Monday, February 28, 2011

Staying At Home the Feminist Way

There's a myth that that only productive way a stay-at-home girlfriend, wife, or mother can spend her day is by taking care of the housework, cooking dinner, and preparing herself for sex with her loved one - otherwise, she's just sitting on her ass, watching TV, eating bonbons - or going out, having lunch with the girls, and going shopping all day. That assumption stems from the idea that cleaning is the only way a woman can be productive if she's not working, and it's perpetuated as a way to keep non-working women spending the majority of their energy catering to the working man of the house. And while taking care of those things to some extent is responsible and helpful, there are other ways to spend that free time. So, inspired by the god-awful article in Brokelyn about how to be a stay-at-home girlfriend, this is the more empowered way for an unemployed woman to spend her days.

If you're looking for a job, that job search should be a full-time job in itself, or at least close to that. Wake up at roughly the same time you would if you were working, get to the computer, and look for job openings, send resumes, maybe even make some phone calls. But that's not all! Set aside some time during the day to increase your desirability as a job applicant. Learn a new language or other work-related skill, read some nonfiction, maybe even take a class or two at a community college or Learning Annex to gain some new skills (if you can afford it).

Find a hobby that's fun for you and only you, and something that primarily benefits you. Baking and knitting are nice, but avoid only doing those things for others. Find something relaxing, fun, and something that can enrich your life for the better. The more you do for your own enjoyment, the happier you will be - no matter what anyone says, your happiness is NOT a waste of time.

Remember, a job should be something fulfilling, and something you love doing. At least, that's what one should aspire to. Yes, the "man of the house" may be working in a job that makes him miserable just so he can bring home a paycheck, but that doesn't mean you need to work yourself into a stressful mess too! And if he doesn't like his job, he should be encouraged to be looking for a job that does make him happy. BOTH of you should make the goal of finding fulfilling jobs and activities that make you happy and enrich your lives.

Exercise! Try to find a half hour, and take a walk or jog, or do some calisthenics or toning moves in the living room. Don't do it to look good for a guy, don't do it because it's some mortal sin to "let yourself go," do it to be healthy! Sitting around all day is an easy habit for anyone staying at home all day to fall into, so avoid it by taking a little time each day to be active.

DO be responsible. You don't need to clean the whole house every day, but it does make sense to pull your own weight in terms of housework. At the very least, find one chore that needs tackling and do that. A little housework does relieve stress, and can even constitute as exercise. If nothing else, it could be a welcome break from sitting at the computer looking for jobs all day.

While it makes sense to take care of a little mundane housework during the day to keep the house or apartment from becoming a huge mess, no woman should have to spend her whole day being a "good girlfriend," with every activity done with the end goal being to please a man. Instead, remember that you're a human being too, and most of your day should be done with you in mind - your happiness, your future, and your well-being.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Housewifery Is Alive And Well

The above article is about how to be a stay-at-home girlfriend. The author is an unemployed woman who spends most of her day doing housework, keeping herself pretty, and making dinner for her man.

Now, I have nothing against taking care of your significant other, it is a nice thing to do, but a healthy relationship also includes doing things just for yourself and spending time alone and with friends. I also have nothing against doing some housework and cleaning. If you're between jobs and your partner does work, it does make sense to spend your free time doing your share of the housework. However, it has been said by many experts that a job search should be a full-time job. This woman, on the other hand, seems to spend a little time sending out resumes and the rest of the day making it so her boyfriend comes home to a clean house, dinner on the table, and guaranteed sex - because he worked hard, he deserves it. That is the dynamic that disturbs me: she doesn't frame it as being a responsible member of the household, she frames it as being a good girlfriend and doing pretty much all of those things for the sake of making her man happy.

I would prefer to see women between jobs spending more times working towards bettering their lives and desirability as potential employees - reading nonfiction, taking classes at a community college, learning another language, networking with professionals in her field. Or perhaps taking up a truly self-fulfilling hobby - NOT knitting for her boyfriend, or cleaning for her boyfriend, or baking for her boyfriend, but something that makes her happy and enriches her as a person. Perhaps she could volunteer in the community, or try to get an internship that would keep her working and be a valuable addition to a resume. THAT would be my advice for someone, man or woman, between jobs.

