July, Kathryn D., Reviews
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Feminism: I know you are but what am I?

I agree with Katherine C.  I’m bored of this conversation.  That is not necessarily a critique of Adichie’s writing or thoughts. It just that it is just that – writing and thoughts.  Frankly, you have to be the most isolated naïve person (male or female) to not appreciate the glaring discrepancies in gender equality.  I am not just speaking to places in the world, like Nigeria, where these social constraints are newly being addressed.  I am talking about here at home.  We all see it and live it every day.  I get called “nurse,” “honey,” “blue eyes” on the daily at work.  But, you know what, it doesn’t bother me all that much because 1. I have bigger fish to fry and 2. I can’t let it.

As much as the concept of feminism is marred with a negative societal connotation of a movement of the brashy broad juiced up on hormones and self-rightoutsness, the real problem is simple.  The real problem is that feminism is not anything.  It isn’t an action.  It isn’t change. Feminism has become about “being a part of the social narrative.”  I may have gotten some grade A, gold metal level, liberal arts education allowing me to bullshit with the best of them (something I love to do), but what the hell does that mean?  Social narrative?  We have distilled down an enormously complex issue of gender equality with ever-pervasive effects on our society into a sad war cry of “it’s not fair” and “be nicer to me” that, frankly, lost its steam in the 1950s. We let feminism die and then come back to life as a faint ghost of an idea that is easy for any naysayer to tear down.

Writing this, I kept wondering, “Am I supposed to think this – let alone write this?”  I am a woman.  I’m not supposed to bash on feminism.  So I guess I should clarify, I am not bashing on feminism.  I’m bashing on the shell it has become.  I am a firm believer that no matter who you are or where you are from, no one is going to give you anything.  So forget feminism, and go get what you want. I was lucky enough to be raised by a hell-raiser to be a hell-raiser*. If I need or want something in this world, I should go ahead and get it myself because no one else will do it for me.  If I want to be taken seriously, I will be taken seriously.  That is feminism.  It is not pencil-pushing and abstract thinking.  It is not TED talks and podcasts.  It is not essays, writings and thoughts.  Feminism is doing whatever is going to make you fulfilled – whatever it is that makes you the woman you want to be.

So to the question, should we all be feminists? We are all inherently feminists. The question is what do we do with it?

* I maintain the right to remain a “weenie” as I see fit.

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