’?” I just feel like saying frankly what I think and asking for explanation of their point of view might not be taken as the innocent line of questioning beliefs it ought to be. Would they just call me ignorant and be disgusted? Sometimes, I just don’t get why some things are such a big deal (or rather, why people take such drastic action because of certain things), but I’m willing to accept that I’m in the wrong, if someone would just please explain to me why.

What brought this on, you may ask?

There’s a website called Skepchick, which collects (mostly) women bloggers with a skeptical slant. One of their personalities is Surly Amy, cool artist and skeptical advocate who, with the help of her unique necklaces, funds women each year to attend The Amaz!ng Meeting, the biggest meeting of skeptical logical-loving types in Las Vegas. I applied for one of those grants, and yesterday, I got the word that I got one. So exciting! I’ve never gotten to go to TAM before, and it’s going to be so fantastic. As I said in my application (in response to the question “What do you hope to get out of attending TAM?”):

I want to regain my sense of community. Since moving to Vancouver to chase journalism, I’ve been very wrapped up in my new degree and haven’t participated much in the skeptic community. But I know that it’s a community I very much want to service in my career, and I draw such inspiration from it, I want to be re-immersed in it so I can progress again! I want to experience the rush and burst of inspiration and creativity that comes from the sharing of great ideas between great minds at meetings like this and go away with lots of things to write about and lots of ideas to get involved again.

So, in anticipation, I went to the Skepchick website to see what’s going on (my parents have been visiting the past 2 weeks, hence my absence pretty much everywhere). I found that the founder of Skepchick, Rebecca Watson, had a big post about why she won’t be attending TAM this year. It’s to do with the issue of harassment of women at skeptic conferences, or any conferences and meetings really, except the president of the society that runs The Amazing Meeting said a kind of odd comment. His apparent attitude spurned her to pull out of the conference, any future TAMs, and any support for the organization.

Somebody, read this for me. Then, have a conversation with me. Let me patiently sit and go through this, say everything you think is probably dumb and ignorant. I’ve never been able to do this with a real feminist, those that seem to know what, as an educated and thinking woman, I potentially should be annoyed about and what I shouldn’t when it comes to the world of men and interactions. Let’s talk it through, then let me see if I’m convinced by your arguments. I just want to learn!

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2 thoughts on “I need a patient feminist

  1. In my opinion feminism is a lot like religion, you have people that strongly believe in God and you have others that think it is a load of shit. Within the group that believe in God there are many different strands of religions and belief which cannot agree on anything this leads to many of these different groups fighting with each other in the name of God. Feminism is a lot like this, some believe whole-heartedly in it others couldn’t care less about it and within those that do there can often be many disagreements on what it is to be a feminist and what you should and should not believe. Like religion I don’t think anyone who considers themselves to be a feminist can necessarily be WRONG in their beliefs even if other believers don’t agree with their views because how can you prove this? Healthy debate is one thing but fighting and not getting along when ultimately you are on the same side does nothing but hold back the cause you have faith in whatever it may be.

  2. “I’ve never been able to do this with a real feminist, those that seem to know what, as an educated and thinking woman, I potentially should be annoyed about and what I shouldn’t when it comes to the world of men and interactions.”

    It’s kind of a shame that the word feminist has the connotations that it does — it’s an “equalist” movement and not a women superiority movement, after all, and I’m not sure you aren’t a “real” feminist. Don’t conflate loudness or self-assuredness with sincerity of belief!

    It sounds like Rebecca Watson doesn’t believe that the conference organizers are doing enough to address harassment of women attendees, which she sees to be pervasive and severely off-putting. I think that’s a pretty fair complaint to make and I think it’s strange that she has been criticized for pointing out that it happens. The tech community goes through a lot of the same problems. What has you so confused? I don’t think you’re under any particular obligation to share Ms. (Dr.?) Watson’s opinion about the conference — it’s not like there’s a boycott on — and you can evaluate the conference yourself and decide how you feel about it.

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