I originally began writing this blog entry about the saga of Beyoncé as a feminist. My thought process began a few weeks ago when a friend posted a link to a HuffPost Live Discusion with some awesome college professors, journalists and activists who were either arguing for or against Beyoncé as a feminist. However, what perplexed me was not the video itself but the comments left on my friend’s post. Many of the arguments fighting against Beyoncé being labeled as a feminist had to do with the fact that she is a business woman, part of the 1%ers and is therefore unconcerned with the issues that feminists and feminists of color have to endure.
The comment that I ultimately wrote in response to the video and other comments was, “I think that there’s no such thing as a ‘perfect’ feminist. We all do things that contradict ourselves, and will ultimately upset someone, because the term ‘feminism’ means so many different things to people. That being said, I absolutely, 100% think Beyonce is a feminist…” I thought to myself as I was writing this comment, why does your class exclude you from being a feminist? I don’t think rich feminist is a paradox and neither is rich black feminist. So I wanted to write a long blog entry proving that Beyoncé is in fact a feminist.
Except, I started thinking more about what I wrote in my comment about contradictions. Hadn’t we all done things, in the past and the present, that contradicted ourselves in some way? Is everyone who criticizes others really free from ever making a mistake because they didn’t know better? But I didn’t want to write a blog entry about contradictions and my own insecurities about my own feminism and understanding of it. Because when you write, you’re supposed to be sure of the topic you’re writing about and then defend it.
Except, this isn’t a college essay or a grade for my class, this is MY blog entry and I can do what I want with it. So here it goes.
Ultimately, none of us will ever be the “perfect” feminist, even within our own personal understanding of the term. Hey, I’ll admit that I mess up sometimes. Occasionally I’ll make a statement and then think back wow, that was a very white privilege middle class educated suburban thing to say. And then I’ll think about how my experiences effect my view point. I don’t mean to sound like I hate myself either, because I don’t. It’s who I am. And hey, I kinda like myself. BUT I also take into account that I still have a lot of learning to do in regards to other classes, disability, race, religion, immigration status, LGBT, you name it, to make sure that what I’m saying or doing doesn’t leave out the experiences of any member of any oppressed group.
I also do things that I’m sure some might say are “unfeminist”. I loooooooove chick flicks. Love them. Clueless, Pitch Perfect, Easy A, The Princess Diaries…you name it, I’ve probably seen it. I’m also currently volunteering with the Girl Scouts, where we’ll be starting cookie sales in a few weeks (Hey, why don’t the boy scouts sell cookies, huh? Well, actually, I wish they would, because the more cookies the better, in my opinion). I guess in some sense volunteering for the Girl Scouts goes against my belief male/female are made up cultural binaries. But I enjoy volunteering for the Girl Scouts. And there’s a lot that’s great about the Girl Scouts too, like encouraging leadership and courage and teaching girls how to start fires and pitch tents.
I guess my point is we’re all learners. Feminism as a movement is growing as we add to our understanding of oppression and the variables that go into it. And we’re also going to do things that go against our beliefs or someone else’s beliefs sometimes, but that’s fine too.
And, well, since there’s a whole new slew of controversy about Beyoncé at the Grammys:
(found on my mom’s facebook, picture credited to http://lannibearworkshop.tumblr.com/)