Either Feminism Goes or I Go


I have a long-time close friend (he knows who he is) who, while he’s damn near perfect in most other respects, is of the unfortunate opinion that feminism has done its job and can now go home and die. He’s said this several times in various contexts over the years, so I’m pretty sure it’s not merely intended to get my goat. I’m reminded of this statement every time I encounter another reason that feminism is alive, relevant, and material.

Today, for instance, I was walking my usual route home when a pair of guys in a car slowed almost to a halt in the middle of the road to take a very obvious gander at me. Had this been a pair of women ogling my benighted male friend, he’d have smiled, winked at them, and gone on with a song in his heart and a swing in his dick.

I, however, did what most women would do. I avoided eye contact and got nervous. I did this because I know what the boy doesn’t: that being ogled is not safe or even harmless. It is, rather, a symptom of a much larger problem and one for which feminism is the only answer: women are still not treated as human beings first and foremost. We are still objects, still primarily for the interest and purposes of men. Even I, who was raised in a sheltered-ass home in a sheltered-ass suburb, know that an ogling, especially if provoked, can too easily lead to a beating, a raping, or both. It happens to women every day. And it happens because being seen as a human being is still a privilege of being male, one that we, as women, do not share.

Until we do, we need feminism. Its death now might mean the death of any woman, any time, right now. And that is not acceptable.


11 Responses to “Either Feminism Goes or I Go”

  1. 1 manupmen

    I am sorry you got looked at today. You were treated as a sex object, and clearly they lusting after your body parts was inappropriate. Now that we are friends, can I get a picture of you naked?

  2. 2 rachelcervantes

    Just curious…does she get a pic of you naked? And can we see it too?

    Just kidding…really, no offense meant. The devil made me do it.

  3. Ahhh DO NOT RESPOND to manupmen. He’s been an asshole to a lot of feminist bloggers lately.

    That aside, great post! I was thinking of posting on this topic myself in the near future.

  4. I think you may be generalising too much when you say that oogling leads to bad things most of the time.

    I have found that men and women respond to different stimulus, so two women looking at a man is a different situation than two men looking at a woman. Firstly the biological anatomy of men and women are differnt. Then the psychological behaviours of the sexes are different.

    Men respond to what women look like primarily. Women respond to whether a man cares. This is so that men and women can bond in a heterosexual relationship.

    DO a survey and find the results, whether what I say is a general observation, and yet denied by gender groups.

    I am not at this moment speaking about other forms of sexuality, and whether they work or not.

    It is fairly fundamental that men and women enjoy sex and reach climax quite differently, so this is a biological question.

  5. 5 Dani

    I think you may be generalising too much when you say that oogling leads to bad things most of the time.

    Street harassment is a symptom of the pervasive notion that women are more object than human, which in turn is a source of much bigger problems for women, including assault and rape. It’s not an overgeneralization to point out that the big stuff and the small stuff spring from the same root. The small stuff may not directly predicate the big stuff in any given situation, but the small stuff remains symptomatic of the type of thinking (“woman” = “object” ) that allows the big stuff to flourish.

    It’s not “just” ogling. Women know this. That’s why we get so nervous when it happens – maybe nothing more than ogling will happen this time around, but it could, and sometimes it does. How often is irrelevant – any time is too often when we are talking about assault (mental, physical, any kind) against another human being.

    Women are currently vulnerable to the entire spectrum of harassment and violence simply because we are women. It is not unreasonable to be afraid of something of which, from a big-picture perspective, we are really and constantly in danger. Nor is it unreasonable to do something about it – hence my argument that feminism is nowhere near ready to be laid in its grave.

    And I don’t buy the biology argument for a second. Human beings are capable of making considered choices, and we are responsible for the choices we make. Period.

    Besides, even if men and women do respond to different sexual stimuli, it says nothing about the fact that (a) women are uniformly treated as objects more than as human beings, nor that (b) treating another human being as “less-than” is still inappropriate behavior.

  6. 6 manupmen


    Your message is consistent: anyone who disagrees with a feminist is an asshole. It’s not clear to me why you discourage two-way conversation. “Don’t respond to him” seems to be your theme. Interesting control technique.

    John Bryan Stone

  7. 7 rachelcervantes

    Yup, Manupmen came to my blog to troll, too. The funny part was after I blacklisted him he came back as an alter, and was too dumb to know how obvious that was. I had a little fun with him and then I put that alter on the blacklist too.

    This is one seriously miserable little boy.

  8. 8 manupmen

    Rachel is very angry. I try to avoid people who bring so much anger to the table. On a more positive note, I am happy that people are seeing through angry feminist blogs, especially women. Great numbers of women are letting go of the idea that men are to blame for their troubles.

  9. @ Rachelcervantes — Haha, I’m glad you were able to get rid of the alter. What’s your blog?

  10. 10 rachelcervantes

    Hi Dollface. You’d be welcome at my blog (Tilting at Windmills).

  1. 1 Why we need feminism « Tilting at Windmills

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