As of December my undergraduate career will be over. With graduation so close on the horizon, I’m finding it harder and harder to make ends meet when it comes to school. “Senioritis” would be putting it lightly. It seems like every night (or very early morning) I’m scrambling to throw together an assignment that’s due in a matter of hours. My lack of ambition has also flowed over into my feminist practices. I find myself less incensed when I see something sexist in the media, or when I hear a comment with sexist undertones. Now at the start of what I believed to be my distancing from feminism, I felt lazy, disconnected, and flat out guilty for not being as fired up as a felt I should be. What I realize now is that this shift in my relationship with feminism may not be a bad thing. Instead, I find myself with a new outlook on feminist practices and on how to promote the movement as a whole.
So maybe I’m just looking for the silver lining here, but I think what I misperceived as apathy is in fact a more peaceful outlook on the world, which could be just what the feminist movement needs. Don’t get me wrong, I still feel deeply passionate about feminist issues; I believe in feminism just as much as I always have, but my live-and-let-live attitude leaves me feeling unfazed by the sexist dialogue, advertising, etc. taking place around me. I guess what I’ve come to understand is that keeping a peaceful, loving, and understanding attitude is most important–period. When I first came into feminism, I got ridiculously fired up at all the sexism I encountered. For example, I remember getting verbally harassed on the street and spending the rest of my day fuming, both at the act itself and at the individual who yelled at me.
First, I’ve gone wrong in my previous feminist practices because I’ve blamed the individual, and not the system of patriarchy. Rather than hating on the guy who calls girls bitches, hate on the system which makes that happen. And, most importantly, don’t hate on anyone, ever. For me the feminist movement is about love, peace, and fairness. If we put hate on anyone who’s being sexist, that just perpetuates the hate, and isn’t hate what we’re fighting against after all? Don’t get me wrong I still speak my piece when it’s needed, but with a calm, centered mind I feel I’m able to voice my opinions in a far more productive manner. I guess what I’ve recently come to realize is that a movement cannot be productive if it is one that comes out of anger or hate. When ever I find myself getting put down by the haters, or exuding hate myself, I remember the general awesomeness of Audre Lorde: “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” The only way to fight the hate and violence of patriarchy is to fight it with love and peace, and that’s what I plan to do with my role as a feminist.
With that said, I understand that getting angry about things is a powerful catalyst to sparking social change. This doesn’t make it any less legitimate, but I think that feminist activism is sometimes rooted in anger, would you agree? Do you think it is possible to be a good/productive feminist without being an angry one?