I thought I'd write a brief post to introduce myself to the blog, and thank Ryan for inviting me along.
I am a chemistry student who lives in Kansas. I've been involved in other political groups, and while I am a socialist I have not been involved in labor politics outside of personal advocation. I have been involved in feminist politics through the campus' philosophy club, which has discussed feminism, gay rights, atheism, and science. I had the privilege to participate in a public debate on abortion, arguing that abortion is generally a moral decision. I've also participated with an on campus anti-genocide group. Maybe all of this at once seems a little ridiculous as I'm trying to show off my credentials, but I wanted to show that while I haven't been in labor politics yet I have a little experience with public politics and I want to get involved with the IWW.
I hope to build some ties here to the labor movement in the United States, because the Midwest needs it! Further, I think there's a lot of potential for bridging between leftish groups, such as feminism and labor, and I thought this blog to be the perfect place to try and find and keep that sort of inter-group building.
As for feminism: I can't say I always was. In fact, one would be fair to say that I fit a fairly stereotypical pattern for a Kansas male with regards to women. But along the way I got to thinking, and I think that this pattern was damaging to myself and my relationships with others, even if it may have facilitated some ground-level immediate understanding, and so I decided I wanted to change that.
My experiences in calling myself a feminist thus far have revealed a few things. Some persons don't respect men that are feminists, some do. It tends to put you in a different crowd. But one thing in particular that struck me was that it's easier for me to say I'm a feminist than for a woman to do so. When a woman does so, even though it's obviously not the case, the immediate description that people generally leap to is an undesirable one. With me, as a man, people generally just don't know what to say. I'm a pretty open guy, and I'm friendly about it, so they may go for a playful ribbing, or just give me a "huh?" expression, which gives me an opportunity to explain myself. So, even in the realm of feminism, it seems that I have the easier job. Go fig! I'm not sure what to do about it -- as I said, I'm pretty open about myself, and I continue to say what I say when it seems appropriate to do so. But talk about a bad gig for the women.