The Battle of Fighting Oppression From the Patriarchy and Other Women
What Women Should Learn From The Arab Spring
Feminism is a term that seems to confuse many people often.
Women are almost afraid to identify as a feminist because of the negative connotation. Feminists hate men. That’s not exactly right. Feminists believe in equality between men and women. Yes, that was the goal at some point in the movement. A feminist theorist explains in her work that this equality derived from upper-class white women. White women were too preoccupied with the idea of women being the counterpart of men that they failed to recognize the oppression of their sisters belonging to minorities.
The oppression of people of color is often forgotten or not acknowledged.
White feminists have long fought to be equal to men and forget that there is still a division between white women and women of color. We women of color use comedy as a release and as an outlet to acknowledge the oppression. It’s a way of saying “Damn, you’re right I have experienced that!” It is not about necessarily blaming the white woman for our oppression but rather a way to say “Hey this is how your behavior is affecting us.” Men should be comrades and fight for us too. First, we need equality and solidarity between women of all race, sexual orientation, and class before setting another goal. All women are oppressed, but some are more than others. We need to be reminded that women also exploit other women, and that is not feminism.
Revolution is very much needed especially in today’s circumstances.
Women still do not have complete control over their bodies, and white men still believe they should be making decisions for women. The issue at hand is we come together in solidarity when it is trendy or highly publicized. The Women’s March on Washington brought about awareness of the current issues. But did everyone listen to what was being said? Are white women willing to fight for women of color? Is their mentality now black lives matter or still all lives matter? “When your feminism and liberation are not only rooted in but thrive on my oppression, you are not my sister and I do not stand with you.”
Another issue I have is the dismissal of these protests. We all want to see change but once there is no longer any media coverage we forget to continue fighting. I am not denying that the Women’s March had a profound effect but what precisely are we asking for? Women marched for reproductive justice, social justice, economic justice, racial justice, etc., but did it reach those in power? Did the government feel threatened by the march? Change can happen, we just need to organize our protests differently. It happened in the Arab Spring, and it is likely it can happen in the United States.
Women played a vital role in the Arab Spring and the uprising in Egypt.
Egyptians demanded that the president step down from office immediately after experiencing decades of corruption and abuse. Asmaa Mahfouz risked her life by posting a video on the internet encouraging women and the young generation to join in protest. The women used social media platforms to get the word out about planned demonstrations. Even after suffering severe attacks, the women were persistent for change. They stood together and said they would not be scared away. Egyptian women stood for their rights to be active and equal members of Egyptian society. The Uprising in Egypt should be an example on how to successfully protest. There was a specific goal set, men and women joined together and fought until they got what they wanted. The crowd consisted of the old and young, the poor, middle, and upper class. We need to take what Egypt accomplished and use it as an influence to make a change in our country.
We need to reorganize ourselves so an actual revolution can happen.
We have to fix the oppression of women of color first and then move forward. Even if you cannot relate to another’s oppression, it is better to understand that it is happening. Even if you feel that you are not oppressed, there are other women who are. If you identify as a woman, this should concern you. Listen and learn to what women of color have to say. Learn about the issues they face and help them fight back. Create your own media and speak out on women’s issues. Protest happens out of urgency because of the need of change before further damage is done. We have long waited for the rights of our own bodies and to be considered equal in society. Our goal should be to stop letting men decide for us. Fix what is occurring within the oppressed group and continue to grow. Intersectionalism is the only way women can break free from oppression.