My name is Kate Healy, and I identify myself as a moderate liberal.
Yet if you ask my friends, ranging from my bosom buddies to my mere acquaintances, I have a hunch that most would term me a blue-breathing, super-with-a-capital-s liberal. The kind of liberal who copies-and-pastes arguments from tumblr and pretends that they are valid (sans sources), the kind of liberal who throws around words like “bigot” and “ignorant” willy-nilly, the kind of liberal who cannot comprehend political conservatism, etc.
If you then ask said friends about my stances on such issues as the Iran Deal, the death penalty, or the idea of a national language, I would bet that they would not be able to answer.
What depresses me the most about this, not that I have anything against big blue dragons, is that I believe this confusion stems from my being an ardent feminist, an ally of the LGBTQ+ community, and a fan of human rights.
Let me give you some examples.
Just two days ago, when I mentioned that not one of the Republican candidates supports Planned Parenthood, or even acknowledges that the damaging videos that were ‘leaked’ this past summer sprang from a known anti-abortion source, my male friend’s only comment was, “You do realize that there are more pressing issues than just women’s things, right?”.
Just yesterday, a different friend accused me of not being a Biden fan until I saw footage of his speech on sexual assault.
When I attempted to defend myself, on both occasions, I was brushed off. But if I had a chance to do-over my rebuttal, it would likely sound something like this:
“Yes, I am fully aware that there are issues in the world other than simply ‘women’s things’. If by women’s ‘things’ you mean women’s rights, however, I am forced to point out how often women’s rights issues are marginalized. I stand behind Planned Parenthood, as the organization has not been found guilty of any crime as yet, and because it provides healthcare to the women who need it most. If the women’s ‘thing’ is meant to mean abortion, only 3% of Planned Parenthood funding goes towards the safe, legal abortions that Planned Parenthood offers. If you are implying that I base all political decisions solely on a candidate’s stance on abortion or on women’s rights, then you are wrong. It most certainly is an important factor, as women’s rights are, in fact, human rights, and the level of advancement of a nation can best be judged by how it treats its women, its LGBTQ+ residents, and its minority groups. I resent the implication that I somehow, as a woman, am blind to issues such as national security or immigration when I strive to be as well-informed as possible. I resent the implication that somehow women’s issues, women’s rights, what have you, take a backseat to any of the other major issues that are discussed in American political debates. I resent the implication that women’s ‘things’ don’t matter to you nearly as much as they do to me simply because I am a woman and you are a man.
“Yes, I gained respect for Biden after hearing his speech. He urged us, as a society, to take ownership of the huge issue of rape, to stop sweeping it under the rug, to actively seek to prevent this heinous crime from occurring. He specifically mentioned a hypothetical frat house situation, which touched upon the fact that, according to the Campus Sexual Assault Study, 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted during their college careers. As I am about to embark upon my own college adventure, hearing someone speak out about the statistic I am about to stare down for the next four years was refreshing. He reinforced the idea that no means no, that if the other person is too drunk to say yes then trying to do anything other than get that person home safely is wrong– need I go on? Hearing a man unequivocally condemn rape, for whatever reason, garners more attention from the general public than hearing a woman give the exact same speech. So yes. I respect the speech, I respect the man, and while his denouncement of rape culture is not the only thing that I respect him for, it most certainly contributes to my respect.”
This hypothetical response would not be spoken in a heated, pointed tone. I would have to consciously make an effort to be neutral and composed, especially regarding feminism, because I know that to show emotion is to not be taken seriously. To show frustration, or anger, or sadness, is to be hormonal, crazy, or (worse yet) ignored. But to be cold is to be an ice queen worthy of Hillary’s would-be crown. Understand that I am simply trying to communicate my thoughts as an individual; consider me sexless if it helps to make my above arguments seem any more legitimate than they already are.
And the fact that I felt that final paragraph was necessary encapsulates the reason why I am willing to be mislabeled as a “Super Liberal” for the sake of being a feminist.