The Feminist Oppressor speaks.
Look. I realize that I am naive about why and how feminism became a dirty word. About the modern history of the feminist movement, and how it ostracized certain groups – and that, if I’d like to wax philosophical on feminism, I need to educate myself on this. I can certainly guess at how this was accomplished (hello, Sarah Palin’s Grizzly Bear Moms), and I can also see how hetero-males come to find feminism a dirty word (because clearly all feminists are bra-burning bitches who hate men).
With that caveat, I still think it’s ok for me to discuss what I (me personally – not for all womankind) feel about the term “feminism.” Among other things.
For me, “feminism” means that, as I define myself as a women, I would like women to be treated with equality. Because we’re not. That is the most simple of definitions, and, I believe, it is a basic term.
Take it from there as you will. Use it as a weapon as you will. Use it to define yourself/your cause/your outlook/you friends/your enemies as you will.
However – perhaps realize that, once you define it further or use it further, your are getting away from the basic term “feminism” to begin something else. Which is the way the world works, because we all see things and do things and think things differently.
But. The basic term has not, in my mind, been altered. So, I ask you, why does “feminism” have to be a dirty word across the board for some? We are angry at those NYC Mosque-haters (term used on purpose for effect) for discriminating against all Muslims because of extremists… is it not possible we’re doing the same here, when we say:
Fuck feminism, fuck feminists and fuck their obnoxious entitled bullshit attitudes.And fuck all of you who think you did a goddamn thing for my daughter. MOTHERS did that, not you.
Ummm…. well. First, I feel I am entitled to some things – but I want them in equal parts – not more. That doesn’t make me a bad person. Just because I am closer to them, have greater access to them, does not mean I don’t understand that you deserve them as well, or that I don’t want them for you, too. Does not mean I do not understand that you don’t have them, does not make me less of an aware world citizen who understands her place and does her best not to take more than her share.
“I ain’t no saint / I help myself to what I need / But I help other people too.”
Second, while I supposed it matters where you live, but women who may or may not have been mothers actually did do something for your daughter. Would she like to vote? Would she like to go to college? Would she like a paycheck in kind with her male colleagues? Well, then.
I’m sorry, but insinuating that only mothers have made a difference for women in the world really bothers me.
What about women before children? What about women who choose not to have children? What about MEN for crying out loud??
But I’m digressing a little…
srsly, if the common definition for feminism to be treated equal to a man. im not interested in feminism. that is not the goal of the women with whom ive worked. 1/3 of black men are in the prison industrial system. i am working for a different world for my daughter.
Hmmm… Well. I don’t want a world where men OR women are subjugated, either.
Look. I get where these women are coming from: the place where people are battling together for basic human rights. I get it.
However, I do not see feminism as outside/better than of the fight for civil rights. Or gay rights. Or trans rights. Or basic fucking HUMAN rights – as in the right to feed myself, clothe myself, and get a goddamn education.
These movements should not sit around effing comparing which fight is more difficult, or more important, or has the biggest balls.
Look. First of all, I get that your shit is more difficult. I get that you are struggling for the basic human rights part. I do not in any way, shape, or form, mean to belittle your plights. Really really really really.
Second of all, just because I have always had my basic human rights, and more than that, handed to me since the day I was effing born, doesn’t mean I can’t sympathize with you. That I can’t… attempt to comprehend what you might be going through. I KNOW I cannot ever ever evereverever understand what you’re going through – because I have had my basic rights since day one.
But. These things do not make me obsolete. They do not make my struggles, my experiences, my life, my voice less than yours. They do not make my abilities and my motivations and my dreams any less important or significant in this grand fight that, guess fucking what, we are on the same effing side of. Regardless of if you define yourself as a feminist or think feminists are all dirty whores.
YES I know I cannot ever understand. YES I know I have things that you fight for every second of every day, simply because I was born with the right skin color and to the right parents in the right country. YES I know you are dealing with things I cannot possibly fathom. YES I understand there are so many things I do not, cannot fully understand.
But. I have experience discrimination. I have friends who have as well. And, for the record, I wasn’t born with the “right” sexual proclivity – according to the straight world and, frankly, according to much of the gay community, too.
In addition. Are we saying that just because a person is white, male, and wealthy, it means he has nothing to say? Nothing to teach? Nothing to give? Nothing to contribute? That he is incapable of feeling basic human empathy- even if he can never understand?
So. I ask you. Should our differences define our relationship to one another? Should we use those things to keep dividing us, conquering us, encouraging anger between us? Should we keep focusing on the differences between us, using them as that which is most important?
Is this a goddamn pissing contest? Have we learned NOTHING?
We should see the strength in our varied experiences, our varied backgrounds, despite our differences. We should be walking in each other’s shoes, looking through one another eyes, listening to one another’s stories. What can we learn from each other? What can be gained from one another’s knowledge and wisdom? What can be amassed from our shared resources?
Instead of shouting “you’re the oppressor!” while posting about “revolutionary love”.
It is this language of this versus that that oppresses, even those with privilege and money. It divides us – creates us versus them. We are no better than the Mosque-haters, we are no better than the extremists, the worst among us who have no eyes, no ears. No hearts.
We can point the finger at feminism, say that the movement has ostracized so many… but if in the same breath, we blame someone else, or we define what the “right” movement is… we automatically ostracize anew.
What about women without children? What about transgendered? What about me, the white and privileged? What about MEN, for crying out loud??
How can we fight for equality, in any sense of the word, how can we be for anyone, when we can’t stop being against someone else??
Maybe I am just being really naive here. But does that really matter? In the end? In what is important and how we’re going to get this done?
We can’t possibly move forward if we don’t actually start listening, start discussing instead of yelling, start changing our minds…start seeing another point of view, start walking in another person’s shoes. How can we ask for forgiveness, or validate your anger and your oppression, if you’ve decided we don’t belong at the table? And, furthermore, the world is defined in haves and have-nots. Always has and always will. That is not my fault. But, you can choose to blame me for it, and decide I don’t belong in your world view, or you can engage me, and we can work together.
We can stop ending the discussion at “you’re white and privileged. You won’t understand” and start the discussion with “What can I teach you?”
Start forgiving. You talk of love? Then start fucking loving.
That kind of revolutionary love really would be something.
A comment from Lisa:
Stupid me. I had thought feminism, as I have cultivated it for myself, meant to radically transform the oppressive states of all peoples, beginning with women who are the overwhelming majority of poverty and violence.
I’m pretty sure that someone really awesome, say, uh bell hooks or Audre, or Gloria, that said something along the lines of:
The point of feminism is not for women to be equal to men. The point of feminism is not to lust after the dominating roles of ruling over others. The point is to unearth the systematic oppressions that keep us all locked and limited. It is about transforming power, ourselves, and our lives. And it begins with wo/men.
I do identify as feminist, with the understanding that I will have to spend a helluva amount of time disclaiming many attributes and notions of mainstream feminism. I believe there are multiple manifestations of feminism. I also believe in the power of not identifying as such. Cause, you know, the majority of women on this planet DON’T. And I’m pretty sure a lot of those women are pretty rad and amazing just as they are.
And anyone with the time to contribute to this site has the capacity to at least TRY to understand that enforcing and using the label “feminist” as either an equalizer or qualifier is one of the most elitist and ignorant actions that can be thrust upon someone who *chooses* otherwise.