Me me me
Posted on February 5, 2009
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read recently how feminism is all about a woman’s right to make her own choices in life, and quite frankly I’m sick to the back teeth of hearing it. “You can’t criticise prostitution or porn” goes the cry, “some women these days have chosen freely to take part in it. They’re empowered and liberated, all those things feminists have been fighting for for decades.”
It seems that no matter what the choice in question is, whether it’s to sell her body for sex, or whether it’s to submit to the man in her life, the very fact that a woman has made that choice, all by herself and without any sign of having been overtly coerced, means that as feminists we’re under some kind of sisterly obligation to respect it.
Well I’ve got news for you: no it fucking well doesn’t.
Because feminism is not all about you.
Or me for that matter.
Feminism is about us: women.
Feminism has never been about fighting for the right of every individual woman to do as she damn well pleases and sod the consequences to anyone else. It’s always been a collective struggle, one that was founded to win freedom from male oppression for us all, a social movement for change in the position of “the people of women.”
And guess what. Every so-called liberated choice a woman makes has an impact on other women somewhere else – and it’s high time some people woke up to that fact and started taking some responsibility.
For every woman who claims sex work as empowerment, there are a dozen others out there wishing she’d shut the fuck up ‘cos the men who’re trying to make money off their backs keep quoting that shit right at them. For every woman who celebrates submission as a form of emancipation there are a dozen others somewhere being beaten down or murdered for their refusal to submit; and for every empowerfulled woman out there shouting loud and proud about how she loves being tied up and whipped in her totally egalitarian relationship, there are scores of others who know what real pain and fear feel like, and who really don’t need their suffering rubbed in their faces by some privileged little girl treating torture like it’s some kind of edgy fucking game.
Know that what you do and how you try to sell it has an effect. Know that what you do and how you try to sell it may well feel empowering to you, but it is not in the interests of women as a whole, and it is not contributing in any way to the emancipation of those who don’t yet have the same “agency” as you claim to possess.
And if you truly don’t give a shit about the impact your choices have on others, if you truly think that your right to self-expression and personal fulfilment comes first, then don’t try and claim that you’re any kind of feminist.
And don’t tell me that I’ve got no right to criticise another woman’s poor choices, and don’t tell me that when I do I’m somehow trying to silence her or negate her own unique experience, ‘cos quite frankly all this libertarian me me me “I’m all right jack” shite doesn’t wash.
This movement exists to win rights for the majority, not for the individual, so just because you like something, or just because whatever it is you engage in doesn’t harm you, makes not one iota of difference.
It’s not all about you.
It never was about you.