The gap between I'm a feminist but and I'm a feminist and...I think the hardest part for me right now is the issue of activism, and am looking for your thoughts on the necessity of activism (mostly in the verbal/written format) within the feminist identity. Looking through your "quiz" on the I'm a feminist but post, there is no way that I cannot consider myself a feminist. But, yet, I dont. Feminism made the life I lead possible, and I fully accept that fact. However, I do not identify as a feminist because I do not actively deal with feminist issues. I dont try to educate others and I try not to get too offended when people make stupid comments. I try to promote female strength and intelligence through my actions, but that's about it. I think my more or less acceptance of the status quo negates the answers to the above mentioned quiz as identifying as a feminist. So my question to you is, is it possible to be a "passive" feminist?
I bitched at Twisty yesterday for acting like the feminism police so i'm sure as hell not going to tell Anonymous what's possible and not within feminism ;)
Activism doesn't have to come in a form of standing in front of government buildings with signs, it can (and should) be things we do every day. Anonymous mentioned realizing feminism made his/her life possible as well as valuing and promoting female agency. Those are already forms of activism that Anonymous is engaging in without even recognizing it as such.
However, I do think activism is crucial to the women's movement. In fact, i think collective action is essential to any political movement because with out it all we have is a theoretical framework which is great, but not nearly enough. Activism doesn't have to be overwhelming, especially for someone just starting to view themselves as a social/political identity.
As far as whether or not it's possible to be a "passive" feminist? Sure anything is possible... but as your feminist identity develops you won't be able to hold back your outrage as you go about your life. Daily, you will encounter things, people, situations, media, etc that will piss you off beyond belief and it will become more and more difficult to remain passive. Outrage is one of the first steps in the development of feminist consciousness and once you develop a feminist lens with which to view the world it will be easy to become outraged, on a regular basis. It's what you do with that outrage that's important. My suggestion - act on it. There are many ways to do so and they are all the ways in which to engage in collective action. This will empower you, strengthen the movement, and support a goal of justice and equality. Also, research shows that feminist self-identity directly and significantly relates to collective action so although being a "passive" feminist may be an option, the more your feminist consciousness develops, the harder it will be to resist taking action.
Activism comes in many forms, here are some everyday things you can do:
- Call people out for what they say, explain that their words may be hurtful and/or oppressive
- Write letters
- Recognize your white/cis/thin/able bodied/hetero/male/etc privilege and explain it to others
- Support legislation that you believe in
- Don't shop at stores with unethical practices (like failing to promote minorities or not allowing workers to unionize... coughwalmartcough...)
- Stop engaging in "fat talk" or other talk that cuts you (or others) down
- Take part in everyday life with a critical/feminist lens
- Educate yourself and others
- Set an example
- Don't laugh at racist/homophobic/sexist/etc jokes
- Sign petitions for causes you believe in
- Engage other people in conversations about the importance of the women's movement
- Give money to causes you support
- Start a feminist book club
- Think before you speak (don't use oppressive language like "that quiz raped me!" or "that is SO gay" or even "you guys")
- Promote and celebrate diversity
- Support feminist arts
- Think outside the US to women in other countries
- Support candidates that promote affordable and accessible birth control
What are some other forms of activism that i may have missed? Feel free to link to sites that encourage others to take action.