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Phuck Pheminism: A Response
March 17, 2004
by Pat Taylor

I do understand what she is saying [that it is inappropriate to call oneself a "feminist" or speak for "women"]. No matter I was born a woman first, I have been -- socially, politically, and intellectually -- an "individualist" first for some 40 years. Where freedom is concerned... where political issues are concerned... where feminist issues are concerned, I think for myself FIRST, and do not allow any groupspeak to replace my own brainwaves.

Having said that, I do believe it is possible to marginally present a "feminist" (or any other groupspeak) position within the context of one's individualist viewpoint.

We are all many things. I am a nurse, a gardener, and a bookbinder (of sorts). I am also a freedom-loving, freedom-SEEKING, fairly intelligent, non-joining, crotchety old woman who has no tolerance for politics of any persuasion, marginal or otherwise, active or passive, libertarian or not.

But I, as are we all, am forced to live politically every day of my life! I am forced to acknowledge and fight for/against every single issue as it presents itself on a day-to-day basis, as it rises to engulf us all -- by laws and regulations, by racist or sexist remarks, by non-thinking individuals with whom I come in contact, and especially by multiple power-grabbing politicians who believe they have the right to overrun our lives.

There are many issues I am not personally concerned with -- many of them listed by Sunni -- because they do not touch my life. But all of them touch base in my life because they go to make up the society in which I live. I have raised my child, I do not need day care or homeschooling now. But I do need to know if my tax dollars are used for day care centers, and I do need to be aware that public schools are being used as government think tanks. I am too old to worry about abortions now, but not too old to worry about where the abortion issue is going. As an atheist I don't give a hang if the Catholic church (or any other) destroys itself tomorrow. But I do care very much that ministers and priests are destroying little children's lives around the world by sexual and emotional assault.

Anyone in power -- from the cop on the beat to the President of the USA, from a tyrannical little mayor to the Pope himself -- is open to my scrutiny. Their causes become my causes -- not because they touch me, but because they will touch me if I don't make them a part of my intellectual awareness.

Feminism, too, is a 'dirty word' to me, as is politics. It should never have come on the scene as an entity in itself. There should be no women's power, women's rights, or women's liberation per se -- there should only be human rights, human liberation, human power (which is the power of each human being to be him/herself to the fullest capacity.) But "feminism" exists as a political lobby and mainstream feminists are claiming particular issues -- and victory! -- for themselves. For this reason we have to respond to the issues in order to take feminism out of it.

I speak up every day when a "feminist issue" comes up (or any other issue) -- and am looked on as an ardent "feminist". I know I am not. I know I am just one particular woman who claims a particular position on a given subject, which position arises from my individualism, not from my being a woman. I can occasionally manage to present that subject in universal, 'human' language so the listener knows it is not just a feminist issue. From both a women's and a political point of view, an 'attitude' has been replaced with an 'understanding' of what the issue is really about. THEN I know I have won the battle.

For this reason, whether I am called a "feminist" or not is of no concern to me.

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