Thursday, November 8, 2007
Through a feminist lens.
I haven't always identified as a feminist. Due to a strong religious upbringing, I grew up with various and sundry biases that colored my view of the world. I went through an enlightenment period of sorts just a few years ago, and when my religion fell away it felt as if a blindfold had similarly dropped from my eyes. My everyday experiences were suddenly completely different to me, and I could see things that I'd been never even remotely aware of before. Specifically, I acquired a feminist lens.
"Lens" is a perfect word for it, too. Like a pair of brand spanking new glasses, my feminist lens brought so many things into focus -- things that had always been with me. Growing up, sexism bothered me in ways I could never quite describe, a niggling little feeling that made me ashamed of myself. I was a buzzkill for getting squicked out by the tits-and-ass depiction of Lara Croft; I was being too sensitive about the flying boobs and rampant panty shots in Dead or Alive. Discovering feminism and realizing that (lo and behold) women are people too gave me the tools to put a name to these worries.
Unfortunately, feeling oddly bothered by the sexism around me wasn't the only consequence of my biases. Oftentimes, I despised other women. Raised with a severe disdain for sexuality, I engaged in a fair amount of slut-shaming, seeing myself as better than those who "flaunted" their bodies. In video games, I couldn't stand female villains in particular, who more often than not acted as sultry temptresses instead of their kick-ass male counterparts. The blindfold was firmly in place.
Discovering feminism made sense of my conflicted feelings about women. I learned not to hate the women who were depicted in a sexist manner, but to analyze why such a thing had occurred in the first place and how I could fight it. I was able to fight through my own sexism and discover just how knowledge cripples ignorance. It's an experience I hope that many others can share.
Readers -- how has feminism changed your outlook on the world?
Labels: BomberGirl, Stereotypes