As a feminist, I have a knee-jerk reaction against women who say there’s no need for feminism. I get that internalized oppression is a thing, but I see it resurfacing in responses to the Women’s March, and it bothers me.
But this brilliant response by Dina Leygerman, written to women who did not support the Women’s March, sums up how I feel. It’s titled, “You Are Not Equal. I’m Sorry.”
I get it. You want to feel empowered. You don’t want to believe you’re oppressed. Because that would mean you are indeed a “second-class citizen.” You don’t want to feel like one. I get it. But don’t worry. I will walk for you. I will walk for your daughter. And your daughter’s daughter. And maybe you will still believe the world did not change. You will believe you’ve always had the rights you have today. And that’s okay. Because women who actually care and support other women don’t care what you think about them. They care about their future and the future of the women who come after them.
Open your eyes. Open them wide. Because I’m here to tell you, along with millions of other women that you are not equal. Our equality is an illusion. A feel-good sleight of hand. A trick of the mind. I’m sorry to tell you, but you are not equal. And neither are your daughters.
Women are paid less than men in many fields. We aren’t safe walking alone at night. We aren’t safe from domestic violence, especially involving guns. Maternal mortality rates are going up. The list goes on.
This shit is all horrifying… and it’s all preventable. It’s all stuff we can work to address, as I believe feminists and all humans should…but in order to do so, we need to acknowledge that there’s a problem in the first place. These issues won’t magically fix themselves.
So, to the women I know – cis women, trans women, white women, women of color, and so on – we are not equal, even if we get to inhabit situations where we feel that we are. Misogyny is real and rampant, and we need to treat it as such even when our personal experiences contradict that statement. The most vulnerable among us (sex workers, non-binary folks, low-income or disabled women for example) offer suffer compounded consequences of misogyny, because of how intersectional oppression works.
Talk about it. Change it. Don’t let anyone forget that the personal is still very political.