It’s a f#@%g compliment.

I’ve been ruminating on this one for days. I thought that the longer I waited to write it, the nicer I would be. Fuck it, I was wrong. I’m just gonna go there.

I’m a feminist. Sometimes it feels like I live breathe, eat, and sleep feminism. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I’m just feminist enough. A while ago, I made the mistake of calling another like-minded individual a feminist. I don’t even remember what they did to merit the honor, but I sure do remember their reaction. They actually got offended at the fact that I called them a feminist. Wait. Stop. What?

I was taken aback by the negative reaction. I didn’t even know what to say or where to start. I apologized for offending them and we both went our separate ways. I still think of them as a closeted feminist. This made me realize that I need to be prepared. Should the opportunity present itself again, this is what I will say:

“Relax. I wasn’t trying to offend you. Me calling you a feminist was a fucking compliment. Why? Well, for starters your actions showed me your amazing strength. In spite of the patriarchal/political/cultural/societal structure that fails and oppresses you daily, I saw you fight back. I was impressed. So impressed that I called you a feminist. That was some real feminist shiiiiiit.

So, the next time you want to go on and be offended because I called you a feminist, please check yourself. You’re a fucking feminist. Deal with it. Don’t do feminist shit if you don’t want to be called out. Stop fighting it. Join the movement (willingly). We fight for you. We will fight with you. We believe in you. We will believe with you. We SEE you. We will always see YOU.”

For the record, you are taking a feminist stance every time you:

  • Don’t believe the hype
  • Take action to make the world a more just place (for all its inhabitants)
  • Question the patriarchy
  • Acknowledge your own privilege(s)
  • Believe that you are beautiful just they way you are–even on bad days
  • Talked to your friend/child/neighbor/family about the skewed norms the media/marketing machines create, uphold and push on us
  • Stood up to someone when they did you (or someone you love) wrong
  • Told your child that his/her hair, skin, smile, are beautiful
  • Questioned a double standard
  • Gave yourself permission to love yourself and others

The list goes on. Feminists do some real cool shiiiit. You may not be a full-fledged feminist today, but maybe–just maybe—you are feminist enough.

 

crunkista

73 thoughts on “It’s a f#@%g compliment.

  1. I call some of the strong and independent african american females I work with Alpha females. It is meant to be a complement but some think it is bad. All of the qualities of a feminist also apply. I am older and happy that women want to be equal partners at every thing they do. I have been impressed with my peers but I guess they don’t like labels.

  2. Crunkista, I love you but:

    We fight for you. We will fight with you. We believe in you. We will believe with you. We SEE you. We will always see YOU.

    C’mon, now. Really? Feminism is not and has never been all-inclusive. I would never disrespect another woman’s choice to label herself as a feminist, and I wouldn’t take being called a feminist an insult. But I chose womanism over feminism because I just can’t trust Feminism™ (read: white, middle-class, mainstream feminism) to have my back.

    • I feel like the word womanism was needed at that time. And though feminism today is still not all-inclusive, my belief is that we need to address this issue within the feminist community. And continue to create growth in a movement that denounces oppression. Together we are a stronger force. We should not divide ourselves by race, sexual orientation, and/or age.

      • *We* are not the ones who divide ourselves by race, class, sexual orientation, etc. The ones with privilege do. Why should I trust those with privilege to look after a marginalized person’s interest when they can’t even admit to themselves that their privilege exists? And this isn’t a new thing; it’s been going on for centuries. How long do I have to wait?

  3. wow . you sound like a believer (in God) telling someone who doesn’t believe (in a God) that that’s okay cause God believes in you! LOL. That’s respecting their views and ignoring the opportunity to understand why they feel as they feel on this issue. Not everyone Identifies as you or agree with your view. And yes they are women. i am surprised more women haven’t openly cringed at being called a feminist. I think that their are more out there than you think and I don’ t kill me, I think that’s okay too. I think it is an indicator perhaps of where women’s right issues or views are today. Thanks for the Article!

  4. Thank you for continuing to educate young (and older) women about what a Feminist is. Too many women take for granted the liberties that are a part of their daily life completely unaware that at one time something as benign as showing your ankles was forbidden… never mind the economic freedoms we have to have jobs, own property.. or even establish credit….

  5. I’m with Angel above. This piece is missing some thoughtful reflection re: the reasons many of us (RWOC/WOC) reject the label for political reasons.

    One of the Keynotes at NWSA the year before last gave a talk in which she shamed Native women for rejecting the Feminist label. She called out (and quoted out of context) several Native scholars who are clearly doing revolutionary work and prioritizing their own communities. You know… all around Bad Ass Women. She was, of course, met with applause….

    … from the white women in the audience.

    I, on the other hand, was deeply offended– and angered– by what seemed to me to be obvious pandering to the Nice White Ladies in the room.

    Not once had this scholar addressed the relationship between racial oppression and Feminism as a reason for rejecting the label. She never even hinted that some of us might be rejecting the label as a means of political resistance. She made all of the mistakes that you are making now.

    I am a scholar of WOC feminism(s). I embrace many of the principles of feminism. I am NOT a (F)eminist. Please don’t call me one and I’ll show you the same respect by not placing unwanted labels on YOU.

    • “I am a scholar of WOC feminism(s). I embrace many of the principles of feminism. I am NOT a (F)eminist. Please don’t call me one and I’ll show you the same respect by not placing unwanted labels on YOU.”

      and the church says, “Amen.”

    • Thank you. It’s not an arugment, it’s an opportunity to progress and in some ways revive feminist consciousness. That can only happen when it is accepted that there are good reasons for women to reject the label of feminist. I also don’t appreciate the idea that it’s ingratutide, I am grateful.

