Saturday, December 26, 2015

Day 1: Umoja

I'm back!! And it's the first day of Kwanzaa, which means that it's the first part of this new blog series I'm going to try out. There are a few things that you need to know beforehand: 

-Kwanzaa doesn't have any religious connections to it. I mean, I guess it could if someone wanted to? But overall, the holiday is about celebrating principles (Nguzo Saba) and family and our connection to Africa as a whole, basically. 

-Habari Gani is Swahili for "What is the news?" If someone greets you that way, you're supposed to respond with the Nguzo Saba of the day. Someone told me that people who aren't of African descent just say "Joyus Kwanzaa," but if you know the Nguzo Saba, I don't think it matters.

As for today....

The Nguzo Saba is Umoja, meaning unity! 

Yay! When my mom gets home, we'll light the black candle on the kinara (the candle holder), because that always goes first. On the first day, my family usually decorates, even though we should probably do that before. We make bendera (Kwanzaa flags), lay out the muhindi (ears of corn for each child), and mazao (fruits representing productivity, which I eat when no one looks.) 

We also sit around and discuss the principal of the day and what it means to us. 

This year, when I think of unity, I think of my friends and family and how they have held me up. It seems like years ago that I went to the hospital because I wanted to die, but it was really just this February. My friends encouraged me to go, and basically held my hand after I was released. 

The social worker at school encouraged me to go. A girl from our peer support club told me that it wouldn't be that bad, that I would get better. Even while I was there, the other girls sort of helped (despite the fact that no one wanted to be there.)

I think of unity when I think about protestors and Black Lives Matter. 

I think of unity when I think of my friends also in publishing, DMing and texting behind the scenes about how crazy we go. 

I think of unity when I think of my mother always getting things done, no matter what odds are stacked against her. 

To me, unity means people coming together to help someone. And that's hella rad. 


Sunday, December 6, 2015

let's talk about sex baby (with Ayesha Curry)

Really quickly: Ayesha Curry tweeted some things about modesty and clothing and trends today. Some people are getting upset, but from what I've seen, more people are getting upset that people are upset. Does that make sense? I think I've seen a lot of people laughing about this being a thing.

ANYWAY. The tweets: 

So. You know what I'm going to say. But a lot of people on Twitter have just said that she was expressing her preference, or that she was just taking notice of the world, or that "attacking" her is anti-feminist. 

First of all. I don't understand why some people automatically view critiquing as attacking. Ms. Curry posted something on Twitter, which means she knew that people were going to see it. Once you post something on Twitter, people are going to have opinions. Full stop. That's a thing. 

Second, I want to direct you all to this lovely Tumblr post about telling women that they aren't real feminists. I'll quote my favorite parts:
"Feminists can be racist. Feminists can be classist, ableist, transmisogynist, Islamophobic, antisemitic, whorephobic, homophobic, intersexist, terrible people and still be feminists. It makes their feminism tainted and flawed and oppressive and not very useful, but it doesn’t erase it.
Pretending that only people completely free from bigotry are “actual” feminists gives us an excuse to not address the very real problems happening in our movement, by people who are very much a part of it, or even leading parts of it.
To say bigots “aren’t really feminists” allows us to ignore the white supremacist and transmisogynist histories of Western feminist movements, allows us to be self-congratulatory about our own imaginary lack of ingrained prejudice, and neatly absolves us of taking responsibility as a movement for bigotry happening within that movement.
So yes, let’s acknowledge that people can be shitty feminists. But to imply that their shittiness neatly removes them from the movement is to deny the harm that they’re able to do as part of it. And that’s not helpful."
I personally feel that Ayesha was making a dig at women who "don't wear clothes." Yes, she was expressing her preference, but she implied that her preference was the "right way." Particularly the point where she says that she'd rather be "classy than trendy." 

Women are classy when they are wearing clothes. Women are classy when they aren't wearing clothes. We have different definitions of classy, which is fine. The issue is that being classy means you get respect. Being classy means that people treat you better. When society overwhelmingly believes that women are only "classy" when they dress a certain way, there's a problem.

Women are deserving of respect no matter what they decide to wear.

Anyway, Ayesha obviously has her preferences. I have mine. I wish it were easier for me to disagree with her without it becoming some sort of feminist war. People on Twitter are laughing and mocking feminists about getting upset, while feminists are moving in some sort of retaliation, I guess. 

I honestly don't care what Ayesha decides to wear. My issue occurs when it is implied that only certain types of women should get respect. That being, women who "save themselves" for their husbands. I mean, some women don't have husbands. Some women like to only show off to their husbands. Some just want to have sex.

And sex is totally fine. Women should have as much, or as little, sex as they want.

I think the thing we have to remember about feminism is that it's about supporting one another. We are going to have disagreements and differences. Some of us are going to get angry at each other, because we all have internalized prejudices. The important part is that we have discussions with each other.

There's this weird culture, particularly in the United States, where things happen and we don't talk about them. We don't talk about internalized racism or homophobia or anything. We don't talk about events after they happen, even though they still affect the nation.

I don't want feminism to be like that. When everyone on Twitter is fighting about Ayesha Curry, I want to talk about why. I want my anger to be valid, just like I want the girl I was arguing with on Twitter to be valid. 

The best way to do that is to talk.