::rubs temples:: This. Exactly this. http://pandagon.net/index.php/site/comments/how_anti_feminism_gets_redefined_as_real_feminism/
Point 2 in particular, "Misconceptions about what feminists believe". I have lost count of the times my husband has attempted to tell me "Oh, Kim-chan, you're not really a feminist, you just think you are" because of those rampant and pervasive misconceptions. I've yet to correct his ideas.
One conversation that stands out was shortly after the Ledbetter case went before the Supreme Court, and the subsequent legislation that closed the loophole. He wanted to know, I forget precisely why, what feminism meant to me, and why I kept insisting his anti-male special-privileges-for-women-only notions were not in fact mainstream feminism. I went over a list of my beliefs, including equal pay for women and men conmeasurate with experience and education, equal opportunities for men and women to shine in whatever fields they chose, etc.
He got this smug, 'gotcha', smile, and said, "Honey, I hate to break this to you, but those aren't feminist beliefs, those are Republican
beliefs." Apparently because Republicans are all about equality and fair treatment. But feminists aren't.
I stared at him for a moment, then brought up the Ledbetter case. I reminded him how outraged he'd been about it, not merely on the technicality that she was well past the statute of limitations to bring such a suit, but that she was bringing the suit at all. How he'd argued that she should have known somehow what everybody else was getting paid, how she should have asked others what their pay scale was, and it was all her own fault for being too dumb to find out. I did my best, once again, to explain why that simply doesn't happen in the civilian workforce, for men or women, and tried to describe to him how many workplaces, including most of the ones I've been employed at, actively discourage employees from discussing their pay amongst themselves. He totally did not get it, in part I suspect because his only jobs before enlistment were university work-study positions. Much like the military's pay grades, wages for each position are marked specifically in the job listings, and made public note of on bulletin boards at work.
Then I reminded him how, after he'd got done being pleased that the Supreme Court held, in strict constructionist fashion, to the statute of limitations and ruled against Ms. Ledbetter, he'd then gotten very outraged that Congress moved to change the law for any future such discrimination cases. I wanted to know how that was equality of treatment. To his credit, he did not try to argue that Congress ought not to use its own legislative powers to change laws after the Supreme Court made a ruling, the way some on the Internet did at the time. Instead he maintained that this was special treatment, and unfair, and nobody should be able to bring lawsuits against companies whenever they felt they'd been paid less than others. He said this posed an unfair burden on businesses, who would then have to field huge lawsuits at any time, and would damage the economy.
I said that if companies wanted to avoid lawsuits, all they had to do was pay everyone equally to begin with, starting from the first day on the job
, and document any changes in experience or education that led to raises for people who held the same job title as others who did not get raises.
Then the conversation devolved into an argument about frivolous lawsuits and the need for tort reform.
::rubs temples some more::
I would post this on Facebook, with another of my "This is why I am a God-damned feminist" titles, but I don't feel like causing drama.
I won't even get into the argument about how Palin's a true feminist, and other feminists shouldn't use her anti-choice stance to deny her feminism, and they're just jealous/just trying to use it as a way to only allow the 'right' feminists power/just scared of her and of conservatives. It will raise my blood pressure to no good end. I need to keep my composure so I can get things done and handle my upcoming doctor appointment with grace and calm.
Still going to read relevant articles, though. I may be a stay-at-home mom, not an activist, but that doesn't mean I do not need to stay informed, or that I can be all complacent because I have a halfway decent marriage and family.