I know that I had said that I would be finishing up my post on pedantic feminism, but I feel the need to make a minor digression in response to an image that my room mate showed me.
The image about which I shall be talking in this post can be found here.
He was browsing one of the multitude of “funny” image websites when he came across the photo, and, because it said feminist on it, he thought that I might be interested. He was right.
I am not going to discuss the elevator incident, because many people have already discussed it in great detail, and I feel that I could add nothing to the conversation. If you would like to know about it, I highly recommend Manboobz’ post on the topic.
What I want to discuss is what this indicates about the cultural associations that we seem to have with the word ‘feminist’. (Please note that I am well aware that this image came from a comedic site, I just happen to believe that our taste in comedy indicates something about our inner views).
Feminist bloggers the internet over have discussed time and time again how feminism is not an homogeneous thing. People with vastly differing views can still call themselves feminists and be entirely justified in that appellation. Pointing to these two very differing people and trying to draw the distinction between “women’s rights activist” and “feminist” is doomed to failure. Why? Because feminism is a word that refers to a loose set of affiliated political and social beliefs with the primary focus on improving the lot of the 51% of the population who are systematically oppressed and discriminated against on account of their gender.
The thing about this which strikes me as the most humorous is the description of Ayaan Hirsi Ali on her wikipedia page, in which she is described as “a Somali-Dutch feminist and atheist activist, writer and politician [emphasis mine]”.
I do not wish to belabour the point, because I know that my tendency towards pedantry might run away with me. I just wanted to point out that the two are not only mutually compatible, but feminism is a sine qua non for women’s rights activism.