As I grew up and began identifying myself as a feminist, there were plenty of issues that continued to make me question marriage: the father 'giving' the bride away, women taking their husband's last name, the white dress, the vows promising to 'obey' the groom. And that only covers the wedding.
There have been women who stumbled across Feministing randomly, through a bizarre Google search or something, and had no idea what feminism was. They thought it was something older women do, or bought into the hairy bra-burning man-hating stereotype 100 percent. Anything that deviates from that is very exciting for them
Wanting to be liked means being a supporting character in your own life, using the cues of the actors around you to determine your next line rather than your own script. It means that your self-worth will always be tied to what someone else thinks about you, forever out of your control.
People ask me a lot, 'Well, can you be pro-life and be feminist? Can you be conservative and be feminist?' And I think that, yeah, maybe personally you can be those things. But I think if you're advocating for legislation, or if you're fighting to limit other women's rights, then you can't really call yourself a feminist.
When I started blogging in 2004, I responded to every comment no matter how nasty the reader was. I was generally polite, believing that these critics would be so charmed by my professionalism that they would see the error of their misogynist ways and swiftly run out to read a bell hooks book. Ha!
A huge part of keeping women in their place has to do with creating a really limited definition of what a 'real' woman is like. And a ton of that what-makes-a-woman nonsense is attached to motherhood. Apparently, by virtue of having ovaries and a uterus, women are automatic mommies or mommies-to-be.
The implications of likability are long-lasting and serious. Women adjust their behavior to be likable and as a result have less power in the world. And this desire to be liked and accepted goes beyond the boardroom - it's an issue that comes up for women in their personal lives as well, especially as they become more opinionated and outspoken.
The stereotypes of feminists as ugly, or man-haters, or hairy, or whatever it is - that's really strategic. That's a really smart way to keep young women away from feminism, is to kind of put out this idea that all feminists hate men, or all feminists are ugly; and that they really come from a place of fear.