So stop asking me the same questions
It wasn’t until my mother dragged me away from them that I understood they were violating me. That the men who shouted “Baby! Baby girl!” were not entitled to do so, and more over that their efforts to snatch my hand and their musical chants that called me ‘princess’ or ‘fine girl’ to ‘come here’ were not compliments.
Her efforts however, did not stop me from blushing at their remarks. It didn’t discourage the excitement that resulted from their attention. You see, I too am a product of my society. I too am socialized to enjoy and indulge in the way things are. When I talk about feminism, about challenging gender norms, boundaries and stereotypes, I am not just asking men or non-feminists to change, I am also challenging myself and the way I was trained and programmed to be. So don’t think I’m privileged, don’t think I’m out to get you, and don’t think this (sh**) is easy.
Most women, whether or not they use the “F-word” to articulate their identity, instinctively and unconsciously feel affirmed by these gestures. I mean, all that attention must mean I’m a pretty girl… right? And, being pretty is something I should be proud of?
Because of this internal conflict, every day is a struggle. It’s so easy for me to forget, for a second or two, what my feminist ideals are. It takes just a second to swerve to the songs with the rhythmic versus telling me to “shake that ass.” It takes me just a second, before I think twice, to move to music that promotes the idea of allowing men who buy me drinks or spit some game to “smack that”. The perfect example of this is how much I love Ty Dolla’s song “Or nah” where he mentions that he expects to take the girl home because he didn’t buy her a drink for nothing.
Being a feminist on the internal level is a constant struggle.
It is so much easier to give into society than to fight against it. ‘Why are you a feminist? Why do you always think about things a certain way? Why are you extremist? Why are you blah blah blah?’
The questions go on and on. And it always makes me laugh that people would think I want to go against society for no good reason, that I would enjoy spreading bad news or I would love being simultaneously depressed and hopeful about the state of the world. I appreciate the fact that you think I like to waste my time, but I don’t.
Regardless of what these nay-sayers may think, it is a struggle- mainly because the alternative is so enticingly easy. It’s so relieving and easy to give into society. The urge to relax and let it fly over my head and nod to the music, to swing my hips to lyrics that might as well say “smack her with a dick, smack her with a dick” (reference Chris Rock below) is so strong
I am burdened by reality, truth and the underlying consequences of societal actions. I am burdened by the state of the world and what I want my children to experience.
I am burdened by the fact that women in the world on a spectrum are losing lives, dignity, and opportunities due to the simple fact that they are women.
I am burdened that some of those women have to suffer being both women and black (why does being a woman or black have to equal disadvantage?)
I am burdened by the privileged who refuse to adopt humility, justice and join the movement
So when I say that I am a feminist, it is not a cross I enjoy bearing but once your eyes have been opened to your nakedness, there is little else you can do but find leaves to sew into clothes
Written by me. Edited by Shanice Sanchez (I ramble and she makes it coherent)
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