Last month I started to unfollow a lot of the pages I followed on Facebook that were feminist, latinx activists, or other similar ones.
At first it started off as a need to take care of myself, I could no longer wake up and see how shitty the world was every single day. I had gotten to the point where I didn’t understand the point of getting up every morning anymore. I had to battle my own inner demons, and on top of that live in a completely botched society with no way out? No wonder depression is so prominent among today’s society. So I stopped trying to save the world, and I decided to save myself. And that’s been what I’ve been trying to do for the past few months.
I don’t have the resolve and will that others have to be such passionate activists, as the second I am met with someone who just innately does not understand how what they are saying or doing is desperately lacking in compassion, understanding, and emotional intelligence, I get carried away with emotion and then become a complete cliché, and then my views are just ignored or not listened to.
Because not only am I a WOMAN, but a truly extremely sensitive one at that. So you know, my opinion is completely not taken seriously. Mix that in with some childhood trauma of being consistently told to shut up or quiet down whenever I showed a surplus of ANY emotion (laughing too loud is unladylike, crying all the time is annoying, being angry makes me undesirable to men. Since, you know, my value is determined by how much a man desires me), being an “active” feminist was making the world an unbearable place for me.
But eventually, it became about much more than that. I felt like I had to choose between one thing. Like, I could be someone that was into civil rights because that covered a lot of good ground, like not only feminism but black lives as well as the rights of other people of color, LGBT+ lives, etc, but then there are so many other people, other subcultures, other groups around the WORLD that also needed addressing. So many other problems, that were equally important. Other wars, other corrupt governments, corrupt information, corrupt media, just corruption in general. And it was getting so niche-y as well. There was feminism, then latix feminism, then brown girl latinx feminism….With so many words and vocabulary that completely separated everyone between them and us.
Articles that were titled things like “why feminism matters” or “how to check your white privilege” or “cultural appropriation something or other” became enormous circle jerks. Because by using words that only affects those of us who know what they mean, the rest of the people, you know, the people that need to LEARN, are rolling their eyes and ignoring it, OR simply ignoring it the way that you do when someone posts something about a disease that has never affected you or anyone you know and therefore you don’t think it’s relevant to you and therefore not something worth listening to.
But it’s all relevant to everyone.
People (including so many of my respected friends) became intelligence elitist, saying things like ‘if you don’t get this you can go die/unfriend me now’ which doesn’t allow for a conversation at all, or compassion, or to educate. It implies that someone that maybe hasn’t had the opportunity to be exposed to better information, to better education, to a better example, doesn’t deserve to learn because they should die instead of just shut up and continue their lives without being this person’s friend. I understand that it is a privilege of mine to have traveled and seen the many contexts that people live or don’t live, but I don’t understand how someone could want others to learn compassion without being compassionate themselves.
And that was another issue. The whole narrative of “it isn’t my job to educate you” is so stagnant and counterproductive.
I understand the not wanting to perform, or to be the spokesperson for an entire culture, or to be expected to put your own personal comfort aside for the sake of someone else. I have been put in that role where it’s like ‘speak for all latinx women’ and to “perform” my culture for someone. Most of the time, it’s in a celebrated way and I WANT to share and inform, because that to me is key to removing that barrier of prejudice and ignorance and thus hatred. However, I have also been in a situation where I felt like I was seen as some kind of circus monkey, “be latina! be hot and spicy and make me food all for my entertainment” and that is definitely not cool for me to live through, but then that person remains ignorant and maybe a prejudice will either be created or continued.
So many times I would see comments of well meaning people trying to learn, being replied to with the most aggressive behavior of “just fucking google it”. You cant google something you don’t already understand or know. You cant google a living breathing movement that changes with the times, that has living language like ‘being woke’ or ‘cis gendered’ and that is being led by people that known and have known because they have lived and breathed this and so have their parents and grandparents. You can’t google something you don’t know that you don’t know because your entire life school and your parents and society filled your information and hid other. If you’re starting from zero because you have decided to go apart from the norm and from your education, and then you are met with ‘go google it’, not only is it discouraging, it continues to perpetuate the idea of us vs them. Separatism. It can also make people feel helpless and thus angry. It doesn’t perpetuate compassion or learning. It doesn’t perpetuate equality. It doesn’t perpetuate empowerment.
Which brings me to my next point. So much, so so so so so much, of the articles, posts, memes, or whatever, that I read where a group wants fairness from another group, there are two prevailing voices. One, “they owe us”, and “I am perpetually a victim.”
And I got to tell you, I am sick and fucking tired of modern “feminists” telling me I am a victim. By victimizing themselves. By constantly and perpetually saying we are the victims. We are the victims.
I am NOT a victim. Society has perhaps victimized me, but I am NOT a victim. I want feminism to EMPOWER me, to EMPOWER girls, women, men, everyone.
And…for the most part, right now, it doesn’t. It saddens me. One feminist page shares another rapist, another murder, another humiliation. ANother reason to be angry. Another thing that is us vs them. Not another success, not another great fantastic woman, not another reason to not let that shit get you down, but rather “yes keep believing that you are a victim, yes most men are garbage, yes masculinity is toxic, yes be afraid to go into a unisex bathroom now”
It makes me wake up to an unbearable reality. A reality, I have learned, that is NOT then only one.
