For many of us it seems that to be a feminist in the way that we have seen or understood feminism is to conform to an identity and way of living that doesn’t allow for individuality, complexity, or less than perfect personal histories. We fear that the identity will dictate and regulate our lives, instantaneously pitting us against someone, forcing us to choose inflexible and unchanging sides, female against male, black against white, oppressed against oppressor, good against bad. This way of ordering the world is especially difficult for a generation that has grown up transgender, bisexual, interracial, and knowing and loving people who are racist, sexist, and otherwise afflicted.
You have no food or housing? The schools and infrastructure are crumbling? There are no jobs? The government is oppressive and corrupt? Wealthy people are parasites of the society? Forget all about that! Look over there! Queer people are being queer! OUTRAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This morning my daughter, who is nearly four, saw the stretch marks on my hips and stomach. She ran her hands over them and asked what they were.
“I got them when I grew up,” I said, “and a few more when I had you.” I grinned down at her. “They’re my stripes. You’ll get stripes too when you grow up.”
She was overjoyed. “Really?”
I think she’s in her room now, pretending to be a tiger.
This is what we need to teach.
I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford