It doesn’t take looking beyond our classroom discussion of Lena Dunham to find proof that not all feminists are understood as good. As Roxanne Gay explores,there is a recent polarization of the notion of feminism, which seems ironic given that the notion is innately designed to unify not only women but people of all genders and sexualities.
Not only does this ideology favour an extremely unrealistic image of what a good feminist should look, act, and sound like, it leaves a majority of women feeling defeated and helpless. We turn to blaming ourselves for our own inability to be the “perfect” feminist, meanwhile claiming to understand the fallacious nature of perfection.
Moreover, this construction of good vs bad feminists brings the discussion farther away from the important matters of social equity, such as pop culture, rape culture, wage gaps, and Donald Trumps elect, to name a few. As people witness this phenomenon of women turning on each other, labelling each other as indecent feminists, it becomes normalized and essentially reignites the cycle of oppression.
Roxanne ultimately concludes by explaining that if being herself and standing as a voice for women’s rights tags her the label of bad feminist, she doesn’t care. She explains, “Bad feminism seems like the only way I can both embrace myself as a feminist and be myself.”
It’s a shame that even within the world of feminism, women are still being belittled until they have no choice but to just except their “inferiority” and embrace it.