Recently, a young woman asked me how we can make feminism more accessible to men. I told her that I don’t care about making feminism more accessible to men. In truth, I don’t care about making feminism more accessible to anyone.
I care about making the liberties that men enjoy so freely fully accessible to women, and if men or celebrities claiming feminism for themselves has become the spoon full of sugar to make that medicine go down, so be it.
But it irks me that we more easily embrace feminism and feminist messages when delivered in the right package – one that generally includes youth, a particular kind of beauty, fame and/or self-deprecating humour. It frustrates me that the very idea of women enjoying the same inalienable rights as men is so unappealing that we require – even demand – that the person asking for these rights must embody the standards we’re supposedly trying to challenge. That we require brand ambassadors and celebrity endorsements to make the world a more equitable place is infuriating.
- Roxanne Gay’s take on making feminism more palatable and trendy and accessible and “friendly”, The Guardian.
I put this in the Sunday roundup yesterday but I am flagging it again. Roxanne Gay - the self-proclaimed “bad” feminist - rightly points out that making feminism more palatable (i.e. to those who feel threatened by having their status quo challenged) is not the end game here. It shouldn’t take a stamp of approval from the rich and beautiful to make it acceptable and/ or important.
When white characters are continually constructed as righteous, heroic, and virtuous people while non-white/foreign characters are conceptualized as greedy and treacherous, it reinforces social ideas that are already in place about the value of whiteness and the wickedness or otherness of non-white/foreign bodies and identities. The heroes are white, the victims are white, and the villains are not. That’s the pattern. The next time you watch a film that follows this paradigm, consider its implications.