On Feminism

“Feminist” is a label I choose to wear not simply because it reflects many of my core values and politics, but also because by wearing that label I hope I am also playing a role in redefining it. I wrote this piece out of frustration for being caught in a perpetual dilemma–of calling myself a feminist but having a lot of problems with feminism. But, I think self-definition is powerful, and here is my attempt to redefine feminism for myself and for others. 


My feminism will listen

My feminism will recognize its history of exclusion and inclusion

My feminism will know that immigration and poverty are just as much “feminist issues” as sexual assault and reproductive justice

My feminism will fight for reproductive justice, not simply “choice”

My feminism will remember that the rhetoric of “choice” is laden with privilege and power, and that it will take more than “choice” to liberate women

My feminism is bored of conversations around intersectionality that do not challenge existing structures

My feminism will not silence

My feminism will not be incompatible with any part of my identity

My feminism will respect the feminism of my mother, and all the women who are strong in their own way without taking labels

My feminism will be anti-racist and anti-colonialist

My feminism will concern itself with interlocking structures of power without claiming to be a dominant site for all types of struggles; my feminism will not “swallow” the work of others

My feminism will be trans-positive

My feminism will be sex-positive

My feminism will not define what “empowerment” is, or what it looks like

My feminism will recognize all the ways in which we resist as legitimate

My feminism will not speak of a “third world woman” or simplify and victimize her experience

My feminism believes in solidarity and ally-ship

My feminism understands that “sisterhood” is tempting, but not innate, and must be worked at

My feminism knows that there is a time to work with the system, and a time to actively fight against it

My feminism will actively expose and deconstruct privilege

My feminism will embrace vulnerability as strength

My feminism will always be learning and growing

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

Join the Conversation