Firstly, everyone has their own kind of feminism and how they choose to enact or do activist activities around it. This is because everyone has their own life experiences, social standing and concerns which inform how they are feminist. Personally, I am a cis-gendered (my bits match my gender identity as female) and yet I am bi-sexual. Furthermore, I am a visibly caucasian, able-body, middle class Canadian. I grew up poor and yet go to university now and am studying English and Women & Gender Studies. All of these factors and more inform what my feminism is and how I believe that feminism must be diverse to fully include everyones experience. Yet, my experiences and how I choose to enact my feminism through creative activism like my radio show does not mean that I am speaking for everyone. In fact, the point of feminism is to make sure we don’t speak for others but instead let them speak about their experiences and make sure we value those people. I can’t speak for the experiences of trans identified individuals as I do not identify nor have I experienced what life is like as a trans individual. Yet, I am an ally and I find the politics of sex, gender, sexuality, the body and how they all interact in the lives of trans individuals as interesting and extremely important to talk about and make visible. I’m not a spokesperson nor some cis-gendered saviour, I am an ally… if they will have me.
Yet, I haven’t really addressed what feminism is. Again, how someone identifies as feminist and why is incredibly individual and differs greatly person to person. Yet what most can agree is the core of feminist ideology is equality for all. But I disagree. Equality for all means that we should treat everyone as if they are exactly the same, but we are NOT! Difference is not a bad thing nor should we all become some Stepford Wives idea of men and women where we are all terrifyingly the same. I am not the same as my friend from Ghana or another friend who is differently able or disabled. I don’t have the same experiences as those people and just as feminism isn’t the same for everyone, nor is everyone the same as everyone… and that’s AWESOME. Instead of try to make everyone the same (never-mind that you have to figure out what the status quo of equality is, which might be fairly euro-centric, and able-bodied) why not celebrate difference? Difference is a reality of our daily lives as living beings. Instead of equality how about equity? We acknowledge difference and we VALUE IT! People shouldn’t have their race, class, sex, gender, disability erased because “we” think it’s bad but instead we should love and cherish that difference just as we should love and cherish our own. Love ourselves and love others based on not what we wish they were but instead on how they are not. That doesn’t mean we should not be advocating for more opportunities around the world for all of those who are marginalized. Instead, seek to value the amazing abilities of those around us and not assume that someone is less useful or more inclined to do something wrong. Perhaps, I am too idealistic and try to be too positive about the human race but I do believe in the idea that you are innocent until proven guilty, why not apply that to say, race politics and racism around the world. One is not automatically guilty of being less or dangerous because one is black, hispanic or a man. Yet, on the same note, those who are dangerous or guilty, as my analogy goes, we can expect the individual to take responsibility but we must also expect society and the socialization which is formative in why every person around the world does what they do, to take responsibility.
Equity for All!