On how I’m not a feminist (but I am really) and privilege checking

I’ve been thinking about this for weeks now. I don’t really think I’m a feminist, I’m sure some rad-fems out there would agree and here’s why. I can have levels of SIA (stroke inducing anger) at the discrimination heaped on women by the patriachy and still laugh at Jim Jeffries.

I can watch Funny Face whilst thinking it’s possibly the one of the most sexist films I’ve ever seen, actually enjoy it and not have my head explode. I still have a huge thing for Steven Tyler, even though he had the 3 month ‘affair’ with a 15 year old which he needs to apologise for and apologise to the girl involved at the very least for doing what he did. He was the adult, she wasn’t, it was his responsibility to not have done it in the fist place.

I think that people are people and should be treated equally. Equally, there it is in a nutshell. I think I believe more in equalism than feminism. I think that people should be able to have a fabulous education regardless of socio-economic backgrounds. That we should live in a meritocracy  where, regardless of gender, sexual orientation etc. you should get to be really good at what you are good at because you are good at it. That, although you shouldn’t go out of your way to offend somebody you do not have the right to go through life never being offended. That language matters and what you say, even when you know that you’ve hurt somebody to the core by the words you use, if you continue to use those words? You’re a twat.

I luff Delilah by Tom Jones and will sing  my heart out even though it’s about VAW (violence against women) and she’s the victim not him.

I watch and relish the reboot of Dr Who even though Steven Moffat has some SERIOUS ishoos with women.

I believe that if people want to become sex workers they should be able to and that they should be able to do so without judgement and safely. I think people who think they can buy people are a psychologically unwell.

Those and many other things should raise my levels of cognisant dissonance to the point where I’m physically ill.

I’m white and cis, this gives me privilege, not as much privilege as a white, cis male in our society but more than trans people or people of colour for examples. When these people talk I shut up and listen to their experiences. I try to stamp very hard on the voice in my head that says ‘I don’t do that’ because, by my simple accident of birth, I have privilege that others don’t. I don’t tell people that how they experience the world is wrong because it’s not how I experience the world or personally treat people. I may share examples if I am in a group sharing and have similar life experiences but my life experience is not of more value than somebody else’s. I won’t stand by and allow people to tell me that I act in a way that I don’t or consider morally wrong. Should I ever get a chance at the table I hope I know enough to make space for those who can’t even see the table to speak, far to often the voices of the oppressed in our society are the voices that need to be heard.

I’m going to make a suggestion, if you’re in conversations with somebody who doesn’t have the same level of privilege as you  DO NOT tell them that’s now what you do. The person speaking isn’t seeking your validation and does not need it. They are relating to you a life experience as experienced by them. Listen, ask questions of the person – if it’s general ask Google, most people are to busy living their own lives to educate you – listen to the answers and examine your own behaviour. Modify yourself in light of new information, in the end it’s the only way we’ll ever reach equality.

Rant over