As first posted on Feminist Book Club
It is amazing how many women I have seen that do not identify as a feminist. You know the ones. “I’m not a feminist because I don’t hate men” or “I’m not a feminist because I wear a bra and shave my legs”.
So many people, of all genders, want to distance themselves from the ideology that is feminism. But on the other hand, so many people want to claim the title of feminist without advocating for equity and liberation for ALL women.
The book White Feminism: From the Suffragettes to Influencers and Who They Leave Behind by Koa Beck really got me thinking about how feminism isn’t always for all women
More than power
I used to think feminism was just about women gaining power in society. But over the years, I’ve learned it’s about so much more than my limited definition of power. Oftentimes, the brand of feminism we see today is a whitewashed, watered-down version because it is more palatable.
“White feminism is an ideology, and a very specific approach to achieving gender equality that inherits its strategy from white supremacy. So this idea that you are hurtling towards the accumulation of power, which white feminism has always been on board with—more women in this position, more women in this department, more women in Congress—but there’s no real reinterpretation of that power or consideration of how to redistribute it.”
Koa Beck in an interview with Becca Andrews, Mother Jones
Power distribution. This is an important key. Just like people argue that real feminists shouldn’t oppress men, real feminists shouldn’t oppress other women. You can’t be a feminist and just restructure a hierarchy where some women (cis-het, able-bodied white women) gain more power because other women are subjugated.
You’re not a feminist if…
If your feminism is rooted in individualism, it’s not feminism. If you are only after advancement of issues that directly affect you, you aren’t really a feminist.
If your feminism recreates harmful capitalist structures, it’s not feminist. I’m talking about girl boss SHE-E-O types looking to become millionaires and not looking to redistribute wealth to other women in need.
If your feminism doesn’t think trans women are “real women”, it’s not feminism. Trans women are women. PERIOD.
If you are blatant (or masterfully covert) racist, homophobic, ableist, or xenophobic, it’s not feminism. “Woman” isn’t the only identity a person holds. Intersectional shouldn’t be a subset of feminist; it’s the only type of feminist.
Feminism is more than your personal choices. Feminism is about choosing to show up for all women. Because when we think about forgotten women, we liberate all women.
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