Now, some may argue that there's nothing wrong with what she's doing because it's her CHOICE. Shouldn't we support her CHOICE?? Feminism is about CHOICE, people! Well yes, I'm trying not to judge her for what she does, though I will criticize her for making it sound like all women should do what she is doing, and perhaps draw the conclusion that she could use a little empowerment. I do, however, think it's necessary to examine the social factors that do lead women to make certain decisions. Like this one. It seems to me she's doing these because she's been led to believe catering to a man and making him happy is what makes a woman a desirable partner, and that that is what women should be striving for: being the perfect girlfriend. I see a lot of social pressures at work that are most likely driving her to make these decisions. And just like manufactured consent isn't true consent to sex, manufactured choices aren't really choices at all, but a surrender to pressure.

The feminist movement does support women's choices to do whatever they want with their lives, but more important than that, feminism is about women living their lives as autonomous human beings, rather than simply live to serve the men in their lives.

Sexism is Romantic?

The main defense I've heard regarding gender roles in relationships between men and women is that they're "romantic." It's romantic to have a guy pay for everything and take care of the girl, it's romantic to have a guy ask your father to marry you, it's romantic for a guy to be over-protective, it's romantic to save your virginity for your wedding night. Yes, it's totally romantic to be treated like property and regarded as being incapable of taking care of yourself.

I have to wonder, we've supposedly come a long way in abolishing traditional gender roles and making strides towards gender equality, yet so many young men and women still believe that adhering to gender roles equates to true romance. Why is this?

No really, I haven't been able to examine this enough to come up with a solid conclusion. It's still a mystery to me why romantic ideals are preventing so many youths from embracing gender equality.

Perhaps it was on purpose. Since the rise Second Wave Feminism, gender roles were repackaged as romance, in a nice, Disney pink box, and sold to youths looking to embrace modernity. This way, it would be acceptable to like your right to vote and work, but at the same time were okay with gender roles in the realm of dating because they were romantic. And what girl can argue with romanticism?

Even the guys I know still adhere to chivalry because girls swoon over it, and because they're still being sold the idea that it's the best way to treat a woman.

Call me an unromantic crazy person, but I don't exactly feel loved when the guy treats me like I'm incapable of opening my own door, paying for dinner, or running my life, and I certainly wouldn't feel respected if a guy treats me like I belong to my dad and need to be "given" to my husband at the altar. My autonomy is important to me, and if any guy undermines it, I'm more insulted than wooed.

I have to wonder, if ideals of romanticism are so deeply ingrained in our society that we're still accepting them despite otherwise feminist leanings, how possible would it be to transform those socially constructed ideals to be more in step with modern gender equality?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Feminist Dating Advice #1

You've all heard the advice "don't act desperate." Because obvious desperation is a total turnoff. Well, my advice is to avoid situations that MAKE you desperate. Sometimes desperation is understandable, like when a guy withholds affection, or surrounds himself with girls who are throwing themselves at him, and any sane girl would feel the urge to work harder than she should to win over the guy's affection. It can make any girl crazy. So avoid it!

It may seem counter-intuitive, of course. If you find yourself obsessing and willing to do whatever it takes to get someone to pay attention to you, the last thing you want to do is pull yourself away altogether. But any relationship or dating situation that's negatively affecting someone's mental state is not good. Love shouldn't hurt, love shouldn't make you doubt yourself or wreak havoc on your self esteem, or make you feel guilty all the time, so if you find yourself feeling that way, get out and find someone who doesn't screw up your well-being like that! You're better off alone and doing things to make yourself happy than driving yourself nuts making a relationship work.

Victim Blaming In The Courts Is Alive and Well

Man, I gotta stop thinking Canada is some liberal, egalitarian wonderland. A judge convicted a man of rape, but didn't sentence him to jail because the victim was sending him "signals."

Ahh yes, because that's how women communicate consent, signals! Clearly if a woman looks nice, not only is she trying to attract a man, she's trying to get him to have sex with her too. Now of course, that is sometimes the intent, but it shouldn't be the assumed intent.

One of the big problems with using "signals" to determine consent is we assume women do everything with the intention of attracting men. If I wear a skirt, it's to "show off" my legs to all the guys, and allow the guys who sit on stoops and leer at women all day a better view of my crotch. It couldn't be because I want to look good and be stay cool on a hot day. I remember someone asking me as I touched up my makeup before a school play rehearsal "who's the makeup for, Allison?" as if the only reason I was wearing only makeup was to attract someone.

