Honestly, I’m not really a fan of the term.
But can I be described as a ‘feminist’? If you knew me, you’d probably say yes.
However, it is definitely NOT a word I’d use to describe myself. It seems the older I get the more estranged I feel from the term. Not only is the term increasingly associated with radicals who go beyond the notion of equality towards belittling men but it also an ideology the is very white.
I started off (around year 9) thinking I was a ‘feminist’ because I believe in ‘equality for women’ but over time I realised that what I perceived as ‘equality’ was not what other ‘feminists’ did.
And so I switched to identifying as ‘HeForShe’ (I’m a massive Emma Watson fan). Because why should a women be able to choose whether or not she wants work when a man has no choice but to work? Why should women gain ‘equality’ when it comes to aspects that, currently, men benefit from but when it’s comes to having men hold doors open for them, carry their bags, or pay for their food they still reap the benefits?
But about two years ago I realised that while I still very much hold the views I had because when I thought I was a feminist or even HeForShe, neither term is comfortably applicable to me. They serve the white, middle class women and therefore doesn’t wholly align with my interests.
I’m not a feminist.
I’m not HeForShe.
Because unlike the typical subscriber to feminist idology, I strive also for racial equality, then class equality and then gender equality. For me there are many more hurdles compared to which some feminist goals seem trivial and petty.
My white middle class, self proclaimed feminist lecturer once said that [white] women’s roles in the past were comparable to those of slaves!??! (Yes, the ignorance is real). This sole point demonstrates why I don’t identify as feminist. It seems the white ideology that is feminism has a tendency to ignore real struggle and to depict their own problems [very white and often very middle class] in an exaggerated way that attempts to put them on equal footing of groups that suffer much worse. It seems petty struggles faced by white people will always be exaggerated or real struggles faced by non-whites always suppressed/dampened to make them seem less. I think the most disappointing this is, they recognise full well the struggles of the oppressed go up they compare to yet refuse to acknowledge that they attempts really better off??
The intersections aspect of feminism is ignored.
^^^^the above post is something I wrote when I first created this blog and but never published because it felt somewhat lacking. I guess today I just wanted to share my, unedited teenage thoughts.
Recently there was a statement released by Emma Watson where she acknowledged that her feminism was indeed ‘white’ and needs some work.(I was very happy to hear this as an Emma fan) I think the older I get the more I realise that feminism, agency and equality are not what others tell you but what you percieve yourself, shaped by culture, upbringing, beliefs and more importantly what we want, whether its covering up or undressing, wanting a family or not. A lecturer and I were once discussing feminism and the backlash she recieved from her fellow feminists for taking her husbands name after marriage and each time I think of this I think of how many women are often the first to put down other women, and question their choices. So how can we achieve equality when we are divided within us?
There is no ‘right’ way of doing feminism, it is simply an ideology wherein women are allowed to do as they please without asking anyone’s permission to do so (including other women), where they can decide the roles they feel comfortable in whether they are leadimg roles or as subordinates and where they are not denied opportunities because of their gender, culture, race or anything else that may not follow the ‘norm’. And that’s something the movement really needs to catch up with.