Feminism. The reaction you get with that word all depends on who you say it to. There are many different takes on what feminism means, and why it is important. A branch of radical feminists, for example, refuse to acknowledge trans woman as women. This brand of feminism is obviously harmful, especially to trans girls like myself. Then there are the feminists who want to take over the world. The ones who strive not for equality, but power. Sometimes the former are the same as the later. And then there’s everything in between. The most common feminism is probably the kind that strives to make women’s issues known, and fights for equality among genders. Equal opportunity.
Feminism is as personal as politics are, though. Each person’s beliefs vary just a little bit from their party line.
My brand of feminism was prevalent in the late 80’s and 90’s – Riot Grrrl. It’s where my tag line came from, and where my attitude comes from. Riot Grrrls were women in hardcore punk bands that sang and talked about rape, sexism, and many other common feminist themes, but with an empowered do-it-yourself attitude behind it. Riot grrrls embraced difference and used their voices to talk about the issues they faced – much like I’m trying to do with this blog. They were raw, and real, and self-sufficient. They were punk. So why not identify with the riot grrrls? What’s more punk than being yourself as trans?
But unfortunately the movement evolved into something transphobic in the last decade or so. Riot grrrl bands/former members now often play at fests for “women-born-women”, and that is not okay. Trans women need feminism as much as, or more than cis women. If feminism doesn’t accept us, then who will?
I need feminism because I was never afraid to walk to my car at night before. I was never afraid to go shopping alone. I was never afraid I could be the one “asking for it.” I need feminism because I am a woman, simple as that. And just because I can’t have kids, or don’t have a period, or was “socialized as male,” doesn’t mean I don’t share the same experiences and fears as other women do now. I don’t support the transphobia of the riot grrrl movement, obviously, but I do support the other ideals these punks play for. And so I will keep fighting like a grrrl. Fighting to be myself in whatever that consists of. Fighting for equality. Fighting for myself and others like me, because if I don’t, who will?
So be a feminist. Fight for the rights of women. Help make pay gaps, and social inferiority, and rape culture a sad part of history, instead of a sad reality.
Don’t just fight, fight like a riot grrrl.