What makes a feminist in 2020?
In this series, we invited feminists all over the world to share their views on what we think are some of the crucial questions that we should be debating right now. The feminist movement is broad, diverse and sometimes divided. Is that a good or a bad thing? Please, share your opinion with us and your fellow feminists.
CAN YOU BE A FEMINIST AND DISREGARD ABLEISM IN YOUR POLITICS?
Yes, because I believe ableism is separate to gender equality.
No, especially because disabled people face
some of the worst rates of sexual assault and
some of the worst effects of austerity,
which are issues many feminists are working against.
Yes, I think so. As important as intersectional analysis is, I think that you can still be a feminist and not be all-knowing. You might say you are a ‘better’ or more sophisticated feminist (or even person) if you are also well informed, knowledgeable and aware of different degrees of ability in your political views, but I don’t think it discredits you to the degree that you cannot be called a feminist if you do not have this kind of analysis.
I don’t think that you can be feminist and disregard ableism.
Although the main goal of feminism is gender equality,
you can’t ignore another minority being discriminated against.
There are a lot of disabled women and a feminist would want equality
for these women too. Feminism isn’t just for non-disabled women.
It’s for every women (and actually not just for women
but for men and people who identify as neither
male nor female too. Feminism means equality for everyone).
In my opinion, feminism isn’t just a single-minded movement or ideology about gender and sex. It is an all-encompassing movement, a way of thinking and a process that seeks to improve society on all fronts. It is only in the past twenty or thirty years or so that people with “disabilities”, physical or mental, have been able to publicly display themselves without being ostracised or ridiculed. And still in some countries it is difficult. For many feminists, ableism is built in to our language and way of thinking because that is how we’ve been conditioned, even if we live with a disability ourselves and don’t intend to be malicious. Confronting ableism is the next big hurdle in society and discourse.
We always have to be aware of ableism.
Disregarding ableism is a luxury reserved for
those who are able-bodied. If we don’t listen to those
who are marginalised in different ways from ourselves,
then who are we to ask to be heard?
If we are not intersectional, we are nothing.
Ableism and the discussions around ability are manifestly gendered. Therefore, disregarding ableism in your own politics is to disregard your participation in gendered oppression. This, for me, seems necessarily opposed to the very foundations of what it means to be a feminist.
No. An essential component of intersectional feminism involves
considering multilayered and overlapping facets of identity
that affect how people experience the world and inform
any discrimination they might face. To disregard how
people with disabilities might be discriminated against is to
exclude is to exclude a significant portion of womxn from
your practice/view of feminism. I don’t believe you can be
a feminist by contemporary and intersectional standards if you
do not advocate for those who do not share
your identity, views and abilities.
CAN YOU BE A FEMINIST AND DISCRIMINATE AGAINST TRANS-PEOPLE FOR THE SAKE OF FAIR COMPETITION IN SPORTS?
No, instead the sports industry needs to find ways of organising its competition that do not rely on biological essentialism and exclude trans and intersex people.
Yes, because this is a difficult subject with a lot of nuance,
and male-born physiology often (though not always)
has an advantage over female-born physiology.
Let’s not discriminate against trans people. I can see where some feminists, who argue against trans women’s participation are coming from, but their arguments are flawed and transphobic. There is no excuse for transphobia.
To me, the best solution to the sports issue is to take gender out of
the equation completely and to have (probably)
two categories which are defined by biological
indices of strength, muscle density and lots of
other biological concepts I don’t know anything about.
No. Feminists cannot excuse discriminating on the basis of gender if they are truly committed to a world without gendered oppression.
No. It’s a valid point, but it’s not a valid discrimination
CAN YOU BE A FEMINIST AND NOT SEE COLOUR?
I am not sure if I understand this one right. Like be colourblind? Or is it about the lgbt+ community? 1. yes. 2. no.
No, because it ignores the different forms of discrimination
and oppression of women of colour and in particular black women,
how race and gender intersect and how white supremacy and
patriarchy reinforce each other. People do see colour even
if they claim not to. Claiming to ignore it means that the ways
in which white women can both be oppressed by patriarchy
and contribute to the oppression of
women of colour is left unchallenged.
Yes, because feminism is about gender and not race or colour.
In an alternate universe, where there was some track
of history where colonialism and imperialism had never happened,
then we could perhaps say that colour didn’t exist. But in this world,
we have to accept that that is how our current world is programmed
and that our institutions have been built upon colourism.
To see colour does not necessarily mean to be racist or prejudiced.
To see colour and see how people are affected negatively or
act negatively because of colour, and then to act to change
that negativity, is better than to claim to be
colour-blind and allow damaging
institutional colourism to go unchecked.
No, pretty sure that’s just white feminism, which is a branch of feminism that should be left in the past. Racial prejudices tend to feed into prejudices about gender, so it is in no feminist’s benefit ‘not to see colour’. In fact, ‘not seeing colour’ is code for ‘choosing not to see social inequalities and discrimination’, which is exactly the perspective that feminism tries to battle.
Yes. While the feminist movement seems
to be changing it seems to have lost the original
remit to fight for equal pay for equal jobs; equal recognition
for equal labour with men. I feel strongly that feminism
should be not bandwagoned by issues of colour.
Not seeing colour is a privilege reserved for white people. Whether or not you ‘see’ colour is a non-issue. We need to listen to people of colour and let them talk about their experiences, and learn what we need to do to dismantle institutional racism. Feminism has to be for everyone; if it’s not, what is it worth?
“I don’t see colour” doesn’t mean that you’re not racist.
It means that you cannot see racism. It means that
you refuse to put yourself in certain women’s shoes.
It means that you reject the responsibility
to fight for equality for all.