We can't win when it comes to getting dressed - if we look good, we're supposedly inviting creepy guys to stare at us and make lewd comments, and we can't complain because that's what we were asking for when we put on a tank top instead of a sweatshirt. BUT if we don't look nice when we're out and about, people look at us, unable to hide the grossed out, judgmental expressions on their faces like we're disgusting excuses for women, because we're not putting enough effort into giving other people (read: men) something nice to look at.

When we go out into the public sphere to party - go to clubs, bars, parties, etc. - it's assumed we go out to meet guys and turn them on. And a lot of women play into this in the name of "empowerment," but again, just because that's usually the intention doesn't mean it should be assumed about everyone. And even if a woman is trying to attract someone, doesn't mean her attempts should be taken as consent to any intimate act with anyone.

Sadly, to this judge, they do.

The assumption that all women act the way they do with the sole purpose of attracting men ignores the women who do things for their own happiness and entertainment. It's hard to encourage such empowered behavior when it's barely ever acknowledged as normal.

Going back to an earlier post, one reason men read signals as consent is that women aren't taught to speak directly. Instead, we're socialized to be passive, subtle, and indirect in communicating with others, both men and women. When women learn to speak in code and nonverbal cues beginning in adolescence, it's no surprise when men try to all nonverbal cues as communicating something more, and when they take one thing to mean something else (for example, hearing "No" and interpreting it as "Well, I shouldn't . . ." or "Not yet, gotta try harder big boy" instead of "Put that thing away, it's not happening. Seriously."

And not to blame women for what happens to them, but it doesn't exactly help our cause when so many women say "no" and then eventually give in. Guys shouldn't be coercing women to have sex, and they should be taught that manufactured consent isn't real consent and is a form of rape, but the guys who do use those tactics typically get away with them and learn that it's okay to keep doing it. If a guy gets used to girls giving in like that, he doesn't react well to rejection.

Again, I digress. The common explanation for victim blaming is that society sees rape as a punishment for women who defy traditional restrictions on women, that they deserve to be raped if they wear revealing clothing or drink alcohol. That may be the case for some people, but most victim blaming may have a different, more modern cause. When women are taught to communicate through actions and signals rather than speak directly, that vague way of communication ends up being misinterpreted and real meanings, if an action has a hidden meaning at all, is lost in translation. Men's egos and what they are taught about sex often leads them to fill in the blanks with wishful thinking rather than reality or common sense. Sadly, women are still not being empowered to stand their ground and fight off unwanted contact, which only further normalizes rape.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dear Future Boyfriend

1) Before we date, please do some actual research about what feminism is. It's a big part of my life, so you better be familiar with it.

2) Don't make me a project. Either you like me or you don't, I'm not going to change for you.

3) Let's be very clear, you are only a boyfriend. You are not and should never act in the place of any male authority. You are also not my teacher, academic advisor, therapist, doctor, dietitian, life coach, or second father.

4) I am old enough and intelligent enough to make my own decisions - and yes, sometimes my own mistakes. NEVER try to undermine my autonomy by acting like you know what's best for me.

5) I have a bush. I'm not going to shave the bush. I'm not even going to trim it to your liking. I really couldn't give two shits how you prefer it to look or feel, it's not and will never be your pussy.

6) I am human. I get angry, upset, frustrated, stressed out, grumpy, cranky, annoyed, jealous, and a whole lot of other negative emotions from time to time. I also get overly excited, which is apparently also bad. If you prefer your girls to be happy and pleasant and calm and fart rainbows all the time, move to Stepford.

7) I have a past. I've been abused, sexually assaulted, and just plain treated like crap. I can't "just get over it," nor am I going to just forget what's happened.

Hm, I was trying to get to 10, but that's all I can think of right now.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Me and My Bush

I was never one to want to shave my nether region. I was not at all comfortable with the idea of sticking something sharp near some of my most precious (not to mention most sensitive) body parts, and I felt a spiritual attachment to it. All I was willing to do was shave the bikini line, because even I wasn't okay with my pubes sticking out of a bathing suit for all to see.

Naturally, I was not happy when guy after guy wanted me to shave down there. No, it was not happening, regardless of their stupid arguments - it's as if guys think that because they're intimate with a girl they have a say over what she does with her body. Make no mistake, when a man is intimate with a woman, he is a guest, not a tenant and certainly not a property owner, unless his partner is willing to give him that ownership. Sadly, too many girls do, and even self-proclaimed feminists admit to shaving because their partners prefer it. What about what they prefer? Doesn't that matter more?

