Am I even a feminist?

Today I was reflecting on my own feminism. Not the kind you’d find in a Women and Gender studies textbook. Not Beyonce inspired feminism. Not the 1960s- 70s American Feminist movement type of feminism. And not Corporate America’s branch of feminism either. They are all inaccessible to me. They don’t apply. They are irrelevant. I’m not a middle- class white privileged woman. And I hate academia.  It  denies access of information to your lay man.

Today it dawned upon me that I  may be paying lip service to some ‘feminist’ ideas that I only agree with ideologically.

I’m began to question whether I, when I am true to myself, really support ‘anti-slut-shaming’ movements?
-Why do I wear lipstick and so very noticeably, adhere to very gender normative ways of styling myself, based on ideals perpetrated by patriarchy.
-Why am I still primarily listening to the misogynistic rap songs I do. Why is f****** Problems still at the top of my playlist?
-Why am I attracted to Macho men? Even when I attempt to deconstruct ‘masculinity’ and problematize it?
-Why do I sometimes feel like a ‘bad bitch no muzzle.’ Does using the ‘b’ word make me any less of a feminist?
-Why have I felt the need, to, sometimes give into the girlish urge to dissect outfits and attitudes. To police other women’s bodies and decisions.
-Should I support the decriminalization of sex work?
reproductive rights? by default?
-Can one be racist and feminist? Homophobic and feminist?
-Should I be dressing like whoopi goldberg? or be a hypersexualizing feminist?

Advertise my sexual empowerment and liberation, or repress it, because I don’t want to partake in the exploitation of womens’ bodies that is reflective of the partriarchal societal order. Especially as a black woman.

All these questions I cannot answer. They require me to step outside of theoretical frameworks and be honest with my self. How should I negotiate all of these questions with  my life experiences. And confounding beliefs? Should I re-frame the way I think entirely, in order garner a check mark in the ‘good feminist’ box. Even when ‘feminism’ itself is so divided. Or should I take the easy route and avoid self identifying as a feminist to relieve myself as all this pressure, and be able to listen to my gosh-darn dance-hall playlist, sans a pang of guilt? And like, many privileged members of society recline on my chaise-lounge and claim to ‘simply just believe in equal rights for everyone.’

I’m tired of articles about how the power-puff girls are feminists. I want people to speak of feminism in a real way. It’s becoming elusive.
Identity politics.

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4 thoughts on “Am I even a feminist?

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  3. AfricanFeminist says:

    Hey Kari,
    So all the questions you were asking yourself is usually( not all the time) answered or better understood by academia (despite the fact that you dislike it). Academia gives you the tools and the different perspectives to dissect and identify the intersectionality of systems of oppression/domination/discrimination that we have in our current society. BTW feminism is not only about women and for women, it is a movement(past and present) that speaks up for all the oppressed( regardless of gender identity). As a Women and Gender Studies major and a present day feminist, i think feminism is what you make out of it. It is viewing issues and different perspectives in your own lenses and trying to contextualize your thoughts and opinions with inclusivity and personal reflection. Some of the questions you asked might not even have exact answers and will vary from one person to the other, but that’s the beauty of individuality and an expression of our own uniqueness. So it’s okay not to know all the answers to the questions we have, it’s okay to just have thoughts and opinions to issues and never come to conclusions because there is nothing such as a ‘correct answer’ when it deals with social matters.

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