Feminism: Hello, I’d like to offer you a year long subscription to feminism.
Me: Go on.
Feminism: You can have the personal satisfaction of fighting for justice and equality in the world.
Me: What does it cost?
Feminism: I can offer you a low introductory rate. But first, tell me, what are you paying for your current subscription?
Me: All my might, mind, and strength. My time and talents. Ten percent of my income.
Feminism: Well, we can surely beat that. For only twenty minutes a day of Internet Moral Outrage, you can be a feminist!
Me: I’m actually trying to avoid moral outrage right now. It gives me hot air, if you know what I mean.
Feminism: Oh, but think of all the good you can do! The glory of feminism is that it gives you (and everyone else) permission to be exactly whoever and whatever they want to be!
Me: ….I needed permission? My current subscription declares that my free will is self-evident, divinely endowed, and immutable. I *already* don’t need anyone’s permission to be whatever I want.
Feminism: Yes, but don’t you get tired of people pressuring you to be one thing or another, rather than your true self?
Me:……Um, no. You can ask my parents. Or my fifth grade religion teacher. Or my high school ex boyfriend. Or that English professor determined that I should discover my inner goddess in the wilds of the Gila. I can be infuriatingly noncompliant.
Feminism: OK, OK, so you’re so terribly privileged you don’t feel pressure to conform and you do what you want. Whoopdie-Doo. Surely you feel the need to liberate others, to help them embrace their true selves and break free of social pressure to comply with outdated and oppressive expectations?
Me: Yes! That’s why I’m an advocate for prayer. And personal revelation. Self-knowledge, self-esteem, and courage to embrace one’s identity all come amply from God.
Feminism: Oh, well, that’s all very well and good, you know, but not everyone believes in God.
Me: If they won’t have butter, feminism is a passable margarine.
Feminism: I’m choosing to ignore that. Let’s talk relationships. You need me to stand up for yourself! To maintain your own autonomy and identity and independence! We’re not going to have any of this co-dependent June Cleaver nonsense anymore.
Me: I most certainly agree. But independence is just more margarine. There’s this lovely thing called interdependence. And it’s HAWT. Like melted butter.
Feminism: ….it sounds like codependence.
Me: Nah. It’s like independence except happier. And stronger. And way less lonely, if you know what I mean. Also, you don’t have to be constantly worrying about whether you’re getting enough autonomy, or carrying too much emotional labor–honesty and trust take care of so much of that. Also, I’m hungry now.
Feminism: Whatever. Let’s talk about rape. You need feminism to teach men not to rape.
Me: Erm…This is also covered in the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, modern revelation, Medieval codes of chivalry, and this delightful 18th century pirates’ code of conduct: “If at any time you meet with a prudent Woman, that Man that offers to meddle with her, without her Consent, shall be shot.”
Feminism: Yes, but those were all dirty patriarchal narratives set up to objectify women, dehumanize them, put them on a pedestal, or commodify them.
Me: *speechless at the blithe nature of such an enormous blanket statement*
Feminism: Don’t you feel a responsibility to stand up for the downtrodden, the oppressed?
Feminism: So join us in this cause of social justice!
Me: …and grace?
Me: Justice and grace? Or mercy, if you will. You need both.
Feminism: Yes. Grace and mercy for the oppressed.
Me: No, it has to be for everyone. I need mercy and grace for everyone. Including the oppressor. Otherwise, the fight for justice becomes a zero-sum game, a violent power struggle where everyone ultimately loses.
Feminism: I knew it. You have too much internalized misogyny to be one of us. I hereby reject your application.
Me: …..I didn’t apply? But seriously, I still love you. You’re well-intentioned and sometimes helpful, and I think those pink knit hats are adorable. Until I remember that they’re supposed to be uteri, which makes your neck a metaphorical vagina, and then things just get weird. Like really, maybe you should stop dressing up as giant anthropomorphic lady parts.
Feminism: Like I said, internalized misogyny. And don’t tell me what to do! I’m autonomous!
Me: Oh, okay. Sorry.
Feminism: Don’t apologize! Women apologize too much because patriarchy.
Me: Right. Sorry about that.