      Gratitude though is not ownership, it’s a conscious not a supine thankfulness. It also goes both ways as they say, I’ve had a feminist instinct since girlhood, I stuck with it through its tiresome race and class fails, hanging in, waiting for it to get better. I even overlooked womanism to some extent, something I regret, but I figured, others have stuck in movements similarly and that’s why I could feel at home in them and togetherness and all that.

      I never thought I’d ever stop calling myself a feminist, it was inconceivable. I used to proudly declare myself thus in the working class multi racial area I grew up in, expecting people to attack, instead they agreed.

      Part of the problem is, feminists think every kind of woman can be a feminist, but at some point, when you reach some women, others fall outside. I think the anguish of feminists is realising this. They feel its bent over backwards to accomodate criticisms and still people are complaining.

      In spite of that though the first step would be to trust that women have genuine concerns that are not shallow or capricious and not try to gloss over them finding ways to make them seem irrelevant.

      • “Gratitude though is not ownership.”

        Bingo. I followed Alice Walker’s lead decades back in thinking of Womanism instead, even though I cherish the role Feminism has played in history. I don’t consider it an insult to be called Feminist, but due to my wider/deeper issue politics, I rarely get called that.

        You know, sometimes I have to work really hard to love my white sisters. I daydream about writing a blog about why they drive me nuts (despite having several as best friends.) But in the end, divide = conquer. So I am all about meaningful education of what ALL women face, so that OUR needs are on the table and in the mix.

        Not loving the role of Educator as in “having to teach everybody around us what our oppression looks like and why we must be central to any movement that will break the chains for good.”

        But, alas, no matter where a Black Woman goes, there she is.

  6. It’s a beautiful sentiment, but widespread feminism is still faaar behind educated urban youth/internet blogging feminism. If someone rejects your compliment, it’d be best to engage in a dialog of why. Explain your assessment of them as “feminist”, and listen to why they reject it; maybe they simply don’t understand what you mean by “feminist”, or maybe they actively reject the term because, like Angel H. said, they feel “Feminism” doesn’t have their back.

    Part of acknowledging your privilege is understanding why someone would NOT want to be called a “feminist”.

  7. @alex, I’m totally with you – and I’m (for all intents and purposes) a Nice White Lady. I think the concept of owning one’s privilege in feminism is still new, despite their obvious championing on internet micro-communities. The thing I always try to keep in mind is that I cannot speak for anyone but myself. I identify as a “feminist”, and actively fight for the equal rights and well-being of EVERY person – not just white, middle-class, educated, physically and mentally fit females. However, I am very aware that my feminism is hardly the televised norm.

    There’s a time to stand up and educate, and then there’s a time to sit back and be educated. As a middle-class white grrl who’s been to college and has never suffered severe injury or illness, I know my choir. What I – and many like me – need more of, is to learn from those who’ve experienced life differently so we can build a stronger movement together that can actually be called “inclusive”.

    • Great job making an example of yourself :) tho I hope you know that this Collective is made up of POC, not white people. Yr already speaking to a diff choir, haha.

  8. We should consider tthis same idea for men. If you are a man that respects and loves women whether it be as a friend, lover, colleague etc. If as a man you can admit that women to do have equal opportunities and rights then you should also not fear the wor feminism. Anyone of any gender that believes “women are people” need to not fear feminism but embrace it.

  9. I am a feminist, and proud of it because I learned it living with my mother. She never thrust it on me, kinda put it out there for me to accept or reject (I love being taught like that).

    I would object to being called “Alpha” anything. I am not a herd animal, and alpha quite often has overtones of the patriarchy and that would be offensive to me.

  10. I’m really surprised this was published by CFC. It’d be the kind of thing I’d explicitly expect the CFC to take issue with.

  11. Reblogged this on Almost 30-Something and commented:
    I don’t think I own my feminism often enough, but after reading this article I definitely will and I will be more proud of what I do everyday to make sure that I am be treating as equally/fairly as I deserve.

    Cheers!

    M Dot

  12. I think this is interesting. Being a self identified womyn of color I think its also important to recognize that the word Feminist and Feminism can trigger a lot of different emotions, feelings, and thoughts.

    One thing I have heard from womyn of color is that they don’t identify with being a feminist even if they have the so called “feminist traits”. Or if they speak out about gender norms, roles, and call out gendered bias.

    Because they see the feminist movement and feminism as a white womyn centered movement versus an inclusive movement.

    I am not saying that the people you are speaking to in this blog post feel that way. But I think its important to note various experiences and understand the triggers that this may bring up and work to change those versus “calling” folks out.

  13. I think that the confusion amounted from the fact that Black Feminists normally separate themselves from the normative term Feminist; primarily because of the childish connotation associated with the term ‘Feminist’-in white or mainstream Feminism. That is why Alice Walker changed this term to ‘Womanist’ specifically for Black women, because of the negative connotation previously associated with racism that can be present within White Feminism. There is a problem with intersectionality. We are not just against Men, and Patriarchy…but also against the racialized harrassment that specifically Black women face each day. There is a difference. Perhaps if the person that you spoke with, was a woman of color-then that is why they were offended. And similarly, because of the silly ‘burning bras’ scenarios of previous White Feminists; then they may want to disassociate themselves from looking immature. However; the bottom line is… recognizing differences in Feminism is crucial ,when dealing with women activists.

