This blog is intended as a space for the discussion of the portrayal of women in popular culture. It may not be the most unique idea, but it’s still an important one.

Why do you call yourself the Sketchy Feminist?

I call myself a “feminist” because I was once in the audience at a workshop/presentation held by one of the editors for Bitch magazine. The editor claimed that she was looking for feedback on whether or not to keep the word “feminist” in the magazine’s subtitle, because it might be alienating. She asked for introductions all around to start things off. Over and over again, people introduced themselves with some variation of “I am not a feminist,” followed by an expression of support for the equality of men and women. This was in a large crowd of predominately women, and it happened probably fifty times in a row. Now, I am a firm believer in people being allowed to identify themselves as they choose, but my heart breaks just a little when those who obviously support the ideals of feminism reject and renounce the words: feminism, feminist. Usually this rejection comes from a fear that calling oneself a “feminist” gives the impression that one is aggressive, that one dislikes men. Several audience members preferred “humnanist” to “feminist”–a reappropriation that seemed, at best, to attempt to displace or ignore the definition of “humanist,” which is a good, useful term that has its own meaning already and does not mean the same thing as “feminist” at all.

When the time came for me to introduce myself (and I was one of the last speakers, and not one of the women before me had identified as feminist, though I think I remember that a male friend of mine may have), I tried to introduce myself as a feminist. It was a little scary, actually, after seeing that word so broadly rejected, and I choked a bit and hedged, saying “I consider myself a feminist” instead of “I am a feminist,” as if I wasn’t sure what I was, and wanted to leave the door open for people to correct me.

And now that I feel more in tune with feminism than I did then, I sometimes worry at the term from the opposite side, afraid that I am somehow not “feminist” enough. How can I call myself “feminist” when so many awesome, brave, outspoken people apply it to themselves? Do I have a right to the term, even on days when I don’t feel like I measure up?

But that’s all hogwash, really.

The short and long of it is, I call myself a feminist because I am one.

What about the “Sketchy” part?

I was talking to my friend, L, about how I wanted to start a new blog, where I would share my reactions to pop culture media like manga and comic books. I said I didn’t know what I would call it. L said, “Maybe something with a play on ‘sketch’?” I said, “The Sketchy Feminist?” thinking it was just a first idea that I would chuck immediately upon arrival of a better one.

We both paused thoughtfully and I realized I liked it.