It is okay to be a feminist, “if you can argue for it”

It is okay to be a feminist, “if you can argue for it”

Several months and countries ago, I met a female medicine student at a small and random Friday bash. Conversation was slow which led me to address this very same student, whom I had just met for the first time, that “I had heard much about her”. Some may call it casual North American politeness and a much needed ice-breaker as the gin and tonic I was drinking would prove itself not to be strong enough for this particular rendezvous.

The female looked at me and my “nice to meet you” remark and felt the need to counter with a less traditional “I’ve heard that you are the world’s biggest feminist”.

Now, being a female navigator – an equal opportunities advocate – has given me certain experience with discussing the term “feminism”. A wise man once said, beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. So does the much debated and misinterpreted word feminism.

So, what does one respond to such a statement on a Friday around midnight? You can do what I did and lie. Saying “No, I am not” thereby gives you two possibilities.

1) You can continue to zip on your G&T; and notice that her rude attitude comes with a grin.

Or…

2) Kindly ask her which one of the 13 academically accredited forms of feminism she is referring to.

As I decided to try to be diplomatic, I simultaneously zipped my mouth while zipping on my G&T.; She paused and then continued…

-“Listen, it is okay to be a feminist – if you can argue for it”.

My first reaction was ‘you have got to be kidding me’. As I looked at her, I saw the seriousness in her eyes and decided to turn the other cheek. An eye for an eye would only make this party go blind.

Over a half a year later, I sit here, pondering upon the raison d’etre behind her remark. Even if her comment was an attempt to be provocative, I think that the belief that ‘feminism is something negative’ is shared by many others.

-Is the “You’re a big feminist” the new “You suck”?

No matter what, who does not believe in equal opportunities? Well, bad phrasing, I can actually think of many, but in a society like Denmark I assumed that we left hostility to Pia Kjaersgaard. How can equal rights not be important?

I understand that she does not know the differences the first and second wave of feminism made for women in the world. She studied physics, molecules and diseases. Excellent! But with her being in the field of medicine, how could she not recognize for instance the difference women’s right to contraception makes – or even better – stand up for this. When will women and men recognize that empowering women strengthens the economy? Do your research, party people!

So standing there, nine months or something ago, I realized one thing – standing up for women on a blog, at school, amongst your friends, at work or through projects – is something you are expected to argue for. Making a difference is appearently debatable. Unfortunately, the only problem about arguing with idiots is that you have to get down on their level in order for them to understand. So I remain here, on female navigators’ blog, wondering what they teach people in med. school nowadays?

/Sophie Nelson

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