It makes me feel like I am separate from men in a not good way, it makes me see them under a different light that is so frustrating. And when you’re looking for the color green, you’ll see it everywhere. So if you’re perpetuating hearing how horrible things are for you, then you only see that. I also refuse to play the part of an oppressor and have a movement tell a black person their my victim just because I’m white. I don’t want other people to feel like my victim or not empowered either. I don’t want them to see me and see separateness because of the color of my skin or what’s between my legs or something arbitrary like that. I want them, instead, to be able to judge for themselves if my personhood will allow them to grow, and how we together can do that for each other and the world, instead of running down a list of things of why we should treat each other differently. Because it was feminism put a lot of blinders of me by saying A equals 5 and there are not other ways around it. It puts blinders on you, because you’re a feminist and as one you must believe certain things and if you don’t then it’s just internalized misogyny instead of maybe an understanding, compassion, or open-mindedness for other subtleties.
I will still call myself a feminist if it is necessary, but I find the term limiting and extremely misunderstood. Feminism has gotten to be too much about women and not enough about femininity in general, perpetuating a separatist and sexist mentality. Whenever I see things like “Masculinity so Fragile” after a hashtag it hurts me to my core because it seems like such an important thing to be ignorant about. Women are masculine too. Straight women, gay women, transgender women, all can be very masculine in their way of being or physique. Masculine traits in a person are what allow people to be actively protective, for example, more of a “do-er”, logical, a certain strength..while our feminine traits are more like emotional intelligence, nurturing, sensuality. The embracing of both masculinity and femininity in every person allows for us ALL to be more whole, healthy people that can express themselves fully and lead a more fulfilling life. And I am so frustrated that this isn’t the major conversation being had. I am so frustrated of how limiting the movement can be when put in the mouths of certain people.
When feminism is just about women, it is a great and necessary conversation to have, but I believe it is an incomplete one. And while many people say “feminism is important to men too”, that in itself is saying that feminism is about women at a base. And it shouldn’t be. Because if we were to as a society, respect things like intuition, sensitivity, tenderness, etc, then the conversation would naturally be about EVERYONE. And that’s the thing about those websites and those movements. They are extremely important, and valuable, and I am forever in the debt of the latinxs and women before me for the freedom and rights I have today.
I just wish the conversation was more about compassion, was a little big bigger. I wish people weren’t so quick to be “this is a feminist issue” and then ignore all the other conversations that need to be had. American Feminists themselves admit that the movement could be more all inclusive, since many times women of color or transgendered women arent included in the mix. But I feel like a lot of gay men direly need feminism as well, and should be a natural part of the conversation, for example. Or straight men that are very sensitive and undervalued because of their FEMININE traits.
In the end, these are all just the opinions of some grain of sand pixel that won’t mean anything in a blog that no one reads. However I believe that the best way I can help is by being compassionate of whoever is in front of me at any given moment. Reading articles online, doesnt help. Being informed does, sharing information does, but if it’s just another article about another guy that raped another girl, another angry letter to all like minded people hating on all those that don’t agree with every point, another diagram of how i should feel victimized and oppressed, then I’m done.
It is not a role that I can fulfill adequately, that of caring so immensely for so many things at the same time, only to be met with an onslaught of hatred, victimization, and close mindedness. I am useless when I am trying to keep up with all the things I should be pissed off about. I don’t want to pick the one that just affects me, I want to care about muslim lives too, autistic lives, people with a kind of cancer that always get ignored, I don’t know just everyone. And selecting a movement blind sides me to other issues. So I leave the facebook activism and active activism to those perhaps with a stronger sense of self, that can stand their ground, and that have a relevant way to continue to change things. My power will be love, my weapon will be compassion, my target audience will be EVERYONE. World peace is my movement.
All that being said, do you know why I started writing this to begin with?
Because I know what I want to do for myself, and for the world, and I can see the problems in my beloved feminism and other civil right movements, but by no means am I not unbelievably grateful to all those activists that are out there putting words to the things I have lived, and putting their bodies and personhood at risk for the wellbeing of others like them or like myself. Because when someone posts a joke about how “lol women are crazy” I can go to a group of feminists and they will understand how hurtful it is, how I continuously have had to remind myself that what I have to say is important, even if people think that women should not be listened to and I am one, even if they think that all women are crazy and I am one, and especially if they think that crazy women shouldnt be listened to because I AM ONE. I am crazy. I am a woman.
But it is also because of my strength as a MUJER PODEROSA DIOSA GUERRERA that I have been able to find my voice and value it, and find those who also value me. It is thanks to feminism, that is sick and tired of us not being seen for our splendor, those feminists friends, that have LISTENED to me, that I have been able to process so many things.
So if there’s anyone out there reading this that has gotten this far, here’s what I leave for both us. This entire thing is just about this: listen. Let us listen, let us be compassionate, let us be kind, and let us try to understand each other as much as possible. Let us try to help each other evolve. Let us love EVERYONE, so that at least while we are alive, we are part of peace and compassion movement.
And so it is.
All my love,
To see more of my art go to: instagram.com/colormaelle