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From the Edge: Editorial

 by Megan Irwin
 published on Thursday, April 27, 2006

Irwin<br>Editor in Chief/issues/arts/696891
Irwin
Editor in Chief
 

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I love the "F" word. No, I'm not talking about the expletive for "making love," so popular in today's vernacular.I'm talking about feminism. To me, the word has a positive, and extremely important, meaning. It means I don't have to have kids if I don't want to (thanks Ortho Tri-Cyclen). It means my future employer cannot touch me or speak to me in a sexual way. It means I actually can have a future employer.

These are all good things and I don't take them for granted. As recently as the 1990s, sexual harassment was something women just had to deal with in the workplace. A mere 50 years ago, birth control was out of the question for most women. These are important advances.

Yet some people are still afraid of the "F" word. I've actually heard women go out of their way not to be labeled feminists. It's one of the most divisive words I can think of. So many people see feminism as yet another "us vs. them" -ism.

It doesn't have to be that way. The women in this week's cover story (Take it Like a Woman, page 8) are proof. These women skate in the Arizona Roller Derby, affirming that contact sports are not a boys-only club. These women aren't afraid to take a hit and can skate circles around plenty of less experienced men, but that's not what impresses me most about them. What I love so much about roller derby is the outlet for aggression it gives women.

Because guess what? We get pissed off and sometimes we want to hit things. I don't think that's unladylike (or maybe I just don't care if it is). I think that's part of being human. So I really appreciate the fact that roller derby gives the women a very tangible, contact-intensive way to get out their frustrations -- without stereotypes or judgments.

Roller derby wasn't established as a feminist sport. In fact, many of the women in today's league hesitate to identify themselves with feminist ideology. Though I wish people wouldn't shy away from the word, the labels we give to things ultimately don't matter much.

What matters is that these women have found a place where being female isn't something to just accept, or something we have to exploit. In the rink, being female is secondary to kicking ass and playing the game.

I'd like to think that someday the same thing will be true for life in general, because I'm ready to play.



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