So let’s talk about some stuff surrounding the term “social justice warrior” for a bit. My last post on feminism was written with a lot of emotion and not a whole lot of thought behind it. I look up to my feminist heroes who may or may not be your feminist heroes. Let’s see if I can get my thoughts ordered a little better this time. These are my views on feminism but I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of similar vibes out there.
The Term Social Justice Warrior
I’m actually kind of surprised that this is used as a derogatory term. It actually sounds kind of like He-Man and She-ra running around and righting wrongs to me. It’s also actually embarassingly pretty accurate to the feminist movement. However, the goal is not so much “justice” as it is “justice for all”. In my mind, the end goal is equality and not really about punishing or rewarding anybody. Feminism is about educating people about the way things are and trying to navigate a clear path out of the mess we got ourselves into.
Declaring myself a feminist made a lot of sense to me as soon as it was defined as simply “Anyone who wants equality for everyone.” Previously, I had hesitated over the label because A) I am not a female and B) I didn’t want to appropriate their fight as my own. Later, I learned that there were male feminists and that fighting together doesn’t mean putting anyone down. There are still plenty of people out there who are not feminists for some of the reasons that I wasn’t. Some people decline to join the cause either because the definitions look muddled to them or they just don’t join causes. The first can be corrected by further education but the second is unfortunate but easily forgiveable.
The people who are “anti-feminist” confused me for a long while. I really believed that they were humongous assholes who hate women. While this is true of a fair percentage of this group, there are a lot of people who actually aren’t evil. A lot of it comes down to confusion. There are people who honestly don’t believe in the existence of inequality between the sexes. They think we shouldn’t fix what is not broken. A little more world experience and research would show them plenty of evidence to the contrary. Some people believe that feminism is not about equality and instead about putting males down. As feminism becomes more and more mainstream, they believe they have become persecuted and must fight for their rights. They miss the whole equality message. Education could fix this but only if these people can shake the weird conspiracy theory they have accepted.
Disney Princesses and the Depiction of Females in Art and Pop Culture
I posted on here before that I had become upset at myself for following established tropes by making a female character with anti-feminist leanings. I further began to examine a lot of the pop culture I was consuming and had consumed to judge whether it depicted women fairly.
I am a huge Disney nerd and I have seen just about every Disney animated film (and several of them multiple times). I began to judge earlier Disney animated features for being sexist and attempting to define women’s roles in society. Suddenly, I realized that Snow White and Cinderella weren’t sexist because the female protagonists decide how they want to live their life and follow through. If that means being “just a wife” or “just a mother” then that’s just as empowering as having a career or fighting the good fight or anything else. The jury is still kind of out on Aurora from Sleeping Beauty but that’s ok, the fae in that story are pretty strong women and so is Maleficent. The point is that my views on feminism are constantly evolving as I try to educate myself and absorb new viewpoints.
My Feminist Heroes
Kate Leth – A comic book writer, webcomic artist and all around fun and smart lady. She taught me the term “Patriarchy” and why it was a bad thing. She helped guide me by putting the info out there on her tumblr and in her comics. She also introduced me to the Carol Corps and the Valkyries, both organizations I support.
Angelina LB – A friend of Kate’s, she also showered me with a lot information through her tumblr. Funny enough she’s a lot more “traditionally girly” in her appearance than Kate is. It shows a little about the diversity of the female, feminist population. I like that.
Lewis Lovhaug (aka Linkara) – Linkara is a very outspoken feminist guy who never lets a negative opinion shut him up about equality for women. He usually does his work by pointing out horrible, blatant sexism in the comics industry. He calls out bad artists and poor writing and inspires me to try harder in my own writing.
David Willis – Willis is the creator of several webcomics, through which he has explored aspects of his own learned behavior and also the sexism inherent in society. He has also explored sexism and feminism and everything in between in a thoughtful yet funny way.
Well, that’s not everything but it’s a little more on where my head is at. More as I think of it, I’m sure.