April 18th, 2015

planet

where I fall when feminists disagree

today's good question of the day is from metawidget :)
April 18: name a feminist and/or LGBTQ rights issue that reasonable feminists can disagree on that you have a strong position on and tell us about it.

I'll name several, since I'm an overachiever!

Racism
Patricia Arquette said it was time for minorities and GLBTs to fight for women, implying that we've done so much for them. Caitlin Moran said she didn't give a shit if television shows featured only white women.

I disagree with both and say we have got to be less racist and the only way to do that is to make a conscious effort to include, not DISMISS, voices of non-white races. We can't hide statements that marginalize black women by saying "oh well she didn't mean to be racist, the intent was good"... intent is nothing. It doesn't kill us to admit we have white privilege and do some damn listening.

However, I don't think feminism has made SO many racist mistakes that we should just throw it out and not call ourselves "feminist" anymore. I think it's worth saving. I think there's hope.

The definition
I do not like over-simplified flippant definitions of feminism. The simple "do you think women should be equal? then you're a feminist!" definition - doesn't do it for me.

I think that to be a feminist, you have to do more than just believe that women deserve equal treatment - you also have to admit that we're not there yet. You have to believe that women deserve some specific questions because there are oppressive, unfair things are disproportionately happening to women. today. in almost every country.

Lean In
Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In got a lot of criticism from feminists, but I'm not sure all those critics actually read the book. They're saying the book is about being a workaholic, and accused Sandberg of blaming women for their problems. I read it and it said quite the opposite to me... it just said that if you want to be ambitious and enjoy your career, don't be afraid, and don't let our screwed up world tell you "oh you're going to regret this someday when you want to have a lot of kids and sit around knitting because that's how ALL women get!" It very much blamed culture for our problems, and presented some fantastic ways to own and recognize those issues, which are the first step in squashing them.

On Disagreements, in general
And finally here's the most important one... I think feminism supports the idea that women deserve to disagree. It's what makes feminism a great thing. That ancient idea that women should be meek and quiet is over. The patriarchy-driven idea that women can only "catfight" and sneer at each other over trivial issues needs to be over. We can discuss. Being a feminist does not mean you have to support every choice that every woman makes - it means you think women deserve to talk, whether it's about feminism, or motherhood, or anything going on in our lives. And that's what these disagreements are: talking. Not a sign that our movement is a mess. A sign that our movement is loud.