Thus, I am not going to applaud White supremacy, racism, White privilege, patriarchy, patriarchal masculinity, phallocentrism, sexism, misogyny, misogynoir, male privilege, classism, class privilege, homophobia, transphobia, heterosexual privilege, ableism, colourism, or any other manifestations of oppression just because some White feminists are racist or mislead by their White privilege (oh and…some of them truly are).
I realize that it is easier to reject Womanism as a Black woman and adhere to the status quo and whenever I am called out on it, I can blame White feminists for being racist as my reason why I abandon this theory and praxis—I get that. OR I can continue to do the work, which involves critiquing kyriarchy even as it may permeate feminism itself since the people involved in feminist work still live in a kyriarchal society just as the ones who are not involved and either consciously and/or subconsciously accept the status quo are.
When I assert that I am still here for feminism, I also mean that I am NOT here for kyriarchal trickery and nonsense using the label “feminism.” Anyone can use a label. The proof is in the praxis. As bell hooks wrote (as @FeministGriote pointed out in her exquisite essay Allow Me To Reintroduce Myself, My Name Is Feminism):
Feminism is the struggle to end sexist oppression. Its aim is not to benefit solely any specific group of women, any particular race or class of women. It does not privilege women over men. It has the power to transform in a meaningful way all of our lives.
And it does. However, it involves the work of imperfect beings, ones that again, live in the same society as those who reject feminism and rationalize oppression through support of the status quo. Thus, it’s about critique and growth within the movement just as much, if not more, than the oppressive society that exists outside of the movement and permeates the movement. (The movement also permeates society. And, this is the work that matters.)
I mean…what do I look like accepting sexism and misogynoir from some Black men because some White women are racist? This doesn’t even make sense to me. Yet some Black women respond to me with this thinking. Conversely, so many Black women aren’t here for ANY oppression. Word.
Now, about calling oneself a “feminist,” that’s up to a person, individually. I am not interested in the labeling itself IF a person is engaged in the work through a critical intersectional perspective. However, since so many oppressive paradigms have labels, ones that aren’t attacked since they reinforce the status quo, I think anti-oppression work can have labels as well, as I believe in a politics of social location, with certain labels, even if labeling itself is an issue of power and labels themselves impact how people are treated in a kyriarchal society.
Just because I am STILL HERE for feminism does NOT mean that I am going to applaud oppressive bullshit amidst the feminist movement and I expect to be called out on my bullshit as well. How else is change going to occur? The idea that feminism is absolute, a destination (versus a journey) and is whatever the lowest common denominator of feminism is, is actually kyriarchal pushback on anti-oppression work.
How we embody the oppressor within is where all feminist work begins. I am still here for feminism because I am still here for myself. I matter. I am still here for feminism because I am still here for us. We matter.
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