We’ve covered this topic before. About women confused about whether or not they’re a feminist. And fine, fair enough. There’s some confusion. Like my friend here.
But when it comes to women who speak to and uplift women,especially those who have a direct line to my 3-year-old daughter– I’m talking to you Katy Perry–it’s hard not to be flat out floored when those women come out swinging at the anti-feminist punching bag.
Writes Mary Elizabeth Willams in Salon:
This weekend, Katy Perry accepted Billboard Woman of the Year award by announcing to the world, “I am not a feminist, but I do believe in the strength of women.”
Katy, as anyone who has met my daughter will attest, your mantra, This is a part of me that you’re never ever gonna take away from me (OH!), screams feminism. It screams equal rights in a relationship or otherwise. It screams individuality. It screams for you to be recognized as a person with feelings different from your partner or anyone else in the world. (OH!) And as Willams points out, if Katy Perry believes in the strength of women, then she is “soaking in feminism.”
To fuel the anti-feminist fire, last month, the former supermodel/first lady of France Carla Bruni-Sarkozy announced that she’s “I’m not at all an active feminist. On the contrary, I’m a bourgeois. I love family life, I love doing the same thing every day.” But why is being a feminist synonymous with dejecting family life? This makes little sense to me. You can be a feminist and have a family, people. In fact, this woman, this woman, this woman and this woman will tell you all about the intersection of feminism and motherhood.
Feminists have long defended themselves–100 years would you say? My son and daughter recognize the first feminist movement above our toilet in the words of a poster that quotes a women’s right to vote. Yet, we’re still confused. So here’s a breakdown of why you’re a feminist RIGHT NOW IN 2012 Katy Perry (and anyone else who is confused) according to my daughter, Elke, AKA Katy Perry.
I’m Katy Perry. (In my mind.) And I’m a feminist. Though I shouldn’t be wearing a belly shirt because I’m only 3, feminists totally wear belly shirts. They wear whatever they want because they are individuals in this world. Like blue hair, and cupcake boob-bras. And they can objectify themselves if they think it looks sexy, because it’s about their right to be an individual. (Didn’t Madonna teach us this in 1987?)
A long time ago, we didn’t have equal rights and all we wanted to do was be able to vote. We didn’t want any other rights… like eating and talking at the same time.
And then just having the right to vote wasn’t enough, so we started asking for more rights. Like equal pay. And why do we have to wear bras? And why do we have to look like these perfect housewives? And why do I have to dress the way you want me to dress. And ladies got a little radical! Whoo-hoo–can you say 1960s?
But then we got all contemplative (see my contemplative face?) and decided that we can just be individuals. That being a feminist really had a number of different definitions. That you could be a woman in a skirt staying home with your kids and let men open the door for you (if you want, though I’m not really into that), as long as you were making your decisions for yourself. That you could be into the rights of other women and that alone made you a feminist. That you could breastfeed. Or decide NOT to breastfeed. And you were still a feminist.
Feminists now have disagreements among each other. No one person has the claim to the definition of a feminist. And even my mother had the nerve to call Sarah Palin a feminist. Ugh. I’m not down with that.
I’d like to leave you with Willams’s point about Katy Perry’s feminist conflict, who explains so well that Katy herself is part of this feminist conflict that my daughter so wisely pointed out.
Perhaps that’s why someone like Katy Perry, who’s incited the rage of feminist writer Naomi Wolf for her provocative “Part of Me” video, feels this a revolution she doesn’t have a role in. But when Perry, a woman who this weekend walked a red carpet for the Trevor Project holding a sign that said “Be proud of who you are” says she doesn’t want to identify as a feminist, it’s a fair to ask, who is she then?