Let me firstly say, that I’m a casual feminist. That doesn’t mean I don’t feel strongly about certain issues, or that I’m uncommitted to improving the status of women, it just means that it’s one of many interests. I’m a feminist hobbyist, rather than a full-time, professional player.
And as a casual feminist, feminism can sometimes seem like a pretty wild beast. There’s feminism for ethnic minorities, feminism for the LGBT crowd, feminism for Christians, feminism for right-wingers, feminism for sex workers, feminism for stay-at-home mums, the list goes on. It’s a raucous house with many rooms, and as Alex wrote recently wrote here on Persephone, “try to find a leader of our feminism, a unified ideology, and you will fail. That makes us stronger, not weaker.”
No, there’s no one leader, or unified ideology. But that doesn’t mean that all the feminists living in their separate rooms (with the occasional spat between neighbours), can’t sometimes come together for a good old-fashioned party. Say, perhaps, to take down a certain obnoxious talking head. Internet may have accelerated the fragmentation of feminism (multitudes of niches groups), but it has also served those same groups to come together when needed (leaderless, rapid response activism). Making feminism a thoroughly modern affair.
And let me just say, it is important that the feminist movement comes together every now and then. It’s important for the casual feminist, the numbers of which will always outnumber the professional feminist. The casual feminist isn’t going to hang out in one of the rooms, but she will rock up to the party. And when there are enough people at the party, the ground shakes and the world splits open into a giant, earth shattering smile.
Today is International Women’s Day, and my activist group Lane Change is inviting you to ‘Give the Ladies Some Love‘. We want every feminist â€“ casual or otherwise â€“ to come to the party. Let’s celebrate how far feminism has come already. When I think about all the great strides taken in the last 100 years (we can vote! we’re allowed to work and own property!) I don’t just feel hopeful about the women’s movement, I feel hopeful about movements altogether, whether that’s environmentalism, or human’s rights. Feminism is the perfect poster girl for change. She shows us that change is not only possible, it’s positive, violence-free and lasting.
Let’s cheer on the lady heroes of past and present. Let’s foster a new generation of brilliant, strong women. Let’s lend each other a professional hand so that women can learn to make smart career decisions. Let’s do what we can to support women who are fighting huge battles against poverty and discrimination. Let’s take a moment to open our mouths (or update a Facebook status) on a women’s issue we might not usually.
At ‘Give the Ladies Some Love‘ we have five, practical actions that you â€“ boys included – can carry out to do your bit for the women’s movement. Head to the site for more details, but in short these are:
- Share with us your lady heroes
- Mentor a woman
- Support women who are overcoming adversity
- Don’t be afraid of the F-word
- Speak out! The world is listening
But if you have more ideas, we’d love to hear them. We also want to hear from all of you that complete an action over on the Facebook event page.