By Marley K.
Last year, I broke up with feminism.
Over the years, I’ve found feminism to be as divisive and non-inclusive as any glorified country club White only Whites are allowed. Many women of color have dropped feminism to pick up the cause of equality — and it makes perfect sense to me to do so as well.
For me, breaking up with feminism after years of calling myself one, but never seeing any fruit from it was life-changing. After all, isn’t feminism all about women being treated the same as men (equality), paid the same as men (that’s equality too), being able to secure the same powers and positions as men (yep, equality again), to serve in the same capacities as men (equal opportunities), and being given the same opportunities in the workforce as men (equal opportunity)? Women are fighting for equality. Feminism takes away from the core message. It’s also segregating, and segregation are the keys to a house which is permanently divided. It’s time to take those keys away.
We women are always fighting for something. We’re fighting for our children, and some of us fight for other people’s children. We’re fighting against racism (inequality based on the color of one’s skin). Women are fighting against wage inequality (women are fighting to get the same wages of men, and women of color are fighting to get the same wages as White men and White women). Women are fighting against workplace harassment. Women are fighting for safe, clean, affordable housing (against community segregation and gentrification).
Women are fighting for LGBTQ rights (as lesbians, bisexual women, transgender women, and mi queer familia fighting to co-exist among heterosexual and gay men). We’re fighting for better (equal) — safer schools, higher teacher pay, equal representation in local, state, and federal governance roles, board representation, and equal opportunities for chief executive officer positions at Fortune 500 corporations.
We are always fighting for equality. So why limit all the things we’re fighting for, placing those fights under an umbrella of feminism which is so exclusive to well — women.
And while there are a number of men who wholeheartedly support and understand the feminism movement — more men do not understand it. Some men simply don’t care about it, and they don’t want anything to do with it.
To men, feminism means taking from men to give to women. It means change. It means they need to fight, and that’s something they love to do. They’ve perfected it, and they know how to win. I don’t want to fight with men. I learned a long time ago that you get more in life with sugar than you can from shit, and feminism has gotten really shitty as of late.
Random men have helped me so much throughout my life I can’t even count all of the ways.
I’d dare say more men have helped me than women over my lifetime. From the nice White guy who chased my dad down the halls of the child welfare office when he dropped me off on a Friday evening at the close of business. A nice male flight representative held an entire flight to help me get my step-grandkids through TSA on a flight to Hawaii to visit their mother who was an Army nurse in mandatory training for 3 months before going to her next assignment. I went to a female flight representative first who wouldn’t help me. Not to mention we lived three hours away from the airport. Those kids missing that flight was not an option.
A man, not a woman, helped me get those kids to their mother. So much for feminism and women working together to help women. A White man encouraged me to pursue my four-year degree.
Sometimes, we women aren’t the most helpful. In fact, we can be as cutthroat as the next guy. Additionally, White women and White feminism have been stingy in sharing power, and dismissive of the struggles of women and girls of color outside of their favorite tokens.
Feminism has been selectively good for certain women — White women in particular. The ones in their infamous pussy hats. Inclusiveness seems illusive wherever those pink hats are. So why bother calling myself something that excludes me. I was essentially fighting for equality within the feminism movement too. It was too much fighting for my taste buds.
Feminism is exclusive. And no matter how much they say I’m included, I just don’t see it. Actions speak louder than words, and the fact that people of color are so scant in these marches and rallies (search women’s march photos) signifies there is little or no meaningful engagement and collaboration prior to marches and rallies.
The truth was a hard pill to swallow. There’s little equality in feminism, which makes breaking up with it easy. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. People of color don’t have time to wait on feminists to get it, and people of color don’t have time to teach feminists about the privilege they walk in and possess. We’ve wasted so much time already hoping they were serious about inequality.
Achieving Equality Takes All Of Us
Breaking up with feminism and falling in love with equality is the best thing I can do to help more people. I help all people and I need to be apart of movements that support my life philosophy. And all sorts of people have helped me. I wouldn’t be where I am today and I wouldn’t know all the things I know today.
It’s up to me to share these truths with the world.
I need people to help me fight for equality, classism, and racism, not just women. Gay people, straight people, queer people, Black people, Asian people, Indian people, poor people, rich people, happy people, grouchy people, smart people, average people, wise people, sometimes I need a few ignorant people with good hearts, young people, old people, fun people, and fun sponges. I need women and men.
It’s going to take all kinds to bring about changes that lead to a more equitable and prosperous America, so why limit myself with a label and why slap myself with a label that aches for a fight with men (tell the truth men — feminism makes some of you ill).
Men who possess most of the power and control of nearly all of the world’s wealth. I need them as allies. I need to respect them so they’ll respect me. I need to help them so they’ll help me. I need to listen to them, so they’ll hopefully one day be able to hear and listen to me.
We can only achieve equality by working together, collectively. A divided house cannot stand, and right now we are fighting a losing battle in America.
My thoughts on feminism: