When Beyoncé released a song which samples an excerpt of a TED Talk by Chimamanda Adichie and in the same song uses the phrase ‘bow down bi***es’, there was a bit of a furore amongst my Facebook friends about the validity of her new found feminism and the incongruence of the ‘b’word and the feminist speech sampled on the track. I thought they were at logger heads with each other myself as did a few people. The discussion strayed a bit but invariably got on to feminism and one of my friends made a comment “there isn’t one way to be a feminist”. And you know what, I think she’s right.
A feminist can’t look attractive; a feminist can’t wear girly clothes; a feminist can’t be a home maker; a feminist must get to the top of the ladder; a feminist must …., a feminist must …… – so many musts thrust upon women.
Since my friend made that comment it has been reverberating in my head. What does it mean to be a feminist? Not necessarily the definition but the daily working out of it in my life. Can I fly the flag for all women? I don’t think so. Can I set an example for other women? Certainly! Some women but not all. I get a bit put off by the celebrities and successful women telling women what and how they should be. The empowerment of feminism is the right to choose – whatever that may be. Whilst we may not be happy about some of the things that other women do, I think we have to acknowledge that it’s their life, their choice.
I think rather than spending our time writing books that tell us what to do; that time would be better spent eliminating inequality in the workplace, sexual harassment, abuse, misogyny, rape culture, low self esteem – all the barriers that stop women from being the best THEY want to be.
As much as sometimes I will have to bite my tongue or close my eyes when I see some stuff; I think we all need to learn that everyone has an different idea of success and every individual should be faithful to theirs and not impose it on others.