So you want to be a feminist…

I got into my daily argument with a friend of mine. This is nothing new and arguably a foundational element of our relationship; conflict with civility. It’s social justice, or something.

IMG_8124.PNGToday it was over Kim Kardashian’s “Break the Internet” photo. My friend and many other internet users found it to be inappropriate for one reason or another. I thought nothing of it. Not really, and here’s why. Because if I dare to judge Kim for being too sexy or “not acting like a mother” or “not acting like a wife” then how can I call myself a feminist?

I decided this back in March when I had my first “one night stand” and it sent me into a tailspin unearthing all sorts of internalized misogyny that I was harboring. Was I too slutty? Wait, what is a slut? Is it because a number was it because of frequency or lack there of? Was it because of the intention to never see him again? And wait, whose rules were these and why did THEY get to decide anything about me? It was at that time that I decided I could never again in good conscious judge another woman’s behaviors especially as it relates to her sexuality, because I held my own right to choice and personal liberties so dear.

To stretch it further, a quote by my favorite feminist that makes me want to grow an Afro and get a girlfriend, Audre Lorde has been quoted having said, “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” In regards to sexually defining and discriminatory labels such as slut whore or even the soft punch promiscuous, I realize that these words have been co-signed by women who have fully internalized a MAN’S standards of a WOMAN’S sexuality. These words were create to limit to control to manipulate behaviors specifically the sexual behaviors of women. Categorizing our sexuality as deviant if we dared to cross the boundary of alleged acceptability. Either we become lesbians or spinsters “stripped” of our womanhood or at least the pieces which would ever attract a man (side-eye) OR we become sluts or whores marked with a scarlet letter as unworthy of commitment loyalty or respect. All for daring to love sex, hate sex, or not give a fuck about prioritizing pleasing a man during sex.

So no, I don’t think Kim Kardashian is a whore. A bad mother or a bad wife solely because of her choice to pose nude and share said photos publicly. Nor do I think Beyonce or any other “reputable” (whatever that means) celebrity gets to engage in the same behaviors as Kim K with a “pass” making it art. This is a claim made by Wendy Williams. I believe that women need to wake up and stop judging each other based on standards of acceptable behaviors given to us by a patriarchal society that quite frankly doesn’t give a shit about your sexuality; chaste, conservative, liberated or otherwise unless it’s in service of them. Wake up.

And now I make this part solely about my own work. I cannot claim to be a feminist and contribute to the stagnation or regression of women as a collective. I cannot claim to be a feminist and judge other women for making choices about her life, her body or sexuality, her career, her children, her money, or her God that differ from my own understanding or experience of each. I cannot claim to be a feminist and degrade women using the same language meant to bind us collectively into an ideal whose sole purpose was to cater to, and be in service of a man. I cannot be a feminist if at the very core of my beliefs I do not believe in, support, fight and advocate for the freedom of a woman’s choice to define herself FOR herself regardless of what anyone else, Jessica J. included, may think. I have to believe that. Otherwise, I’m sleep too.

I don’t claim to be an expert…but damn if I’m not reflective. That’s just my interpretation of the heart of it all. Correct me if I’m wrong.

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29 thoughts on “So you want to be a feminist…

      1. well im basically talking about the photo that is comical….but the points that were made, made sense…and this is coming from a guy. Oh And also the tweet at the end Priceless!

  1. Mmm, Reminds me of when I went bushwalking once and found this enormous fig – it had grown over the top of another tree and had killed that tree, and from the outside the fig looked like a big strong tree but it was totally hollow inside where the old tree had left its impression. We take on this language, this way of thinking and it holds us to old forms, old ways of being…Who knows who we could be if we could find our own way, our own language, what could we invent? … In this spirit I like to play a little game sometimes and wonder what would the world be like for women (and men) if the word ‘slut’ ( and similar) had never been uttered? Or if we all woke up tomorrow and had forgotten what it meant? I know the world we share is more complex and pushes on us in all sorts of ways, but still, a lovely little space opens up for me… 🙂 Thank you for your post, I enjoy being provoked to think.

    1. One of my favorite minds Lev Vygotsky concluded that consciousness precedes language. And language is our best way to communicate consciousness so as we think differently and evolve in our consciousness old language becomes insufficient. I patiently await the day when we outgrow those words.

      1. Oh! My Masters (R) was built around V’s theory of conceptual development. A lovely experience to grapple with ideas and feel myself move through the process as he described it… will have to revisit the language work 🙂

  2. Great read! I personally struggle with how to deal with the word slut. Should we embrace the word? a la stop the “slut shaming.” Or is it just all together offensive? But I agree we just need to stop judging each other.
    Much love!
    – Ava

    1. That is always a conundrum for me as well. It is typically my belief that it takes too long to re-educate the mind of new meanings around words. Especially words which previously had negative connotations, read: The “N” word and all its controversy. I understand the desire to re-appropriate new meaning and taking ownership over words once used to condemn, but I cannot readily think of an example where that actually worked.

    2. I actually quite like the word “slut” and use it as a purely descriptive word, applied to both men and women. I’ve been through slutty phases in my life and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I don’t see that sort of behaviour as negative, so don’t see the word as negative.

  3. Sex means something, biologically and socially. Otherwise, people wouldn’t do it at all. You can’t say that sex means something in one context (like a loving relationship), and then give it away to strangers like it means nothing. Sex can’t both mean something and nothing at the same time.

    1. Sure i can. Context shifts meaning making for many things. Cake on any day of the week is just cake yet on your birthday its something special. Try to buy flowers any day of the year and they are one price. Say they are for a wedding? Completely different price. Context is everything. And quite frankly, thank goodness.

      1. just please keep writing, I’ve read a few of your pieces now and they’ve all been fab, you manage to put everything I want to say into such eloquent sentences

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