Can feminists stop being such jerks to other feminists?

I’m starting to get really fed-up with the greater community of feminists I find myself a part of. The ones who follow feminist websites, make social commentary, speak up about gender inequality, and so much more awesomeness!

As a young woman who considers myself a feminist, it’s hard not to feel encouraged when you realize there is a worldwide community of other women who care about women’s rights, gender roles, gender inequality, and rape culture. I can find all of the discourse on these issues I’ve been missing in my social milieu (the only people I discuss this stuff with are my best friend Zineb, my boyfriend and my dad) right here on the interweb!

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Agree or disagree with the point of this cartoon, makes you think, huh?

Do you know what is incredibly DISCOURAGING? Seeing this worldwide community of feminists constantly criticizing each other for “doing feminism wrong.” My rant today was inspired by this article on Jezebel which really disappointed me. The article in question was chastising Miley Cyrus for declaring that she is “[…] one of the biggest feminists in the world.” Their reason for negating this statement is her apparent use of cultural appropriation (click for a wikipedia definition) in her music videos and media presence. Miley has been receiving a lot of hell lately for “appropriating” black culture with her music, her twerking, and her use of black people in her music videos and stage shows. (Stay tuned for an upcoming post on cultural appropriation.) I can see how you can interpret her actions as cultural appropriation. Okay, fine. But are we really going to call her a bad feminist for that? What does that have to do with feminism? Most importantly, her self -identifying as a feminist.

Miley said about her own brand of feminism: “There’s absolutely no contradiction at all between being a feminist and taking your clothes off and being comfortable about displaying your sexuality.” Miley (even though I don’t particularly like her) does make an important point. Miley seems like she’s all about owning your sexuality and being comfortable with it – something most feminists agree is important. Let’s chill about about denying her way of doing feminism.

Similarly in my own life, I find myself bombarded with ways I’m a “bad feminist” :

I want to get married (click for an article on why that makes me a bad feminist).  I listen to rap music. I dress up in little dresses and wear heels to go clubbing. I wear make-up. If it is financially possible, I want to stay home with my kids for the first few years of their lives.

All of these things have been dubbed by some feminist writer or another BAD things for feminists to do. It’s so tiring. Isn’t feminism an important enough cause that we should want all the help we can get? Or do we really have to leave out a whole host of feminists because they’re “doing it wrong?”

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