  14. First, Crunkista is Latina (every CF is a person of color) therefore she does not need to own any racial privilege regarding feminism. 2nd, one’s politics are certainly more important than the labels one places on them, and that fact can be acknowledged while still arguing for the legitimacy of owning the traditions out of which one’s politics come. And that leads me to my last point: the continued assertion by WOC that feminism is white centered requires a dismissal of more than a century of women of color, particularly Black and indigenous women, whose politics informed the earliest movement’s for women’s rights. When WOC. Continue to tell me that they reject feminism bc it’s white centered, I wonder how, particularly in the case of Black women, they deal with the likes of Sojourner Truth, Anna Julia Cooper and Mary Church Terrell, for starters, and that does not even acct for folks in the 40′s, 50′s, 60′s, and 70′s who explicitly claimed that moniker. For instance, how does one reconcile the fact that Alice Walker, the person who named womanism, frequently refers to herself as feminist? I really am interested in how these racial politics differ for native women and other WOC, bc the intellectual histories are different. So anyone who can shed light would be welcomed. But again while insisting on particular titles should not be allowed to undercut our organizing, to me among Black women, there have to be better intellectual and political reasons for the rejection of this term. Otherwise it sounds like some women want the benefits of feminism’s inroads against patriarchy without the political headache of naming their territory and to me, that’s a copout.

    Also, I don’t think Crunkista was advocating that ppl be forced to accept a term that does not adequately capture their politics. But I think she is right in challenging those who resist the term because of stereotypes, or because of unsupported assertions about racism. If you are staunchly against the operations of patriarchy and sexism, why not call yourself feminist? In a twisted way, it’s the same illogical move as the person who holds racist views but refuses to accept that they are indeed racist, and their objections often have to do with a tacit rejection of the history that informs their assumptions. The abolition movement, the gay rights movement, and hell the Civil Rights movement, all have long racially problematic histories among their white participants, but only in the case of feminism are women of color willing to roll over our own ancestors to take a stance against the word, I don’t get it.

    • “the continued assertion by WOC that feminism is white centered requires a dismissal of more than a century of women of color, particularly Black and indigenous women,”

      Um, that seems a little backwards to me. In my experience its some white feminists who actually ignore and dismiss the works of woc..And it’s for more than an “assertion”

      • The question is not what white women are doing, but rather how do you as a woman of color grapple with this robust history of Black and Brown feminist women who never conceded that feminism was not relevant for them? One should never reject a progressive political position because it has been tainted by white supremacy, because that would render most progressive positions off limits.

        As a WOC site, we work from the perspective that our feminism comes from the tradition of women of color arguing for their right as women to combat racism, sexism, and other oppressions within and outside their communities; our feminism is not centered in white women’s experience. In fact, I first learned about feminism by studying Black women. So as a Black woman, I know that my feminism begins in 1831 with the public lecturing career of Maria Stewart, rather than in 1848 at Seneca Falls.

      • @ crunktastic:

        I also learned about feminist ideals from studying Black women: Namely, my mother, my grandmother, and others I’ve admired. But they didn’t call it Feminism; they called it being a free and independent Black woman and being an all aournd good person. It wasn’t until I started reading about the concept of Feminism, that I began to connect the two.

        So if feminism can be taught and promoted without labeling as such, why is it such a big deal to label it?

      • Because the reality is that words and labels have power. I want white anti-racist activists to name that: being anti-racist in secret has limited impact. As a straight-identified person, I know that it matters politically when I say publicly that I’m an LGBT ally. It means that I think making the world better for people of color, women, LGBTQ ppl, folks with disabilities, etc, is worth taking a political stand for.

        To me, owning our positions proudly is about taking an intellectual and political risk. It is about recognizing that when we take a stand, we are also taking a risk. The world is full of far too many people who don’t want to take the intellectual and political risk of taking a position, for fear of offending people. To me, naming my feminism allies me with all the women who have had the courage to go out and explicitly challenge patriarchy and sexism. Being a Black woman and a feminist is a way to say to Black communities that Black men do not have a monopoly on racial concerns, that they should not be at the center of the racial universe, solely because they have penises. Feminism gave me the language to make those necessary interventions. And I’d be remiss not to claim it.

        Our mothers and grandmothers didn’t call themselves feminist often because they didn’t have access to those terms. But my mother, the first feminist I know (besides my grandmother), didn’t start calling herself feminist till we started this blog, and she and I had a conversation. In fact, it was when I started studying Black feminism that I felt comfortable enough to give the wisdom I got from my mother and grandmother equal weight with the scholarship I was learning in the classroom. And it was through feminism that I got access to the language that allowed me to intellectually justify bringing that knowledge base and history to bear on my scholarship.

        Finally, I think that we have to think both about what we lose and what we gain by claiming this term. We may alienate some people, but the notion that we can move through the world never offending folks is naive; in naming our space, we also make it clear that we think combatting sexism and patriarchy is important for making life better for all people, particularly people of color. I think that’s worth standing up for and owning. #justmytwo

      • To me, naming my feminism allies me with all the women who have had the courage to go out and explicitly challenge patriarchy and sexism. Being a Black woman and a feminist is a way to say to Black communities that Black men do not have a monopoly on racial concerns, that they should not be at the center of the racial universe, solely because they have penises. Feminism gave me the language to make those necessary interventions. And I’d be remiss not to claim it.

        Good for you. But that still doesn’t answer the question of why I should I have to shoulder a label I’m not comfortable with. Not being a Feminist doesn’t bar one from taking any action (but if you’re more comfortable taking action while wearing that name, good on you).

        Also, this isn’t about not trying to alienate people because they might be uncomfortable with the label I choose. The only people that are being alienated right now are the ones who do want equal rights across genders but don’t appreciate this tired “Absolute Rules of Feminism™” that you and other Feminists seem so intent to thrust upon unwilling people.

      • You asked what seemed like a genuine question, so I answered it in a genuine way. You have replied with a defensive response invoking your right to relativist politics: “works for you, but not for me, so I don’t have to accept it.”

