Feminism seems to be a popular topic nowadays, as we delve deeper into the Trump administration and it’s raging terror.
The March for Science this past Saturday, Feminism’s intersectional identities seem to convulse in a fight for justice against society. Allies across the nation, and across the world have been fighting for justice for their friends of color, folks with disabilities, queer identifying individuals, trans friends, and folks of varying social classes. What we’ve neglected to see, however, is appropriate allyship within the feminist community.
For decades, women have been fighting against the systematic oppression set in place by the patriarchal society in place today. But, much of the feminism, before Kimberle Crenshaw, was headed by white women in expensive dresses wanting to vote. Which, don’t get me wrong; is a very important part in Women’s history. But, as pictured, problem is that Black women are fighting for anti-racism, and anti-sexism, but nobody seems to be fighting for them. Imagine the stigma if a black woman were to be strolling a baby through the parade; the different connotation that would’ve been associated with it.
At the end of the night, white women and men seem to be utilizing their privilege to make feminism a label they identify with, without actually fighting for the justice of the genders; just more privilege. White men don’t need to justify their worth by claiming feminism as a label; you don’t need to justify your self worth as a white able-bodied heterosexual identifying male. And by doing that, you’re working against what the label is trying to promote; equality.
Feminism isn’t a noun; you can’t place it on a pedestal like a trophy and expect people to admire it just because you have it. It’s a verb, and it’s active. Just like allyship; everyone is an ally to another identity, and your identity shouldn’t restrict you from educating and advocating for others. Period.
Resources you can utilize include:
- SONG: Southerners on New Ground http://www.southernersonnewground.org
- GLAAD: Gay and Lesbian Alliance against defamation http://www.glaad.org/resources/ally
- The Trevor Project – http://www.thetrevorproject.org
- Southern Poverty Law Center – www. Splcenter.org
- HRC – Human Rights Campaign – http://www.hrc.org
Your attendance to a march with a picture about your raging feminism doesn’t give you a life-pass to passive activism and weak allyship. Titles are arbitrary and subjective, but you’re not restricted to your allyship and feminism. There is no litmus test. Learn new perspectives, listen to people’s stories, and feel free to share your own. Your story can speak mountains and rivers if you let it out. Just because you didn’t attend every single rally and you don’t know every single fact about the history of trans individuals does NOT make you a bad feminist. We are not perfect, we are not all-knowing. We must strive to learn more, do more, and be more.
In this time of crisis, I encourage all of you to utilize the resources above, and explore more into identities you may not hold. As we are all allies to different identities, we have to stand in solidarity to help bring justice.
Explore, learn, and always remember; if your feminism isn’t intersectional, you’re doing it wrong.
Picture Credit: Flickr, Wikimedia Commons
Featured Image: Vimeo
One thought on “Feminism isn’t a soundboard for your privilege.”
I really enjoyed this article, and I think it speaks to a lot of what I have been feeling about feminism lately. “Titles are arbitrary and subjective, but you’re not restricted to your allyship and feminism. There is no litmus test. Learn new perspectives, listen to people’s stories, and feel free to share your own. Your story can speak mountains and rivers if you let it out.” This part in particular is a conclusion I have only recently reached….the label means nothing, until we make an active effort to earn it. And the last line, is poetry.
I am reminded of being at the women’s march, and hearing many women of color come to the mic, and speak to their efforts for racial and gender equality. One woman said, “Now you understand how we’ve felt for decades” and I initially thought that was quite divisive at an event where we are expected to join together. But now I realize she was only asking us to join in a fight that has been much longer than many realize.