I think it's finally happened... my brain simply can't wrap its head around the conflicting ideals within the feminist "movements."*
I've been thinking a lot lately about the label "feminism." After the Fem2.0 Conference, there was a lot of talk in the blogosphere about what is considered a feminist blog (see here and here, for example). One of the first things that came to my mind when I saw Womanist Musings on there was, "wait... what's the criteria here?" Not that I don't think Womanist Musings is one of the best blogs out there, because I totally do. But... the name of her blog is Womanist Musings. And while womanism is historically considered part of feminism, it often isn't seen that way anymore. I also know Renee takes issue with a lot of aspects of the larger feminist "movements," as do many other WOC. BFP has publicly gone from a self-proclaimed feminist, to rejecting the label and considering taking "femi" out of her name. So finding her on a list of top feminist blogs... what exactly does that mean for feminism? And what does it mean for me?
Because, hey, guess what? I'M A WOC!! And I have the same problems that so many others have with the feminist "movements." I know there are countless people who call themselves feminists but still say/do racist, ableist, homophobic, etc. things. I simply cannot wrap my head around that. So I usually just say things like "that's not what I consider feminist..." and keep it moving. I am critical of the "movements" and those people, but I do not reject the label or the "movements."
But more and more I've started to ask myself... should I? I know that I don't need the label in order to keep believing what I do and acting the way I do. So what's the big deal?
I know what you're thinking... "But, Sally, I thought feminist was the only label you were proud of claiming?! What on earth is going on here?!" Honestly, I have no real answer to that.
I do not think I am ready to let go of the feminist label. To me, feminism is more than these "movements" or the individuals that claim to represent them. I've always said you do not need to identify as a feminist to be one.
I still believe that. But I also see merit in rejecting the labels. Is it fair for me to call Renee or BFP feminists simply because they meet my own definition of the term, even if they don't feel comfortable with that label? Is it fair for others to give them that label?
It seems to be the ultimate question of fighting the system from within vs. fighting the system from the outside. Is it time for me to really consider and internalize the reasons to reject the label?
Even now, this is so difficult for me to even write. I'm struggling to put down all the things I'm thinking and to summarize what's been running through my head for the past few weeks. I know that I have to start working through these things in order to have some sort of closure. I haven't had a real "feminist" post in weeks, not only because I haven't had time (though I really haven't, which sucks anyway), but also because I just don't know what to say.
I don't want to keep making excuses for these racist, homophobic, condescending people calling themselves feminists. But I also have great examples of people who still use the term, WOC or otherwise.
I know feminism is a process. I guess I never realized just how much of a personal process it would be.
*I intentionally put movement in quotes for several reasons. 1) There is no clear distinction between the Second, Third, even Fourth so-called waves of feminism. I'm not about to start splitting these up & trying to define them in this post. 2) I'm not entirely sure how a cause with so many factions can really be considered one, singular movement -- waves or no waves. 3) No matter how many waves, a lot of the problems I mention in this post are seen in some form throughout all of them, so distinctions don't really even matter.
(Originally posted at Jump off the Bridge)