There’s a midpoint between the lazy and feminist portions of my brain that wants to say, “This thing is feminist because I like it.” But I can’t do that. Because then I wouldn’t have to be critical. This is the problem I have with centering conversations around whether something is feminist: It’s the wrong question to be asking about feminism.
If you’ve spent more than two minutes on the Internet, you’ve probably seen internet harassment—trolling, bullying, insincere but deliberately hurtful comments, and other things that no one would say to another person’s face offline. But the internet isn’t some disembodied place where people should feel okay with delivering abuse without consequences.
There’s this unspoken pressure within the black community to present a “respectable” image of blackness at all times. And I get that. We want to be represented, we want to be valued, and we want to be seen as human, and when we know that we as a race are being denigrated for whatever reason, we want to push back against that. But that’s bullshit. Here’s why.
Being aware of and enjoying other cultures is not inherently bad. On the other, stealing them and claiming them as your own can do unseen, oppressive damage. So where do we draw the line between “appropriate” forms of cultural exchange and more damaging patterns of cultural appropriation? Jarune Uwujaren helps to clear the air around this important issue!
Yes, black women have strength. But time and time again, the word “strong” has been used to dehumanize black women, to trivialize their pain, to create an impossible standard for young black girls to strive towards. For black women, taking that strength back means calling out the ways in which their strength is used against them. It’s time for us to debunk some myths.
You judge people. But how many of the judgments that you make about other people based on appearances alone are likely to be accurate, kind, or worthwhile when they don’t meet the standards you place on yourself? If you’re someone who’s still struggling with these negative thoughts, here are some things to think about when it comes to judging and accepting body diversity.
If you’ve been (or are) closeted, you’re already aware that it’s not fun. Hiding your sexual orientation and/or gender identity from others can be a confining, isolating experience. Though there’s no one-size-fits-all way to deal with the stress of being in the closet, there are things that can ease the burden or keep it from getting heavier than it already is.
Racialized sexism sneaks into spaces that claim to have the best interests of women and People of Color at heart. Dealing with racialized sexism means dealing with the fact that every person holds multiple political and social identities that blend and intersect. Therefore, assuming that all experiences of sexism are just variations of the same thing is a mistake.
Cultural appropriation is a real issue because it demonstrates the imbalance of power that still remains between cultures that have been colonized and the ex-colonizers. But even if the line between exchange and appropriation bends, twists, and loop-de-loops in ways it would take decades of academic thought to unpack, it has a definite starting point: Respect.
I’m tired of hearing the words “I don’t see race.” Though people might be trying to say “I’m not prejudiced,” it sounds more like they’re saying “I’m open-minded because I’m ignorant” to racially conscious people. Because if you really don’t see race at all, it doesn’t make much difference to the people whose livelihoods, cultures, and identities are all affected by racial inequality.