4 Years a Feminist

Beyoncé We Can Do It!

I’m a little late but I just wanted to reflect on an important date in my life—July 24, 2014—almost exactly 4 years ago today. That day I finally saw and recognized the garments of whiteness and maleness I had been wearing all these years—a veil of ignorance tightly wrapped around my eyes and ears, my heart and mind; a cape of privilege sheltering and protecting me from the many troubles of life, letting me dream bigger, fly higher and take it for granted; and the heavy boots of patriarchal, racist, colonial history that firmly root me to the culture and legacy of oppression, that give me undeserved heft in this world wherever I go, that let me trample on other people’s lives and dreams and not even notice it.

This is the attire I was given at birth and the best thing I can do is acknowledge its presence and work hard to dismantle those parts of it that can be destroyed and to use other parts to the advantage and benefit of those people who it was designed to hurt. This is the commitment I made on that day 4 years ago and this is when I started identifying as a feminist.

To be clear, whether or not the way I live and the things I do are anti-racist, anti-misogynistic, anti-homophobic, anti-transphobic and anti-oppressive is not for me to decide. But it’s on me to learn and listen and to put in the work where I’m equipped to do it—to be a genuine ally on an everyday basis, to strive to become the best version of myself that I can be, and to help as many others as I can to also see the truth, transform themselves and make a commitment to taking down systems of oppression.

I want to thank those people, primarily black women and women of color, whose works have changed the way I see the world and who have taught me so much—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Franchesca Ramsey, bell hooks, Janet Mock, Alice Walker, Roxane Gay and many many others. I’m grateful for their wisdom and courage.

P. S. Believe it or not, but this very picture of Beyoncé kickstarted my whole journey as a feminist, giving me the last much-needed kick in the ass to go out there and start learning more about what this world is really like.