        You are correct, but while it is your right to take whatever position you want or don’t want or to label or not label yourself, that doesn’t mean your reasons for doing so are solid. And I’m really trying to work through in this conversation with you and others, what the discomfort is about and whether that discomfort is intellectually and politically justifiable. I don’t work from the premise that just because something “feels uncomfortable” that this gives me the right to dismiss it. Being called out on the privileges I possess is uncomfortable, but not grounds for dismissal.

        Similarly, often people invoke their “right” to do things, when they don’t want to really grapple with the reasons behind and implications of their choices. That seems to be happening here, and that will undercut productive dialogue.

        So do you.

        Peace.

      • You have replied with a defensive response invoking your right to relativist politics: “works for you, but not for me, so I don’t have to accept it.”

        I wasn’t getting defensive. If that’s what you perceived from my response that’s on you, not me. And as I’ve said repeatedly and from the very first: I will never disrespect another woman’s choice to call herself a Feminist. All I ask for is the same respect. Your reasons for saying “I am a Feminist” are just as valid as mine are for saying “I am not a feminist”.

        You are correct, but while it is your right to take whatever position you want or don’t want or to label or not label yourself, that doesn’t mean your reasons for doing so are solid.

        Says who? You? Who are *you*?

        And I’m really trying to work through in this conversation with you and others, what the discomfort is about and whether that discomfort is intellectually and politically justifiable.

        Justifiable on whose terms? This is what I meant before when I talked about the “Absolute Rules of Feminism™”. My choice is completely completely justifiable to me, and that’s all that matters.

        I don’t work from the premise that just because something “feels uncomfortable” that this gives me the right to dismiss it. Being called out on the privileges I possess is uncomfortable, but not grounds for dismissal.

        Huh? The only ones who have been dismissed here are the ones who haven’t adopted the Feminist label, seemingly on the grounds of “you haven’t proven such-and-such to the satisfaction of Anonymous Person on the Internet, therefore you are wrong”.

        Similarly, often people invoke their “right” to do things, when they don’t want to really grapple with the reasons behind and implications of their choices.

        So just because I don’t agree with you, I haven’t thought things through? This is a very elitist attitude to take – that I haven’t thought about, don’t have the capacity to think about, or just plain don’t care about the ramifications of choosing one identity over the other. I *have* considered all sides, and I chose the option that was best for me. If you don’t like it, then you don’t it. Fine, whatever. The world is still spinning, and I’m still living my life.

        That seems to be happening here, and that will undercut productive dialogue.

        It seems to me that the only productive dialogue you’re willing to accept is one in which I fully concede you’re point. That’s not going to happen. Oh well.

        I will continue to cheer on the Crunk Feminist Collective because I think that you do great wrote and the posts are inspiring. I hope you have continued success in all that you do, especially the “Feminism 101 for Girls” project. And I will continue to learn from and be inspired by Feminist women, as well as women who do not accept the label.

        But I will not call myself a Feminist.

        Peace to you, as well.

      • Asking you to explain and dialogue about the reasons behind your choice is not the same as demanding your agreement. Perhaps you don’t want to share your reasons because you see a potential challenge to your reasons as a challenge to your right to think what you want. But again these are not the same thing.

        But don’t accuse me/us of demanding any absolute belief in anything. Crunk feminism inherently challenges the idea that there is only one way to do feminism.

        I simply wanted to know why you’ve taken the stance you’ve taken, and yes, to disagree, debate, dialogue, discuss. If you don’t want that, cool. But then, why comment?

      • You have said that the arguments from Black women who reject the label of Feminist are “illogical” (“it’s the same illogical move as the person who holds racist views but refuses to accept that they are indeed racist”), intellectually and politically unreasonable (“Black women, there have to be better intellectual and political reasons for the rejection of this term”), semantic (“I think that folks who hold womanism as though it affords them some protections from the safety of a Black feminist designation are engaged in propositions that are semantic at best”), and that we were copping out and that we were “willing to roll over our own ancestors to take a stance against the word”. This isn’t about me seeing a potential challenge to my reasoning; it’s about me wondering why I should bother when it’s coming across that you’ve already made up your mind that no reason is a good enough reason.

      • What I’ve done is take a position–several actually, all of which I stand by. All you’ve done is argue that you shouldn’t share your position, because you don’t want to encounter my disagreement.

        Show me how rejecting feminism is logically consistent with rejecting patriarchy and I’ll recant my words. Give good reasons for the rejection of the term beyond “it makes me uncomfortable,” and I’ll concede the reasonability of the position, even if I disagree.

        Show me how embracing womanism (and by this I mean, people who see womanism as the exact same thing as Black feminism but just prefer a different term, as opposed to the people who see these as two separate ideologies) is not merely semantic, and I’ll concede. For instance, I don’t think scholar Layli Phillips embrace of womanism is merely semantic. She has reconceived of it as a whole distinct set of propositions from Black feminism, so I would argue that she is indeed a womanist. But folks who say, I accept everything that Black feminism has to say, but want to call myself a womanist, leave me scratching my head; in my own work, I tend towards black feminism, but will use womanism interchangeably when it suits; and sometimes it does. I don’t have an oppositional relationship to womanism, but I think self-avowed womanists often have this relationship to feminism. And I think this comes from the fact that they fail to distinguish between mainstream feminism and Black feminism/ Latina feminisms, etc, though these are all distinctive traditions.

