between the extremes: feminism

Last night I noticed anew how enormously different opinions about the idea of feminity and gender roles can be, especially when seen from a blogger’s perspective: In the part of the blogging universe I frequent I have met

  •  people who don’t talk about feminism or gender a lot (or at all) but concentrate on other topics; often these are artists or people who blog about natural/simple living
  • extremely conservative voices who want women to wear “feminine” clothes, appreciate male leadership, be all dainty and delicate flowers,  and enjoy their god-given task of managing a house full of children and dirty laundry with a sweet smile
  • ultra-feminists who call even The Hunger Games “sexist” and say that Katniss doesn’t get to make her own decisions and all. Uh, I read the last book and I dare to say she made at least one extremely important decision, and I’m not talking about the love triangle here.

Especially when comparing the last two breeds of bloggers I feel like I have nothing to offer but flapping my empty hands, shrugging my shoulders, and maybe let out a hysterical laugh before asking them “so what?”. Both are equally far removed from reality and possibility, I feel.

I’m not sure if I should call myself a feminist, because I believe in equal chances while honouring individual differences (and yes, I’m all for strong women offering help to a guy twice their size if he is carrying more luggage than he can really manage to get down the stairs at the station or whatever, just as I’m always happy to see guys offering help to mothers with prams at said stairs). What I dislike is the utter generalisation of sex-based traits, e.g. “all women love caring for babies”, “all men are bad with colours and decoration”, “men are always stronger than women”. Equally alien to me is the idea of every single woman being better than any man at everything and therefore stomping men into the ground, as the talk of some extreme feminists suggests.

I’m not interested in joining either hate parade, neither conservative return to old rules nor extreme feminism. How about we talk about tendencies or a spectrum instead? For the geeks: I’m talking about two overlapping Gaussian normal distribution curves for each trait.

You know what? I’m a Christian with a semi-conservative background (but grown more liberal with the years) who enjoys random mock fights, comfortable trousers, an intelligent discussion, and watching/reading things like The Hunger Games. I’m somewhere in the middle and I try to keep it real, despite all the frustration life can bring and my tendency to daydream. Now give me leave to finish some long neglected annotations and then go see a professor about my thesis before I set out to carve myself a long bow from the stick I hauled back from my walk in the woody parts of our local park yesterday if I find time for that before youth group starts.

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