I myself have never been …

I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a door mat or a prostitute.

Rebecca West, “Mr Chesterton in Hysterics: A Study in Prejudice,” The Clarion, 14 Nov 1913, reprinted in The Young Rebecca, 1982


7 thoughts on “I myself have never been …

  1. I once denied being a feminist to an unbelieving (and more-than-mildly shocked) co-worker. When asked to justify myself I told him that in my general experience, feminists I had encountered were equally guilty of the sexism they claimed to abhor. Instead of fighting for equality, they were fighting to make men subservient to women. I told him that the difference between their objectives and mine was that I prefer to work for equality for all humans, regardless of their uncontrollable attributes, thus making me a humanist by definition.

    Well, that’s me, anyway. Thoughts?

    • Well, I guess I think that feminism is like all other ‘beliefs’ for want of a better world. There are varying degrees of it. Some people take it as meaning that they must fight to make men subservient (I am not one of these people) and others obviously want equality (this is me). I can understand why you wouldn’t want to be regarded as a feminist. A lot of people who call themselves ‘feminist’ aren’t people you (and by this I mean everybody) really want to be put under a blanket term with. Personally, I think its up to every person how they define themselves. If a person chooses to call themselves a feminist or a humanist or a realist, then that’s what they are, and its nobody’s business telling them they’re something they’re not. And you, Adelaide Braddock, appear to be a prime example of not allowing people to define you, which is very admirable, and pretty damn cool.

      Sorry about the fact that this reply rambles on quite a bit. It took me a little while to figure out what I wanted to say, and put everything in, and sadly for anyone who reads this, I do tend to think WHILE I write, rather than BEFORE.

      • Well, shucks. *blushes*

        First, never worry about rambling. It just gets more prominent and less easy to excuse as you get older, so own it now and no one will be the wiser.

        Second, I COMPLETELY agree with your response. I don’t think that people should ever allow others to define them, but I do believe that they do need to know how they define themselves and then maintain that position to the bitter end. (Unless, of course, they – you know – change positions in life, which I’ve NEVER done. *sarcastic smirk*)

        Classification is a tricky critter. Putting yourself or anyone else in a group means not only associating yourself and others with every person who classifies him/herself that same way, but also allowing people the opportunity to base their opinion of you on what they know to be true for the others in your group. Naturally, this has the potential to either help or hinder your cause. Thankfully, you seem to have asserted who you are pretty well to yourself, which means no matter the positive or negative connotations associated with “feminist”, you know how to stand proud of what that means to YOU.

  2. Well thank you very much! I appreciate that very much, and I’m glad you agree. You’re absolutely correct in your own response – the power of association can be powerful, and pretty hellish at times. I hope you and I can talk more in the future.

  3. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good. I do not know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!


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