Feminist Ideals vs. Feminist Lives

11Mar09

This post on feministing.com inspired me to write my own version of a comparison between the feminist ideals that I hold and how I enact or do not enact those ideals in my daily life. Some of mine I have stolen or only slightly changed.

1. I open doors for others, apologize and say excuse me when it is unnecessary. I move aside for men, I am constantly apologetic for taking up a lot of space in any place.

2. I allow sexist/racist jokes to slide from people who I have determined as “beyond reaching”–especially when I don’t have any clearly identified allies in the room.

3. I self-silence constantly in my classes because I don’t think what I have to say is smart enough or relevant. When I do speak in class I always qualify my statements with “I think,” “in my opinion,” “I don’t know but,” or “this may not be what you’re looking for.”

4. I wear make-up, jewelry, clothing, shave my legs and play into gender norms that do not match the way I view my gender identity at interviews, at formals and when I see people who I deem important like my grandparents.

5. Taking on more than I should and feeling intensely guilty whenever I have to say no to a friend or family member.

6. I sometimes believe/buy into the idea that the only reason I am at an elite school and get other opportunities is because of affirmative action.

7. I apologize for everything… constantly

8. I resent my body, not for wellness reasons but because I don’t fit into what I imagine (and am told) is an attractive woman

9. I allow subtle more engrained sexism/racism/heterosexism/homophobia/ableism/xenophobia without challenging it our calling it out for what it is.

10. I don’t always correct people when they assume I’m straight

11. I don’t always correct people when they assume I’m white

12. I use language that is rooted in really fucked up histories and while I do try to interrupt that language it is still rooted in privilege that I still make those mistakes and make others feel unsafe/unwelcome/marginalized.

Do people have others they want to share?

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