It takes guts to look back at the things you didn't know, and to examine them in light of the things you know now. But that's just what writer Jenn Frank (who we've featured here talking about everything from motherhood and sea monkeys to the adorableness of Diablo III) has done.
In a fantastic new article over at Unwinnable, Frank has laid out her path from teenaged blitheness all the way up to her present, perhaps less blithe state. It's a remarkable, honest piece of writing.
The article traces all the way from Frank's childhood dreams of being Rambo ("Not a man, not a woman, not a mother or an astronaut: only that mythical creature called Rambo.") to her gig as a community manager at Electronic Gaming Monthly ("When I accepted, my new employer made the happy announcement. I remember the first Internet reaction, posted by a semi-anonymous user: 'Hotness fail.'") up through the current day. When discussing "girl on the internet syndrome," Frank notes: "I have been on the Internet since 1993. I got over being on the Internet long before I ever got over being a girl."
Later in the article, Frank muses on the nature of the oh-so-loaded concept of "Feminism."
Feminism isn't only about correcting social inequality and wage disparity. If that's all feminism is, I was a feminist way back when I believed you could cut your hair short and behave just as boyishly as you liked, getting ahead on your balls alone. Don't cry, emo girl! You live in a boys' world, so be a man!
Instead, feminism — and other types of social justice, I figure — acknowledges that there is an invisible pattern of experience that comes along with being, very visibly, something else.
You don't have to think of ladies as "victims" — I'd prefer you didn't — and you don't even have to think of some experiences as "baggage."
But feminism does ask you, as an ethical human being, to objectively reexamine certain standards of behaviour, which themselves are often based on an internalized, invisible set of shared beliefs and values.
Feminism isn't about holding another sex in higher esteem than the male sex. Rather, it's about anti-sexism.
It's about making sure your child doesn't grow up believing she is somehow subhuman.
And if someone ever makes your child feel like he or she deserves abuse, you better hope that kid is confident and surefooted enough to fight back.
Read the whole article over at Unwinnable.
I Was a Teenage Sexist [Unwinnable]