Feminism Is Not About Equality, Blanket Encouragement, Or White Women

Feminism Is Not About Equality, Blanket Encouragement, Or White Women

Feminism is about truly supporting all people in the most effective and validating ways.
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I hear a lot of misconceptions about feminism from all kinds of people. The more I read about it, the more I learn -- and the more I want to share. Feminism can always improve as new opinions and experiences arise.

First of all, let’s cover the stereotypes and the basics: feminists are not bra-burning, men hating, won’t-take-their-husband’s-last-name, “falsely accusing,” super angry women. We are not saying that men can’t hold the door or buy our dinner. We are not saying women can’t be perpetrators. We aren’t saying all men have it completely easy. We aren’t saying that women MUST get the highest position in her company or that women can’t be stay-at-home moms if they want to.

Women are allowed to be women in the ways that work for them and make them happy. A man being polite, or a man and a woman alternating buying dinner every now and then, is indeed okay. Different variations of feminism exist, and feminism is not what we -- as both men and women -- always think of it.

Feminism is not about equality -- it’s about equity. Equality is treating all people the same, while equity makes sure people have equal opportunities. It levels the playing field when barriers come into play for certain people. Everyone comes from different backgrounds, different experiences, and different levels of privilege that need to be accounted for.

Feminism is supporting other women -- except when it’s not. Feminism is not women blindly supporting all women or using blanket statements. We teach each other because we want the best true support and equity we can provide. We call each other in instead of calling each other out.

For example, some women who are recovering from eating disorders may post before-and-after pictures from their lowest weight to their current, recovered weight. I get why, and I’m proud of their progress, but shining a light on eating disorder recovery can be best served another way. By having that discussion and calling them in, we are being supportive in an effective way.

Before-and-after pictures can imply that people with eating disorders are always skinny. They imply that eating disorder recovery is solely about weight and body image, when it’s a mental disorder with a complex etiology. Before-and-after pictures don't portray recovery in an accurate way: they perpetuate stereotypes and further the idea that if people have eating disorders and need treatment, they must be super thin to get there -- which can be life-threatening, as all eating disorders are serious, regardless of weight.

Many people encounter barriers to treatment, whether that be because of money, insurance problems, or being afraid to go to a doctor because they don’t feel “sick enough.” In this way, feminism means breaking stereotypes and supporting the recovery of women of lower socio-economic status, for example.

I could talk about this for days.

Furthermore, if feminism isn’t intersectional, it’s not true feminism. I’m so over white feminism, and I’m a white woman -- imagine how “over it” people of color feel.

White feminism doesn’t account for transgender women who may have different body parts or can’t live in women’s shelters, and the compounded problems and dangers they encounter because of that. White feminism doesn’t account for the struggles that women who are also of color face. It ignores the fact that Native American women are 250 times more likely to be sexually assaulted.

If I could put numbers in all-capitals, I would.

These problems Native American women face are exacerbated by the stereotype that sexual assault affects only white women. They’re exacerbated by people who wear risque Native American costumes on Halloween that sexualize these women.

White feminism gives credit to white women when it’s supposed to be given to black women. Tarana Burke -- a black woman -- created the #MeToo movement -- and that is hardly ever mentioned.

Intersectional feminism -- the opposite of white feminism -- gives credit where it’s deserved and it looks out for the best interest of all women. It acknowledges the seriousness of not acknowledging feminism when it endangers the lives of people. In addition, intersectional feminism also exists for men.

Intersectional feminism goes against toxic masculinity that says men have to super macho and buff and aren’t “allowed” to cry or enjoy “female sports.” Feminism also supports the whole family as families that include women who are cared for, who carry babies, who contribute to income, and more.

Forms of resistance to feminism fall into a few categories, such as appeals to oneself, to progress, and to authority.

Appeals to oneself -- otherwise known as “Well I don’t assault women!” -- ignores the basic concept that if you aren’t doing something, you aren’t helping, you're hurting. Instead, call in friends who make sexist comments about “a woman’s role” or objectifying comments about a woman’s body. Look out for women at parties who have been drinking -- and don't judge them for doing so.

Appeals to progress -- otherwise known as “But we’ve come so far in history!” -- ignores the fact that we indeed still have problems, such as the safety of women. Yes, we’ve come a long way, but we still have work to do.

Appeals to authority -- otherwise known as “I know better than you!” -- ignores the women who have endured these experiences firsthand. It ignores that each experience is valid.

