I donned myself a feminist many many moons ago … I’ll go into the ‘reasons’ soon.
But I’ve recently become slightly perplexed … yes, perplexed … at the discourse that has become the ‘feminist issue’. And I’ve been pondering on it for a while now. You see, I’m a bright cookie … not too slow 😉 … but I’ve been unable to get a handle on what the ‘issue’ re feminism or recent feminist debate, is really all about. As in, what is at the core of this debate.
We’ve got ‘feminists’ verbally bashing other feminists; trans feminists bashing straight feminists. There are the ‘liberal’ fems disputing the nons – and democratic fems (yes, theres apparently such a thing), demoralising the non-dems. And then a conglomerate of fems trying to get a leg over with the ‘males against male bashing’ pro-fems non-fems.
I know right.
What the actual fuck is going on.
So, to my ‘reasons’ for donning, or labelling, myself a feminist. And ‘labelling’ before labelling became a thing; well a tool actually. And I’ll come back to that issue soon as well.
To the reason(s) – To begin with, I’m nearly 45. I issued myself with the feminist label waaaaaayyyy back in 1989, on my way out of christianity and into an abortion clinic. I had just turned 17 and had been immersed in christianity (the pentecostal kind) since I was little – not by choice, but because it was a ‘family’ choice. As you should know, christianity of this particular flavour is full of patriarchal abysmal atrocities, which espouse a womans place is at the feet of her husband, so on and so forth.
Now feminism was not a new thing in 1989, and had seen many many years of ‘radical women’ crawling their way through bra burning sessions and legal wranglings so we had a right to vote – to name but two issues. By 1989, feminism in New Zealand was relegated to Womens Centres and Womens Refuges. It was hairy, loud lesbians coming up with angry paraphrases of anti-male rhetoric. Or so the christians were saying.
But on my way out of christianity and all by my little lonesome; at 17; I entered a Womens Refuge Centre the night before my abortion.
Digress: Abortion was a right that these hairy, loud lesbian feminists had also fought for. For the freedom and safety to choose what We women did with our bodies.
My night of indecision can be read about in a previous post; suffice to say here, I didn’t find any hairy, loud lesbians lining the hallways of the only place that would put me up for the night. Instead I found a handful of volunteer women; passionate about empowering women. Fullstop.
On one of the walls in one of the offices I read a very long poster; which basically unearthed the patriarchal bullshit that had led to women being nothing more than chattels. It challenged this theory and gave women a platform of thought to respond from.
I completely dug it. Completely.
As a woman, and a very young woman then, who had experienced more violence at the hands of men than I cared to mention; I completely dug there being an avenue of discourse and a means of resistance that I had never come across before.
I embraced it and learnt all that I could about this new line of reasoning.
Hence … Me becoming a ‘feminist’.
Does that mean I burnt my bra and stopped shaving my legs? Fuck No. It meant I had an opportunity to learn from other women who had experiences similar to mine, who had fought for their right to justice, who had healed themselves and changed their way of thinking and being and had gone on to help and empower other women, in similar circumstances, do exactly the same thing.
Now to the labelling issue.
Labelling, as a tool, has been used throughout a shittonne of institutions and establishments, to keep certain things and persons out and to keep those ‘In’, elite.
Dress it up however you want; this is the general gist of it.
Within criminology, which is my field; labelling is used to designate a ‘type’; its used to profile a ‘type’ … it is used to keep a nigger down … and out. There is a set of languages used in any ‘realm’ that keeps You separate from Me. It makes me exclusive, because you don’t know what I’m talking about.
Labelling now, is no different.
There aint nothing new in a label. Whatever you are, you are because you think you are. Not because someone else labels you as such.
So, back to feminism.
It occurred to Me today, that the fuckery which has been going on re the feminist debate, isn’t new. But it has become Political.
Who made it political? Probably the politicians.
Has this bullshit been bought into? Hell fuck yeah it has!
Feminism in its essence was a. response, b. resistance, c. empowerment.
Some fuckwitt turned it into a vying for funding, whose right and whose wrong, whose more ‘entitled’ and whose more deserving, fucked up debate.
And now we have all genders and non genders weighing in on a political debate that was originally a moral debate. It was a seeking of truth and justice ‘debate’.
It Was about what is Right and what is Wrong.
It Was about screaming to be heard; being heard and then letting others find their voice also.
So when I state I am a feminist, this is what I am referring too. The 1989 kind. The kind that wanted justice. The kind that wanted the rapes and beatings to Stop. The kind that wanted the freedom to speak anywhere, anytime. The kind that wanted the freedom to choose what she did with her body.
That’s the kind of feminist I am.
To get caught up in a debate that shouldn’t even be a debate, I believe, is just a smoke screen. Designed to keep Us arguing about what is what instead of fighting for what we all deserve.
Justice and empowerment.