You can’t be a feminist if…

So I saw this blog post today at the Feminists For Choice site. It is a conversation with Peggy Cook who is a feminist who deals primarily with reproductive rights for women. It’s an interesting post and I encourage you to read the whole thing but I want to talk about one question in particular:

People often say, “you can’t be a feminist if . . .” What is one of your “secret indulgences” that you love, despite the feminist contradictions?
So many things! Really, I can’t get behind that “you can’t be a feminist if…” mentality. I don’t feel that anyone should be the gatekeeper of feminism. It is an accessible philosophy and should stay that way. And no one is perfect. We are all coping with something, and we are all trying to exist within an oppressive system. We do what we can to get by.
That said, there is a lot of “unfeminist” stuff that I love. The main thing I think all my friends would say about me would be Hello Kitty. I know the whole concept of her is totally infantile and silly – also, how creepy is it that she doesn’t have a mouth! – but I just love her. Another big one would be beauty pageants. I don’t know why. And in terms of day-to-day stuff, I love a lot of super cliche romcoms, and I like the way my legs feel when I shave them (plus all the millions of other ways I conform to the female beauty standard). But whatever. In the end, I think you always just have to follow your heart.”

I love that she says, “I don’t feel that anyone should be the gatekeeper of feminism.” I believe that there is no one one to be anything and that includes being a feminist. People have very different definitions about what being a feminist is and everyone needs to define what it means for themselves. She’s right…no one is perfect. We do what we can.


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