        And yes, again, I do think that when you want to claim the political benefits of a movement, but you don’t want to claim the terminology behind it, that’s a cop-out, unless one can show how claiming the term does more psychic and political harm than the choice to not claim it. There are certain spaces in which it is not politically expedient to wave my feminist flag, and in which just sharing and working towards my politics matters more than the title, but there are also times when it is appropriate to disrupt spaces that are unduly white centered, male centered, straight centered, by invoking my feminism and the conceptual tools it gives me to challenge those spaces.

        I think that’s the point, right? Feminism, specifically Black and Brown feminisms, give me and others a set of useful conceptual tools to make the world more inclusive. I own my politics, just like I own the fact that I’m leftist, as opposed to right-wing, liberal, or conservative. It’s a way of defining ideologies, and a way of paying homage to the folks who have as CF Sheri says, helped the world make sense to me and helped me make sense to myself.

        I’d really like to know what about the label doesn’t appeal to you. Does it exclude people? Is the term it self racist or steeped in some other ism? What are your problems with it?

      • What I’ve done is take a position–several actually, all of which I stand by. All you’ve done is argue that you shouldn’t share your position, because you don’t want to encounter my disagreement.

        No, what I’ve argued is that I *shouldn’t have to* share my position because it doesn’t need to be validated by someone else. What you’ve been doing is (since you don’t like the word “demanding”) insisting that I provide you with reasons that are up to *your* standard and that are acceptable to *you*, otherwise they’re illogical, unreasonable, and purely semantic. And I say, as I have from the very beginning: Who are *you*? If my reasons are illogical, unreasonable, and semantic, then they’re *my* illogical, unreasonable, and purely semantic reasons. Even if I did elucidate each and every point, and you said “they are perfectly reasonable and valid and I concede your point”, so what? It won’t make the sun shine any brighter or the birds sing any louder?

        And you may be thinking, “why bother comment”? Because it’s the Internet! People post comments on things that they agree with or disagree with. Then they move on with their lives. One person’s validation by some invisible person that they will probably never meet in real life won’t change anything.

        “But, *debate*! But, *discussion*! But, *dialogue*!” you may be thinking. And I say, so what? So what if you choose the label Feminist? What does that have to do with me? So what if I refuse the label Feminist? What does that have to do with you? We’ve both been going around in circles, and getting nowhere because, in the end, it *does not matter*.

      • So in other words, you are wasting your own time engaging in a dialogue that you have no investments in, and making no points. You are correct that my validation doesn’t matter. Who I am first is a person invested in honest dialogue about things that will make the world better, a person who wasn’t always a feminist, but now is, and finally a feminist activist, a professor of Black feminism (among other things), and a co-founder of this blog. Those are all reasons why I have a stake in the discussion.

        But since your only stake is commenting and being contrary for the sake of your right to do so, then I’ll bow out.

        Peace.

      • So in other words, you are wasting your own time engaging in a dialogue that you have no investments in, and making no points.

        If that’s the only thing you got out of this entire thing, then you need all the “peace” you can get.

        Bye.

    • I don’t consider womanism to be a complete dismissal of feminism. I see it as an evolution of feminism. I believe that it honors my idenity better than Feminism™ does.

      Nobody is dismissing the work of Feminists of Color. But you can’t ignore the racism, cissexism, classism, and – as “2 Girls Getting Married” said above – heteronormatism that goes on within Feminism™. There is no “you’re either with us or against us”; the issue isn’t so cut dry for many people. And aside from trying to score points, I don’t see how whether or not I chose to identify as a feminist is that big of a deal to someone else when we’re all working towards the same result, an end to patriarchy.

      • If you’ve been reading this blog, particularly prior posts by Crunkista, then you know that we don’t ignore heteronormativity in feminism. Crunkista has shared many stories within this blog community about her own journey as a queer feminist woman of color. Further, Crunkista didn’t set this up as “you’re with us or against us.” Neither did I. My point is: based on your politics, you’re already with us, so why toss shade about labels?

        RE: womanism being an “evolution of feminism,” what I will concede is that it is that depending on whose definition of womanism you adopt, it might be a different iteration of feminism, but in the case of Alice Walker, her concept of womanism is wholly the same as what the rest of us call “Black feminism (s),” which I see as being distinct from but related to mainstream feminism(s). Further, Alice Walker, does not solely or even primarily use the term womanism, even though she invented it. So when people claim that that term does work for them that “Black feminism” doesn’t do, I think that position has to be justified based on the intellectual and political history of what Black feminist/womanist activists have actually done. At best, I think the term womanism has a cultural resonance for many Black people that Black feminism, steeped as it is in more academic questions, often loses. Conceded. But that means one should embrace both terms, rather than one over the other, and that’s a move I support. But on the whole, I think that folks who hold womanism as though it affords them some protections from the safety of a Black feminist designation are engaged in propositions that are semantic at best.

      • Re: Crunktastic’s comment

        “My point is: based on your politics, you’re already with us, so why toss shade about labels?”

        If you already see us as ON YOUR SIDE, why “toss shade” just because we choose to eschew the label?

      • Because it’s a copout to not want to name the ground upon which one stands. I want anti-racists to say that, LGBT allies to own that, and feminists to own it. Yes, I’d organize with you whether you accept the label or not, but that doesn’t mean I agree with your position to reject said label. And in a forum like this, we should be able to hash that out, even as we work together to make shit better.

        Peace.

      • I never said that this blog ignored heteronormativity; my argument is with mainstream Feminism™, not the individual feminists here. And it does come across as “you’re either with us or against us” when you and Crunkista are saying things like not accepting the feminist label is a cop-out and “You’re a fucking feminist. Deal with it.”

        My point is: based on your politics, you’re already with us, so why toss shade about labels.

