What could be better than a feminist in a feminist tee? Well, her long winded, yet extremely thought out feminist rhetoric for one. Am I right??
It’s been a while since I’ve written anything in the feminist perspective – a scholarly dissertation, if you will. You could argue that writing about fashion is feminist in it’s own right, an exercise of freedom (an exercise of voice) that other women have fought so hard to gain. But this blog isn’t necessarily about the fashion and more to do with my perspective on a most recent movement.
I’ve been searching for the right words to join in the #MeToo Movement since it began. It’s not that I can’t relate or haven’t had experiences of my own, but I was at a loss. Something was lacking, off-putting even. I realized that this movement missed the mark for me.
Now, that’s not to diminish anyone’s experience or even diminish the positive action that came from it, especially giving a platform for women to unite and support each other to speak their truth – AND kick some serious butt in industries that need it most. But something was making me uncomfortable in a very slight and strange way, and I realized it was two-fold.
One, although I’ve experienced both physical and verbal sexual harassment, I realized I was more affected by the way females have treated me throughout my life than men. And two, there was no mention – not once – of any good guys. The men that are supportive and loving. Feminism to me isn’t about women against men. It’s more about equality, an even playing field, and most importantly a dismissal of “the other.”
One of the first things I read on feminism was a book by bell hooks (deliberately lower case) titled feminism is for everybody. In it, she explores the history of the feminist movement – both it’s successes and failures. Even within the emerging movement, there was still racism and classicism. Women against women in their own movement! Bell hooks continues to explain that the ultimate goal of feminism is the eradication of racist, classist, sexist, and homophobic thinking. This book was the foundation for my feminist ideals – to simply be all inclusive.
As I mentioned, I’ve had my share of experiences, from street harassment to a very deliberate vagina grope at a club in my 20s. Although I have internalized these experiences in some way, none of these add up to how I’ve been treated by women throughout my life.
Even up through my early 30s, I’ve had girlfriends (girls who I thought were supposed to be my biggest supporters) criticize and belittle me to uplift themselves. Some do it in a very passive aggressive way and others are blatant. Now, that’s not to say I haven’t had amazing supporters including my mother (now the ultimate best friend), my fave Women’s Studies Professor, Wairimu Njambi, my BFF since middle school, Lisa, and Ani Difranco (’cause well, come’on what aspiring feminist teen didn’t listen to Ani D??) But looking back as to why I have insecurities is all because of experiences with women throughout my life. Thus having deep rooted distrust in female friendships. Now, this may not seem as intense as some truly horrific situations, but there’s something to be said about consistent mental abuse. They way women treat each other is an epidemic all it’s own. We need to support each other unconditionally, beyond the accumulation of a cause.
There’s no doubt about it – the #MeToo Movement blew the whistle on a multitude of offenders. It was incredibly successful at rallying women, banning them together to speak out about the ghastly and absolutely disgusting things men have done to them. And I’m proud to say I was around to see this happen. Suffice it to say, I’m still wondering where there are mentions of the classy and respectful men out there who support women altruistically everyday. Did we suddenly move passed redemption and run full force into male bashing? Is this a resurrection of the SCUM Organization/Manifesto? (a quick reference to Valerie Solanas and her interesting, yet horrifying look at gender relations and how conflict should be resolved. Although I do think she has something there with the whole “pussy envy” thing…). Ok, so this may be a little aggressive. But my point is, you can’t tilt the pendulum entirely the other way and expect that society will suddenly even itself out. Every bad example needs to be countered with the ideal paradigm.
In order to rebuild, you have to dismantle the old and the #MeToo Movement couldn’t have come at at better time. It’s empowered women to clearly speak out against their assaulter and has created a global discussion of a still very live-and-well issue permeating our society. But it’s time to expand that conversation.
Don’t you agree? Comment below.
xx Amy Lou
P.S. I couldn’t be more excited about this super rad tee by Rebecca Minkoff. The rocker, Metalica font on a soft black, fitted tee says it all for me, and I’m damn proud to flaunt it. You can buy it here 🙂