Saturday, March 8, 2014

A quick little post of feelings

I tried reverse googling this image. No luck. Thanks, person.

As a woman who thinks women are important and underrepresented, I think International Women’s Day is a great day but I frequently find myself a bit disappointed with the conversations that end up happening. I’m still working at what feminism is & isn’t, but here are a few things I’ve determined over the past year.

Feminism is not slut shaming, protecting “virtue” or any rigid set of “values”, or any kind of hate. Feminism is not divisive, but it’s also not calling intersectionality and other entirely valid critiques divisive when they try to expand the conversation. Feminism is not just a series of inspirational quotes by sassy women of eras past. Feminism is not derailing conversations to inject the views of those in a position of privilege into them. Feminism is not wonderful, well intentioned, privileged, smart, capable white women giving their ‘solutions' to wonderful, less privileged, smart, capable women of colour overseas. 

Feminism is acknowledging that public transit is a women’s issue because across Canada a disproportionate amount of women rely on it to get to low wage shift work jobs (filled once again, disproportionately by women.) Feminism is being critical in a productive way. Feminism is finding your space in your government, your community, your neighbourhood, and then removing barriers so others can access that space too. Feminism is wearing lipstick if you feel like it and not if you don’t. Feminism protects all expressions of gender identity. Feminism is fighting for improved mental health resources. Feminism is child care, pharmacare, and caring. Feminism is showing people younger than you the books and music and movies that defined your feminism while still noting what’s changed, what’s not appropriate anymore, what you’ve learned since then. Feminism is art. Feminism is girl gangs. Feminism is creating and sharing opportunities.

Feminism is so little to do with what you say and so much to say with what you do. Feminism is not the values you hold but how you express those values in real life. Feminism is nuanced. Feminism has context. Feminism is wonderful. 

Thanks so much to the countless people who have inspired me this past year. With all of this behind me I can now actually say Happy International Women’s Day!