Thursday, November 1, 2007

Feminism is not your expectation.

Feminism is for atheists. Feminism is for Jews, both ethnic and religious. Feminism is for Muslims. Feminism is for pagans. Feminism is for Baha'i feminists. Feminism is for Mormons. Feminism is for Unitarian Universalists. Feminism is for Quakers and Buddhist-Quakers. Feminism is for the anti-religious, and for the anti-atheistic too. Feminism is for evangelicals.

Feminism is for black people. Feminism is for white people. Feminism is for Boricuas. Feminism is for chicanas. Feminism is for desi people. Feminism is for Asian people. Feminism is for people with a mixed race identity.

Feminism is not the top 3 blogs on your blogroll.

Feminism is for men. Feminism is for women. Feminism is even for white men.

Feminism is for environmental activists. Feminism is for animal rights activists, and those who prioritize people. Feminism is for anti-racists, but we certainly have our racist moments. Feminism is for the transsexual and genderfluid, but we also have our moments of gender essentialism and transphobic screeds.

Feminism is for trans men, even when they halt transition. Feminism is for trans women. Feminism is for cissexuals. Feminism is for people whose gender identity formation is ambiguous.

Feminism is a constellation.

Feminism is for mothers. Feminism is for the childfree. Feminism is for mothers who stay at home with their children, and mothers who work outside the home, and those who homeschool. Feminism is for fathers: gay, straight, partnered, and unparterned. Feminism is for fathers of boys and girls. Feminism is for stay at home dads.

Feminism is for heterosexual couples raising children, gay parents raising children, polyamorous people raising children, single parents raising children, and people who prefer to help raise the children of friends and family.

Feminism is for lesbians. Feminism is for gay men. Feminism is for bisexuals. Feminism is for people who like to look at men. Feminism is for asexuals. Feminism is for polyamorous women and polyamorous men. Feminism is for the monogamous. Feminism is for those creating unusual families.

Feminism is not just Shulamith Firestone and Andrea Dworkin. Feminism is not just Bell Hooks and Angela Davis. Feminism is not just "do-me feminism." It is not just "choice feminism." It is not just suffragettes, third wave, or second wave.

Feminism is for psychiatrists. Feminism is for the anti-psychiatry. Feminism is for people with PTSD, cyclothymia, narcissistic personality disorder.

Feminism is for the fat, the thin, and those with eating disorders. It is for real women, with and without curves.

Feminism is for people who I admire, people who piss me off, and people who I admire who piss me off.

Feminism is about safe spaces, or constructing safe spaces for groups that aren't always centered in feminist discourse, or feeling frustrated with the pitfalls of constructing safe spaces, or criticizing the implementation of safe spaces.

Feminism is for those who adopt or foster, and those who use IVF, and those who've given birth to many children. Feminism is for the married, the divorced, the unmarried, the several times divorced (and happily remarried), those who are in interracial marriages, those who are in cross-generational relationships, those whose hard-won joyful marriages anger many Americans, and those who are unfairly barred from marriage.

Feminism is for the disabled and the abled and the parents of the disabled, and again feminism has its problematic moments.

Feminism has many definitions. Sometimes, it has none.

Feminism is for people who are pro-sex, and people who believe that pornography is irredeemable, and for sex workers. Feminism is for people who believe that values must sometimes be compromised from necessity, and those who believe that actions must be consistent with beliefs.

Feminism is for people who live at the intersection of many axes of oppression.

Feminism is for Americans in New York, California, North Dakota, Missouri, Tennessee, and Texas. It's for people in Australia, New Zealand, Egypt, Syria (by way of Iraq), India both group and singly, South Africa, and people who are pan-Africans -- and that is only a sampling of blogs and not of activists on the ground.

Feminism is for people who practice BDSM, and people who think BDSM is oppressive, but probably not for many Goreans.

Feminism is for those who believe in litmus tests, and those who eschew them.

Feminism is for Republicans. Feminism is for fiscal conservatives. Feminism is for libertarians. Feminism is for anarchists and Marxists. Feminism is for Democrats. Feminism is for people in the Green party and people who think all American alternatives are far too conservative and people who are looking at American politics from the outside.

Sometimes, feminism is made of straw. Sometimes, someone really made the arguments that are often used as straw.

Feminism is for those who believe in reproductive rights -- whether that means focusing on birth rape, on making sure that women of color have real choices, believing abortion is a moral good, disapproving of abortion but approving of choice, struggling for a principled feminist pro-life stance, educating people about masturbation, attacking domestic violence, or building up childcare options.

Feminism is not represented by this list, any more than it's represented by any other single perspective on the whole.

Feminism is academic, or emotional. It is filled with rants and careful logical arguments.

Feminism is for lawyers (lots and lots of lawyers), writers (lots and lots of them too), scientists, engineers, recording artists, professors, students, quite a few sex workers, stay at home parents, veterans, ballerinas, and veterans who are also ballerinas. Feminists live on government assistance. They are poor, and middle class, and the kind of people who know the difference between OKOP and NOKOP.

Feminism is not about reaffirming every part of your identity, or of mine. Feminism is not about burning these things away, either. Privilege exists within discourses of feminism, but that does not invalidate the privileged or the underprivileged's claim to feminism.

Feminism is not what I believe. Feminism is not what you believe. Feminism is Feminisms, many and varied.


Kelley Eskridge said...

This is brilliant, Rachel.

Thanks for all this work of gathering and connecting, and all the learning I have already done this morning as a result of it.


Rosie said...

Good work, Rachel!

Thanks for including me!

matttbastard said...

LOL! Saw the referral link and thought someone had pilfered your post, Man--er, Rachel!

Oh my, so many people I admire here...

"Our authors include Eleanor Arnason, Gwyneth Jones, Nicola Griffith, Andrea Hairston, Vandana Singh, Nancy Jane Moore, Rosaleen Love, Kelley Eskridge, Wendy Walker, Nisi Shawl, Lucy Sussex, Rebecca Ore, Kim Antieau, Sue Lange, Carolyn Ives Gilman, Lesley Hall, Anne Sheldon, Cynthia Ward, Kimberly Todd Wade, and L. Timmel Duchamp."

/fanboy blushing 'n' gushing

fern hill said...

That was wonderful. Feminism is even for Canadians.

I don't know if this will work, but visit some smartypantses Canucks here:

Elizabeth Yalkut said...

This is *awesome*.