One of the first steps in fighting oppression is to acknowledge its presence within the institutions we are a part of, yet far too often injustice is outsourced and framed as something that other people do. Racism in our society is distilled down to groups like the BNP, whose ideologies and practices are so indisputably racist- and whose membership is so easy to “other”- that it is not a painful process to identify and publicly disown them as racist. Similarly, the media and mainstream politics finds it easy to locate sexism in “othered” communities such as those which promote practices which clearly hurt women- so-called honour killings, forced marriage and female genital mutilation. While it is important to locate and fight against such examples of oppression, I believe that it is unhelpful and counterproductive to be content with simply declaiming the uncontroversially sexist. Continue reading
There’s an issue which often bothers me slightly. Why do some things that are compelling to me, and to many of my friends, simply fail to engage the interest of many people?
I could be referring to any number of things- questioning body presentation norms, challenging institutional sexism, wondering how to confront problematic gender roles in personal life, offensive gym advertisements, gender binaries, the problematicness of capitalism, actively engaging with climate change… Continue reading
“In-fighting” is a tired and negative word for what, in my opinion, is a perfectly natural occurrence within any political movement.
Elements of society that are opposed to radical change defend the status quo, and therefore all conservative circles may stand united in the face of opposition. “We want,” they can say in unison, “to remain the same. Any disagreements that we have are subordinate to this initial demand.”
I think I’m a feminist. I certainly care about lots of things feminists care about: unequal pay, sex discrimination and so on. But whenever I think about it, the ‘feminist’ parts of my concerns seem to fade away. I care if women aren’t paid fairly, but then, I care if anyone is not paid fairly. Again, I care if women are discriminated against, but then, I care if anyone is discriminated against. How many ‘feminist’ concerns are subsumed in more general, gender-neutral concerns, and so, seemingly, not really ‘feminist’ at all? Continue reading