Whew, wierd title for a blog entry. Bear with me, though.
Take the word "Feminist." Now, between you, me, and my laptop, I kinda think I am one. After all, people call me a goddess-worshipper and a heretic ("her"etic, get it?!) for my position on women in Church Leadership roles and women in marriage. And when I say I'm a Christian feminist, that often is the end of the discussion and the beginning of less group hugs.
But what about me really being a feminist? That is, what if I were to actually ask those women normally identified as feminists if I were a feminist?
I think they'd give me the left foot of fellowship.
Why? Well, I think the big thing is that I do not support abortion on demand (though would support it being legally a "choice" when a woman is raped). That would get me in trouble with some pro-lifers for sure. But among mainstream feminists, that simply isn't an acceptable position to hold. There is not now, and never can be apparently, a "Pro-life feminist."
I'm not in a strong position to argue here, in case anyone's not yet tumbled to that fact. I'm a white American male, financially poor only because some thirty years ago I chose to join these communal wierdos in Chicago, then forget to leave. Heck, I'm still in the catbird seat. In the right circumstances I could, sure enough, be raped. But I wouldn't end up pregnant. If my wife left me (wait a minute, my first one did!) I wouldn't be left pregnant (though I was left with two children as their sole provider). Nobody ever passed over me because I was not (in their eyes) "strong enough" to do the job, or because I "might get pregnant." And on and on.
So... who is right? Am I a feminist? What would all the post-moderns have to say about this mess?
I do know that the group Feminists for Life, which alone remains as a pro-life and (to their own minds, anyway) feminist group, traces back to the start of the modern feminist movement. They, along with other feminists, fought for the Equal Rights Amendment (while I, in those pre-enlightened days, did not and in fact resisted the ERA). Yet today, they are rejected by the mainstream feminists. And of course, as any sociologist probably would guess, Feminists for Life also seem to have drifted at least slightly toward folk who might be more open to them. Namely, toward the religious and political conservatives who have not been friendly with feminism -- EVER.
I particularly am made nervous by Feminists for Life irresolute position on birth control. At least, that is what it appears to me. They do not ringingly endorse birth control, which in my opinion is fairly stunning for a feminist group to avoid speaking on. But I also find in them hope that there is another way for those of us who want to be feminists yet also pro-life.
But really... am I a feminist in any real way outside the confines of my own self-perceptions? Or am I playing at being enlightened while in reality being a reactionary hypocrite?
I suppose, in the end, the vote up or down is not up to me. But I sure wish some feminists -- from all ports of faith, politics, and opinion -- would comment on this thorny issue of feminism and abortion. Can we separate abortion from the rest of the feminist agenda, or is it really at the heart of feminism's self-defined identity?
Finally, is there even such a thing as a "self-defined" identity? Or, to put it another way, should there be?