Who’s the real feminist above? (hint: Maybe it’s not the ladies)

The dynamic ID Project duo of Cassie and Cassie told me that I was a LesBro last week (Definition here at Urban Dictionary). They meant it as a deep compliment, and also told me in the same breath that I was a real feminist. If anyone can find me a good Lesbro t-shirt, I’m gonna rock it like it’s going outta style.

But wait, can I be a feminist? Am I allowed? Isn’t this something of a forbidden city? I am, after all, a heterosexual white dude. I am history’s constant villain. I’m samsara’s Dr. Evil, aren’t I? Yes, I’m a progressive thinker, with a long history of friendships with strong feminist women that goes back to the womb. But can I be a feminist?
I remember the time in 6th grade when Maggie Thom, one of my very best friends from childhood, convinced me that Super Mario Brothers was a hopelessly sexist narrative. Of course she didn’t use the word narrative back then, but we definitely boycotted the video game for a while, until they finally made the Princess into a more active and empowered character (tho she never got the fighting chops that Mario, Luigi, and Yoshi had).
I might not be your garden-variety velveeta-eating white-guy, but am I really allowed to be down with this clique just because a few of the coolest feminists in NYC said I was down? Is this okay? I mean, am I down enough that I could even carry my own valid voice within the feminist community? Because if I am allowed to speak as a feminist, I have a few things to say. If I’m not allowed to say these things, well, I just did.
I want to discuss two egregious examples of fake feminism that have somehow slipped past feminism’s sometimes malfunctioning radar:
First, I am relieved the democratic primary is finally over, and Hillary (finally, finally, finally) gave a gracious concession speech. Of course, the rumor is that her aides had to get eight of her most hardcore supporting senators to conduct a real INTERVENTION earlier in the week to get her to see she’d lost, but she did come around in the end.
But I was constantly flummoxed over the last year+ that some of my (older, more maternally positioned, longer-suffering) sisters somehow equated voting for Hillary with carrying the torch of feminism. Come on ladies, I always thought. Is it really that simple that a vote for a woman automatically translates to a vote for feminism? Are we that superficial and skin deep? I want a woman president more than anyone. Scratch that, as a feminist (is it really okay to call myself that? Are you sure?) I want a feminist president more than anyone. And guess what ladies and gentlemen (and those who identify otherwise): THE MOST FEMINIST CANDIDATE WON THE PRIMARY.
When you look at their records, on all issues affecting women and queer groups, Hillary and Barack have identical stances. I will admit that there were a few notable times where Barack sounded less than awesome on the issue of gay marriage, but his support for equal rights in this arena is ultimately identical to Hillary’s.
But there is and has always been one feminist (and humanist) issue that separated the candidates.
There is no such thing as a pro-war feminist. War is the biggest feminist issue of all, because if feminism is about anything, it is about conquering violence and aggression, and overcoming an imbalance of masculine and feminine energies in our culture, replacing aggression with equanimity and compassion. Hillary failed this greatest test of feminism, and she failed it big-time and failed it repeatedly and then got pissed off at people who asked her to apologize for her repeated failure. Her treatment of the antiwar movement was a miserable dose of arrogance and ignorance, a big fuck-you to her millions of NY constituents protesting the war in the streets. Barack passed the test, albeit not in a completely pristine way. (Barack may also be an enlightened being, according to those wacky Bay Area hippie columnists, but that’s another story).
This is why Hillary lost. This is the only reason she lost. She was not a true feminist. There, I said it. If she had been a true feminist and stood up against unnecessary violence, Barack Obama would just be a charming young Senator from Illinois who might run for president in eight years, and Hillary would be on her way to a minor landslide victory in November.
Second, and WAY easier to talk about, is Sex and the City. Ladies, stop trying to tell me this is anything other than severely disempowering to everything that the strong women in my life fight for. It’s only feminist if gratuitous product placement is the new wave of feminism. It’s only feminist if a bunch of upper-middle class women spouting empty (yes, wittily written and funny) dialogue who are all incessantly scheming to FIND A MAN (Rich man or trophy boy are the only ones that will do) is empowering to women. Not to mention how much the show perpetuated the “Welcome to NYC, where everyone is white and glam and rich and happy” aesthetic that dominated the last 10 years of media about New York. Give it up, sisters. Sex and the City and feminism are light years apart, and sometimes trash is just trash. And our landfills are already overflowing. How bout some responsible consumption?
I will of course say that we live in a deeply sexist society. I’m not trying to pretend we don’t. Even the term Lesbro harkens to the sexism in our society. A lesbro seems to be a compliment – meaning a man secure enough in himself to chill with lesbians, whereas the corollary, the fag hag, is a straight woman so desperate for affection that she gloms onto gay men. But we don’t solve the problems of glass ceilings, double standards, and unconscious oppression though fake, materialistic, or superficial empowerment. Or through the kind of righteous egocentricism that dominates many identity politics. And we certainly don’t solve the problem by running back to the oppressor, as 17% of Hillary supporters are threatening to do by supporting 19th century throwback, anti-feminist John McCain in the general election. (Hey Hillary supporters – Barack respects your womb and your health and your planet; John – not so much).
The true empowerer of any oppressed group is recognizing Buddha-nature, the great equalizer of all oppressed and oppressors, the source of true feminism.
Let’s elect a woman president in 2016. But let’s make it a feminist woman. An anti-war woman. A non-arrogant woman who speaks from her heart
In the mortal words of Flight of the Conchords, I just wanna do something for all the Ladies in the World. Especially the amphibians.

More from Beliefnet and our partners
Close Ad