That’s the point of it all -- feminism welcomes all people. It embraces safety and equity. It calls people in when they could support their passions in a more effective way. It helps create safer situations and benefits all intersections of identities. It’s not white, or ignorant, or angry, or hateful. Feminism is about truly supporting all people in the most effective and validating ways.

Cover Image Credit: Nelly Rodi

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12 Signs You're From Jackman Maine

You know you're from Jackman just by these few things.
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1. You never lock the doors

The entire parking lot at the store is filled with running cars, all of them with the keys still in the ignition. All are so easy to steal and yet no one touches them.

2. You almost never miss a sports game

Whether you are a sports fan or not, you almost never miss a game. Either you go to watch a friend play or to hang out, there are very few games that you have missed.

3. The cold doesn't bother you

I can't tell you how many times I've gone out in 20 degree weather in a t-shirt to do chores, or have shoveled off the deck in bare feet. Almost rarely the cold seems to be a bother.

4. You own either a snowmobile or ATV

Because what else is there to do in town? Seriously?

5. You've walked down the street all night

And you know that after 5, the road is silent. Unless it's on the weekends when everyone from Quebec is driving through.

6. You go to Old Mill and not the Town Park

Let the tourists go to the park and enjoy it, we'll just enjoy our sandy little b each.

7. You LOVE going to Slidedown

If you don't love the falls, are you even from around here? How can you not love going to Slidedown?

8. The tourists are hilarious

Now we won't say that to any of them because Jackman is a tourist town and needs to have the tourism, but some of the things that people say or do are laugh worthy.

9. Everyone has seen a moose in their backyard

And I mean everyone. I've seen one walk around in the Post Office parking lot, if they're wandering around there, they will be everywhere.

10. Hunting is a way of life

So is fishing. I don't think I know anyone in town who doesn't hunt or fish.

11. Everyone is shocked at your graduating class number

Every time I tell people I graduated in a class of 11, people stare at me like I just grew horns out of my head.

12. You know everyone

Self-explanatory.

Cover Image Credit: Bill Jarvis

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Donald Trump's Reluctance to Acknowledge Growing White Supremacy Is Bad For All of Us

Suspected terrorist in Christ church massacre names Donald Trump as a "symbol of renewed white identity."

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In wake of the recent terror attack in New Zealand where a man killed 49 people inside a mosque last week President Trump was asked by the media if he thought " White nationalist were a rising threat around the world?" The president responded by saying he does not think they are a rising global threat but a small group of people.

White supremacy domestic terrorism is on the rise in the United States and across the globe, while many of these crimes are not originally categorized as white domestic terrorism in part because of the mass denial of our society but also because of flaws in our justice system that often allow white supremacist terrorist off with insanity pleas.

Donald Trump has repeatedly taken the gentle approach when addressing white nationalist getting criticized for his comments on the Charlottesville riots saying " You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people who were very fine people on both sides." Even though his comments may not be in direct support of white nationalist they do not condemn them or discourage their actions. Trump is known for taking harder stances than that when he is against something. He once said that NFL players who kneel "shouldn't be in the US."

President Trump has developed a reputation of being reluctant to point fingers when it comes to wrong doings involving White supremacist and saving his harsh words for marginalized groups especially Muslims. Trumps ideology in this regard proves to be extremely harmful. Islamaphobia has been promoted globally by the mainstream media for years and as a result mass hatred and false beliefs about muslims have developed.

It is time that everyone takes an active role in the dismantling of these harmful beliefs that can so easily lead to violence. This involves more than just social media post condemning the shooters actions but community programs educating the everyday Joe about the muslim religion. It means speaking up and stepping in when you witness injustices against muslims just as you would be inclined to do for your own family.

We may not be able to expect this type of behavior from every citizen but it is definitely something we should be able to expect from the leader of our nation. As one of the most influential people on this planet Donald Trump could easily impact the conversation had regarding Muslims and Islam by coming to their defense or by rebuking white supremacist ideologies.

It cannot be denied that Donald Trump is well respected by white supremacist, even if he has never explicitly stated his support for them. It is in his actions where they get their motivation, his policies, and ideals. If Donald Trump does not take a firm stance against white supremacy this epidemic will grow. Instead of taking that stance President Trump deflected and has claimed that the media is trying to blame him for the New Zealand attack.

With the option of taking a hard public stand against white supremacy to clear the air being so easy it makes you wonder why won't Donald Trump denounce white supremacy.

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