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Today’s Feminism: A Genuine Movement or a Bandwagon?

This article explores today’s feminism and how it shapes or breaks the movement altogether.

Last week, I was walking downtown with some friends when we came across a wall decal with the quote above. I didn’t think I needed this so I bought 3 other decals instead. Days later, I wished I had at least taken a picture of it for this post but thankfully, I was able to find the exact quote on Google.

Still in that same week, I read a blog post written by an avid feminist, detailing the reasons why she can never allow her daughter to listen to “Beyoncé”. Rest assured we all know that album is for adults… In this post, the author engaged in a literal breakdown, or better put, an over-analysis of every song on that album.

Reading that post confirmed to me the very reason why I WILL NEVER refer to myself as a feminist.

Throughout the post and in responses from other readers, I saw the repeated usage of “black feminist” and I thought to myself “Wow! So feminism has a racial basis?”

It is bad enough that we are females in a largely patriarchal society but what is worse is the fact that the very movement that I assume is set out to stand up for women is on many occasions, the cover which other women are hiding under to criticize efforts of fellow women.

FEMINISM DIVISIONS

Why are feminists divided based on ethnicity or color, and seemingly classified as “real feminist” or otherwise? I may never understand this.

It is obvious that this feminist movement to some is just a hype; a bandwagon that many are hopping on without understanding the true meaning of feminism. And I will admit that I don’t. I really don’t. With every post I come across on feminism, I get reassured that there is no need to attach yet another label to my already complex existence…as a female.

I will continue to be a woman, who believes that everyone, whether male or female should be empowered to attain their full potential. And maybe feminists feel this way too (I applaud those who really do) but then again, I do not need to hide behind a label to know that EVERYONE regardless of gender or race deserves to be treated equally and with respect.

Society needs a fix altogether but first, we need to fix ourselves and respecting each other is a step in the right direction. Until the fundamental human rights have been attained, I relinquish the need to add on any further labels.

Back to the Beyoncé issue, I strongly believe that one cannot fight for a cause while ripping apart the very elements of that cause.

Yes, Beyoncé may or may not have made “feminist-related” comments in the past (although I don’t know how these comments are measured for feminism-relatedness) but why can’t these self-righteous feminists who spend a considerable amount of time gnawing at Beyoncé’s music and lifestyle acknowledge her efforts as a woman?

If you are not convinced that her message is credible enough to “empower” younger females, you need to be reminded that her premier position is to entertain and the last time I checked, entertainers put out what they deem will be well-received by their audience. So if feminism is the hottest topic at the moment, excuse her interpretation or misinterpretation of it. Does tearing her apart make you feel better?

Isn’t her all-female band good enough?

I cannot count how many articles or blog posts I have read on this issue and I can’t stand the outburst of feminist opposition any longer on whether Beyoncé is fit to be called a feminist or not. Who invented that yardstick?

Regardless of the fact that she is a celebrity at the peak of her career, let’s not forget that she is a woman who like you and I has personal battles.

The fact that she chooses to share some of them with us through her songs should not be used to scrutinize her in any way.

If you think she is not living by what she sings, then consider it an indictment of the industry she is in. And if you are still not convinced that she is a mere mortal like you and I, who has worked so hard to be where she is right now, watch the video below.

Society may put women down, the media may put women down but I know for a fact that we women put ourselves down even more. This needs a fix and it is an individual journey we must all embark on, independent of the aforementioned movement.

– Memkoh

Update: I now understand why women are racially divided in the feminism movement because the struggles are not equal. Still, we need to be united on all fronts.

  • Comments ( 24 )

  • avatar

    Yes, feminism has a racial basis. And race has a gender basis. As long as we are complex individuals identified by our race, sex, sexual orientation, class, etc. fighting bias, prejudice and stereotypes must be done from an intersectional basis. Check out professors Angela Harris and Kimberly Crenshaw and bell hooks for more about black women and feminism.

    • avatar

      noce2@cam.ac.uk

      @Latoya/gradmommy whilst I agree that the fight against some form of discrimination is different based on our identification (race, gender etc) and that must be kept in mind if we’re seeking an effective solution, isn’t it the case that the insistence on a label excludes potential allies?Speaking as a young man, the constant label of feminism strikes me as a statement that “you’re not invited to be part of this”, despite the fact I (and many other men like myself) are interested in these issues and want to assist in whatever way we can. Or I imagine sometimes being a white lady (not that I do often) and constantly hearing about “black feminist” movements. Again the insistence on that title is like someone saying to me “your struggles aren’t as serious, you’ve only got half of the problem, wait till the adults are finished and then you can speak”.
      My point is, all the different identity combinations we have are experiencing some form of discrimination or the other. If everyone draws a neat little box around themselves by insisting on a title for their discrimination, no one has anyone assist them. And that would defeat the point of us all sharing one planet.

