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Feminism is your friend

OPINION

  • Rush Limbaugh recently called a law student a slut over her support for President Obama's new contraceptives policy. He later apologized for his word choices.
Rush Limbaugh recently called a law student a slut over her support for President… (Reuters file photo )
March 07, 2012|By Niki Fritz, For RedEye

Earmuffs! There is a new F-word in town, and it is dirtier than Rick Santorum's name, more loaded than Mitt Romney's wallet and more vile than the inside of Rush Limbaugh's mouth.

Yes, "feminist" has taken over as the year's most foul word.

Whenever a student tries to argue for access to safe and effective birth control, an unapologetic woman runs for president, or a Girl Scout tries to sell a box of Thin Mints, out pops that dirty little three-syllable word—fem-in-ist—usually along with a few choice adjectives.

Some people might have thought feminism was dead and buried along with those bra-burning, hairy hippies of revolutions past. But the word—or, to be more accurate, the label—has made a resurgence this election season thanks to the Republican War on Contraception. Unfortunately, the 2012 version of feminism has lost the Steinem-chic of the 1970s and has become the madonna-whore-feminazi trifecta of angry talk radio.

Well, F(eminist) that.

Thursday is International Women's Day and the third annual Feminist Pride Day, and I say wave your feminist flag and stick it somewhere old, crusty and rigid that is in need of a good poking.

If, despite the recent vitriolic debates about a woman's right to choose her own method of contraception, you still think feminism is passe, consider the gender imbalances that still plague us today.

Studies show women still earn less than 80 cents to the dollar for the same work as men; a gap that increases dramatically for women of color in the U.S. Men still die on average five years before women largely because of the gender stereotype of a "tough man." And Wal-Mart still sells those God-forsaken pink Legos.

The young feminists of 2012 just want to close these gaps. They are not hyper-sexed, irrational, godless, blue-blooded, praying mantises who have come to bust your balls. In fact, many of us are quite fond of balls and the human beings attached to them.

Some of the feminist clan even have their own balls, and fight for the rights of balls and ovaries to coexist. Male and female feminists realize the importance of each other's gender equality for a more balanced, productive and happier society.

Today's feminist movement is not about making women more powerful than men. It is not about blaming, shaming or hating men for past or present injustices. And I'm pretty sure it isn't about indoctrinating little girls into a communist regime.

Today's revolution is about changing the rules or destroying the rulebook completely so we can all play "Call of Duty" together in gender-neutral harmony.

Despite the inclusive and moderate stance of feminism today, hardliners and talking heads spew such odious hate talk that many are afraid to stand up for what they know is right for fear of being called a "slut" or "prostitute." Ironically, people are afraid to be labeled "radical" in a political world filled with extremes.

What feminists are fighting for is not excessive. We are fighting for gender equality. We are fighting for a world in which we get to decide who we are, not whether we are born innies or outies. We are fighting for a world that is more than blue and pink.

REDEYE SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR NIKI FRITZ IS THE PUBLIC RELATIONS CHAIR FOR THE CHICAGO CHAPTER OF THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN.

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