It’s International Women’s Day. There are so many things I want to say, and as usual, I’m nervous I’m going to eff it up, but here we go anyway.
For as long as I can remember, I have always known and believed in the principles of feminism, but I haven’t always identified as a feminist. As I continue to practice normalizing my eff ups, I’m writing about how that’s changed and how much I’ve grown as a feminist.
About 8 years ago, I had a really bad experience with someone in my life who made me question my understanding of feminism by making me feel like it was something I didn’t want to be a part of.
Conversations with this person included comments about how they could steal any of their friends’ partners or complimenting another woman’s outfit only to say that it would actually look better if they were wearing it instead. There were many other repeated instances like these (some more serious) that felt extremely competitive and it left me feeling like feminism was more divisive than inclusive.
Looking back, I can say that during that time, I was hurt, angered, and frustrated. I wasn’t as skilled at using my voice to speak up about how uncomfortable it made me. However, I can also say today that I actually think my relationship with this person was one of the best experiences that happened to me. It pushed me to grow, to learn, and to unlearn.
I now understand that feminism isn’t monolithic and that there are many feminist beliefs. I myself align most with intersectional feminism.
What does that mean exactly? The term intersectional was created by Kimberlé Crenshaw, Critical Race Theorist, more than 30 years ago to describe how multiple forms of inequality and oppression are often layered and compound each other. If you want to learn more, I highly encourage you to take a trip to the Google machine and do some reading.
Here’s what I know it means for me. It means supporting and empowering ALL women. Black Women. Indigenous Women. Women of Colour. Disabled Women. Trans Women. Asian Women. Muslim Women. Immigrant Women. Queer Women and Femmes, and anyone who identifies as a woman.
It means advocating for ALL women’s rights. Fighting for women’s reproductive rights and gender affirming surgery. Equal pay. Climate change and mental health. Fighting weight stigma, fatphobia, and so much more.
It means that International Women’s Day isn’t as simple as empowerment slogans, girl power, and celebrating sisterhood. It’s a call to action.
Are you uplifting & supporting Black Women, Indigenous Women, Disabled Women, Immigrant Women, Queer Women, Femmes, Trans Women & Women of Colour? Are you passing the mic to a voice less heard? If you have wealth, are you supporting those who are most marginalized? Are you celebrating the achievements of ALL women? Are you standing up to the injustices against ALL women?
Today is a day to recognize the many ways we still need to give visibility to the work women are doing around the world to champion the advancements of women’s rights every single day.
I want to remind you that the way you show up doesn’t need to be perfect. Perfection doesn’t exist. What matters most is that you show up and advocate relentlessly for the equality and empowerment of ALL women.
And if you’re looking for a place to start, you can donate to the following causes:
Fundraiser for Black Women & Femmes Healing & Liberation