Guest post: Feminism was a glorious light

Originally a comment by iknklast on Thanks I guess?

If there is no right way to be a woman – or to be a man – then how in the world can anyone know that they “feel like a woman”? That is the main question we are asking. We are not the ones assuming there is a “right” way to be something, and therefore the idea that one who doesn’t “feel” right needs to be the other…CAN THEY NOT EVEN SEE THE ILLOGIC? (sorry, I know the answer to that).

Who counts as a woman black? Is there some set of core experiences distinctive of womanhood blackness, some shared set of adventures and exploits that every woman black person will encounter on her journey from diapers to the grave?

Seriously, some of the speakers at freethought conferences (the black speakers) have seemed to imply just this…that all black people experience the exact same thing, and that no white person can experience any of it because we are just so different, and they are so alike.

And the goals of feminism – equality of pay, right to decide what one does with one’s own body, right to have the same opportunities and rights as males, right to work at a job of our choice – I am so tired of having these seen as straight, rich, white women’s issues. The idea that those of us born poor (as well as those not straight and/or not white) somehow don’t need or deserve or want those things? I’m calling bullshit. I grew up in squalor and filth, and feminism was a glorious light that helped point the way out of that gutter. Poor women need these rights even more than rich women; black women are searching for these things as much as white women; lesbians needs these things as much as straight women. Yeah, there have been some missteps in feminism, but the fact that feminism was led by straight, white, rich women (mostly middle class, if we want to be honest about it, but calling them rich makes it seem even more removed from “real” women) is a factor of time – the rest of us didn’t have time to fight that battle while working 3 jobs, raising kids, keeping house, and doing all the things that feminism tried to help us with (helping us a lot more than our husbands, in most cases). For those of us who have moved into that status of middle-class, we now have joined the fight only to see ourselves dismissed as “rich” (I am not), “white” (I am, but I know many feminists who are not and march in the same marches I do), and “straight” (I am, but so what? My lesbian friends also want the same things I do, except sexually).

As someone who was able to pull herself out of the squalor because of feminism, I think it’s time for people to shut up until they actually inform themselves about things. Thanks.

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