      • avatar

        Thank you o2ekong for taking a different but simple approach to summarize my conflicts. I left it out of the post, but in one article I read, someone mentioned that today’s feminism feels like a “sorority” where it is somewhat easy to say who belongs and who does not.Who lays down these rules? What right does such a person have to stipulate the “entry requirements” for this feminist movement? Statements like “Your feminism is not right”, “you are not good enough to be a feminist”, “that does not uphold feminist standards” are all signs of inherent exclusivity to me.
        Feels like high school all over again… 🙁

      • avatar

        I think that sounds good, and in a perfect world that is the way it would be. But the history and present circumstances of folks based on their identity means that something like “feminism” means something different for women (and men) of different races. For example, the book Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg is a feminist book, but only applies to women in privileged positions in corporate America. A single mother cannot “lean in,” nor can women who don’t have a college degree. Similarly, we know from research that while white women are sometimes judged harshly for NOT being stay-at-home mothers, the stereotype of the “welfare queen” means that black mothers who DO stay-at-home are often judged harshly. To be effective in the struggle against ALL forms of oppression, we must be aware of how oppression plays out differently for different people. For men in feminism, that might mean that the struggle against sexism begins with acknowledging male privilege, and allowing women to be at the forefront of the movement. In any case, we cannot ignore difference between people. What we ignore becomes bigger and more problematic. That is the beef black women have with white women who call themselves feminists because they ignore the particular issues of black women and hence think the only issues pertinent to feminism are those that are particularly pertinent to white women.

  • avatar

    Yes, feminism has a racial basis. And race has a gender basis. As long as we are complex individuals identified by our race, sex, sexual orientation, class, etc. fighting bias, prejudice and stereotypes must be done from an intersectional basis. Check out professors Angela Harris and Kimberly Crenshaw and bell hooks for more about black women and feminism.

    • avatar

      noce2@cam.ac.uk

      @Latoya/gradmommy whilst I agree that the fight against some form of discrimination is different based on our identification (race, gender etc) and that must be kept in mind if we’re seeking an effective solution, isn’t it the case that the insistence on a label excludes potential allies?Speaking as a young man, the constant label of feminism strikes me as a statement that “you’re not invited to be part of this”, despite the fact I (and many other men like myself) are interested in these issues and want to assist in whatever way we can. Or I imagine sometimes being a white lady (not that I do often) and constantly hearing about “black feminist” movements. Again the insistence on that title is like someone saying to me “your struggles aren’t as serious, you’ve only got half of the problem, wait till the adults are finished and then you can speak”.
      My point is, all the different identity combinations we have are experiencing some form of discrimination or the other. If everyone draws a neat little box around themselves by insisting on a title for their discrimination, no one has anyone assist them. And that would defeat the point of us all sharing one planet.

      • avatar

        Thank you o2ekong for taking a different but simple approach to summarize my conflicts. I left it out of the post, but in one article I read, someone mentioned that today’s feminism feels like a “sorority” where it is somewhat easy to say who belongs and who does not.Who lays down these rules? What right does such a person have to stipulate the “entry requirements” for this feminist movement? Statements like “Your feminism is not right”, “you are not good enough to be a feminist”, “that does not uphold feminist standards” are all signs of inherent exclusivity to me.
        Feels like high school all over again… 🙁

      • avatar

        I think that sounds good, and in a perfect world that is the way it would be. But the history and present circumstances of folks based on their identity means that something like “feminism” means something different for women (and men) of different races. For example, the book Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg is a feminist book, but only applies to women in privileged positions in corporate America. A single mother cannot “lean in,” nor can women who don’t have a college degree. Similarly, we know from research that while white women are sometimes judged harshly for NOT being stay-at-home mothers, the stereotype of the “welfare queen” means that black mothers who DO stay-at-home are often judged harshly. To be effective in the struggle against ALL forms of oppression, we must be aware of how oppression plays out differently for different people. For men in feminism, that might mean that the struggle against sexism begins with acknowledging male privilege, and allowing women to be at the forefront of the movement. In any case, we cannot ignore difference between people. What we ignore becomes bigger and more problematic. That is the beef black women have with white women who call themselves feminists because they ignore the particular issues of black women and hence think the only issues pertinent to feminism are those that are particularly pertinent to white women.

