I seem to be on the road to self-identifying as a feminist. Some of you might be looking at me like, well DUH, but let me explain: I’ve always had feminist tendencies. It’s funny, but since birth I’ve had this nagging conceptualization of myself as a person that deserves recognition as such…but I digress. I’ve always had feminist tendencies. I just used to be
wary of downright against calling myself “a feminist.” And before you start thinking I’m some little punk, it wasn’t because of all of the shit that gets talked about feminists. Who gon’ check me, boo?!
My problems with feminism come from its longstanding history of ignoring the particular struggles affecting women who are anything other that White, middle-class, and heterosexual. And yeah, okay, I know the movement is officially for all women now, but honestly, I believe that like I believe Santorum was talking about “blah” people…like hell.
|Get at me when you stop producing foolishness like this, feminism. It’s like, damn, and I liked SlutWalk too…|
I still see the experiences of women of color, queer women, and poor women being addressed primarily by in-group members. I still see personhood being portrayed as Whites-only when feminists report statistics about “Women,” “Men,” “Blacks,” and “Hispanics.” (Should I clap that you’re trying when you’re doing it so very wrong?) And it’s just like, while I’m so glad the right to breastfeed at work has become protected by law, I’m just much more concerned with the fact that unemployment is rising for Blacks as it falls for everyone else.
And yeah, okay, I know that Black feminism is a thing. It’s a really fucking awesome thing. And then there’s the whole womanist movement, too. And when I discovered these, I got more open to the idea of maybe calling myself a feminist. And when I realized the error of my previously pro-life ways, I got even more open to the idea of maybe calling myself a feminist. And the above photograph says more than I ever can about how the movement as a whole isn’t doing nearly enough to address race and racism, but at least part of that needs to be interpreted in a Gandhi “It’s not your Christ I have a problem with; it’s your Christians” kind of manner.
And there’s another It’s-not-your-Feminism-it’s-your-feminists problem that I have: man-bashing. I really don’t know what it’s going to take for people to realize that the celebration of one thing does not necessitate the belittling of its opposite (not that I believe men and women are inherently opposites). It is possible to love one thing without hating its counterpart. I love being Black, but that doesn’t mean I hate Whiteness. I’m pro-choice but not anti-children (for other people). I’m pretty sex-positive, but that doesn’t mean I’m abstinence-negative. And I can’t stand it when so-called “feminists” attack manhood and masculinity, rather than attacking patriarchy. I can’t stand it when “feminism” doesn’t realize that portraying women as “good” and men as “evil” not only belittles both genders by erases heterogeneity, but is creating the exact same issues that patriarchy creates by portraying men as significant and women as not. By talking about all the things that are “wrong” with “men,” these people are just playing into the narrow stereotypes and archetypes patriarchy has carved out for men to exist in.
Men have emotions. They hurt. They think. They dwell. They worry. They love. They fear. They have stories to tell, too.
And with that, I give you this awesome short documentary I discovered thanks to Tunde (@BrazenlyVirile) today. It’s called Men Ain’t Shit, and it goes out to everyone who has ever said any version of that statement. (I’m guilty of “Boys are stupid.”)