I had no plans to post this morning but as I was doing my morning surf while sipping coffee, I noticed several folks mentioning that today is International Women’s Day. In the event you are not familiar with this day, here is a handy-dandy link to get you some basic information on the day. Initially it seemed like a lovely idea, a day to celebrate women, how could anyone be bothered by that idea especially another woman? Well I guess that depends on your background.
Personally I am weary of any woman based or feminist type activities, too many times women of color are not welcomed into the fight for equal rights. We are not seen as true allies and our causes and issues rarely get the same attention unless they have a benefit to the majority. I am not writing an academic piece so I am not in the mood to go digging up sources but if you think this is a concept I pulled out my ass, you would see there is plenty of work out there that supports my feelings.
I guess in some ways, the way I look at parenting differences highlights why feminism just does not sit well with me. It’s very stylish for feminist these days to see parenting as an act of feminism, meh…I don’t think it’s that deep but what the fuck do I know?
One thing I do know is if you are not a white woman who fits a certain mold its hard to feel good about anything related to feminism or the so-called camaraderie of women that supposedly exists between women. Recently I made the acquaintance of a woman who is also a women of color who lives in Maine, she is a Latina sista, seems pretty decent but while life in Maine is hard at times for me as a Black woman, for this women it can be dangerous. See, my Latina buddy is a transwoman and in just a brief period of time I have learned that while we all have our shit to deal with most of us don’t even recognize our privilege and I am guilty of that as well.
We claim to be open-minded and inclusive, hell we strive for that but did you know that finding healthcare in this country if you are not a biological from birth woman is very hard to find? Imagine needing a doctor but no one is available or willing to see you. The traditional feminist movement while indifferent at times to women of color has been downright hostile to transwomen. Mary Daly the well-known feminist and theologian would be one example, at one point in her career using crude language to refer to transgendered individuals. She was not alone in her views, a quick Google search and you can find many more folks who think like Daly. Fascinating that someone could fight for the rights of one group but completely piss all over another’s rights.
I suspect in many ways this is why feminism has a black eye among some because at the same time it’s stating we want equal rights it screws over others. I often think of the business women of the 1980’s who broke the glass ceiling who often relied on poor uneducated women of color to care for their children. Yet these same women of color were barely existing and most certainly not getting ahead…where the hell is the equality in that? Shit poor women and women of color have always worked in this country. Hell, Black women were the original working Mamas! For my folks getting to stay home was a dream often that never was realized, yet in this country the battle for the right to be in the workplace seemed to be solely a middle class effort. I will concede that some parts of the struggle did have a positive impact on poor and women of color but by and large our lives have been what they have always been.
So on International Women’s Day I say that until all women are recognized, I’m probably going to sit this one out instead focusing my efforts on getting my feminist buddies to work for inclusion of all women. In closing I share with you a true story. For a while I was working with a group that focuses on natural childbirth and parenting, a really good outfit. Well early on I mentioned perhaps they should focus efforts on working with communities of color, after all women of color could benefit from such classes. The idea was well received but several years later the group’s primary audience is still middle class college educated white women. There are enough women of color for them to work with but turns out those women of color have a harder time affording services. Oh well. See, it’s that shit that is a constant reminder of the gulf between us.