Friday, January 11, 2008

Label Tampering

I'm tampering with my labels today. There are many of them, scattered around, haphazardly slapped in place by myself and others. Some are so old it is hard to read what they say. Some are stuck in place like glue and may rip off chunks of skin if I try to pry them loose. Some contradict others as I have accumulated them over the years, growing and learning and changing as we all hopefully do.

Today I've been picking around the edges of my feminist label, testing the strength of its glue. Seeing if, like a scab, I can get it off without too much bloodshed.

It isn't that I don't want to be a feminist. I do. I think that the world is still far too dangerous a place for us (here in America especially) to stop speaking out on issues that, at first blush, seem to impact only women. But in reality, the denigration and oppression of women (mostly in third world countries, but make no mistake - the levels of domestic violence and the murder rate of women in America by husbands and lovers qualifies as denigration and oppression in my opinion) harms us all. We are not isolated anymore, what happens to a poor woman with no means in the dusty streets of some small town in the Middle East can impact us. When she gives her son up to be used by the terrorists because she has no other options to support and protect herself and her children, it impacts us.

I've been having a bit of trouble with the idea that as a feminist, I should vote for Hillary Clinton because she is a woman. I like Hillary. I've spent the past few months in a heated debate with myself over who I will vote for. It's a rather novel experience to realize that of all the candidates running - on both sides- there are only a couple I would not be, at the least, satisfied with.

But I can't bring myself to vote for a person based only on gender. No more than I could vote for someone only on skin color. No more than I could vote for someone based on his/her stand on a single issue.

And I understand the position some feminists are taking, that we must support Hillary as a pioneer of sorts. That once this barrier is broken, it will be easier for women to move into positions of leadership in America and abroad. I agree, it will.

I like Hillary. I may vote for her in the primary. I may not. If she is the Democratic nominee, I will vote for her.

She just isn't my favorite right now.

So I'm thinking perhaps I'm not a feminist. Perhaps I should change that label to humanist.

Thor sez: Fine. Just don't take my Skirt! away.


Pat said...

I figure you can't get any better than humanist.

BTW, have you read "Three Cups of Tea"? By your comments about the Middle Eastern mom, it looks like you have. I think we need to get everyone in the hospital reading it. OK?

JanetLee said...

Pat - no I haven't read that book. I'll look for it.

Anonymous said...

I do agree in concept - voting for Hillary JUST because she is a woman is not a rational way to choose a President - HOWEVER, I would like to see women acknowledged for their accomplishments and it's about time! I, too, could be happy with any of the three top Dems and my ideal ticket would be Hillary for Prez and Obama for VP - IF that could happen. I AM voting for experience and I believe Hillary will surround herself with excellent advisers (versus current administration) and believe that to be one of her strengths. Just think what Obama will be like in 4 to 8 years with the experience he could gain as VP! He's young and can run again, whereas, she will probably not. My 2 cents!
Auntie Anon