Sunday, October 30, 2005

And.. Why Feminism Doesn't Suck

Lest we all forget...

"I am writing these words in a bar in London in the spring of 1997," she says. "I'm drinking a glass of beer ... My ability to find work allows me to pay for my drink, a small freedom, but it also gives me all the other freedoms and dignities that women before the middle of century rarely knew: to choose whom I should live with and where I can go in the evenings and how I can spend my time ... I don't think about these freedoms ... Yet all these everyday transformations, as well as others - that I use contraceptives, that I work at a newspaper, that I got a degree at university, that I am paid much the same as my male colleagues, that I can vote, that I own a flat - were only brought to me after the struggle and argument of previous feminists."

And I am writing these words from a three bedroom flat in Chicago that I share with a lesbian couple who can walk down the street holding hands in Andersonville without getting shit thrown at them. I have a Master's Degree in history that I got at a university in South Africa of all places. I've literally traveled around the world. I'm engaged in a relationship with a younger man who lives in New York. We're not married, and we have a lot of guilt-free sinful sex because I was able to get an IUD: even though I'm single (some states still won't give you one unless you're married). I work for a telecommunications company that pays me enough to live on and where my boss actually brings and/or buys me coffee. I have my own health insurance. I didn't have to marry the first guy I dated/had sex with in part because I didn't have any massive family pressure to do so. I wear guys' clothes and nobody looks twice at me. I eat alone at restaurants and nobody asks me where or when my date's coming. I can afford to tip well. I travel a lot. I used to take boxing lessons. I regularly lift weights at the gym. I know how to throw a good right cross.

So when people tell me what a terrible, confusing world all those 70s feminists made for me, I can't help but look up and around at my life and realize that without all the gains our mothers made, I wouldn't be living the life I'm living now. Nor would my female friends. And woe to all of my guy buddies who like hanging out with the smart, beer-swilling independant person that is me. Think of all my friends of both sexes would miss out on if I weren't allowed the freedoms that feminism has given me.

That's a scary thought.

5 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Jami said...

i'm liking, in a very applied way, the younger-men trend. i live with a guy four years my junior, and another couple where the gal is six years older. demi-ashton is awesome, and i can't wait to see the movie prime.

young men are sweet, healthy, virile, and baggage-free. what's not to like? 

Posted by jami

Eli said...

Personally I enjoy the intelligent beer-swilling Kam trend. We really need to be in the same city again so we can knock back a few more pints.

And hey just because I have baggage doesn't make me any less worthwhile, just a little cynical. 

Posted by Eli

Kevin T. Keith said...

I was able to get an IUD: even though I'm single (some states still won't give you one unless you're married)

Are you sure about this?

The Eisenstaedt decision (that predates Roe v. Wade by only a year, and likewise follows from the privacy doctrine of Griswold v. Connecticut) invalidated laws prohibiting birth control for single persons; I don't believe it makes distinctions based on the type of birth control. I can't find anything to the effect that the IUD is restricted by law anywhere.

Do you have more information? 

Posted by Kevin T. Keith

Kameron Hurley said...

Fellow feminist blogger Lauren of Feministe tried to get an IUD from a doctor in Indiana. He refused on the grounds that he was "uncomfortable" giving it to a single woman.

Because the IUD can, basically, kill you if you contract certain STDs while you have it in, doctors (usually in red states) don't often trust single women enough to give it to them, despite the fact that they make you read about all the terrible things that could happen if you get an STD while it's in (sterility, getting your uterus removed, death, etc) and then sign your life away.

There's this odd assumption that married women 1) won't cheat 2) have husbands who won't cheat

And there's an assumption that single women are more likely to have unsafe sex and screw around.

So, with IUDs, doctors are a lot more freaked out about giving it to single women. Their excuse, as always, is probably that they don't want to get sued. What it boils down to, though, is a mistrust of single women, I think.

Which I find offensive. I'm not a stupid person. I read the material. I know exactly what I'm getting into.

But then, women are naturally stupid, and Doctors have to make all their decisions for them... heh 

Posted by Kameron Hurley

Kameron Hurley said...

"Single," in this sense, meaning "not married" not "without a partner"! 

Posted by Kameron Hurley