As a feminist I feel a lot of pressure to be a “good feminist” and not reject any of the ideals for fear of being labeled a bad one. It’s unfortunate because feminists are sometimes each other’s worse critics. When we disappoint or don’t adhere to the idea of what each other’s ideas of what feminism means, we are judged, criticized, and often accused of not being a “true feminist”. This hurts feminism and the common goal we are all supposed to be working towards. This is probably the single biggest reason I struggled with identifying as a feminist for so long. I feared being unable to live up to expectations of what a feminist was. I feared the cultural critics debating my self identification as a feminist.
This is prevalent amongst some of my fellow feminist friends. I recently invited theAdultMillenial to guest blog for me. In doing so, I gave him complete freedom in choosing what to write about. He wrote a piece titled “Chivalry” in a Feminist World.
I thought it was wonderful. Something to be celebrated. After all, it isn’t often that men volunteer to write about, or support feminism. Unfortunately, rather than that being celebrated, a friend of mine immediately became defensive of my choice as a feminist for allowing a man to post on my blog about chivalry.
I was lectured about the use of the word chivalry and how it goes against feminism. I cringed as I listened. Not because I don’t value her feedback, but because she chose to take immediate issue with the word choice rather than celebrate the fact that a male was supporting feminism and didn’t stop to consider the intentions int he post.
In the post, theAdultMillenial even talks about toxic masculinity and respecting a women’s response when she turns men down. If that isn’t something to celebrated than I don’t know we are actually making progress in feminism. The point in this is that as feminists, we don’t all need to agree on EVERYTHING. But we should respect and support each other.
I will go one step further and say that if we want men as our allies than we need to support them and celebrate their efforts in embracing feminism. We aren’t all perfect in what we say and do, the purity in our intentions should be what’s measured.
Let’s pursue progress, rather than perfection. It is that simple. It is that complicated.