The Guardian’s Bridget Minamore recently submitted this thrilling piece on being a feminist and what it means to be empowered. In the blog she talks about selfies, being a black woman and the whole idea that people aren’t feminists 100% of the time ever. Which, is all fairly above board. However, I have one big issue with this whole thing.
Why do you even have to be a feminist at all? Why is that a label and a group you’re participating with? I get it, equality, right? But you don’t have to be part of a group or be involved with groupthink in any way to stand up for what you believe in. If you believe in equality, then make decisions and choices that line up with that, treat people as equal and when you see inequality, speak up about it. That’s fine. The problem is that by attaching yourself to a group, you’re automatically undermining the very idea of equality.
When you say you’re a feminist, what you’re saying is feminism is right, and is better than other groups, in your opinion. You’re saying that other people are wrong and things need to change. You’re creating an us vs them scenario, and in an us vs them scenario there will always be a power dynamic that leans more towards one side or the other. You cannot have equality when you force yourself to be something other than what everyone else is. Equality works because fundamentally we’re all the same. When we forget that we’re all the same and forcefully segregate ourselves based on arbitrary labels, we end up with racism, sexism, etc.
This is why I really dislike labels in this regard. It doesn’t help the cause, I am a person who gladly stands up for what I believe in, and I believe in equality. I don’t have to subscribe to an ideology set by other people, I don’t have to see other people as different or less than I am. I don’t have to only consume feminist friendly products and media. I can do what I want, because I’m empowered to do so – I’m free, not a feminist.
So Bridget, if you’re reading this. Stop confusing yourself and participating in the Olympic games of mental gymnastics. Empowerment is never given to you by other people, its something you find within yourself, by standing up for what you believe in and taking control of your life and your future. You don’t need to be a feminist at all for that. So why not cut the fat and really empower yourself?