Common Negative Thoughts About Feminism and Feminists
In my casual observation of culture, I've found that the words Feminism and Feminist are disturbing to people. For some reason, lots of women would rather be called a "Bad B_" than to be called a "feminist". Unfortunately, the negative connotations surrounding these unpopular terms are not gender specific. There are men who constantly use "anti-feminist rhetoric" as a way to further their patriarchal agenda. How did this happen? I believe people are misunderstanding the definition of feminism. Through my own self discovery, I've found that feminism, in its most simplistic description, is women uniting and demanding control over our minds, bodies and spirits; demanding respect and equality in the work place and at home - from the church to the bedroom - women want to, and should be, considered equal to a man.
So why all the hurtful depictions of feminism? Why all the hate?
I'm not here to play the blame game; I want to call out individual attitudes that is the protagonist of the feminist theory.
One popular attitude is this...
So many times, black men, want their black women to turn down their "feminist ideals" so that they can walk in their God-given authority. I find this to be very demeaning and belittling. I want nothing more than for the black men to embrace their authority, WHILE allowing ME to be equally dominant and powerful! Women were also given authority and dominion. To note, I can be ALL WOMAN at the same time a man can be ALL MAN! These two things are not counterproductive. They are not mutually exclusive. This is not oil and water.
Intellectual women of all races and economic status' often criticize what a feminist should look like and how they should act. I'd hope, after all the battles we've faced as women, that we could at least agree to there beings levels to feminism. My definition may differ from yours; it is subjective to a each feminist and what he or she has witnessed or endured. [Sidenote: men can be feminists too]. For instance, some would argue that Beyonce and Shonda Rhimes are great examples of black feminism in this era while others firmly disagree. To my point, regardless of your definition of feminism, however narrow or broad, feminism exists across a wide spectrum.
While there are many other negative themes related to feminism, how do we begin to repair its bad image?
Unfortunately, I don't have the answer. The root of it lies in the overwhelming presence of patriarchy in the world. Feminism, much like civil rights, is a threat to dominant power structures. The hopeful optimist in me believes that one day we can break these strong hold of oppression. Conversely, the realist in me knows how impossible this is. I think we can be more respectful in our womb circles, the people closest to us, in not degrading their views of feminism. As the late great Audre Lorde said: "It is within our differences that we are both most powerful and most vulnerable, and some of the most diffi cult tasks of our lives are the claiming of differences and learning to use those differences for bridges rather than as barriers between us." (Read more Audre Lorde here: Am I Your Sister)
I want to thank all the men and women who are not antiquated in their thinking; those who love powerful women; those who were raised by powerful women; those who have powerful wives, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, cousins and friends!
Thank you! Remember to spread the good word and spread the love!
Written exploration of ALL THINGS CREATIVE curated by Najah Lee -- writer, emcee, photographer, critical thinker and brand consultant.