Fistly, let’s get one thing about the following out there. There is no right or wrong way to be a feminist. As Roxane Gay says: “I would rather be a bad feminist, than no feminist at all.”
One of the main aspects of feminism is choice and freedom to do and be exactly who you want and this is 100% what I believe. However, if you’re someone who feels like they want to do more with their feminism or doesn’t know where to start at all, here are a few pointers.
Within the last year especially, the importance of intersectionality within feminism has been brought to the forefront of the political ideology. Intersectional feminism is the recognition that women face oppression in varying degrees and that there is no one type of feminism for all. For example some women may have racisim as well as sexism to face, or ageism or even class prejudices. Much criticism of western feminism has focused around the idea that it places a heavy focus on white middle class women, which may often be why many see feminism as not as relevent in todays society. It is highly important to recognise that feminism needs to be inclusive of all women and the factors and challenges that they may face on a daily basis and how to battle them.
— Kerri Lyn (@GoddessKerriLyn) October 13, 2015
Support all women
In continuation to the above point, it is important to support all these women in whatever way possible. This could be from the simple movement of a social media retweet or the signing of an online petition to raise awareness. Or the bigger gesture of donating to a charity supporting sexual health awareness abroad or joining a protest or march. Showing that you support women across the world and realise that feminism is something which those outside of your race, sexuality and age need lets you be active within the movement and spread intersectionality.
Call out misogyny and sexism
Not everyone feels confident about shouting down that person in the street for their sexist comment or wolf whistle. If you do feel so, then go for it, they need to learn that it’s not acceptable. If this isn’t your style, then that is completely okay and there are many other ways to take a stand against these things. Misogyny and sexism against both sexes, exisits across all areas of society. From people you meet in your everyday life, to magazines, to film, it’s everywhere. Pointing out these things to your family and friends on online, tweeting #EverydaySexism is a great option, raises awareness, and may even get those who hadn’t noticed it previously to realise that these things are everywhere and they shouldn’t be tolorated.
If you feel like you want to improve yourself and become a better feminist then there is so much material out there you can access. From blogs, documentaries and books, all areas of feminism are covered and it is about finding what is right for you. As was mentioned at the start of this article, there is no one type of feminism for all and there may be parts that you agree with whole heartedly and others that you cannot get your head round whatsoever, and that is more than okay. Feminism is about choice and freedom and using this aspect to find out what feminism means to you won’t be something that happens over night.
Most importantly, you can be a better feminist by doing what is right for you and making those decisions in your life that you want to.
Let us know how you work to improve your feminism in the comments below, and email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to get involved with our Ask A Feminist feature!