Are you “feminist enough” ladies?
Last year, I had a thought while reading flipping through an issue of Harpers Bazaar UK. In it, Beyoncé was asked if she was a feminist. She replied:
“‘I don’t really feel that it’s necessary to define it. It’s just something that’s kind of natural for me, and I feel like … you know … it’s, like, what I live for … ‘I need to find a catchy new word for feminism, right? Like Bootylicious.’ ”
For most of my adult life, I’ve identified as a feminist, but often felt that I wasn’t reflected in the popular notion of what a feminist is, especially as a black woman. Still, I can credit my feminist outlook as the one of the secrets to my personal success, basically—I know what I want and what I’m worth. But when I sit and observe the younger women in my life, I see much of this awareness missing.
For many women of color, especially young women, the word “feminist” provokes an image that is antiquated, overtly-aggressive, anti-male and white. In some cases, feminism can also be seen as divisive as demonstrated in the recent SlutWalk demonstrations (see here) that led to some women justifying the use of the word “nigger” as a term of solidarity.
Frankly, if I was in my early twenties and saw that mess, I’d probably think “fuck feminism” too.
Given this divisiveness and a long history of miscommunication and misunderstanding over feminist thought and practice in our own communities, it is no wonder that the basic, simple tenets of feminism are lost on many young black and brown women. Simply put, a feminist believes in political, economic and social equality of both sexes. A woman can identify as a feminist and work towards feminist ideals without having to join an organization or engage in protest — it all starts with believing in your worth as a woman is immeasurable.
Today the culture attack on our young girls is amplified even more leaving ideas of self-worth, respect and beauty drowned out by images that we don’t even create yet accept as ideal. It’s hard to love yourself when you are constantly being fed the opposite on a daily basis. Hi Rihanna.
So how do we talk to these women? We be ourselves. There are plenty of black and brown women like me who can move between the issues of race, class and gender with clarity, but are sorely underrepresented in pop-culture. We can quote both Biggie and bell hooks, command equality with men in the workplace, and yet find comfort in a kitchen full of women. We are progressive, post-civil rights women informed by contemporary culture and the traditions of our people, and yes — we are also feminists.
With that in mind, I created the I’m Feminist Enough … project to visualize the fresh face of feminism and demonstrate to our young sisters (and brothers) the value of feminist thought in our daily lives in a manner that is simple, sexy, modern and easy. Yes, you can be a feminist but get a kick out having the door held open for you. These actions don’t define your place as a woman, you do.
It is my hope that the I’m Feminist Enough … project inspires a new generation of young women to rethink and reconsider feminist ideals and adapt them into their everyday lives to foster healthier relationships, self-views and confidence to lead the lives they want and deserve.
With Love, Beer & Chocolate,
Shannon – Co-Founder, Parlour Magazine
Spread the word, and to quote Meek Mill, “Welcome To My House Party … Party!” Check out the first video below, and wach more videos on the website featuring women from both sides of the Atlantic. Enjoy ladies!