Why can’t we criticize feminism?

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Why can’t we criticize feminism?

Written by Grandpa Dinosaur

I’ve been laying about my house all day yesterday and today thinking to myself, “Why can’t we criticize feminism?”

Now before you feminists get your riding crops out, please read this whole article and then send your flames and complaints. Anyone who cannot participate in a discussion or acts against the code of conduct, will have their comments deleted.

I want to be a feminist, I want to help women. I, myself am a woman of colour who suffers from misogyny, standards held to women and stereotyping from males because I am an Asian woman. However, I know that I cannot turn to feminism and my feminist peers because of the flagrant racism abound inside the circle of feminists. In fact, I cannot even call them my peers because that would denote some sort of camaraderie or organization participation or assistance. I am tired of being told by Feminists that Feminism is not racist, Feminism is not sexist, Feminism is not exclusive to White women, when the reality of it is that is IS exclusive to White women.

When we were selling zines of PDDP, there was a Asian Feminist who threw our book of the table announcing, “even if Feminism is racist, I still ascribe myself to be a feminist.”

It made me realize, after seeing so many Feminists of colour who would prefer to ignore the racism that they endure, that it was stupid. It was all stupid. Before you say anything, I’m cool with Feministe, they are very supportive of women of colour and have made an effort to be more race positive and inclusive. But back to the issue at hand, how does a woman of colour go around saying “I’m still a feminist no matter how racist it’s being back to me.”

So you’re going to put all this effort to changing things for women… And you won’t even benefit from it because all of the benefits are going to middle-class, White women.

Yesterday, I had a conversation with Davita about our experiences being coloured women and how rough it is because the expectations of women is so unyielding, while the men are forgiven for making life-changing mistakes. As coloured women, we are condemned for having children young in society. Saddled with the responsibility of rearing children, sometimes alone as single mothers because although we love the men in our lives, they can’t provide for our children. We, coloured women, are labelled as being irresponsible when we mess up, the mistakes we make unforgivable.

We are the last in the line to reap benefits from Feminism, if we even do. But I doubt we do. Our human rights as women often take a back seat when it comes to race issues, and not by choice. How can we advocate for race, when women are treated so unequal to men within our own communities. As a woman, I am upset and ashamed knowing that sexism and misogyny within coloured people occurs. It’s a step that I try to bring up, even if we are gaining on the race front, we must not forget the war at home.

In fact, I am tired of Feminism being so woman exclusive. Feminism can be taken so many ways, but what it fails to do is include men. We need to include more men, integrate willing men into Feminism. I’ve seen a lot of willing boyfriends supporting their Feminist girlfriend’s platforms, and I’ve also seen the same men railed against for being a part of the problem of sexism without being given a way to be part of the solution. I’m tired of seeing good men, boys, grandpas, uncles treated like women hating misogynists and not being given a second chance? Why can’t we talk about that? Why can’t we change that?

I’m tired of seeing a Feminism that preaches Independence, but supports media created by women that reinforces female stereotypes and misogyny which is in turn gobbled up by Feminists as what women should be. I’m tired of seeing a Feminism that excludes men from their ranks, or give side eyes to the men they march with.

Why can’t we criticize feminism? Why can’t we make it better? Why can’t we change things about it? Why can’t we work together in solving the problems within feminism that segregates race, gender, sexuality until the remaining platform is straight, White, middle-class women?

Here on PDDP, we try to be as INCLUSIVE as possible. We try to write about as great a array of topics possible. I’m never going to stop writing about women’s issues. It’s important to me. But I’m not going to act like Feminism was any assistance with that. Race and women’s issues cannot be forcibly separated for me, I do not believe that young Black women should be hyper-sexualized, I do not believe that Asian women should be exploited, I wish these topics could be brought up in the realm of Feminism but as it is dominated by Whiteness it cannot.

I cannot say how many times I’ve been told that any injustice that happens to me is a RACE problem, not a Feminist problem. We need to start criticizing Feminism now. We need to start bringing up how racist, elitist and sexist Feminism is becoming. Feminism cannot be free from the criticism and discussion if we are to progress as human beings. Why can’t we criticize feminism if we are trying to make it better?

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~ by l on March 26, 2009.

4 Responses to “Why can’t we criticize feminism?”

  1. Everything you said.. *nods* All of the above is why I have a huge problem with calling myself ‘feminist’. Most of the women who call themselves that don’t speak for me and have no idea what my life is like, but they often feel free to tell me ‘you’re doing it wrong’ .. oh yes and I’m white, so I can’t even imagine how they dare to tell any WOC how to do feminism *rolls eyes*

  2. I know. And it’s like they hate each other. I feel it’s turning into more of a struggle of being the perfect woman, rather than a feminist.

    I have seen a lot of Feminists put down peers disabled, fat and anyone who didn’t fit into their idea of what their ranks of Feminism should be like. Some of them are coming around and understanding what they have done was wrong, but before…

  3. I think feminism used to be more questioning and critical of itself, ( and women) the term ‘whores of the patriarchy’ comes to mind.

    The fall out however, alienated a lot of women from feminism, caused splits and factionalism that feminism is still trying to live down, even amongst it’s own.

    We humans have a surprisingly low tolerance for criticism. Women who remain within feminism have taken the decision to hang in there over boycotting, because racism doesn’t stop you from feeling attuned to the ideal of feminism itself, which essentially belongs to no woman.

    If there were no WOC’s then that would not necessarily improve the sense that it all revolves around white middle and upper class women.

  4. Sorry, I work over the weekend, therefore this is late. And I went to see the Watchmen at the Movies.

    I recognize that there are WOC who are feminists and there is a presence, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t revolve around white middle and upper class women. Just because “Feminism belongs to women” doesn’t mean that it’s not racist and that sexist things don’t occur within Feminism. There are a lot of Women of Colour who I still respect, but they are on the internet. And I do respect Women of Colour who stay despite the racism, BUT I DON’T respect Feminists of Colour if they turn a blind eye to it. I don’t respect them if they want their rights but are willing to compromise other aspects of themselves.

    I still think we NEED to criticize and collaborate to make Feminism something that’s not so anti-male and segregated.

    It’s what made me walk away from Feminism and no longer support it, because as a Woman of Colour my problems were silenced and ignored because of the racism and bigotry that circulates within Feminism. And many people would point out all the Women of Colour around me, but they were all willing to compromise their personal issues instead of change or fight against the same Feminism they had ascribed to. A Feminism that wouldn’t benefit or include them them. And so I left.

    I still support Women’s issues, but I’m not a Feminist. Because in my eyes, Feminism doesn’t support Women issues and doesn’t help women anymore.

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