Feminism

I’ve been thinking about feminism a lot lately. It’s a mix of reasons.

The first reason being the recently bandied about news phrase ‘The War on Women” (from recent news and blogs 1, 2, 3). This issue has come to a head recently when, during a hearing on contraception, only men were present. They actually kicked out a woman for not being ‘qualified’.  Also, a Personhood bill and transvaginal-ultrasound-before-abortion bill were up for votes in Virginia–both were retracted to be revised.

Second, this whole Pantheacon mess*  has brought to light how much I do not know about…well, anything to do with feminism, the transsexual population, sociological gender structures…Nothing. I know, intellectually, about the struggles women faced throughout history. I know–again intellectually–about the foundations of which Z. Budapest created Dianic Wicca and advocated for women’s-only sacred space. I know–one more time, intellectually–about why transwomen would feel hurt, excluded and angry. The only other thing I know is that I certainly do not understand or know enough.

In an age where Rick Santorum is considered a viable candidate for the presidency (and indeed–Republican women are beginning to favor him), when Rihanna and Chris Brown are recording albums together, when families like the Duggars popularize the Quiverful theology…I think it’s time to start (re)considering feminism, women’s spirituality and what, exactly, is going on.

Honestly, for me, it’s time to get started.

I’ve read one-and-a-half books/texts on feminism. Growing up it was something I took for granted. My parents loved me, supported me, told me I could do whatever I wanted, I was smart, I was never pressured to wear makeup, dress a certain way, be a ‘girl’. Never. My parents valued brains and character and kindness more than looks and normative feminine behavior. For that I’m forever grateful.

The first–and only, thus far–feminist book I read was called Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd. Funnily enough, it was the book that shook me right out of Christianity. It opened my eyes to the rotten core, and try as I might I never could reconcile my longing for a spiritual truth to the Christian doctrine or institutions.

Grateful as I was to that book and those ideas, I didn’t pursue it further at the time. I leaped into Pagan literature. Which was fine. It broadened my thinking in tangential ways.

Then, last year’s Pantheacon controversy happened. I spent a lot of time researching transsexual issues, something that I never knew much about. This year, when it became an issue again–right in the middle of all of this GOP hatred of all things women, gay, different, other–something in me seems to have snapped a bit.

Or, rather, I’ve realized that I’m hungry. I’m hungry to read, to think about all of these things that I’ve always taken for granted. Truly, I don’t know what I’m hungry for, in a way. If that makes sense. It just seems that something out there has to make all of this (::waves hands about to the news, etc.::) make sense.

…Right?

Recommendations for literature happily accepted.

**For those of you who don’t know, Pantheacon is a large Pagan festival held every year. The past two years (2011 and 2012) there has been much controversy over a beloved (by some) elder holding rituals that discriminated against transsexual women. You can read more here and here.

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