“Why You Always Gotta Be So Mad?”
I’m tired of feminism.
Feminism, in that statement, should be in cartoonish, ridiculously large quotation marks. The voice in your head should say that in a heavily sarcastic, exhausted tone. Kind of the way most people who hate feminism talk about feminism.
Unlike those people, though, I don’t mean to proclaim my disdain for the movement as a whole. I’m speaking specifically about what it somehow became, after seemingly taking a sharp turn off The Right Way and ending up on One Way Street.
I’m tired of white feminism. I’m tired of the erasure of the experiences of POC by people who think that showing a nipple is the most radical thing they could do. I know, I have been that feminist. I’ve learned.
You know what else isn’t radical? Your no make up selfie. That is literally just your face.
You know what’s actually radical? Living the life of a POC, whose daily struggles far outweigh a choice not to shave. How cheeky that your body has done exactly what it’s supposed to do and you’ve decided to allow it. What if your body was mistreated, jailed and murdered at a rate so disproportionate… a rate I can’t even find a number for because it climbs every day.
Speaking of bodies, I’m tired of feminists who think they have a say in what any person does with, or feels about, their body.
I’m tired of feminists against sex work.
I’m tired of transphobic feminists.
I’m tired of body shaming, victim blaming feminists. I’m even tired of the whole Victim vs Survivor argument. As someone who has been raped, I don’t give a fuck how I or anyone else decides to identify. All I know is that it shifts, sometimes daily, and I’m allowed to feel how I feel about something that happened to me.
I’m tired of ableism. The idea that people with disabilities get left behind because they can’t march and scream with us is immensely backward. This goes for visible and invisible disabilities.
I’m tired of the feminism that hides behind any one agenda (religion, for example) to parade warped ideals (pro-life, anti-LGBTQ, the list goes on and on) that purport to be best for all of us.
I love God too, and God has never told me to judge anyone.
I know you can’t live someone else’s life. If you are a feminist who is able-bodied, has never had to have an abortion, or haven’t chosen to, never turned to sex work, never been raped, have been raped, never been black, brown, gay or genderqueer, that’s ok. If you are a “feminist” whose stance shifts when it comes to any of the lives I have mentioned, that’s not ok. And that’s not very feminist.
Cue Intersectional Feminism. The textbook definition reads as follows:
The view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity. Cultural patterns of oppression are not only interrelated, but are bound together and influenced by the intersectional systems of society.
What we should strive for is a more inclusive feminist movement. One that gives a voice to the systemically oppressed and, therefore, invisible. We should be done with amplifying the voices that are already louder than everyone else’s. White, middle class people are already one step up from those lacking the same types of resources to grab your attention. They command acceptance simply because they’re an easier pill to swallow. People are more open to listening to them than to poorer, perhaps less educated, maybe not so neatly packaged people.
Maybe because we fear the unknown.
But that’s starting to feel like an old excuse. Everything is unknown to us at first, we have to be willing to LEARN.
Take a look at your life. If you call yourself a feminist but find that all of your peers are rich and white, that you only read books (or messages via social media, etc) by straight, white and/or otherwise privileged people, that you consume cultures different than your own via music or other media but do nothing else to support people from those cultures, if you have ever or currently do project your white guilt onto POC… you might be a white feminist. And your performative self-loathing doesn’t actually count as taking accountability for anything. It’s time for a different approach.