Hard Lines in the Sand: Feminism

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You might be well on your way to being body positive or feminist and that is awesome, but getting angry when confronted with the problems in your views and behavior and refusing to learn only sets you back.

But I have suffered in lots of ways! Yes, probably. If you crave equality and equity for yourself and others, you probably have encountered oppression and suffering. Your suffering doesn’t relieve you from the responsibility of at the very least recognizing the suffering of others.

But I don’t understand [issue]! or But it makes me uncomfortable! You don’t have to understand it to be a champion for the experts who can teach you about that issue. You don’t have to agree with every aspect of an issue you’re struggling with to recognize that supporting it is the right thing to do from a civil rights or social justice point of view.

But I tried to be an ally and was rejected! Nobody is required to accept your self-awarded title. In a culture where asking for help is still shat on regularly, where oppressors may look like you, or where you may still be participating in oppression unknowingly, it’s often much safer for oppressed people to tell you to buzz off than spend energy trying to teach you more about what you need to learn, which is to probably shut up and listen.

But I don’t participate in other people’s bodies/lives with harmful social systems, just myself! Often times, the last person to benefit from us learning and growing is ourselves. It’s much easier to see beauty in other bodies than admit our own. It’s much easier to champion justice for others rather than for ourselves. It’s much easier to feel good about teaching others about an issue than it is to confront ourselves with what we haven’t learned or accepted yet. Still, if you are holding out judgment for only yourself or participating in systems of oppression against yourself, at some level you’re still agreeing that some bodies and lives are better. You can’t believe you alone in the world can participate in a harmful system of belief or social rules without repercussions for others.

Feminism is about supporting everyone regardless of sex in having equal choices and opportunities. Body positivity, at its core, states that all bodies are good bodies and some bodies aren’t more valuable than other bodies.

You literally cannot be a feminist or body positive if you ignore intersectional issues like racism, queerness, ableism, healthism, diet culture, and classism. You literally cannot be body positive or feminist if you consider some bodies and lives to be better than other bodies/lives.

Am I going to dump you as a friend if you don’t feel the same way? No. Probably not, unless you hit several points on my list of deal breakers.

Do I respect and like you, even if you don’t believe all this? If you’re in my life still, probably. Just not these reasons.

Do I think you suck? Do I think I’m better than you? No. I think you have some work to do. You probably think I have some work to do, too.

Do you care if this hurts me? Of course. And I feel compelled to speak out for my principles, the same as I expect you to speak out for yours. If your principles are just “don’t challenge me on my beliefs,” though, we may not be compatible as pals.

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