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I know you get tired of me being a feminist. Or, rather, you get tired of me being an outspoken feminist-- the kind of feminist who has to talk about it, who has to "make everything about feminism," who seems dogmatically determined to see everything through that lens. You get tired of me posting articles, making comments. You get tired of my intensity, but, even more, you get tired of the monotony of it-- I am a one-hit wonder. You stop thinking about what I am saying and instead only notice your chagrin that I am, yet again, saying it.

It's not that you disagree. You just don't see the need for the constant focus. You think I should "lighten up," although you might not use those exact words. You suspect there is more pathology than passion.

And you don't understand why this. You think "why not all human rights?" And you conclude that it's because this applies to me-- as a white, cisgender woman, feminism speaks most directly to my own personal issues-- and on that basis you assign a kind of self-interest that allows you to dismiss the principles I'm addressing.

There is a litany of disclaimers which I, as a feminist, must pronounce before getting to my point. I have to assert that I do not hate men. I have to identify as an "intersectional" feminist, because white feminism has been mainstream. I have to acknowledge that there are other human rights issues that are also important. And when I have provided enough justification for my right to speak, I have to be careful of how I speak, because I am being monitored for tone and vocabulary; any suggestion of personal perspective is also grounds for dismissal of the principles.

I am only "allowed" to be a feminist as long as I remain academic and occasional.

I can't do that.

Feminism is about me, but not just about me. I genuinely believe that it is the best thing for everyone-- at least the kind of feminism I practice is. It's about challenging cultural constructs at a fundamental level, the most primitive part of our tribal brains that engages in "othering." It's about anthropological and evolutionary archetypes. It's about demonstrating and dismantling the ways in which we build our own reality, both socially and psychologically. It's about privilege and power in any form.

So yes, I see it everywhere. I see it in corporate dynamics, in environmental issues, in political events, in personal interactions. I don't need to go looking for it: today is the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, only a few days after a Planned Parenthood massacre. We are immersed, and if you have developed immunity then good for you, I guess. I am not immune and it continually makes me sick. My comments are like allergic reactions. But I think I am making the world a healthier place.

Maybe there are people who tune me out, who are tired of it, who roll their eyes and wish I would find another hobby; that's because feminism is a hobby to them. It's not for me, though. There is so much pain and injustice, so much victimization. I know "victimization" isn't a popular word but I can't tell you how many women have told me how wordless they've been, because of how their voices have been eroded. So even if I talk too much, I'm nowhere close to filling to silence.

I am always going to say something when I see the manifestation of prejudice and the abuse of power. And maybe it is compulsive, and therefore predictable, and therefore tedious. Maybe it makes me boring, pedantic, and irritating. If that's how you feel, that's okay. Because every time most of the people roll their eyes and mentally dismiss me, there's one person who feels empowered or validated. For every time people are hearing a point again there's someone who's hearing it for the first time. What is obvious to people who already know is a brand new thought to those who don't, and every brand new thought has the potential to be the beginning of a personal revolution.

You are tired of my fight. I understand. So am I. It's just not over yet.



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 6th, 2015 06:01 pm (UTC)
I most certainly am not tired of you being a feminist. I applaud it. Largely because *I'm* tired of being a feminist. Sometimes. It's hard work, it's exhausting. I try to keep it up when my dad says things that used to be okay in his generation in front of my niece and nephew, but on a larger scale... Compassion fatigue claimed me a long time ago. Don't get me wrong, the things that make you angry still make me angry. I just can't be arsed to speak up anymore. Not now, but not always.

Keep it up, because I simply can't.
Dec. 6th, 2015 11:03 pm (UTC)
^^^This. The compassion I expend in client work doesn't leave any spoons at all for the other issues that I could fight about. That, and I don't really get angry any more, I've been working too hard to deliberately disengage from it.

Like MLM says, I applaud those who choose to fight *these* battles. I've taken my skillsets to different fronts to invest my energies there, but I'll always be proud to offer support to those still fighting on these lines too.
Dec. 7th, 2015 12:35 am (UTC)
You make a good point. I think I tapped out sometime around when I was reading horrible abuse stories as part of my job. I don't do that anymore. I don't know if "fucks" are a renewable resource yet, but I try to give them when I find them.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )