feminism is not a dirty word. it does not mean you hate men, it does not mean you hate girls that have nice legs and a tan, and it does not mean you are a ‘bitch’ or ‘dyke’, it means you believe in equality.
i’ve seen this more times than i can count.
i get that these kinds of quotes can be a “gateway drug” to feminism and/or critical thinking for lots of young folks… but lately i am just so TIRED of seeing and hearing them.
because you know what?
sometimes feminism DOES mean you hate men.
sometimes feminism means you ARE a bitch.
sometimes feminists ARE hairy angry dykes…
and they’re fucking allowed to be. i know that’s not really the message they are trying to presenting but it just feels watered down to me. i know the goal is to challenge the stereotype that only one kind of (lesbian-man-hating-fat-ugly-angry-hairy-butch-dyke) woman can be feminist, and that that idea is problematic and prescriptive… but consistently, when i see young women challenging that, they still tend to have an inherently negative tone about feminists who happen to be hairy. or butch. or angry.
i think that’s why i can’t handle this shit.
i think that’s why i miss the friends i had who would laugh about this shit with me. friends who would create zines like “dirty (un)feminist secrets.” it’s why i still hunt for moments like that online, it’s why i connect with rgr-pop's and k's and cassie's ways of mocking this sanitized version of feminism with their own dark humour or unbridled rage.
perhaps it’s because i’m conscious that even at twenty-six, i’m still unlearning. still unlearning the sexist-racist-homophobic bullshit that i was immersed in on so many occassions as a kid. still unlearning that i don’t need to apologize. i’m pissed that i can still remember the number of times i apologized to men for not wanting to have sex. or for wanting to have too much sex. apologized to women for having slept with men, or vice versa. apologized for getting “too drunk.” or wearing too short of a dress. or for swearing in public. or for my body, my hips, my body hair. for my vulgarity. for being loud. for being angry.
i don’t want anyone to have to apologize for simply learning how to be themselves.
i understand that these quotes are, for some people, their own way of resisting that, and that taking the time (especially when you’re young) to put those frustrations into words, art, zines, and share them with everyone can be cathartic and productive.
but the number of times fellow feminists have asked me to “tone down” my anger? that talking about race is “getting us off topic.” that my suggestion that we use a different chant instead of “stand up fight back” for a less ableist chant is marked as “sidetracking” or “besides the point.” that other queers, activists and critical folks have used my femme presentation as a way to discredit the work i do? successfully?! of course i’m going to be fucking angry.
it’s why i “get” the humour behind memes like “is this feminist" and need to let myself laugh my ass off every once in a while at a movement i often consider myself a part of. it’s why i laugh at almost all of rgr-pop’s response to whoneedsfeminism. i get, to a certain extent, the message that the creators of projects and quotes and zines like this are trying to convey (discrimination/oppression/subjugation based on gender should be challenged) but i can’t handle the simplification of an incredibly complicated interconnected system. no one is challenging white privilege with these statements. no one is talking about how we can fight the good fight together. instead it just feels divisive and glossy. if it were as simple as quotes like this purport the fight to be, we wouldn’t need a century of “capital F” feminism and a million fucking waves and STILL be bringing up the need for intersectional analysis, and STILL be fighting transphobic assholes who actually dare to call themselves radfems, etc. etc.
goddamn. i just feel like everyone wants these guidelines of what is and isn’t feminist so they can simultaneously reward themselves and punish/chastise others (but in the most unproductive of ways).