I’m a feminist and I often think “Eff Feminism”.
Feminism, like many progressive social movements (LGBT rights included), is not always concerned with the issues affecting poor women, women of color, disabled women, queer women, the list goes on. And the list includes, to some extent, women like me.
I say this as a woman of color born to working class immigrants, neither of whom know anything of the feminism I embraced during my years at an Ivy League university where I felt like the odd girl out because of the money I didn’t come from. I can call myself a feminist and accept at the same time that mainstream feminism didn’t and still doesn’t represent women like my mother. I can call myself a feminist and sometimes think myself “Eff feminism!” because I don’t agree with its elitist brand of progress. Sometimes, I feel like I’m drowning in privilege because of who I associate with, where I live, what I do for fun. But though I went to Harvard and fulfilled the supposedly obtainable American Dream, I’m not under any illusions that this is because of feminism. Feminism made it possible for women to go to college, but the women they were concerned with were not women like me. The second-wave sold us the idea that little girls can do anything boys can do, but the only people who can do anything they want in this country are the people with money.
“Eff feminism!” doesn’t mean that gender equality isn’t important, but it does mean that society and even progressive movements value some people more than others. It means that those with the luxury of time and the luxury of capital can set the agenda that women like my mother don’t even have time to read. This is a fact that has gone unacknowledged for far too long within the Feminist Establishment. And if it takes someone shouting “Eff feminism!” for everyone to wake up to it, then I’ll be there shouting it with them.
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