It’s not cool and fun and sexy

Meghan Murphy has a sockdolager of a piece explaining that no feminism isn’t anything and everything but rather is something particular and substantive, so no you’re not a feminist just because you wear stilettos or have a platinum card. She offers 9 items that actually do make you a feminist, a better feminist than people who lack them.

First is being a woman.

There are male feminists of course, and since we need all the feminists we can get, maybe especially among men, I think it’s important to emphasize that, but her point is that men don’t fully get the female experience.

2) Understanding that feminism is not a feeling or an identity, but a political movement

And a set of ideas and claims.

If you think that objectifying women or street harassment or male entitlement or gender stereotypes or sexualizing violence against women is good and ok, you aren’t a feminist. Taking a selfie orgetting married or wearing stilettos or making a bunch of money does not equate to feminism (yet feminists are allowed to do these things! See how that works?) because feminism isn’t about you as an individual feeling personally “good” or empowered in the moment. You can feel empowered, but that doesn’t necessary produce feminism. Similarly, feeling “good” [does] not equate to empowerment. Empowerment, in the context of feminism, means social empowerment for a group of marginalized people (in this case, women). This is why, for example, posing nude and feeling sexy in a fashion or porn magazine might feel good for the individual doing it (they will receive positive reinforcement, feel attractive, profit financially, etc.) but does not constitute “empowerment” as it does not lift up women as a class.

Number 3, stop being anti-intellectual.

There is no activism without ideology. Ideology is the body of ideas that frames a political movement. We need that, otherwise how the fuck do we know what we’re doing? (What’s that? We’re just taking selfies and shouting intersectionality at each other on Twitter? Good then. Fuck ideology. Fuck movements. Fuck yeah.)

That. That’s why I abruptly jumped off the train between stops. I’m not interested in a politics that’s all formulas – check your privilege! intent isn’t magic! my feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit! – and no thought. Formulas are ok for some limited purposes, but that’s all. Shouting intersectionality at each other on Twitter doesn’t cut it.

4 is about that too.

5) Not being ageist

At what point did ageism become acceptable in feminism? Oh right. The third wave… Ok, so we understand that rebellious teenagers want to “Your not my real mom!” *slams door* their elders, but we are not rebellious teenagers. We are adults. And if you are a feminist it is unacceptable to make “second wave” an insult. That is some woman-hating, anti-feminist, ageist garbage and if you want to pull that shit, congratulations, you’re doing patriarchy. Keep your ignorance and keep perpetuating sexist notions that women who are no longer youthful are silly, old-fashioned, prudish fuddy-duddies, clutching their pearls all the way to the old folks home, where they can stick to Bingo, but know that you’re no feminist. Older movement women know more than you do and we aren’t going anywhere without them.

Cough cough cough.

There are a lot of “feminists” out there who decidedly do make “second wave” an insult – usually while shouting something that second wavers originated 45 years ago. We’re not your mommies, we’re not Miss Marple, we’re not old dears with bundles of knitting. Get a fucking clue.

6) Not accusing feminists of hating sex and men like it’s a bad thing

Women are allowed to hate men and sex. Hating men and sex is perfectly natural. Men and sex with men has been a source of trauma for countless women, over centuries. It is also perfectly natural to love particular men and to enjoy having sex. None of these realities are things that should be used by feminists to insult, attack, or dismiss other feminists. By accusing feminists who challenge male violence of “hating sex” or “hating men” you are reinforcing heteronormative garbage and feeding into stereotypes that say feminists are just angry because they aren’t getting fucked enough. These tropes are connected to rape culture — it is the idea that men can fuck women into passivity or fuck them straight. It is the idea that only fuckable women are “real” women. It is the idea that women need men in order to be whole beings and to matter — that they only exist in relation to men. These are anti-feminist ideas.

And 7, 8, 9, too. Read it all, then read it again.

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