In general, the main argument for shaving pubic hair, aside from the bullshit "it's cleaner" argument, is the fact that most guys prefer it that way. As if women should be altering their bodies to be more appealing to their male sex partners. Is it just me, or is that total crap?

Anyway, the guy I'm dating now keeps wanting me to shave it off just to try it, and accuses me of holding onto my hair because I'm afraid of letting go. Right, because choosing to keep one's body hair is something only a psychologically sick person would do. Fuck that shit.

Don't get me wrong, I have tried trimming. Twice even. For a guy I was dating a few years ago. I hated it both times, I hated the way it looked and the way it felt. So I stopped. This past weekend my friends were working on a project involving pubic hair, so I decided (admittedly under the influence) to donate as much as I could. Yep, I cut most of it off. And while I didn't mind helping out a friend, I hated the way it felt having hardly any hair down there. I still don't like it. My little man in the boat feels all exposed, and masturbation and intimacy really don't feel that much better.

Needless to say, I'm growing it out. And to anyone else who tries to tell me I'm dirty or selfish, fuck you.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Power in Numbers

I live in an apartment with three bedrooms: two singles and one double. I live in a single, as does one girl I vaguely knew before move-in, and the double is occupied by two girls who are very good friends.

The girls in the double are the ones in power, even though they're only 50% of the people living in the suite. They determine the level of cleanliness me and the other girl are expected to live by. They rearranged the common room furniture after moving in, and then re-arranged it this semester. The common room is full of their belongings.

This is not new for me. In fact, almost every set of roommates I had new each other well before moving in, and because they were so close and lived in the same room, they made the decisions, and often took over the common areas of the apartment, usually without consulting the odd girl out.

I've seen this power dynamic other places as well, like on the sidewalk. When people walk in a group, they're less likely to make room for anyone trying to get past them. When girls are mean, they're usually mean in groups, often swarming an individual as their attack method. To put it simply: people have more power in groups than they do alone.

Not a ground-breaking discovery, I know. But considering this principle, it's no surprise that the second wave feminist movement grew out of women getting together in groups and talking. Women gain power when they work together.

The problem is, we don't. Sure, girls have friendships and sisterhoods. Problem is, there's a lot of fighting between girls and between groups, even sororities compete for members, bids to pair up with fraternities for events, and even general prestige - not to mention countless games between Greek houses. Girls are in constant competition with each other, and they learn this from an early age when they watch Disney movies where a female villain tries to screw over a pretty girl to get the attention of a man. Many girls may understand that this is wrong at first, but that virtue may go out the door when girls realize that they need to do just that.

And we live in a competitive society as it is. Kids compete in sports and spelling bees, teenage girls compete for homecoming queen and prom queen (traditions my school thankfully got rid of), and teenagers of both genders compete for grades, scholarships, spots on teams and roles in plays, and finally college admissions. And the competition never stops. Ever.

So if both genders compete all through life, why do girls seem more competitive against each other than guys, and why are they more likely to compete against other girls than guys? Is it that they don't think they're strong enough, or smart enough, or good enough to win against guys, or do they avoid it out of fear of intimidating guys, thus turning them off? After all, even modern relationship advice warns women against being too intimidating. A guy needs to feel manly, and masculinity involves being dominant - the best.

So if being dominant and being the best is so important to men, why aren't they the more competitive gender? Maybe it's because men are more confident than women. Men's self-esteem isn't eroded nearly as constantly by the media as women's self-esteem, and men typically have outlets for their competition such as sports and video games. Where do women compete? Women do play sports and video games as well, but competitions that really test which women are "better" are things like beauty pageants and ____ queen competitions (homecoming queen, spring fling queen, prom queen, carnival queen, etc.). And let's not forget that cheerleading, one of the few sports where women need to look good while they compete, is the most widely accepted sport for women in this country.

Remember, beauty pageants were created as a way to remind women of their "priorities" in the wake of them getting the right to vote.

Too many women and girls make comments, either directly or to their peers, about other women. Typically, those comments insult the woman in question's appearance, figure, fashion choices, makeup, complexion, hair, etc. - or they insult her for being a bitch (unfeminine) or call her a slut (immoral). When girl is laughed at by her female peers in the classroom, it's not because she was necessarily wrong, but that she dared to try being smart instead of merely pretty - the mocking is even worse when the girl in question had the gall to speak with authority instead of uptalk and sprinkle her speech with "like," "um," and "you know?"