        Why must I be labeled on someone else’s terms? Why does the fact that I’m refusing a label matter so much to you? As for Alice Walker, I don’t begrudge her for claiming the Feminist label. As I said before, I don’t disrespect a woman’s choice for choosing it. But I do expect the same courtesy for not choosing it.

        So when people claim that that term does work for them that “Black feminism” doesn’t do, I think that position has to be justified…

        No, it doesn’t. I don’t have to justify myself to you or anyone else. Nobody does. (You wondered where I got the whole “you’re either with us or against us” vibe? It’s from statements like that.) You *will not* force a label onto me that I will not accept.

        I’m *not* a fucking Feminist. Deal with it.

      • @ Crunktastic

        re: “Because it’s a copout to not want to name the ground upon which one stands.”

        Saying that I’m “copping out” of anything implies that I am a coward. This is not rhetoric that is conducive to coalition building, open dialog, or really… anything. What’s more, I have never been unwilling to “name” my position. You just don’t like the name I am choosing. So, according to you, if I am not choosing to identify as a (F)eminist, I am not choosing anything. It’s your way or the highway. Nice.

        Re: “Yes, I’d organize with you whether you accept the label or not, but that doesn’t mean I agree with your position to reject said label.”

        Based on our interactions here, I don’t think I’d want to “organize with you.” Why would I? You seem intolerant of our differences. This, despite the fact that I have NEVER disrespected YOUR choice to choose the Feminist label.

        Re: “And in a forum like this, we should be able to hash that out, even as we work together to make shit better.”

        Yes, we should. But we can’t. Why? Because you don’t want to understand our position. You want to bring us around to yours. I can’t hash anything out with someone who doesn’t want to listen to me or try to understand where I am coming from.

        And mind you, I say all of this after just having spent several hours revising a syllabus in which the word “Feminist” appears probably no less than 50 times. I see you. I understand where you are coming from. I know our history. You don’t need to school me or offer up reading lists as if they are something new to me. I respect your position. Why can’t you offer me the same respect?

      • wow, I think of womanism as far and away more heteronormative! as a lesbian feminist, lo a specific and respected brand of feminism characterized by folks as diverse as Audre Lorde and Adrienne Rich, I believe that the fight against patriarchy and heteronormativity are the same side of the same coin.

        Much of even the term “womanism” is just as divisive as feminism. Can I be a femme and a womanist, or do I have to be heteronormatively gendered and completely invested in having brown babies for the revolution. All our terms are loaded, but creating a circular firings squad for people who identify slightly differently seems wholly counterproductive.

  15. I understand the frustration the blogger might be feeling when their compliment is rebuffed, but why the language choice in the headline? I guess you could argue that using a curse word is attempting to take power away from the people who (traditionally) use it, ie. men, but then why not just say the word ‘fuck’ in the headline? Also, I think that there are better ways to explain your feelings than to use sarcasm and curse words.

  16. Labels limit progress . If we can put aside that the blogger is the same one that previously decided to blog in favor of Kim Kardashian, we may assume that the purpose is to get negative responses and stir conversations.

    As a Fan who respects the CFC and truly enjoy the wisdom, maturity and intelligence of the issues raised, it is difficult to understand where this Crunkista’s contribution fit in.

    ???

    • As a personal friend of Crunkista, I find your attempt at ad hominem in the first paragraph to be insulting and erroneous. While we do want viewers to come to this site, we never write anything just to be provocative. We are invested in feminism as a lifestyle and a politic, which we lived and pursued long before we had a blog. So please don’t make unfounded accusations about how Crunkista is trying to stir conversations. We are not so desperate for views that we would take untenable feminist positions to get them. We also respect the community we have established here, and we do not deliberately try to antagonize loyal readers and fans. That is not feminist.

      Further, Crunkista has written many, many posts on this blog, and if you are actually interested in the totality of her thought on this blog, perhaps you migh read more of her posts.

      • You took the words right out of my mouth, Crunktastic. Thank you.

        Dialogue, challenges, energetic debates–all cool.

        Shady blows below the belt–not the business and, also, wholly unproductive.

        I’m glad that Crunkista’s post is eliciting a passionate response that debates all sides of the issue. That’s one of the reasons we decided to start the blog, so we could have a forum where we could talk about these things with a variety of people, in a variety of ways. At the same time, I think in order to maintain a community in which we are safe to discuss and disagree we must remember each other’s humanity. Always. Even when we think what another said/wrote/thinks is complete bullshit.

        P.S. Crunkista: I love you lots!!!!

  17. The sheer arrogance of this astounds me. You choose to ignore this person’s lived experience and choice to not label themself a feminist, and instead have decided that it was a compliment therefore they MUST take it that way. The MUST embrace the label because YOU have embraced the label.

    If it was their actions or words that you saw as feminist, that’s great. Why not focus on complimenting their actions or words? Why not support them in that regard and lay off the demands that they accept your label?

    • Exactly! Why not just ask them what they choose and why they choose instead of trying to force something on them they CLEARLY do not want? Yes, you may be personally disappointed, but it’s not really about YOU.

  18. “the continued assertion by WOC that feminism is white centered requires a dismissal of more than a century of women of color, particularly Black and indigenous women, whose politics informed the earliest movement’s for women’s rights.”

    YES, thank you for saying that, Crunktastic!
    I liked Crunkista’s blog post and was quite surprised to see all the negative responses to it. She has every right to express her frustration at someone’s rejection of feminism when they are doing/saying feminist things.

    • You’re right. She has every right to express her frustration… just as I have every right to reject the label. I respect her rights… but she seems to be dismissing mine out of hand:

      “So, the next time you want to go on and be offended because I called you a feminist, please check yourself. You’re a fucking feminist. Deal with it. Don’t do feminist shit if you don’t want to be called out. Stop fighting it. Join the movement (willingly).”

