There’s an epidemic sweeping the country. It’s always been here, but it’s picked up steam since Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election to a literal reality TV show star, with a very okay show. I like to call it Feminism on Demand.
Feminism on Demand, or FOD for short, is this idea that feminism can be folded up neatly into a box. It says that as long as you own an “I’m with Her” t-shirt, protest at least once a year and like approximately two dozen tweets a month about how HRC should’ve won the 2016 election then you’re doing great sweetie.
I’m not here to bash your love of Pumpkin Spice Lattes or UGG boots, I just want to know if you realize your current brand of feminism starts and ends with your “Nasty Woman” t-shirts.
Fighting for feminism is actually hard. It’s complicated and requires a lot of learning and unlearning. It’s not this trendy thing companies should be jumping on to get some coins, it doesn’t succeed just because a pop star has seven rich, white, skinny girl besties (and one token black) in her music video and it doesn’t stop with screaming Beyoncé’s ***Flawless lyrics (although that’s a pretty good start IMHO).
I’ve just been confused—and sometimes down right annoyed—with the trendiness that is feminism. While there is this awesome, inclusive wave of feminism taking place, there’s also a larger wave of faux feminism that mostly incorporates getting “she persisted” tattoos and taking the perfect protest photo for your carefully curated Instagram. Sis, I’m tired.
But why does this matter so much anyway? It matters because women are literally the dopest species on the planet. When women work together, there’s nothing we can’t do, including putting a woman in the oval office. But FOD is the ugly thing standing in our way.
I’m so glad this election woke some people up. I’m glad the women’s march was the first protest for many women and that it ignited a fire in them to want to do more. Welcome to the club, we’re glad to have you. But we can’t move forward without doing the inner work first.
So, if you find yourself fitting the FOD brand, here’s some reminders (there’s only three!) to help you overcome the store-bought version of feminism you’re rocking right now.
1. Feminism ain’t feminism if it isn’t intersectional.
All black lives matter, trans women are women and MUST be treated as such and Muslim women who wear the hijab are not oppressed just because you don’t understand their choice to do so. If Taylor Swift, Tina Fey or Lena Dunham are your feminist icons, find different ones. Immediately.
2. Feminism is more than tweeting and hate-posting on forums where everyone thinks like you. Don’t do it for the RTs y’all.
Full disclosure: I’m guilty of this one. I don’t know about y’all, but when someone is in my mentions talking trash or being downright violent towards me just because I’m a black woman, I block them. I think everyone has different strengths and jobs to do in this movement, mine is not fighting with trolls or even well-meaning white people on the internet. Yours might be though and if it is, you should do that!
We were all blessed with certain gifts and privileges. Figure out how your gift can funnel our feminist agenda forward. Don’t just get Twitter fingers at night and be silent in the spaces you inhabit IRL.
3. Feminism isn’t complicated, but our journey towards equality just might be.
There are some concepts engrained in our culture that are going to take some time to unlearn. If you don’t understand why black lives need to matter for all lives to; if you believe sex workers deserve the violence they experience on the job just because of the nature of their work, unpack your feelings. Dig deep to discover why you feel that way and where you learned it from. Then, reject it like hell.
Feminism is about team work, girl power (I rolled my eyes as I typed that, but it’s true) and supporting one another even when we don’t all agree.
I hate that feminism has become this on brand thing to be part of. But for all my feminist on demand, white feminist, etc. know that I’m glad you’re here. I’m glad you’re waking up and at least trying to listen. But now that you know better, you gotta do better.
What gift are you using to fight the patriarchy? Share it with me below. Don’t forget to share this with your feminist friends and subscribe for more content like this.