Sunday, November 21, 2010

I'm a Feminist, And...

Reading Tami's and Lainad's posts on feminism has me thinking about my own relationship with feminism's contentious history. Feminism has done a poor job of addressing the needs of all women, and a number of those women are turning away from it.

Full disclosure: I do not have an academic background. I've never taken a woman's studies course, and in what has become a leitmotif for my life, I came to feminism pretty late in the game. For this, I'm always a little hesitant to write about it or even comment on other blogs -- I'm just not "there" yet. I don't know what part of feminism I can actually claim as my own but I do know that as a non-disabled, cisgendered white woman, I've largely benefitted from it.

A few months ago, Tiger Beatdown's C.L. Minou wrote about the failures of feminism, and this single sentence succinctly sums up what I've been feeling:

"That you can’t have it both ways, to say that claiming a feminist identity allows you to disown the nasty parts of the movement’s history and its present."

I still identify as a feminist, but I'm a feminist and (as opposed to "not a feminist but..." which has been the mantra of so many young women): I'm a feminist and I recognize the failures of traditional feminism. I'm a feminist and I acknowledge my own failings. I'm a feminist and I'm learning.

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