The walls are thick with the sweet smell of Sambuca and you’re sweating like a pig that’s had far too much to drink. Snoop Dogg is playing overhead and you’re singing along, lungs about to burst. ‘Bitches ain’t sh*t but hoes and tricks, lick on these nuts and suck the d*ck’. And there it is. You’ve unwittingly colluded with one of the most misogynistic lyrics of all time.
It’s hard to be a millennial third-wave feminist. It’s hard to love catchy Snoop lyrics, to still love the Disney princesses that only lived to meet their prince and it’s hard to want a guy to help you carry your bag up the steps at the train station and yet still be a die hard feminist.
Feminism is such a loaded term right now. Admitting to being a feminist can in equal parts make people recoil in horror or throw you a high five. And once you’ve admitted your sin out loud, it’s a hard label to live up to. You try so hard but are often left thinking, ‘am I a bad feminist?’
Am I a bad feminist because I want to wear heels? Which are, in the words of Amanda Bynes in She’s the Man ‘a male invention that make… it harder for [women] to run away.’ Am I a bad feminist if I want to stick it to the patriarchy but I still want to shave my legs?
I AM a feminist. Even though I sometimes play dumb and let a man explain something to me because it is much easier than taking the moral high ground. I’m a feminist even though I LOVE pink and my Spotify playlist is littered with Biggie Smalls.
I’m a feminist but I’m flawed. I understand the need to push for women’s rights, for LGBTQ+ rights for the rights of people of colour. I understand the importance of the feminist movement but sometimes I slip up. I know that British women are paid less than men in 90% of sectors, that women still share more of the household burden and that women are still at a far higher risk of being raped and harassed. And I also know that every single person, including me, has to pull their weight to make sure that attitudes change.
But in a world where Kim Kardashian’s naked selfie and Miley Cyrus hairy pink armpits both = feminism. It’s tough to know what view to take in order to work towards the equality of all people.
Can we strip naked like Kim in the name of feminism? Take ownership over our own bodies and say fuck what anyone else thinks. Or are we playing into a culture that objectifies and sexualizes women?
I don’t have the answers. But I think that all is not lost. We must pay attention to all those little details around us that both subliminally and very openly perpetuate the oppression of women and we should work to create constructive discourse around them.
I think it’s okay for us to be bad at feminism, as long as we are trying. Women are here to change the world too. We have ambitions and goals and we are powerful, capable and smart. Let’s empower one another and acknowledge that sometimes we’re hypocritical and sometimes we slip up and that’s okay.
There is space to live and learn and make mistakes in my feminism. To be pulled up by other people in a positive way and to grow. Feminism is daunting enough without us making it harder for one another. So let’s accept that we’re only human and push for change without pushing each other down.
I confess. I’m a bad feminist.