Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Edit Your Life: Your Non-Woke Feminism



Saturday was indeed a historic day. Over 600 "Sister Marches" took place all around the nation and globe in solidarity of Women's Equality and Rights. Women and men from all over created signs, donned cat ear hats, and took to the streets to protest the infringement of women's rights. It was beautiful to see, and really encouraging to witness. However, these rallies and marches were oddly devoid of something beneficial to the cause: the discussion of intersectionality.

Intersectionality, a term created in 1989 by KimberlĂ© Williams Crenshaw, is  the study of overlapping or intersecting social identities and related systems of oppressiondomination, or discrimination. Intersectionality is the idea that multiple identities intersect to create a whole that is different from the component identities. These identities that can intersect include genderracesocial classethnicitynationalitysexual orientationreligion, age, mental disabilityphysical disabilitymental illness, and physical illness as well as other forms of identity." 

Basically stated, that being a White Woman carries a very different form of oppression than being a Muslim Woman, an Asian Woman, a Transgender Woman due to the different structures of oppression affecting them. Sexism for a White Woman will be different for a Black Woman. That is just fact. 

No disrespect to my White readers (welcome!) but I want to talk specifically to you right now. I don't want to diminish all the great feels you're still high off of (and you should be). Oh, I know, you feel all patriotic and bad ass. You changed your Twitter Handle to Susan B Anthony, you still wear your pink cat ear knit beanie with your "nasty woman" pin right in the middle, you even replaced your living room artwork with your sign you touted on Saturday. I know you feel like you did your democratic duty. However there are some things you absolutely need to consider:

First and Foremost: White Women overwhelmingly voted for Donald. That's right. A whopping 52% of White Women felt that the Don' was good enough (scandals, sexism, and all) to be president. So while your marching around feeling all big and bad, your roommate, your cousin, your sister or mom was a closet Trump supporter, the dude that just enacted the Global Gag Rule. You don't like the way that feels, huh? When you walk you walk into work or go to hang with the girls or go shopping, every white face you meet, you're going to be wondering "Hey, are you a closet racist or bigot?"

And that thought is the same thought that people of color are met with every single day of our lives. Which is exactly why Intersectionality in feminism is critical. How can you expect a Black Woman to stand up in your women's march when you cannot agree that Black lives do indeed matter? How can you ask a Muslim Woman to defend her gender when you have done nothing to defend her right to believe her own faith? How dare you even ask a transgender woman to wear that cat hat when you have said nothing on her right to even live?

How can you call it a Sister March, when you've never even taken a step for your sister of a different shade, believe, or birth?

Lastly: What are we going to do now?

Are we merely pavement pounders, here to march and chant and wave signs but follow up with no action? What is the strategic plan for these movements? What are our goals, both personal and collectively? Looking at successful movements within our nation's history, they all have one thing in common: they succeeded because there was a concrete plan. Yes, they marched, but they also voted. They were determined and dedicated. They had a focus, a goal, a collective point that they struggled for.

Today's Readables give us some discussion on further steps on how to keep this movement going. But I encourage us: do not stop here. Do not let it be said that we led a pretty, peaceful pink parade and did nothing more.

Maybe your step is organizing a debate or getting involved in politics. Maybe your debate is simply opening up yourself to discussion with another woman who stands at a different place than you. Whatever it is, don't let your march for Women's Rights end when you came home Saturday night, but let it continue until our rights are just as inalienable as the ones found in our Constitution. Keep your feminism woke.