Feminist Pledge: Frieda 

I pledge to be an inclusive feminist. I pledge to be someone who makes others aware that by default feminism does include and benefit everyone. I pledge to be a feminist aware of our non-female ally’s. I pledge to be non-judgmental, I pledge not to segregate feminists, I pledge to not dictate what a feminist should be.
In recent months, I’ve encountered a lot of judgement and questions from what I thought was my default community – feminists. It’s strange to think that a belief you align yourself with purely because of its demand and desire for equality could have the ability to question your motives. I’ve been asked about my my drive, had derogatory comments made about my intelligence and knowledge and had ‘everything’ that I thought made me who I am put into question by strangers. Strangers who think they have the right to do that because we both have made the decision to define our political and social beliefs under the umbrella of ‘feminism’.
Feminism is cool now – it’s always been cool, but after a bunch of popular culture breakthroughs, people are no longer ashamed to take on feminism. People of all ages, backgrounds, genders, religions and cultures align themselves with feminism and it is rad. What isn’t rad is that the word is sometimes the only cool thing people want. The label of ‘feminist’, but none of the actual qualities of being feminist. I am a firm believer of ‘feminism is not something you are, it’s something you do’ – thanks Kathleen Hanna for the quote. I kinda brandish the word feminist around all the time. I’m a feminist, and people know that pretty early on into meeting me. My tinder profile (RIP), Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms that I am (of course) obsessed with also make it clear. I’m super into being a feminist. However, I also take the piss out of my feminism.
I’m comfortable enough in my beliefs and what feminism means to me and has done for me, to know that I can do that. I let my friends (not strangers – and yes there is a difference there) take the piss out of me fake-moaning about the lack of female representation in a tonne of areas – I have a friend who jokes about how “I’m not making it a thing, but…” before making a thing about a female somewhere/anywhere. I jokingly use the jab “you’re so sexist” at the drop of a hat (well, when I feel comfortable enough to know is ok). Because yeah, it’s just a word (I deliberately use the terms ‘girl’ and ‘boy’ on purpose because sometimes you need to focus on the bigger picture and not the little stuff that kind of makes us who we are…), and also because I find the easiest way to raise awareness of something is not to be a total dick about it. I don’t know, I’m just kind of ok with being made fun of, and I don’t think that it waters down my beliefs, my points of view or what I have to say just because I can laugh at myself. Being nice to people generally involves being nice, not comparing them to yourself, not being holier than thou. So that is what I aim for.
Annoyingly, this can backfire. I’m fine with taking the piss out of myself and the word feminist because I’m full of ‘doing’ too. I write about feminism, I talk ot people about it and listen to what they have to say, I had a blog where other people could contact me about experiences which had been similar to mine, and I always try my best to get involved with positive ways to spread the good feminist word in whatever way I can. My most recent attempt at this, however, involved a fellow feminist (and I will label this individual loosely) claiming that I simply couldn’t understand the struggles of women for centuries because I was young, and because I wasn’t aggressive. I could also never understand the struggle of others because I am not them – but my belief is that I don’t need to experience anything to understand it or to think that there is an injustice. And this goes for being gay, being black, being transgender, being Muslim – there are a lot of groups of people that are constantly and consistently being wronged, and who have people prejudice against them based on very little knowledge of the individual, but I do not need to count myself as part of that group in order to grasp that something must be done, and to understand that they must be heard and counted. Feminism is based on equality, and under that umbrella, I obviously believe in justice and equality for them too, not just for women.
And so this is where my pledge comes in – to be an inclusive feminist – because it isn’t as simple as that for all feminists. I have so little interest in being THAT kind of feminist – only for women, only for being against stuff and not for stuff, only for accusing everyone else of being wrong, only for always being the most right on about everything, only about bringing the negativity to light. I don’t think anyone – feminist or otherwise – should be like that. I want to be for everyone, regardless of how they label themselves. I want equality for women who think feminism is dumb just as much as for women who are out rallying on the streets for equal pay and shared paternity and maternity leave. I want to be a feminist that looks for ways to improve rather than who just wants to moan about how EVERYTHING SUCKS (I’m not a teenager, and that attitude is totally dated). I want to be inclusive because I believe that is the only way to move forward – to include everyone you want to be equal too. All races, all gender identities, all religions, cultures and backgrounds – because we all need to participate in order to affect change. I want to be the kind of feminist who people are comfortable to ask questions to, to hang out with, and ultimately, to take the piss out of. Because we should be the coolest, most inclusive crew around.

  

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