Last semester I was sitting in my history class when the professor began a lecture on the Feminist Movement of the mid-20th century. He began by asking the question, "How many of you believe the word 'feminist' has a negative connotation?' I watched, intrigued, as every male in the classroom raised a hand. Mine remained motionless in my lap while my mind chewed over this interesting little observation. At some point the lecture drifted to the 1968 Miss America Beauty Pageant protest where the term 'bra burning' originated. During the course of the protest, a trash can was filled with bras, high heels, corsets, curlers, etc. to symbolize a complete disassociation with traditional feminist ideals. The 400 or so women assembled discussed burning these items but were not able to obtain a permit, leaving the alleged 'instruments of torture' intact. At this point in the lecture, the boy sitting next to me said loudly, "Now if there had been a boy scout there they would have been able to get the job done." Snickers followed (from the male half of the room, I presume, as the majority of females present were likely Girls Camp graduates, well versed in the art of campfire-building).
Now just to be clear, I think bra burning sounds like a really stupid idea. Physically it makes sense to wear a bra. Financially it makes sense not to burn bras (they cost about $40 a pop). One thing that does make sense though is the idea that women competing against each other to prove whose body is most appealing is fundamentally wrong (which was the way that the Miss America Pageant was going down in 1968). Especially when considering the fact that only a very small percentage of females are able to healthily attain the ideal body as depicted in the media. That however is a whole different post entirely.
If I have not already revealed myself, I would like to take this opportunity to come out as a feminist. Not as a feminist in the traditional manner of speaking, but as a feminist who believes that being feminine and completely different from men is a beautiful thing. The irony of the feminist movement is that its objective was to, in a sense, masculinize women while at the same time standing against everything men represented. Mmm I love a good paradox. I really believe that breasts, hips, maternal inclinations, soft features, sensitivity, and smelling good are not bad things! Unfortunately, these protesters got 95% of the feminist movement wrong. Interesting, isn't it?