      This is, in some ways, my problem with (F)eminism in a nutshell.

  19. Also; (using common sense) – I would read anything by Beverly Guy-Shetfal, Audre Lorde, Patricia Hill Collins..or an older work on this subject (also one of the best), entitled: ‘All the Women Are White, But Some Of Us Are Brave: All the Blacks Are Men: Black Womens Studies’. If your friend not a person of color, and simply hypersensitive about Feminism being a negative association with women..again, there are varying degrees of ‘Feminism’; as well as some types that are truly not Feminism-just activism (by women).

  20. It seems to me that there are all sorts of issues happening here. Everyone has the right to name themselves, but there is and has clearly been a long history of people being afraid–not just unwilling, uninterested, or rejecting because of white supremacy or heteronormativity–but actually afraid to label themselves feminist because they may not be desirable to men or perhaps someone may assume they were a lesbian or even that they hate men BUT they fight for justice for all women and identify gender as a primary category of analysis. This is why there are so many branches in the tree of feminism (liberal, radical, socialist, queer, Third World, hiphop, crunk and more) that nourish and provide shade for many. Now maybe crunkista can’t make someone see, agree, accept feminism as their own but I can understand the frustration that comes along with constantly getting push back especially when it is clearly out of fear and not necessarily out of political consciousness. In Angela Davis’ Women, Race, and Class her rhetorical strategy is to tell her-stories about white supremacy, economic injustices, organizing, and activism and then towards the end she identifies herself to be a communist. She was well aware many people agreed with communist principles but refused the term because it is loaded with baggage. I believe this is also the case with “feminism” today, a decade ago, half a century ago. The feminism I know and was raised up in came from the lips of Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Johnetta Cole, Mari Matsuda, Angela Davis, Pearl Cleage, bell hooks, Alice Walker, Andrea Smith, Kimberle Crenshaw, Patricia Williams, Dorothy Roberts, and so many more so maybe this is why I am a claimer. I went astray for a few years, not wanting to use the term, but I came back because I needed to be in community with people who helped me make the world make sense for myself. In feminist community I found crunk feminist community, but if I was fearful of the label I would be/feel isolated amongst many who fear the label. So let me testify that naming is important for finding where you belong and for building and advancing your progressive politics and activism in community.

  21. For the record, I hear your frustration crunkista. If it wasn’t for someone like you challenging me. I might still be trying to hang with feminists without taking any of the risks associated with the label. There are other CFs who have been challenged similarly or who have challenged themselves (check out Chanel’s reflective post last year). Thanks for sharing your experience in your own words.

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  23. @Cruntastik. Pardon me if the hurried comment implied a personal assault against the Blogger. I, and others, stand disappointed at the context of the Author’s blogs on the CFC site. In the interest of unity and progress allow me to elucidate; I have often been inspired, challenged and validated by the thought provoking, conversation stirring, change making writings on CFC’s wall. When I read the title to this specific post followed by a rather irrational angry response to another person’s right to choose, I doubled checked my browser. After verifying that it was CFC, I noticed that the Author of this post has posted other blogs which TO ME appear to not be in accordance with the CFC‘s journey. It suffices to say that I respect and appreciate writers/thinkers/doers that focus on identifying/supporting our commonality, respecting our right to choose/define self and focus on solutions ( “I’ve been ruminating on this one for days. I thought that the longer I waited to write it, the nicer I would be. Fuck it, I was wrong. I’m just gonna go there”).
    The statement “As a personal friend of Crunkista “ has no bearing on our right to express how we feel about this and previous stories by the same blogger. You have made it clear that the CFC is in agreement with the message conveyed and that is to be respected. Fortunately you have skillfully steered the conversation to a productive status. I stated my reaction to the tone and context of this Blog and agree to disagree with your personal opinion.

    • This is a blog community. Crunkista’s friendship, indeed her relationship to us as CF’s matters. It matters because it means that since she’s a part of this crew, and has been down for it and with it since its earliest stages, that we will not take personal attacks on her lightly.

      Yes, it is your right to disagree with the author’s ARGUMENT; it is not your right, at least not in this space, to come to conclusions about her motives, which constitute assumptions about her personhood. That is what Crunkadelic and I take issue with. And for the record, none of us write this blog just to “get views.” You do know that we write for free? We have yet to be compensated for any of the labor of love produced here.

      Let us be clear as well: pointing to one other blog, when she’s written a total of 16 (yes, I went and counted) posts in the entire existence of this site, does not constitute adequate context.

      I certainly hear and understand the sentiments of disappointment expressed by many commenters. I cannot speak for Crunkista, but my personal position which I have stated throughout this conversation is that feminism is worthy to be claimed.

      No, it should not be foisted upon unwilling followers, and I don’t think that Crunkista claimed that. She simply told us that she didn’t understand someone’s resistance to the term, while doing and taking clearly feminist stances. And I think she’s right that the folks who want the benefits of centuries of feminist activism, want to think about how gender, patriarchy and sexism shape their lives(all language which feminism gave to us), but want to resist the label of feminism, have to justify that position. Those of us in social justice work shouldn’t be strangers to naming the ground upon which we stand.

      And if commenters come and really articulate what is harmful about feminism that justifies the choice to not identify with it, while simultaneously justifying one’s desire to enjoy its gains against patriarchy, we can have that discussion. Otherwise, I don’t think Crunkista’s out of line for either her passionate stance or the content of her position; to be clear, anger is not synonymous with disrespect. So as we agree to disagree, let us make sure that our disagreement is respectful. Peace.

  24. Is the white woman at the end some form of logo or something? Please add an African female which very much represents strength and also shows equality to yours thoughts and comments.Now that’s feminism!.

