Sunday, March 28, 2004

Reclaiming Another "F" Word...

During the '80s, a word many of us used proudly in the '70s practically became practically a swear in the mouths of right-wing extremists. So non-right wing extremists often stopped using the word. Or some people apologized for using it.

No, Peter Jackson, that "f" word isn't "fantasy" -- it's the word "feminist."

I've been an ardent feminist since before I even knew there was such a word. In the early '60s, when I was just in kindergarten, I just felt that girls and boys were treated differently. It probably didn't help that I was hardly a typical '60s little girl - I was pretty argumentative, got low marks on "following directions," had dreadful printing and liked to read. Despite these "impediments," I generally got along pretty well with my teachers because they saw I was bright and liked to learn.

Feminists, to a point, have been pushed back into various closets over the last 15 years or so. The first closet was to stop using the word as a positive self-identifier. The second closet was to pretend that feminism isn't important. The 2000 election and its aftermath should demonstrate that feminism is very important.

Under "pro-life" people like George Bush, tens of thousands of poor women around the world have died or been maimed by back alley abortions or bad birth control since family "planning" agencies are restricted about talking about these issues if they received money from the US government. Hundreds of thousands of poor women have died from childbirth (more than did previously) because our government thinks appeasing the "religious right" is more important than passing out condoms.

I'm a feminist, and I'm going to be one of several hundred thousand feminists to rally in favor of family planning, both in the US and around the world in Washington on April 25. The global gag order has got to stop. The only way it's going to stop is to elect John Kerry.

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