How can I be a feminist and help start a site like GeekGoddess?
It’s a question I’ve gotten before and I’m sure that I’ll get it again. I’ve received similar versions of this question for much of my life when my actions didn’t seem to match what someone’s idea of a feminist was.
Am I a feminist? Most certainly. I’m a little older than most of the Goddesses and that means I come from a generation that isn’t afraid of the term. I’ve always thought it a little odd that women nowadays seem to shy away from it.
Why do they? Because of the smear campaign started by old white men like Rush Limbaugh. With the help of their fear mongering the feminist turned into a feminazi and conjured up thoughts of some crazy lesbian man-hater out to get anyone with a Y chromosome. Which is silly; lesbians aren’t about the man hate, they are about the woman love and men don’t seem to have a problem with that.
What is feminism, really and truly? According to Oxford it’s “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.”
The most important part of that definition is EQUALITY. A true feminist doesn’t want women to have more power or be better than men. She wants women to be equal. If you are a man reading this you might have just realized you’re a closet feminist. GASP.
I’ve always explained it to people this way. I think that women (heck anyone) should have the same chances in life, the same opportunities to pursue their dreams without being held back because of who or what they are. If a woman wants to be a firefighter she has every right to try.
As a true feminist, however, I also think she should be able to carry that hose up the ladder just as fast as the men. When my ass is on fire I don’t really care who is coming to the rescue. I just want them to put it out… Now!
There is a term for women who think they are superior to the male half of the species(misandrist), just like there is one for men who think themselves superior to women(mysogynist). But that’s not what we are talking about.
Equality doesn’t mean we are all the same, it means we all have the same chances. It is freedom, the freedom to pursue your dreams with nothing but your own limitations holding you back. If you don’t get the job it’s because there was someone more qualified, not someone with a “better” skin color or gender.
I had a college professor who identified as a feminist and she would have been horrified that I’d started GeekGoddess. For her it wasn’t really about equality (as it should have). It was about respect, and she thought the only way to get respect was to cut all potential sexual arousal out of the equation. She was very concerned about what she called the objectification of women. She was my photography teacher and my grade would fluctuate based on the hair color, race and gender of my subjects. How does that have anything to do with equality. It was truly silly when you consider my subjects were determined by the friends who would pose for free; after all I was a poor art student. At the time I used to joke I was cursed with a plethora of pale blond friends.
In my instructor’s journey as a feminist she decided that anything that sexualized women in the arts was an objectification and hurt the cause. But I say nay!
Feminism is about trying to find a balance of power between the sexes, allowing us to be on equal ground. Simply trying to remove sex from the equation isn’t going to keep men and women from being attracted to each other, and its not going to stop them from making the beast with two backs. If women want to earn their equality and really stand on equal ground they will have to come to terms with sex and their sexual power. Only then can they demand men do the same.
Asking a woman to seek equality without wielding the tool of sex would be like asking a wrestler to win a fight without using his hands. Can he do it? Maybe. But it’s going to take a lot longer and he’s probably going to look silly while he’s doing it.
Is a women’s sexuality really a tool? Yes it is. And she might choose to wield that tool wisely, or she might attempt to abuse her power, just as a man with huge muscles might choose to pick a fight with someone much weaker than him. That isn’t the tools fault, it’s the individual woman’s fault for being a tool.
If you look back through history a woman enjoyed the most freedom, the most equality, when she was the most sexually empowered. And today? Think of where women have the least freedom? They live in societies that subjugate them sexually. Some are forced to hide their body from men. Some are blamed for a man’s desires and considered the criminal if they get raped. Oddly enough, this view implies that man has no control over his sexual instincts and gives him carte blanche to misbehave. When this happens the whole society suffers.
Women are pretty, people like looking at pretty things and men are hard-wired on a biological level to enjoy visual displays of hot nekkid ladies (otherwise why is it such a big business). Enter GeekGoddess. A site founded, owned, and run COMPLETELY by women.
Here our Goddesses get to flex their “muscles” in a safe environment. They get to gain confidence and feel empowered. Men get to look at those beautiful ladies, but they also get to learn about them as people, talk to them in our forums and view them as more than just nerds without sex, or sex objects without minds. They are the whole package and we celebrate it.
Side Note: You may be wondering why a female nerd would need to feel empowered. Because for years were were seen as the best friend and not “girlfriend” material. In my family we joked it was the family “curse”. My mother even apologized for passing it along as boy after boy lined up to be my “best friend” while asking for my advice on how to date my non-nerdy friend. And no, I was neither fat nor unfortunate looking.
For years Daphne was chosen over Velma, but that is starting to change and GeekGoddess will be a part of that change.