words by @sabinxdzh
There is a significant volume of fiction and non-fiction written dictating the oppression of the female sex. Starting from dystopian society novels such as ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ (by Margaret Atwood), to Buzzfeed articles that convey kick-ass women standing up for what they believe in. At the day and age of the Internet, where all can share their opinions online at a click of a button, the Internet provides a platform to those who have something to say. As a result, you have a generation of passionate young adults who express their beliefs, through Tumblr text posts and Instagram captions. But what has feminism evolved too, now that the verb itself has transformed into a slogan for mass-production fashion outlets, such as Forever 21, to print with a san-serif font onto t-shirts, consequently selling them to an audience who believe the political movement to be a trend that allows them to feel connected to celebrities such as Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift, who too are all outspoken feminists. Being a feminist has become more of a casual thing to type onto your Twitter bio, despite the lack of education of the movement’s history or aims. However, it is significant to note that the label is less stigmatized now more than ever, due to its current ‘trendy-ness’, which is a positive as this declining of any negative stigma is vital in the movement’s prosperity and ability to achieve its aims. However, now lies the issue (something not only isolated within feminism) whereby many have forgotten, or are not educated in the movement’s very foundation and principles. Like with many other movements, feminism is compromised of many sub-segments, such as liberal feminism and intersectional feminism, all believing certain problems of more importance than other, and so, needing more awareness and issue solving. But what happens when you minimize a massive movement to a slogan for a top to be worn by a teenager who has no clue of its history and significance?
This form of ignorance is normalized and deafens and undermines the efforts of its predecessors. (Audree Lorde, Karen Finley, Eileen Myles, Pussy Riot, etc). It completely ignores the fact that in the US, one in every three households consists of single mothers (but also this statistic does not acknowledge any other form of relationship which is not heterosexual), or how education for girls in third world countries is still not common despite it being the 21st century. This is simply the tip of the iceberg, and rather than tackling all these injustices, we have allowed the feminism to become a label that some utilize to feel normativity or to construct a sense of belonging. The label establishes a sense of comfort, erasing the identities of all those who lack the luxury. Some may perceive such an opinion as critical, and opposition is evident to exist, as it is a side effect with all subjective writing. Despite this, I firmly believe that we must normalize and stress the importance of educating ourselves of all that we can, such as how feminism does not only represent the female sex, but all other identities on the gender spectrum, as well other identities such as women of color, different religions and disabilities, furthermore constructing the understanding that some have more privilege than others.
Education of all these topics can be completed through reading novels such as The Argonaut (Maggie Nelson), I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou), to following activists on social media such as Hari Nef , Brie Larson, Amy Strozzi, Petra Collins and Rowan Blanchard. As with all things, this plea comes to a conclusion, where by I ask all who are currently reading, to learn more, constantly, as the very nature of life is learning, and educating yourself about feminism allows for all to be able to snap out of the disillusionment of brainwashing that has been implemented on us since our birth. And remember, wear your feminist t-shirt proud, combined with your educated voice loud, but don’t let the label define your existence, as its purpose to help those who are not as privileged as we are.