I’m a feminist now. Another feminist (an actual female one) said I can call myself a feminist so I did and I do.
My very first act as a freshly endowed feminism was to slut shame another feminist.
*Sigh* it’s gonna take me a while for me to get the hang of this…
I was explaining why I rejected the label of feminist for so long. I essentially said something like:
“Beyonce did a performance at the Super bowl wearing a gross outfit with a huge light up sign reading ‘Feminist’. I don’t want to be associated with that kind of feminism.”
The recipient of my opinion was polite, but didn’t seem to approve. So I mulled over my statement to re-evaluate my stance, deciding whether to defend it or rescind it. I’ma do a bitta both.
One of the hallmarks of 1970’s feminism is the concept of the male gaze, which Beyonce is flouting in full force (my apologies to those who hate alliterations).
This, one could argue is a bastardization of feminism by popular media. I blame the Spice Girls for popularizing the “strength and courage in a wonder bra” phenomenon. And I’m not alone. Annie Lennox called Beyonce “feminist lite”, condemning her overt sexualization.
And as you can imagine, as a Mormon and a dad of three daughters, I am going to have issues with Beyonce’s performance get-ups. I used the term ‘gross’ as shorthand to express my disapproval.
So far so good right? I had successfully quelled my fears and defended my position, right? Not quite.
There are many reasons why I embrace and promote feminism. I intend to write a separate post to answer this question more fully. But in the context of the topic at hand, the short answer is that I believe that women, even now in the late 2010s are sought to be controlled, not only by men, but other women as well. That’s a problem. The very concept of feminism is fluid and adaptable. This makes feminism weak in some regards. But it also makes it more universal because it makes it more inclusive. And that inclusion could eventually make the concept stronger than if it was walled off and closely guarded.
But in order to make feminism more inclusive we need to stop booting out people for not being feminist enough. Or being too feminist for that matter.
Therefore, I have no more right to reject Beyonce as a feminist than anyone else does to reject this Mormon dad. And I believe destructive criticism and condemnation is counterproductive for the movement as well.
So no, I don’t appreciate her style choices. But I don’t have to. I’m not the gatekeeper. I don’t think anyone owns the term. No one gets to determine anyone’s feminist purity level. That’s the stuff of Nazis and Death Eaters.
So let’s explore what feminism is, why I believe it’s important and why I, as a straight, white(ish) middle class, suburban, privileged, over served male with deep religious convictions feel the need to promulgate my own opinions on the subject.
Let’s burn some bras!
(is that still a thing?)
*sigh* it’s gonna take me a while to get the hang of this…