As I enter week 5 of my first term of graduate school the thought occurs to me that I should also add ‘feminist’ to the list of things I’m bad at. I just have a lot of problems with the recent conversations we've been having about gender in science (and in general) and feminist theories. I think the Stephanie Mills speech we read was evocative, and stirring, and all that other stuff that moves one to feel something. Perhaps it was just because I personally connected with her ideas? Yet, some believe Mills was too “apocalyptic,” expressed too much “doom & gloom,” and even more concerning, “that she was young.”
But, that’s what stuck with me—how honest, raw, uncensored, and unapologetic it was. In fact it reminded me of a good ‘ol monkeywrencher we all know and love and that everyone seems to constantly shower with praise and admiration.
Good 'ol Ed Abbey.
It made me wonder if Mill’s message would have been received differently had she been male. It would not be an understatement to say that I discuss gender with my cohort in some form or fashion one or more times a week, every week. It’s almost unbearable. I more closely align with Riane Eisler's theories around partnership and cultural transformation; I also believe the pervasive stereotyping and gender boxing that gets thrown at females, is thrown right back at males.
The bottom line is that I don’t want to be known as a great female poet, or female artist, or female science writer. I just want to be good at what I do regardless of the organ that resides between my thighs. And I want to work with female scientists and male scientists and everything in between scientists. Maybe that is my feminism? Maybe I live in a world where that isn’t possible and that is why feminist activists exist. So I guess in the end, I thank them for that.