I have always considered myself a feminist. Suffragettes and Labor Movements —protesters, unionizers, and especially writers— resonate within me. These stories reverberate each of my senses, straightening my spine and scream within me “so can you”. I can fight for the world that is just. Without violence. A just fight for a free world.
But my feminism is rooted in history. A lover of writers like Emma Goldman, I hadn’t read current feminists. Or Feminist theory. My idea of feminism, and its nuances begin to fade the closer to present that you got. There is something…something about free love and equal work for equal pay?….Fade to darkness.
I find myself drawn to feminists and through them I found inspiration to study theoretical feminism. To know a movement is to know its language. And being a lazy researcher, where better than the internet! I began with Facebook pages through my respected feminist friends. Guerilla Feminism, Feministing, Hood Feminism, The Feminist Wire. I devoured each post. The poetry, the solidarity. I began to listen to Women’s Media Center Live with Robin Morgan. Each week, she interviews feminists on the ground, those making changes to communities. Starting non-profits. Engaging in politics. So many are women of color helping women of color. Discussing issues that brought me shame— causing me to hide from current events— for so many years. I sought these women out on “black twitter” desperate to show support and solidarity. (Why can’t the rest of twitter be called “white twitter”? Anytime a person tweets about insignificance, we can call it “white twitter”.) I am proud, empowered, resilient. Feminism is my new home.
Even the arena of environmentalism that inspires me is so firmly connected to my feminism. Bill McKibben’s movement to change the economy reminds me of the female anarchists that made me fall in love with early feminism. His ideas are straight out of the pages of Emma Goldman and Susan Brown. “Change the economy” translates easily to “change the patriarchy”. (These connections I will explain and explore in more depth in a later post)
The patriarchy is disempowering people. Ensuring that those who do not have power will not attain it. There is a reason why white males have so much economic mobility while women and people of color (ESPECIALLY women of color) remain less mobile. Our ladders have been cut from above. And too many white people are punching down. Blaming, scapegoating the disenfranchised communities.
Just like mainstream feminism. As I dug deeper, I found that mainstream feminism— Sheryl Sandberg and Jezebel being popular examples— are leaving those communities behind as well. Perhaps not punching down, but surely kicking those coming up. Mainstream feminism was more of the same; an exclusive group meant for elite members only. My pride in feminism began to ebb. But only momentarily. Truth is subjective and reality is what we make of it.
So here is my truth: feminism is inclusive and is empowering women of color. Providing all of us a platform, participation, and support. Feminism is the online feminism that I found through Facebook and Twitter and no one can take that away from me. No one can disempower the voices that I have grown to love. It’s too late, we have found our forums. The binds created by money, the bars that held back our ability to assemble, have dissipated with the internet. We can promote our voices for free. And they are getting louder. People can follow those voices and become a part of songs of freedom. Sing with us. Feminism is not exclusive, it is inclusive, and does so lovingly.
Some other good “follows” not mentioned in the post:
Jamie Nesbit Golden on twitter @thewayoftheid
Mychal Denzel Smith at the Nation: thenation.com/authors/mychal-denzel-smith
Citizen Radio at wearecitizenradio.com
Sarah Kendzior at sarahkendzior.com/about/
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