Janet Mock on Feminism

I’d like to draw your attention to this essay by Janet Mock on the subject of claiming her place in feminism. As a androphilic trans woman of color and former sex worker, Janet is four times excluded from the sort of feminism the RadFems would like to enforce. I’m only doubly excluded, but still just about every day I find myself and my life under attack from people who assume the right to tell everyone else how to be a feminist. It would be so easy for me, for Janet, for #GirlsLikeUs as the hashtag goes, to turn our backs on a feminism that loudly brays about how we are not wanted.

And yet, where are we to go? We are still women. If we can’t be feminists, we’d only have to invent a new word for the same thing. (Many women of color have — you may have seen the term Womanism bandied about, and that’s just a different name for feminism adopted by women of color who feel they have been excluded by white feminists.)

For me the key statement in Janet’s essay is this one:

I believe we waste much of our efforts policing one another — one of the many workings of patriarchy is to busy us with policing each other’s choices rather than protecting them.

So yeah, enough with the policing. I call myself a feminist because I refuse to be excluded from a worthwhile and necessary cause simply because some rich, white, cis women have decided that I’m not acceptable for admission to sisterhood.

2 thoughts on “Janet Mock on Feminism

  1. Loads of us get excluded from _some_ versions of feminist. It’s just another twist of patriarchy.

    Women carry, enable and propagate patriarchy all the time. System wouldn’t work if it didn’t use women to actively uphold it. Just like men can be feminists, women can be patriarchal idiots, even when they spout otherwise.

    Never doubt you’re not in good company, in your exclusiveness. 🙂

    1. “Loads of us get excluded from _some_ versions of feminist. It’s just another twist of patriarchy.”

      This. Feminism is supposed to be for all women. If it starts asserting that there’s only one way to be a woman, or only one valid female experience, or only one set of issues that women *should* care about, it’s doing exactly the same thing as patriarchy.

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