Feminism. And Why You Need It. Pt. 1: Intro

Starting off with a rant…

Why anyone would be so illusioned to think that the most powerful groups among us somehow need protecting is beyond me. What do they need protecting from? Losing their privilege? That is what scares them, anti-feminists specifically, the most, and their online presence proves that they do not like, or may even hate, women. Some of those men (and even some women) are afraid of feminism (read: women), and most of them don’t understand it. Those who do understand it, but still hate it, might actually just hate women. I know that is a very bold statement, but I am not going to beat around any bushes or try to coddle any anti-feminist’s feelings. Especially men’s feelings. Why are so many anti-feminist men so easily offended? On the flip side, they are consistently the people complaining that we, as a society, get offended too easily.

I try to not spend a single moment of my life with anyone who would call themselves an “MRA”, “meninist”, or ”masculinist”. Because like “white pride” movements, the “men’s rights movement” is a backlash to the liberation of the people they have held down since before recorded history. So when women start gaining freedoms and rights and finally getting close to catching up to them, they start to feel uncomfortable and threatened that we just might treat them the same way they treat us. And by catching up, I mean as close as you can get without stepping on others.

That right there is the key, you’d have to step on other people to get to the place of privilege men currently reside. Feminists don’t want or strive for that. Men organizing for gender (other than feminism) is their way of trying to protect themselves from falling off the backs of women. Holding each other up with only their arms, because their feet are placed firmly on our backs. And that’s just the surface.

When most mainstream publications write about feminism, it is more often than not White Feminism. White Feminism is feminism that ignores the intersectionality of women’s issues, and focuses mainly on white women’s issues, putting women of color on the backburner. This also includes trans women and trans men. People who exclude trans folks from feminist activism or dialogue are called TERFs (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists), and they are not actual feminists. Throughout the history of feminism, white women have excluded the trials and tribulations of women of color, indigenous women, disabled women, trans women, trans men, etc. But the more recent generations of feminists have worked to expand their focus to include everyone who is oppressed by our current state of Patriarchy. Which also includes men! You see, the system of Patriarchy hurts everyone, not on the same levels, but in its own way it pounds us down individually and as groups.

Don’t get me wrong, it benefits men IMMENSELY, but everyone would be benefited more if we were to totally eradicate it. For example, cis men are negatively affected by the Patriarchy when other men tell them to “man up”. And the hypermasculinity of our culture that promotes violence and condemns anything “feminized” is toxic. A man wearing make up? “Gay!” A man who cares about his appearance in the “wrong” way? “Gay!” or even the fun fad of the early ‘00s “Metrosexual”. How in the world is primping and preparing a little too long to be culturally acceptable a sexuality? The Patriarchy is every type of toxic, exclusive, detrimental and antiquated. It’s time we moved on and forward.

In my previous post “Queen Bey and New Orleans Royalty”, I talk about the invisibility of trans women of color. So much of the media dabbles in White, Cis Feminism. Many (White) Feminist TV shows that star women who do awesome stuff like get laid whenever they want, appreciate their friendships with other women and just enjoy life in general tend to completely erase the existence of trans women, Women of Color, and trans women of color. HBO’s Girls premiered 4 years ago and after binge-watching the entire show in one week, I noticed that there were almost no people of color…in New York. And if there were, when Donald Glover played a boyfriend in two episodes, they were used as a platform for race-based jokes and then completely dismissed when they were all used up. The joke about Donald Glover’s character was that he was a Black Republican. Because why not make a total stereotype out of basically the only person of color you have on your show?

Let’s take the same show, same setting, minus a couple “girls”, add one recurring black, male character and make it a comedy. You’ve got Broad City! I actually love this show, I watch it with my girlfriends all the time. The third season just premiered and I will be watching it weekly. (It’s okay to like problematic things. I’ve been planning a whole post about how to do it. It’ll be short and light-hearted and there might even be jokes! Here’s an Onion article about just that.) But this show suffers from White Feminism if I’ve ever seen it. So much of this oversight comes from the writers’ White Privilege.

Intersectional Feminists are very aware of this weak stab at feminist media. We aren’t fooled and we are armed with blogs.

In part 2 of this 3 part series I will delve into the heavier challenges for feminism.

 

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