  • avatar

    Yes, feminism has a racial basis. And race has a gender basis. As long as we are complex individuals identified by our race, sex, sexual orientation, class, etc. fighting bias, prejudice and stereotypes must be done from an intersectional basis. Check out professors Angela Harris and Kimberly Crenshaw and bell hooks for more about black women and feminism.

    • avatar

      noce2@cam.ac.uk

      @Latoya/gradmommy whilst I agree that the fight against some form of discrimination is different based on our identification (race, gender etc) and that must be kept in mind if we’re seeking an effective solution, isn’t it the case that the insistence on a label excludes potential allies?Speaking as a young man, the constant label of feminism strikes me as a statement that “you’re not invited to be part of this”, despite the fact I (and many other men like myself) are interested in these issues and want to assist in whatever way we can. Or I imagine sometimes being a white lady (not that I do often) and constantly hearing about “black feminist” movements. Again the insistence on that title is like someone saying to me “your struggles aren’t as serious, you’ve only got half of the problem, wait till the adults are finished and then you can speak”.
      My point is, all the different identity combinations we have are experiencing some form of discrimination or the other. If everyone draws a neat little box around themselves by insisting on a title for their discrimination, no one has anyone assist them. And that would defeat the point of us all sharing one planet.

      • avatar

        Thank you o2ekong for taking a different but simple approach to summarize my conflicts. I left it out of the post, but in one article I read, someone mentioned that today’s feminism feels like a “sorority” where it is somewhat easy to say who belongs and who does not.Who lays down these rules? What right does such a person have to stipulate the “entry requirements” for this feminist movement? Statements like “Your feminism is not right”, “you are not good enough to be a feminist”, “that does not uphold feminist standards” are all signs of inherent exclusivity to me.
        Feels like high school all over again… 🙁

      • avatar

        I think that sounds good, and in a perfect world that is the way it would be. But the history and present circumstances of folks based on their identity means that something like “feminism” means something different for women (and men) of different races. For example, the book Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg is a feminist book, but only applies to women in privileged positions in corporate America. A single mother cannot “lean in,” nor can women who don’t have a college degree. Similarly, we know from research that while white women are sometimes judged harshly for NOT being stay-at-home mothers, the stereotype of the “welfare queen” means that black mothers who DO stay-at-home are often judged harshly. To be effective in the struggle against ALL forms of oppression, we must be aware of how oppression plays out differently for different people. For men in feminism, that might mean that the struggle against sexism begins with acknowledging male privilege, and allowing women to be at the forefront of the movement. In any case, we cannot ignore difference between people. What we ignore becomes bigger and more problematic. That is the beef black women have with white women who call themselves feminists because they ignore the particular issues of black women and hence think the only issues pertinent to feminism are those that are particularly pertinent to white women.

  • avatar

    Yes, feminism has a racial basis. And race has a gender basis. As long as we are complex individuals identified by our race, sex, sexual orientation, class, etc. fighting bias, prejudice and stereotypes must be done from an intersectional basis. Check out professors Angela Harris and Kimberly Crenshaw and bell hooks for more about black women and feminism.

    • avatar

      noce2@cam.ac.uk

      @Latoya/gradmommy whilst I agree that the fight against some form of discrimination is different based on our identification (race, gender etc) and that must be kept in mind if we’re seeking an effective solution, isn’t it the case that the insistence on a label excludes potential allies?Speaking as a young man, the constant label of feminism strikes me as a statement that “you’re not invited to be part of this”, despite the fact I (and many other men like myself) are interested in these issues and want to assist in whatever way we can. Or I imagine sometimes being a white lady (not that I do often) and constantly hearing about “black feminist” movements. Again the insistence on that title is like someone saying to me “your struggles aren’t as serious, you’ve only got half of the problem, wait till the adults are finished and then you can speak”.
      My point is, all the different identity combinations we have are experiencing some form of discrimination or the other. If everyone draws a neat little box around themselves by insisting on a title for their discrimination, no one has anyone assist them. And that would defeat the point of us all sharing one planet.