  25. Crunktastic, thank you for the response and taking the time to count the 16 blogs. You are absolutely correct. As a WOC focused on identifying solutions I have no right to find that becoming angry because a person does not want to be labeled a Feminist, angry enough to take time to RUMINATE so the response sounded nice and finally thinking/writing FUCK IT, is just counterproductive, alienating, unreasonable and lacks maturity. How about if when confronted with situations like this we take the time to ask the person why he/she rejects the label. What if we actually used common sense, maturity and see this as a teaching opportunity? Is there room in our struggle for equality to have higher expectations for those representing the CFC?

    Crunktastic, this is not just about you, your friend and the person offended at being considered a Feminist. Please think before responding .

    • The continued level of your (baseless) assumptions here is really astounding. You really seem to be unable or unwilling to levy a critique of the author’s arguments (and now me) without making assumptions about her personhood. (“unreasonable and lacks maturity”). Look. You have the right to vehemently disagree with her critique, but if you haven’t learned yet how to disagree without judging a person’s character and motives, I promise that you’ll run into some serious problems doing feminist or feminist-inspired organizing with the very people you claim to speak for.

      Crunkista doesn’t need to apologize for her anger or for expressing it. Those that reject the label feminist don’t need to apologize for their anger or discomfort with her position. But what can’t happen is the personal attacks. (Seriously, we won’t keep posting comments riddled with insinuations about the character of the CFs.)

      Discomfort, anger, misunderstanding–these emotions all reside in the space of social justice work. Maturity says that we learn how to express and deal with all these things while keeping in tact our view of each other’s humanity. Leading with compassion helps us to do that.

      I tried in my last comment to move this conversation past a discussion of Crunkista’s motives, maturity level, etc, and towards an engagement with the implication of her ideas. That’s the discussion I THOUGHT you’d want to have; you claim to be interested in really THINKING through the nature of people’s disagreement with the label “feminist.” I offered several THOUGHTS about that. (See all that thinking I was doing before responding? Right.)

      When you are ready to move to content rather than character (seeing as how you have no basis for such judgments) I’m happy to engage you. Until then, consider me done with this discussion.

  26. A male calling me an “Alpha Female” is going to get an earful fast. First off they will be informed I have a name, use it politely or say nothing. Secondly, I do not subscribe to the misinformed idea that being compared to what is typically a male role is at all complimentary. I am a feminist if you must label. Yes, I am white, I am old, I have great height and physical strength, but I am a woman. DO not ascribe anything remotely male to me and expect me to take it as a compliment. Save yourself the trouble and call me a cunt to my face right there, That I would take as a compliment !

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  28. I am a transwoman, born in a male body, but I present as female. I daily have to deal with gender discrimination and get cut by both sides of the sword of discrimination. I have read all sorts of feminist books and love the feminist ideal, but there is a problem. It involves a great deal of the feminists themselves. The ones that say “Womyn born womyn” only or something to that degree. The ones who undermine the fact that I go through the social pressures that I do, and say that I /could/ use my male privilege if I wanted to. And as someone who fought against the idea of suicide and finally had to come to a decision of whether to be my own self as the woman I feel I am inside, or to kill myself because I couldn’t endure another day pretending to be a man, this kind of false belief that I have a choice and such things within my grasp /is/ very offensive, and many feminists that I have run into feel this way. The idea and concept of what feminism is supposed to be is great. The wonderful authors of the books that I have read are great… But in line with the comparison of your advocacy for feminism to someone’s advocacy for God, I will have to say,”I would convert to Christianity, if it weren’t for the Christians; the Christians are so unlike their Christ.” That is to say, I would be feminist, if it weren’t for the feminists; the feminists are so unlike their feminism.

    • “I would be feminist, if it weren’t for the feminists; the feminists are so unlike their feminism.”

      I feel that — but think it’s not the point.

      This really reflects the feeling/response many of us have. As soon as one is perceived as member of more than one oppressed groups, the “Walks In Two Worlds” identity applies. We got a million labels sometimes, and THAT ITSELF is part of what white feminists don’t get.

      And we are faced with the challenge of accepting or rejecting various labels. Hell, I constantly have to correct social service agency workers for spontaneously jotting down “White” under the “race” section without asking me. People use labels to identify, then to categorize information. While I’m not out to fight every incidence of being incorrectly labeled, it’s important to let people tell you who they are.

      My boy was born on the second day of Kwanzaa, so Kujichagulia is a big deal around me! We all have that right.

      At the same time, we can reject a label for ourselves WITHOUT CONSIDERING IT AN INSULT. Feminism must not be considered a dirty word, because, yes, that degrades a rich history of struggle. Not every second of it was positive or in our best interests, but NO struggle is!

      Call yourself what makes the most sense and rings truest in your soul. Don’t base it on what a few people did that you want to distance yourself from. Don’t avoid a label just to raise an objection to a few places where it DOESN’T describe you.

      Cause NO label can do all THAT ; ).

  29. “It’s a beautiful sentiment, but widespread feminism is still faaar behind educated urban youth/internet blogging feminism. If someone rejects your compliment, it’d be best to engage in a dialog of why. Explain your assessment of them as “feminist”, and listen to why they reject it; maybe they simply don’t understand what you mean by “feminist”, or maybe they actively reject the term because, like Angel H. said, they feel “Feminism” doesn’t have their back.”

    Amen!
    We have a responsibility as Feminist to educate and represent. This post lacks so much insight and just displays a lack of productive reasoning. We know our history ! “You are a Fucking Feminist deal with it” is most definitely not a good representation of who we are. Lets hope noone interprets this post as an indication of what Feminism is about.

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