Many people blame the patriarchy for all this. I'm not sure whether men decided to do this intentionally, but it certainly benefits them to have girls fighting each other all the time. The infighting means less solidarity, less power, and less awareness of the gender inequality that still remains.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Equality My Ass

People say we're in a post-feminist society and men and women are generally equal. Yeah? Bullshit. If we're so goddamn equal, why has almost every man I've dated so far assumed an authoritarian role in the relationship, making the rules and setting the terms of the relationship and leaving little to no room for disagreement or compromise?

Now I understand that everyone has the right to want what they want, and that they should date someone who wants the same things. But a relationship needs to be based on compromise, not just one person saying "this is how we're going to do things" and the woman saying "okay, I'll do whatever you say."

Boyfriend #2 cheated on me, and rather than let me learn to forgive and trust him on my own time, eventually he decided I was taking too long and it was either give him my full trust again or the relationship was over. He also told me I couldn't talk to certain people, but refused to stop hanging out with the girl he cheated on me with knowing it made me uncomfortable as fuck.

I don't think I asked him to do anything, let alone demanded it of him.

Boyfriend #3 was very concerned with my appearance. I needed to get rid of my acne, and wear makeup around his friends and family. He also wanted me to dress more goth/punk and listen to "better" bands. What demands did I make regarding his appearance? None.

Boyfriend #4 was frustrated when I stopped having sex with him because it hurt too much. He kept nagging me to "get better" so we could start having sex again. Keep in mind, this was in the wake of a sexual assault, which he knew about, but he still expected sex.

Boyfriend #5 insisted on spending lots of time one-on-one with a girl he used to like, and planned to spend an entire week alone with his ex-girlfriend. He knew this upset me, but continued to do it anyway. He dumped me because that stuff made me uncomfortable.

Boyfriend #7 said he would dump me if I cut myself ever again, demanded I go to therapy, and also got very upset when I told one person about our relationship, which he never explicitly said he wanted to keep quiet. He was the only one who got to choose who could know about us.

Current boyfriend says I have to cut all my exes out of my life, including the ones I'm currently on good terms with and aren't causing any problems. I'm also not allowed to attend meetings for one of the clubs I'm in because, according to him, the people in the club are bad for me. If he was just giving advice, that would be one thing, but on those two issues, he's given veiled threats that he will stop seeing me if I don't do what he suggests. According to him, I'm too dramatic and emotional, I need to change, and he's going to help change me. Because clearly, I'm not capable of running my life by myself.*

*it doesn't matter if a guy has good intentions or not, a boyfriend is a partner, not a second father.

So that's six boyfriends, out of the eight I've dated, who have set rules for the relationship without any room for compromise. And this is not an isolated pattern. I'm sure many women have heard, from many different guys in their life "if you want to keep seeing me, you have to . . ." or "if you want this relationship to work, I need you to . . ." OR "if you keep doing X (or don't do X) I'm going to break up with you." And I'm sure most men are taken aback by any resistance.

Women are told, save for a few extreme circumstances where an ultimatum is necessary according to some people, not to make such demands, and not to ask for what we want. Don't directly try to compromise or have a say in what's going on. No, instead most relationship advice for women is to use subtle, often manipulative tactics to get a guy to change his mind or do what you want him to do. Otherwise, give in or accept the consequences.

I'm not saying that men do this maliciously, or even intentionally. Men and women are just socialized - through advice columns, peer observation, and media exposure - to approach dating, sex, relationships, and even marriage differently. Men are told to resist commitment, women are told to crave it and do whatever it takes to get and retain a relationship. Men are told to be in charge and tell women what they want, women are told to be more subtle and manipulative - which really doesn't help our cause, of course men are going to hate women when women are under the impression that the only way they can get what they want is to drop hints and withhold sex.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My Fight with a Professor

Last semester, I took a creative writing class. For our final assignment, we had to write a short story, and I decided to write mine on the true story of when I received a death threat from someone I used to protest with, and three of my friends from New York came up to help me while my boyfriend at the time did nothing.

I thought it was a good story, and everyone agreed it was well written.

