On Feminism, part 1
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I came across this yesterday and, considering some of the things we were talking about in the Irrational Men thread, I thought many people would find this interesting.
1. Being a woman, and being a woman of color, and being a Muslim, I choose to not be a feminist or in any way have the term feminist applied to my person, my choices, my thoughts, my writings or my art. I reserve the right to self-identify as I see fit and to define myself in relation to my culture and my ideals. I do not wish to take on the terminology of another’s movement nor bend it or re-invent it to suit my own.
b. I do not feel compelled to look to other cultures to find the answers to my problems. Feminism as it began in a movement by and for middle and upper class white women offers me nothing. It is not my desire to take their movement and somehow prove that my movement is the same. It is not. Theirs has its role in their lives, and mine is different.
3. I refuse to participate in the discussion that expects all women to be proud to identify as feminist, to challenge the “white” notions of what feminist thought is or is not, or to tell other women of color that they are unaware of their role and the oppression they are under because they do not self-identify as feminist.
a. I am an intelligent woman who is fully aware of the effects of colonialization and oppressions upon my peoples and upon myself. I am not ignorant of how I am used by those who wish to further their own cause, nor am I ignorant of how others see me or attempts to keep me down.
4. Why I despise the feminist movement and do not care to be a part of it.
a. I am tired of women of color being pitted against men of color because of this mis-notion that allegiance to other women is all that matters.
b. I do not need to make the movement mine. It’s not mine, it never will be mine. I have my own movement that is in line with my Islamic beliefs and values. Western style feminism, by any name it is called, is a secular order that seeks to wipe out my spirituality and force me to selfishly over-emphasize women to the detriment of others.
c. I do not feel the need to make myself a part of something where I am not wanted. It is my personal belief that women of color trying to stuff ourselves into the feminist movement does us an injustice. We do not need to broaden the acceptance of our experience into formal feminist theory. We do not need to make feminism “our own”. We can create our own revolutions, not jump on the bandwagon of that of another and then cry when we are pushed off.
Please read the whole thing. I quoted parts of it that particularly speak to me and to my own struggles with Feminism and the label Feminist.
Apparently the post/manifesto was sparked by a comment on Brownfemipower’s post about Full Frontal Feminism, teaching, and how education deals with the Feminist Narrative (Look for the comment by aleja on 24 Nov 2007 at 8:38 pm).
I’m still formulating my larger thoughts on this, but wanted to get your thoughts on the manifesto itself.