America’s Next Bill Clinton!


The reason I am a feminist.

At feminist conferences or during the first few days of the new semester, often times I’d get the inevitable question of: “You’re a man, why do you care so much about women’s rights?”Often times, because I am at these events to network, exchange ideas and build for a political future, my answer is always something like: “Because it would be a profound and utter act of immorality for me to idly stand by as half of my fellow human population is being discriminated against.”When speaking to a woman of interest, the story of my passion for feminism is one that is based on my religious background: I grew up a Unitarian, and we didn’t know any differently.  

But just last night, I realized the very reason why I am a feminist, and I will, for as long as I live, devote my life to fighting for women’s rights. Coming home at around midnight, I heard yelling and screaming and two burley men in suits and ties wrestling down a man, and pointing guns at the apartment downstairs from me. It turned out the men were undercover police officers who staked out the area because they’d received a call of a suspicious person in our neighborhood, and had observed the intruder jump over the porch and break into my neighbor’s house. The undercovers yelled at me and told me to call my neighbor (a female) to get out of the house.

 When I made that phone call, she had already locked herself in her room and refused to open the door for the officers. It took some coaxing from my roommate for her to eventually open up. My neighbor, whom I’ll call Sue, is a single mother. When the intruder was trying to break in, the three-year-old child was sleeping on the couch and I was told that the intruder saw the child, too. Obviously, my neighbor is shaken. One of the reasons for this is we’d spoken a few days ago about how the screen door was taken down by the landlord, and when she raised the issue, she was told, “Look, if someone wants to rape you, a screen door isn’t going to help stop that.”

It upsets me. It upsets me that the landlord passes off her concerns about being raped as just a trivial matter, and that those who truly are concerns about women’s lives and experiences don’t have the means to change things.  It upsets me that the patriarchy still exists, and the ruling class has no knowledge or concerns for women issues. It upsets me even more that in America, in 2007, women are still having to worry about certain acts of violence directed toward them, just because they are women.

 It upsets me that women have to live in fear for their livelihood, and are treated differently simply because of the nature of their biology. More over, it upsets me that we still need feminism in 2007 here in the most powerful and supposedly progressive nation on earth.  

For me, feminism isn’t sexy. It’s not supposed to be a good time. It’s not supposed to be enjoyable. It should be fought with vigor and passion – the same passion that’s devoted to fighting terrorism. After all, sexism is a form of terrorism.

 As a pro-feminist male, my fight for feminism isn’t about earning the attention or affection of women. It’s not about getting laid for standing up to fight for women. For an aspiring politician, it shouldn’t be able earning votes or tapping into a certain group of voters.

I fight for feminism because the world isn’t fair. I fight for feminism because gender terrorism still exists. I fight for feminism because I know I wouldn’t like to be marginalized and harmed, objectified and trivialized, simply because of my gender. In short, I fight for feminism because of this reason: because I believe while we were all born very differently, some with more strengths and intelligence than others, we should all we treated the same. We may not have been born equal and into the same situation, but we all should be recognized equally, based on our individual worth and dignity, and not on the body parts nature has given us.  



It’s just sex …

Reading one of the Campus Progress web logs this morning, I ran across an interesting statistic – that just about or more than 50 percent of college students are “still virgins.” My question: why do we care? Why is it that, as a society, we treat losing one’s virginity as sort of a rite of passage in which a new person is born and the old, less mature person is gone? It’s to say, as if, a person’s accomplishment in life is based on whether or not that person has engaged in sex. With rite-of-passage teen movies like “American Pie” being a part of the popular culture, it seems the message we’re sending teens is: your worth and dignity is based on whether you’ve “done it.” Yet, they also get messages from the Christian-right about remain “pure” and “untouched” until marriage. The result is a clash of culture, in which, on one hand, the message is about the importance of having sex. On the other hand, the message is about “saving” oneself until marriage. What’s a kid to do, really, in that situation? If virginity is so special, how come the majority of us aren’t even in touch with the person to whom we “lost” it? The truth is when it comes to virginity, there is nothing lost, and nothing gained.

Besides, what’s the exact definition of a virgin anyhow? One who’s pure in both thoughts and mind? One who’s never orgasmed? One who’s never had intercourse? One who’s had intercourse but never orgasm? Does oral sex count? What about priest sex? It’s all confusing, really — yet we’re still obsessed with the idea of virginity.

The fact of the matter is that there are more important things to worry about in one’s lifelong accomplishment than sex and “virginity.” We see movies like “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” but we don’t see movies like, “The 40-Year-Old Bum Who Hasn’t Done a Damned Thing to Make the World Better.”

Sometimes, I wonder why. Why can’t we just teach kids, from both the left and the right that sex is something amazing and wonderful that should only be had with responsibility, respect and readiness? Isn’t that a much better message than: if you aren’t having sex, you’re a loser or if you’re having sex, you’re a slut?

Wouldn’t it make the whole abstinence education debate much easier to digest? Wouldn’t it make birth control much more easily gotten? Wouldn’t it strike down patriarchy and society’s ideal of a family at its root? It certainly would. Just by changing our personal outlooks on virginity and sex, we can certainly make move the world in the right political direction.

Second point: why does society put such a strong emphasis on the act of sex? It is, after all, only sex. I don’t mean to sound like a frat boy here, but sex is just an act. It’s neither holy nor God’s gift. It’s neither divine nor special. It’s purely biological, just like any other activity that we engage in as humans. Sure, sex is certainly not making love, but it’s got a quality of its own. Just like going for a walk, having dinner or spending the afternoon with someone, sex is just an act. It only becomes special when the person with whom we are sharing it is special. Other than that, sex is just – sex. Why make things any complicated than life already is? To be sure, one should always be monogamous in a relationship, but let’s not treat sex anymore special than just a kiss. A kiss, after all, without any emotions put into it, is just a kiss.

 Kind of funny, too, how “virginity” never seems to be an issue discussed when it comes to the LGBT community. I guess to the right, “virginity” is only important when baby-making is involved.