I took my first Women and Gender Studies class on accident in 2012. A class had gotten cancelled and that was the only class that fit in that time slot. I remember sitting at the kitchen island, mentally preparing myself for the armpit hair and Birkenstocks I was about to see. Rehearsing my best “men are pigs” speech. And then…..I got there.
And it was NONE of those things. Everything society had fed me about feminism was wrong, because feminism was fucking great. Just about equality, both genders looking out for each other to make everything great. There weren’t man haters there, and there were only like 3 hairy armpits! It was amazing. I learned about gender equality, while also learning about everyone else who experiences inequality, getting to hear their stories and their fights for equality as well.
I just couldn’t believe the whole world wasn’t on board with this, I mean, it wasn’t hurting anyone else to help those others achieve equality. (most people think feminism was about rising above men, and wanting to be better, but it wasn’t that at all. We just want to get some more rights). So, whatever, aside from your radial uncle on facebook talking about women wanting to take over men, I thought everyone would love this shit.
I mean, I was like one class shy of a minor in Women and Gender Studies. I was about that life. It just made sense to me? Lets all work together and be some god damn bad asses!
That was until it just stopped making sense to me.
They say feminism comes in waves, stemming from our foremothers getting the right to work and the right to vote. However, I fear we have slipped into a new wave of feminism, a wave that I can’t fully understand or participate in. Not to knock what these women are doing, the fight is a good fight, and help is help. However, I have trouble fitting in.
I was introduced to feminism when it was NOT the norm. We were working alongside whatever men would help us, and working alongside our sisters to change things. There were no marches or explicit t-shirts at that time, it was so quiet. I have been telling people I was feminist, and fighting the fight for so long. Before this current movement, I’d get the crazy looks, people would check my armpits for hair and call me crazy. Now feminism is associated with groans and with jokes about your pussy hat.
A place where we still like (and even supported) Lena Dunham for, what sounds like, her sexually abusing her sister. Things that are not okay for a man, and are certainly still not okay for a woman.
I blame one person for this change in feminism.
DJT. He set us so far backwards, he insulted us, he joked about sexually assaulting us, he called us nasty women. Is it so shocking now, that we have to resort to this extremism? Hell no, it’s all the government can see right now. They’re not looking at our polite written requests, or our petitions. But they sure can see all 76 vagina costumes in the Capitol. So, that is what happened. We had to organize marches, we had to get signs, we had(?) to get homemade knitted pussy hats.
However, that wasn’t me? I don’t want to wear those damn hats, or costumes, or renounce all men. Some men are great. There was some outrage about Bernie Sanders speaking at the women’s march. I couldn’t follow along. Sure, for every eligible man is an eligible woman who can do the job just as well (or better). However, if a prominent man wants to speak up for our cause why on Earth would we be outraged? Do we all of a sudden not want mens help or support? There were GREAT female speakers at the march, women’s voices were not lacking in the least. There were thousands of women in attendance, women speaking up online, women making speeches. Was it that enraging to have a male voice in our corner?
I understand these actions were necessary.
The rights we fought for were being threatened. The rights we earned. Nobody was listening to us, we were being openly mocked, extreme measures had to be taken. However, in this new wave, I feel I am left behind. Something I once loved, and fought for, turned into a madness. Pussy hats, vagina costumes, wanting to do it on our own. For the sake of survival, feminism has evolved. It’s not what I was introduced to, and maybe my time in the front of the fight is done. I did my job, I worked to get it taken seriously, I worked to show people equality was achievable and it was something we could do together. I think my wave is passing the torch, broken and bruised, to the new wave. And may they shout and knit it a pair of giant boobs, and keep fighting the good fight.
I will always be a feminist, I will support the marches, and buy your raunchy merchandise. I will even be at your marches all over the country, in my boring clothes (except for a witty t-shirt), and in the background (like a NPC), with my male friends who want to speak with us. However, I think my time in front is over. May you all be nasty women, and be inclusive to those who want to help, and may you give. them. hell.