      • avatar

        Thank you o2ekong for taking a different but simple approach to summarize my conflicts. I left it out of the post, but in one article I read, someone mentioned that today’s feminism feels like a “sorority” where it is somewhat easy to say who belongs and who does not.Who lays down these rules? What right does such a person have to stipulate the “entry requirements” for this feminist movement? Statements like “Your feminism is not right”, “you are not good enough to be a feminist”, “that does not uphold feminist standards” are all signs of inherent exclusivity to me.
        Feels like high school all over again… 🙁

      • avatar

        I think that sounds good, and in a perfect world that is the way it would be. But the history and present circumstances of folks based on their identity means that something like “feminism” means something different for women (and men) of different races. For example, the book Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg is a feminist book, but only applies to women in privileged positions in corporate America. A single mother cannot “lean in,” nor can women who don’t have a college degree. Similarly, we know from research that while white women are sometimes judged harshly for NOT being stay-at-home mothers, the stereotype of the “welfare queen” means that black mothers who DO stay-at-home are often judged harshly. To be effective in the struggle against ALL forms of oppression, we must be aware of how oppression plays out differently for different people. For men in feminism, that might mean that the struggle against sexism begins with acknowledging male privilege, and allowing women to be at the forefront of the movement. In any case, we cannot ignore difference between people. What we ignore becomes bigger and more problematic. That is the beef black women have with white women who call themselves feminists because they ignore the particular issues of black women and hence think the only issues pertinent to feminism are those that are particularly pertinent to white women.

  • avatar

    Hi Ms. LaToya. I’m happy you read and commented on this post as I referenced yours in my intro. Thank you!I agree that there is a racial connotation to everything but I would like to see a movement that best put, “turns a blind eye” to the racial limits and boundaries set forth by society. This I believe is how the feminist movement can progress (my stance, looking from the outside). What happens to black women who don’t identify with fellow black women but more with white women? Will they be readily accepted into the white feminist “circle”? Or how about mixed race women. What category of feminists do they fall into?
    Frankly, I think dividing feminism on a racial basis encourages the blame cycle and it is time for black women to stop blaming and start living.
    I will try my best to check out the authors you suggested. Thank you so much for that.

  • avatar

    Hi Ms. LaToya. I’m happy you read and commented on this post as I referenced yours in my intro. Thank you!I agree that there is a racial connotation to everything but I would like to see a movement that best put, “turns a blind eye” to the racial limits and boundaries set forth by society. This I believe is how the feminist movement can progress (my stance, looking from the outside). What happens to black women who don’t identify with fellow black women but more with white women? Will they be readily accepted into the white feminist “circle”? Or how about mixed race women. What category of feminists do they fall into?
    Frankly, I think dividing feminism on a racial basis encourages the blame cycle and it is time for black women to stop blaming and start living.
    I will try my best to check out the authors you suggested. Thank you so much for that.

  • avatar

    Hi Ms. LaToya. I’m happy you read and commented on this post as I referenced yours in my intro. Thank you!I agree that there is a racial connotation to everything but I would like to see a movement that best put, “turns a blind eye” to the racial limits and boundaries set forth by society. This I believe is how the feminist movement can progress (my stance, looking from the outside). What happens to black women who don’t identify with fellow black women but more with white women? Will they be readily accepted into the white feminist “circle”? Or how about mixed race women. What category of feminists do they fall into?
    Frankly, I think dividing feminism on a racial basis encourages the blame cycle and it is time for black women to stop blaming and start living.
    I will try my best to check out the authors you suggested. Thank you so much for that.

  • avatar

    Hi Ms. LaToya. I’m happy you read and commented on this post as I referenced yours in my intro. Thank you!I agree that there is a racial connotation to everything but I would like to see a movement that best put, “turns a blind eye” to the racial limits and boundaries set forth by society. This I believe is how the feminist movement can progress (my stance, looking from the outside). What happens to black women who don’t identify with fellow black women but more with white women? Will they be readily accepted into the white feminist “circle”? Or how about mixed race women. What category of feminists do they fall into?
    Frankly, I think dividing feminism on a racial basis encourages the blame cycle and it is time for black women to stop blaming and start living.
    I will try my best to check out the authors you suggested. Thank you so much for that.

  • avatar

    […] 3 blogger inspirations? a) My mum. She read my first post on a somewhat controversial issue – Beyoncé & the Feminism debate. She knows nothing about that album but getting her stamp of approval about my writing […]

  • avatar

    […] 3 blogger inspirations? a) My mum. She read my first post on a somewhat controversial issue – Beyoncé & the Feminism debate. She knows nothing about that album but getting her stamp of approval about my writing […]

  • avatar

    […] 3 blogger inspirations? a) My mum. She read my first post on a somewhat controversial issue – Beyoncé & the Feminism debate. She knows nothing about that album but getting her stamp of approval about my writing […]

  • avatar

    […] 3 blogger inspirations? a) My mum. She read my first post on a somewhat controversial issue – Beyoncé & the Feminism debate. She knows nothing about that album but getting her stamp of approval about my writing […]

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