Feminism for me, can often be a profound discomfort with the way things are. The sort of niggling irritation that eventually just pours out as rage. Because shit is WRONGTOWN. I’m a white, middle class woman living in a developed city that’s wonderfully resourced, in a country that has free health care. Sure, it’s a bit shit being a woman in a patriarchal culture that keeps trying to convince me I should starve myself for approval, or lock myself away in my house so I won’t force men to rape me. But mostly I think I have some good things going for me.
So when I discover one of those niggling irritations, I like to use all that privilege and do something about it. Because, fuck, I can. And I tend to think that if you’re in a position to do something, you should. Partly because, you know – responsibility – but also because doing stuff undoes that crippling disempowerment that comes from being told you’re too fat, too old, too skinny, too boring, too smart, too dumb, too loud, too ridiculous, too hairy, too opinionated, too female every single day. Just doing a little thing reminds you that you’re not a complete failure as a human being. You’re actually pretty damn awesome. So you can do awesome things.
Generally, speaking up about shitty things that you see happening in your community, particularly if you’re a woman, means you get some pretty bad reactions. I get the odd bit of hate mail. Stupid comments on my blog. Nasty interactions on Faceplant. But you know what? I get far worse every day yelled at me from passing cars when I’m waiting for a bus. So fuck that lamearse nastiness. I can tolerate persistent sexual harassment and fight down the fear that I’ll be beaten and raped on the street, so those stupid little comments sure as shit aren’t going to stop me.
I strongly believe that stewing on your rage makes you feel worse. A key part of patriarchy involves convincing women (and men) that there’s nothing they can do. That they just have to suck it up and tolerate being told what to wear and how to behave and how to think and what to do with their bodies and lives and minds. That if you do question the way things are and then do do something about it, you’re a bitch.
I’m totally ok with that.