April 29, 2009

You CAN be a feminist all the time...

At a recent talk, feminist superstar Rosi Braidotti gave this piece advice: She told us to remember that you can't "always" be a feminist. Um, wtf? Apparently, at dinner parties, you sometimes will have to swallow sexist jokes and shit or you'll constantly be in conflict when all you wanna do is drink your wine. Some of that IS true. There are days when I can't engage with sexist comments verbally, when I can't tell people off, because I'm tired, busy, stressed, or scared. There are times when I don't have the energy to get ganged up on, so I don't contradict people's world views. Don't get me wrong, I can be a mouthy bitch when I'm well-rested and in the mood , but I don't want my full-time job to be as a feminist superhero who is always pointing out people's gaffes.

Still, no matter how incapable I am of ALWAYS unfailingly standing up for feminism, that doesn't mean if I refrain from making a comment, I'm not being a feminist then - that I'm taking a break from feminism. There are various ways to assert feminist agency. One is by pointing out people's prejudices and calling them on their bullshit. That's a great way. It's an activist way that I respect and try to do as often as possible, but just because I don't call you on your crap doesn't mean the feminist education I've had doesn't point out that fuck, what you've said is wrong. I might say nothing then, but file your comment away, and blog about it later - deconstructing it for all the internets to see. Or I might call you on it in person the next day, when I feel more up to it. Or I might simply just develop the the opinion that you're an ass and are out of the running for being god parent to any children I might have in the future.

There is no monolithic way for feminists to react to anti-feminist statements or actions. You CAN be a feminist all the time. There are different ways for feminists to respond to the world and there are certainly different forms of activism we can turn to. Sorry, Braidotti - you may be a genius, but you're wrong. I'm always a feminist, so why aren't you?

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