I’m currently reading Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. Her personal essays offer a fresh new take on feminism that have opened my eyes to the label of a “feminist” and everything that word embodies. Her bravery to embrace this label urged me to re-examine my own feminism.
Feminism is not only the women’s movement towards an better world of gender equality. For this change to happen, it requires the participation of both genders, not one gender versus the other. Yet, how far can this movement go when not all women themselves, are willing to embrace their own feminism?
“Oh no, I’m not a feminist, I don’t dare associate myself with those radical females.” At the same time there is a disdain for this label, a “Feminist” is also an overwhelmingly unrealistic, unachievable epitome of the ultimate, badass perfection of a goddess in human form, or Beyonce, who might be able to override the angry, man-hating aspect of this word.
I am not well versed in feminist texts or history. I do have a liberal arts degree from an all women’s college and I also happen to have a vagina so my feminist beliefs are as valid as all my feminist predecessors.
See, here’s the thing. Roxane Gay points this out in her book too, why did I feel like I need to meet a “criteria” to identify myself as a “feminist”? Why do I feel like I need to have some kind of championing history to consider myself a feminist? If I’m going to step up to the plate to represent all the ideals of the great women’s suffrage movement and everything that came after, I’d better be darn amazing as a woman and have a whole list of accomplishments under my belt, right?
Which leads to me to question: Who is designing this feminist job description? Is this the males’ doing?
No, this is the workings of the female. Perhaps it is the male who created the whole ratchet, angry lesbians part.
Yesterday I came across an instagram post of a popular youtube beauty guru. She posted a beautiful portraiture of herself in a bikini with the caption that goes along the lines of : “I’m not perfect, I do not have the skinniest thighs or…. but I learned to love all of myself and by all of it, I mean ALL of myself.” I thought it was beautiful. I liked it. Then I read some of the comments:
Compared to other girls, you have the Hollywood Standard body so this is bullshit.
How dare you have insecurities when you look this beautiful?
How dare you get implants and still claim you have self-love?
So you didn’t used to love all of yourself?
These are the kind of comments women give each other. Her self worth is more than just the decisions she made for her own body. Women have a knack for beating the crap out each other because we’re so used to giving ourself crap for being less than perfect.
She’s allowed to be flawed, just like we’re all allowed to be.
I don’t need to be a perfect Feminist to be a feminist. I’m also a bad feminist. I’m allowed to have chapters in my story that are totally disgusting and unbearable to read, when I didn’t have self love or a voice. I’m allowed to keep these chapters and not rip it out. I’m allowed to love all of myself even though at one point I hated myself. I’m still allowed to make mistakes down the road.
I believe feminism will gain momentum and it begins at the individual level. Rather than getting men or the rest of society to accept our feminism, how about we accept it in ourselves? The first step is allowing ourselves to be flawed and imperfect so that we can allow other women to be too.