Feminism United or Feminism Divided
bell hooks brought forth the idea that feminist women create divisions based on their varying experiences of oppression. How can we as women destroy barriers in society when we have them within our own feminist groups?
How Can We Do Better?
It is important that women recognize the diverse prejudices that take place, such as racism, sexuality, class privilege, and many other dividing issues. However, we cannot let these different forms of oppression divide us. Instead we should take our differences and use it to strengthen our solidarity. If we adopt the ideology that we are all part of a sisterhood then we can unite to fight all forms of oppression. Hooks states that if we abandon the idea of sisterhood then we will fail in our battles. I agree that sisterhood is a critical ingredient that our movement lacks. We have many different groups for different issues when we should really be fighting together.
At the Women’s March on January 21, 2017, women who had pro-life beliefs were discouraged into participating even though they shared the same anger towards our new president. Bob Bland, co-chair of the event, stated that he wanted the movement to be inclusive. He stated that, “Inter-sectional feminism is the future of feminism and of this movement, we must not just talk about feminism as one issue, like access to reproductive care”. After his statement other co-chairs quickly added that his statement was an error and added that the Women’s March is only a platform for pro-choice implying that pro-life supporters were not welcome. Although I do not agree with pro-life beliefs, I do agree with Bland in which feminism should embody various opinions. Movements that are inclusive are stronger ones. They make it seem as though the Women’s March was only to state that woman’s rights are human rights, however, I believe there were diverse messages that were being spoken such as black lives matter and LGBTQ rights are human rights. People marched for Muslim and undocumented immigrant rights. There was so much diversity that it was unnecessary to deny pro-life supporters the right to march. By discouraging them to march we abandon our sisterhood.
What Successful Feminism Looks Like
An example of a group of women having a successful inclusive protest is the women in Kenya and their sex strike. The conflicting powers in their country lead to violence ad corruption. Thousands of people were dying as a consequence. To stop this war in their country all of the women participated in a sex strike until the violence was stopped. The Kenyan women were inclusive in which they included the sex workers and even compensated for the money that they would be losing. Regardless of their opposing views of their lifestyles they all came together and agreed that they did not want anymore violence. Together they were able to bring the two powers to put an end to the war. We are stronger when we put our differences aside and use our sisterhood as a weapon.
The Egyptian uprising was sparked by a woman named Asmaa Mahfouz. She started posting Youtube videos stating that she was going to protest to demand human rights. She provided the time and place where it was going to start and urged everyone who agreed with her to join her in making a change. Her message was inclusive and people of all ages and genders participated. Elderly and Children were passing out fliers to inform people to attended her protests and show their support. The diversity of her message gave courage to masses of people. The more people she had standing with her, the stronger she was.
Around the world women are gaining the courage to fight for equality and make positive changes to society for diversities. It is important for us to embrace our sisterhood and see each other as women who need each others help. We cannot continue to let the different struggles each woman goes through create a boundary where we cannot relate to one another. It would only be ineffective and paralyzing to ourselves to unite with women who are like-minded and with similar oppressive experiences. We have to think past our victimization and find a common ground to meet all women on. Once we can overcome our differences then we can unite and fight for causes that have no effect on ourselves. Our sisterhood should paint out a picture where white women stand with black lives matter or where heterosexual females stand with LGBTQ rights. We have so many battles to fight and we need all the help we can get. I am reaching out to men as well. I commend the men who make it known that they support equality for women. We must be inclusive to everyone to have the power to incite changes within society.