PSA: There’s No “Right” Way to Be a Feminist
This article is the product of the two current editors of Earn Spend Live — Christine, a liberal Democrat, and Elise, a conservative Republican — sitting down and having a conversation (or a few) about politics. Sounds crazy, right? We were both embarrassed to admit that we felt recently alienated by our respective political parties when it came to being a feminist.
We asked ourselves (and each other): Are we “bad” feminists? Are we missing something? Throughout our conversation, we discovered that although we have varying political beliefs, we agree on one thing: There is no “right” or “wrong” way to be a feminist. And we’re
tired exhausted pissed off from being told otherwise.
With major companies like Nordstrom and Buzzfeed shouting their political opinions from the rooftop (and alienating anyone who doesn’t agree with them), and companies like Amazon coming under fire for NOT voicing their opinions, we feel a lot of pressure to pick a side. But we’re not.
At Earn Spend Live, we strive to support all women, even if we don’t agree with them — we don’t even agree with each other 100% of the time, and that’s part of the fun. And we never want to alienate anyone — we’d rather take the opportunity to learn something from their point of view.
We’re sick of being told our “silence” is “the problem” with all the shit going on in the world today, and we’re here to set the record straight on a few things. Here are just a few of the recent issues/uproars that have made us feel like misfits because we don’t fit into either extreme.
Just Because It’s Not Done Your Way Doesn’t Mean It’s Wrong
Let’s talk about the Women’s March. When Taylor Swift posted a tweet supporting the women’s march without showing up (we repeat: supporting), our timelines were filled with tweets about how she doesn’t have the right to call herself a feminist. She was compared to other famous women like Rihanna, Zendaya, and Katy Perry, who did march. To which we have two things to remind our fellow feminists of:
- Being a feminist means supporting every woman’s decision, even if it doesn’t align with yours.
- Women shouldn’t be compared to each other. We’re pitted against one another enough as it is.
These statements are two of the most foundational beliefs of the feminist movement, yet all of that goes out the window the second you disagree with T. Swift, who, although she’s definitely not perfect, has done some amazing things for women? So she didn’t show up to march — which, BTW, neither did a lot of famous women, not just Taylor — why do you care? Maybe her cat was sick? Or a family member was having a crisis? Or she was busy being one of the top-earning female musicians???
All of us at Earn Spend Live consider ourselves feminists — but we don’t all choose to express our feminism in the same ways. Meleah and our boss, Dana, marched. We (Christine and Elise) did not march — but we support the women who did.
So we ask you: Would you tell us — women who created a website exclusively for the mission of building women up and supporting their various careers and lifestyles, women who show up to work every single day and fight to be viewed on the same level as our male colleagues — that we are not allowed to call ourselves feminists because we don’t make the same choices as you? Does that make us less feminist than you?
If your answer is yes, then here’s our question to you: What are you doing to address social injustice? We know exactly what we’re doing.
Posting an Angry Status to Your 200 Facebook Friends is Not Changing the World
It’s easy to hide behind a screen and feel like you’re accomplishing something when, in reality, all you’re doing is existing inside an echo chamber of people who already agree with you. Does it make you feel better to belittle people who don’t agree with you? Or even to criticize people who are on your side for not being loud enough about it? Just because we’re not telling our Facebook friends and Twitter followers about how unfair life is and how much everything sucks right now doesn’t mean that we deserve to be attacked or bullied.
We’re not saying we haven’t been guilty of speaking out on social media — we have. But what we’ve recently realized is how futile it really is.
Sitting down and having an actual conversation with someone who disagrees with you (instead of making assumptions and pointing fingers) is much harder to do — but also much more worth the effort — than sitting around and liking or sharing your like-minded friends’ Facebook statuses while deleting or blocking anyone who dares to disagree.
Everyone has a backstory. Everyone has their own reasons for why they believe what they believe and why they support what (and who) they support. Just because your priorities don’t line up with someone else’s doesn’t mean you can’t find any common ground. When we take down our walls, we find out that the people we disagree with have the same fears, needs, and emotions that we do. Everyone wants their world to be a better place. Everyone wants to be treated with respect. Everyone wants their rights and freedoms. We just believe in different ways of achieving these things.
Maybe if we all took a little break from social media and instead tried to sit down and listen and truly understand each other, our country wouldn’t be as divided as it is right now.
Other ways to change the world: Get involved. Change things from the inside out. If you don’t like the current state of the education system, become a teacher. If you don’t like how women are treated at work or you wish there were more diversity, work your ass off and and become someone’s boss. If you don’t like how men treat women, teach your boyfriend/husband/brother about feminism. Better yet, have children and teach your sons to respect women and your daughters to demand nothing less. Turn your anger into something positive and you can literally change the world.
Sidenote: Stop Holding Ivanka Responsible for Her Dad’s Actions
While we’re talking about unwarranted criticism, let’s talk about Ivanka Trump. The woman who built an entire empire focused on empowering women. The woman who spends every day being a badass mom, wife, and business owner. What has she ever done to deserve being held personally responsible for her dad being a sexist pig? (Because let’s make one thing clear: No one is disagreeing about the unfortunate circumstances our country has recently found itself in — but misplaced blame doesn’t help the situation.)
Our dads don’t agree with us on basically every single political issue. But do their slightly (or even majorly) old-fashioned views discount our progressivism? Do we respect them any less? Would we still defend them and protect them? No matter how much we may disagree, our parents will always be our parents whom we love and support. Asking Ivanka to choose between supporting women’s rights and supporting her father is unfair at best, and wildly inappropriate at worst.
What do you expect, honestly? Option A: Abandon her platform as a feminist, or option B: Disown her own father? What would you do in her situation? Really think about it. Because we have, and we think she’s doing the best she possibly can. Not to mention, the closer she is to the White House, the better chance women have of our voices being heard. If she didn’t try to bring women’s rights — like parental leave — to the Oval Office table, you’d hate her even more. She’s damned if she does and she’s damned if she doesn’t. Just let her live.
Everyone Has Something Unique to Bring to the Table
Yes, the Earn Spend Live team is made up of primarily four white women. The four of us went to college together and ended up at the same company, on the same team — and we ended up building this website together. That being said, we’re just as tired as you are of seeing pale skin and Starbucks lattes day after day. So we seek out contributors with diverse cultures, backgrounds, and stories. We actively search for diverse stock photos to represent all women in our articles.
Feminism comes in all shapes and sizes. Our individual experiences with sexism and racial issues may not be the same as yours or the woman next to you, but every single woman has something to bring to the table. Earn Spend Live is fighting to overcome ALL forms of sexism, by opening up the conversation to everyone — not just the people who agree with us. The question is: Will you join us?
Agree with us? Disagree? We welcome all voices and opinions here at Earn Spend Live. If you’d like to contribute, shoot us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured image via Refinery29
Last modified on January 9th, 2018