My feminism was integrated into my life earlier than I could have realized. As a child, I was always taught to treat others the way I would like to be treated. My family is compassionate, understanding, caring and helps anyone that they can. My mother, especially, has taught me to go out of my way to help others. Often I find myself doing someone a favor or helping a friend with a project. I do this, not because that person will owe me something or it will feel good to help them, but because deep inside of my heart and my head, I know it is the right thing to do. My morals and conscience weigh heavy on my mind.
This is why I am so heavily involved in the ideas of intersectional feminism. I know that the oppression of women directly affects me – but I am also white, middle class, heterosexual and able bodied. I experience one sliver of oppression, when there are others who may experience all of it.
A few weekends ago, my sister (a self declared feminist herself) shared her frustrations with me about a mutual friend who constantly goes out of her way to nitpick feminist issues. “It’s too much,” she said. I understood where she was coming from. Constant opinions and ideas on what’s oppressive and what isn’t can irritate you. But then I stopped and felt ashamed.
Because of our status, the issues that are “too much” for us may not directly affect us but they directly affect someone else. That’s what intersectional feminism is! We need to care about and help each other. The role of a privileged person is one of a teacher to others like them. We need to stand up and speak up for those who cannot do it themselves.
Every day, I try to be a better friend, a better teacher and a better feminist.
What do you think?
Do you know someone who just doesn’t get why feminism is important? Have you ever tried to explain it to them?
How do you try to be a better feminist?