Internal Feuds with Feminism

Disclaimer : Sarcasm – 7 letter word. Live it, learn it, love it. But seriously though, if I offended anyone in anyway with my lewd vocabulary or Monique Witting filled lesbian revolution fantasies, I’m sorry.

The wonderful world of feminism. I stumbled upon it during my time in the Duke in LA program. We’d begun studying art spaces (I think…it’s all a blur now). Anyway, Womanhouse came up in one of my readings and I was OBSESSED. Period art, vaginas everywhere…pretty rad stuff. This led me to take a feminist art class and the rest is history. In my studies, I’ve learned of many different forms of feminism. Marxist feminism, black feminism, separatist ideas, sex positive feminism. But nothing resembling Girlie Feminism had caught my eye. After reading about it this past week, I did not (and still don’t) know how I felt about it. It was like sex positive feminism meets kinky weird shit, and I mean weird in the nicest of ways. I can vibe with the whole “porn doesn’t have to be misogynistic” thing but I really don’t know how I feel about magazines filled with essays dedicated to the liberation felt while giving a blow job. And as a side note, I really don’t think a blow job can be that liberating. I’m just saying.

Anyway, after battling weird prose about people’s sex lives (as well as the whole “we can be feminine as well as feminist” ideas) I got to thinking about the everyday battles I face when I label myself a feminist. So I thought of some dilemmas that many a woman may face in their everyday battle within the system (dun, dun,dun)

1.     “I know I’m brainwashed but if loving you is wrong” feminism : This type of feminism is something I battle with to this day. Being an academic of sorts, and believing that radical measures need to be taken to change the world we live in, I’d love to give up men and become a gender bending, fuck the system lesbian or queer woman. But I’m not. And I tend to do stupid shit when it comes to men. And I tend to dream of white dresses and babies and me doing all the housework and driving a minivan and being perfectly fucking miserable or happy or both but I don’t know what to think because I’m a feminist and men are evil. But I love my boo. Ugh.

2.     “I’m too broke for your feminism” feminism : Oh, ya’ll are gonna march the capitol in protest of the bill that would allow men to rip our vaginas off of us and store them in jars on their bedside table? I’d love to come BUT I HAVE TO WORK FIVE SHIFTS AT MY SHITTY JOB THAT’S MADE EVEN SHITTIER BECAUSE THE SHITTY DUDE WHO LIKES TO EYE FUCK ME (sexual harassment anyone?) GETS PAID MORE THAN I DO FOR COMING TO WORK BAKED OUT OF HIS MIND. But please know that my vagina and myself are there in spirit. 🙂

3.     “But I love the hoes” feminism : I am a 90’s baby. You know what was banging in the 90’s? Rap music. Do you know what my parents listened to? Rap music. I LOVE RAP MUSIC. There I got it out there. But I’m also a feminist. WOMP. So as I walk down the street in my “Stop street harassment” T-shirt, is it ok if the lyrics blasting through my headphones proclaim a certain man’s skills at beating the pussy up,up,up,up (in the nicest of manners I presume)? Honestly though, sometimes this patriarchal world brings a sista down and all I need is some ratchet lyrics about me being the baddest yellow bone in the land to re-energize my spirit. (Sidenote: My awesome fellow intern, Andrea (had to give her a shout out) told me about hip-hop feminism for all ya’ll that can relate to this. I’d be reading into it right now if I wasn’t slowly dying trying to keep up with my thesis research.)

4.     “Au natural” feminism : Do you ever go on one of those social media sites and see a woman post a picture proclaiming how natural she is? No make up, no weave, no prosthetic limbs. Well, if that’s what makes you a better feminist (it doesn’t), I’d like to proclaim that I’ve been a feminist since birth minus that awkward stage in middle school. If not shaving and not combing your hair is cool, consider me Susan B. Anthony. Man, why didn’t I have a feminist godmother fly down to me in middle school when I was wearing thick eyeliner and buying my first thong at Sears (yes they sell clothes at Sears) to tell me in a few years I’d be rocking the grannies again as a sign of protest.

I could come up with a million more of these (and probably will once I start daydreaming on the subway later) but the point of the matter is, being a feminist is hard when you’re brainwashed. I love being a woman and I love all the complexities that comes with it. Sometimes I wish it was easier for the personal to mimic my political views. But honestly, the world is too hard not to just watch trashy TV and daydream about being a Kardashian cousin.

4 thoughts on “Internal Feuds with Feminism

  1. I love this entry Deja. I can definitely relate to a lot of it. I also love rap music too and I am constantly asking myself if listening to it means I am supporting it. Because you indulge in something does that mean you support it’s messages?

    • Hey Libby! Hope your summer is going well.

      To answer your question, in my opinion, yes and no. Of course by engaging with the material we are making it more acceptable. With each circulation of a song, more validation in its message is presumed. However, I’ve had a lot of conversations surrounding this and I think we can’t be too hard on ourselves. We are a product of our environment. Yes, not dancing to it in Shooters may help but I think as long as you are conscious of the implications of the music, it is ok.

      Now at the same time, I don’t know how I feel about my little sisters listening to it. But I think women’s image in society goes far beyond rap music and the music industry as a whole.

      This is definitely a long debate to be had. I plan on looking into hip hop feminism in my spare time to try to find a middle ground that I feel comfortable with. Thanks for reading!

  2. Loved it Deja! Never really considered myself a feminist mainly because of the stringent views and perceptions that are placed on women who do. There’s this  cloud of assumptions and stereotypes that follow the feminist around. They attempt to place her in a box and in turn,this causes her to second guess who she is, as well as restricting her from doing the things she liked (and still likes) before she began identifying herself in that way.  Like you said, we grew up listening to rap and love that shit! Lol Do I love myself or counterparts any less if I listen to it? Does that make one less of a feminist? Needless to say, I get it now lol. Nothing wrong with living my brainwashed life AND working towards the betterment of womankind! Well written and relatable little sis!

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