But my professor decided it wasn't good enough. Because there was no love story. He believed that in order for the story to be good, the protagonist (the character I based off myself) needed to get into a romantic relationship with someone other than her boyfriend during the 12-hour story, or at some point in the afterward. I actually took the afterward out, it was supposed to be a brief summary of the aftermath that took place within the following month, but the professor wanted me to extend it. No. Not happening. Did not happen. I did not make the change, not for the final draft, and not even when the professor called me at home after finals were over and told me he wanted me to send him another revision with the requested change.

I adamantly refused each time. It's not even that I wanted to stick to the true story, though that was a big part of it. The other part came from the fact that it would completely alter the theme of the story. It was supposed to be an empowering story about a girl who is emotionally weak and practically helpless at first, having guys insist on protecting her and wishing her boyfriend would do something, to finally refusing help from anyone and taking back control over her life. Having her get into a romantic relationship would weaken that concept and make it just another cliche love story. No thanks. The point was, in the end, she didn't need a guy taking care of her, and that she was just fine even without her deadbeat, emotionally negligent boyfriend looking out for her.

Why does a female protagonist need to get a guy in the end? Why can't the story, any story, end with her being just fine without a man in her life? Maybe it's because women, both in movies and in real life, are often defined by their relationships with others, especially men.

Class and Access to Feminism

Women in the middle and upper echelons of society can afford to go to college and take women's studies classes. They can pay the entrance fees and travel to women's conferences and feminist summits. They can afford the dues for feminist organizations such as NOW and NARAL. They can afford both classic and modern feminist literature. They have time to read those books and feminist blogs, to add their voices to the movement, and to intern and volunteer their time with feminist organizations.

Not all women have this privilege. Not all women can afford the education or the books, they can't go to the conferences, and even if they do, chances are they're ignored because they are not members of feminist organizations, they are not interns or experts, and they can't afford to donate.

Last November I attended a conference of my local NOW chapter. The entrance fee was $10, not bad considering my means (as a full-time college student working 16 hours a week in a job paying a few dollars over minimum wage). When I got there, the room was fairly small, and most of the few in attendance where white, middle-aged middle to upper class women and some men. I felt like the only college student there. There might have been a few other girls my age, but if they were, they were interns. Speakers at the conference constantly referred to the need for more money for women's organizations and female candidates running for office, and sure enough, before the conference let out, they handed out donation cards and someone said "I want you all to donate something."

I hate to sound cheap here, but that was not happening. I left. Did they not understand that I was a full time college student with a part time job? Did they, like so many other organizations, not understand that college students don't have the means to throw money at every organization that asks for it? Well, maybe some can, but I can't.

When I interviewed for an internship with NOW, years ago, I was told that all (unpaid) interns were required to become dues-paying members of NOW. Yes, in addition to all the unpaid labor, and NOW heavily depended on it, not to mention the money spent getting to the office, interns were also expected to pay to become members of the organization.

You see, I'm not one of those girls with extra money to donate to organizations, or time to spend volunteering or interning with them.

But I consider myself lucky. I am still in a position where feminism is still pretty accessible to me.

Feminism isn't taught in schools. From the inner city public schools to upper class prep schools, feminism is largely ignored in academic curricula. Sure, some history classes cover the suffragist movement, and some people might have the opportunity to do research assignments on the push for reproductive freedom or equal pay, but other than that, many adolescents growing up knowing very little about feminism, and only know the stereotypes.

Jessica Valenti's Full Frontal Feminism is often hailed as groundbreaking because it's written in a way that makes feminism accessible for young girls. Wonderful! Only problem is, in a order for a girl to read that book, she must either seek it out, meaning she needs to have at least a tiny interest in feminism. And unless that book is at her local library, which is unlikely, she has to cough up the $25 for the book. Even once she gets the book, she needs time to read it. Not realistic if she spends all her time in school, doing her homework, at work, and taking care of her younger siblings - the average plight of a young woman living below the poverty line.

Even my sister probably wouldn't have time to read it. Sure, I'd love to give her my copy once I'm done with it, but I know she's busy. She's in high school, and she has a ton of homework, and usually has one book to read for English class. She's also a year-round athlete. She probably wouldn't use the little time she has for pleasure reading learning about what's largely regarded as an academic issue.

In response to critique that feminism is a movement for rich white girls, I have to say it's unfortunately true. Feminism is not something that's easily accessible to everyone, and time and money - resources of the wealthy - are practically required to get involved in the movement, something that is sadly true of most movements,