This tweet by @alisonphipps had me thinking about all the ideas in feminism that make me want to turn my badge in.
Like why can people endorse „Lean In“ / glass ceiling / „trickle down“ / corporate feminism for instance and almost everyone including lots of feminists who call themselves intersectional still share their mostly plagiarized / watered down / whitewashed / diversified-but-still-very-privileged ideas of feminism? That’s not actually „more reasonable“ as so many people like to put it. It’s mostly part of a backlash against feminism.
It’s easy to make money off feminist ideas. Everyone’s a feminists these days. Feminism makes you look progressive. Make capitalism look nice and caring and you will sell more stuff. People want to look like they care even if they don’t really care at all. Like when Facebook pretends to be your friend or the Skype bot sends you hugs.
Look at Dove for instance: They appropriate body positivity then tell you properly loving yourself means you need to invest in their products for self care. Be your authentic unadulterated self for just $$$.
Or look at Buzzfeed editors shopping at Primark for
science a pointless article in which they try to fit their asses into too small jeans then blame the fashion industry for their looks. That’s feminism. And because they’re feminist they can be classist, ableist and racist on a regular basis without being criticized. You can’t be perfect so what’s the use trying anyway?
Look at women in tech feminism. It’s predominantly privileged white women who fit into bro culture. Some of them actively sucking up to male dominated power structures. And we call them pioneers. Think again, seriously.
Or take this whole modern brand of feminism as a lifestyle product intended to make its users feel good about themselves. EditionF for example. There’s no real class analysis in it because they have class interests to protect. There’s no intent to make a real difference except for themselves plus a bit of charity. Everything else is embellishment. Look how this strong female character can have it all from a wheelchair / while being black / despite not asking their parents for another loan!
A huge amount of privilege is relegated into the footnotes like it doesn’t matter at all. Everything this is about is telling you that if other women can do this, it’s practically your fault if you don’t make it. Like upwards social mobility is attainable for more than a few. If these female role models they shove into our faces can juggle kids, shitty husbands and a board membership with just the help of a few underpaid migrant care workers you should be able to do three jobs, care for your kids all on your own and have no life besides that hands down. Or else you must be a loser. It’s all in your mindset. No matter life without social security is more expensive. No matter you struggle to make ends meet living paycheck to paycheck if at all. Also, smile more.
This is peak neoliberal appropriation of feminism. And this sucks so hard I want to turn my badge in.
This kind of individualist approach to feminism negates power structures and structural inequalities. If your parents couldn’t afford the high profile education you need to access certain circles, you can make an effort all you want later on, you will never be able to make up for it.
People who are feminists mock people who buy groceries at Aldi when they can’t afford better. Same goes for mocking people’s Amazon wishlists, Paypals, Patreons, …. Or mocking #GiveYourMoneyToWomen because your best effort at analyzing inequality in capitalism is somewhere between a bag of hot air and a steaming pile of shit.
People who are feminists bully sex workers on a regular basis while other people who are feminists just recently put sex workers on top of their list of people whose rights they are totally willing to fight for and then entirely forget them in their analysis. Same goes for transgender, nonbinary and agender individuals. Feminists talk about „people with uteruses“ (or uteri) regarding reproductive rights, just to expose themselves two minutes later by still associating feminism with vaginas. People who are feminists say „violence against perceived women“ then instantly forget about the existence of everyone but cis women. This is not intersectionality. This is a fig leaf on a pile of shit, no matter how well-intended.
Feminism worthy of its name has to center the interests of the most marginalized people. Most „mainstream“ approaches to feminism fail precisely at this point. It’s not enough to express your intention to fight for marginalized people and then not do it.
Also, you can’t self-help yourself out of structural inequalities. Don’t tell people the consequences of social inequality are their own fault. Think twice before you endorse this message.