WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE THE FEMINISM MOVEMENT REPRESENTS? DO YOU BELIEVE THAT IT BENEFITS AND REPRESENTS YOU AND THE INEQUALITY IN YOUR LIFE? HOW HAS IT BENEFITED YOU?
We’re now in an era where "Me Too" is trailing headlines and making impacts. The Women’s March is the mantra to women proclaiming their voice and reclaiming their time. The feminist movement is reintroducing its self with a fury and a mission. So why aren't I just as moved and enthused? I'm a woman, right? I have a voice too, right? I'm for women's rights, right?! However, I can't submit to the ideology that my woes are simplified to pay raise, sexual assault, and gender roles. To be quite honest, I personally like being a mother and a wife. I like the color pink and dressing up too. I like for a man to put me on a pedestal and treat me like a delicate flower in admiration. I love for him to open my doors and pay for the bill. As "cliché" and "old fashion as it might be... that's my truth.
So can I honestly ride the wave of contradiction and say I want be treated equal as a man?? Uhh.. I could, but it's just not my truth. I honestly don't want to be treated as a man or the equivalent too, however, I do want to be treated with respect. I want to be put on a pedestal but only with the notion that it's not that I'm incapable of nothing other but to sit pretty. I want to be there because I'm valuable and as we know, we put valuable things in special or unattainable places. Places where we don't want it to be harmed, used, abused, misused, lost or stolen because we cherish the validity it brings to our lives; whether it’s sentimental or actual.
Now when it comes to matters of business I don’t believe women get the same “respect” as men like pay and upward mobility; but I can’t say the same for black women. Listen, how can I fight for the same pay as men when I can’t get the equivalent to white women? I’ve been on jobs where I’ve over extended myself so that I could be considered for the better position and I don’t recall getting beat out by a man. When I had to deal with discrimination and not receiving my pay on the job, I don’t recall a man being the person who I had to call the labor board on. Also, when money went missing on my job I don’t recall the people accusing me without any evidence or proof being men(a story for another day). In every one of these instances it was a white woman. So tell me how can I stand by the very women who have put me in positions of feeling oppressed? Or fight for issues that affect them but refused to acknowledge how they too benefit from their privileged behavior?
Have we forgotten that when white women first began the Women’s Suffrage Movement, black women were still considered 3/5 of a person? How on earth can you fight for the rights of women, when most of the women aren’t even counted as a whole person? Civil rights has done more for white women than feminism has done for black women. While white women gained the right to vote in 1920, black women still couldn’t vote and were still living under the laws of Jim Crow. However, Civil Rights (due to affirmative action)banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, SEX, or national origin.
It all boils down to the word “intersectionality”. There can’t be a women’s movement about women not being treated equally when a section of these women aren’t even treated equally to their counterparts. If you’re going to fight for the rights of women then you have to fight for ALL women and recognize that we have struggles that differ from others. Where white women fought for the right to go to school and have a career, black women were already working; two or three jobs for that matter and weren’t allowed to know how to read. While white women wanted to have babies and a career we were working raising those babies and raising the babies’ babies. Just look at the very movement that’s been making headways like the Me Too movement and how the black woman who founded it, Tarana Burke, wasn’t even acknowledge until they were forced to acknowledge her. They protested Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein but I have yet to see the same energy when it comes to R. Kelly. Why is that? It’s very simple, because black women don’t matter unless it serves the interest of white women.
Where’s the outrage when a black woman is being discriminated on at her job because of her hairstyle or curvy figure? Where’s the protest when we’re being judged and discriminated on because of our colorful hair or long nails? CNN commentator Symone Sanders was called out by a white woman over the fact that her long bedazzled nails didn’t look professional and becoming. Let’s not act as if these very women we’re “Me Too’ing” with aren’t treating us like the equality they are fighting for.
I’ve always supported the theory of Alice Walker’s Womanism because it spoke on levels that sculpt our ideologies of being a black woman in America. Although we do deal with the issues of the feminist our oppression ranges way deeper. We are the walking billboard for PTSD when we fear for our father, husbands, sons and brothers life because of police brutality or racism. And ours too, because we can’t forget all of the black women who’ve died for the same things. Don’t speak to me on women’s rights if you can’t speak to me about black women’s rights. For years we’ve been raped, sexually assaulted, overtly sexualized, stereotyped, discriminated, culturally appropriated and our voices don’t get the same attention or the same results. We’re steadily dying on delivery beds with no explanations.
So please excuse me while I decline to stand for a movement that doesn’t stand for me. I can’t push your agenda if you aren’t pushing mine and I don’t need to feel accepted among organizations that will never truly accept me. I have far more fight in me than to settle and be silenced, while I allow someone else to tell me what my struggles are. It’s time as black women that we become a united front and fight our own battles until our voices raise in unison like the thunder before the storm. Now wouldn’t that be powerful.