crashing of waves

there are feminists who are big into tradition, old school, who see the rigidity that builds up over time as a layer of protection as a necessary thing. they would say i have a thing for believing in and giving space for women, more tolerance for what they see as deficits or irreverence in young women. the 2nd wave and 1st wave lack that tolerance - it's hard for them to tear down the old or move away from it in order to make room for what might come.

i happened upon this article while google image searching an old friend about a clash of feminist waves that happened at a conference a few years ago. i have long harboured frustrations about negotiating with other generations of feminists, so i got to thinking, what would i have said if i had been on that plenary floor? beloved women, if you hold onto something so tightly, it will not be able to breathe. women in my generation understand the inclination to hold on like hellfire and to protect it, but we can't. it's just not healthy for the life of her.

i suppose i'm part of the 3rd wave. i can't speak for my sistahs, but my feminism changes every day. it's not a thing. it's my marrow. inseparable from self. i don't know if life would be less hard without it, but at the same time, feminism is what drapes me in the purple. one day it is the source of all my angst, the next day it is my breath again.

to me, feminism is not a thing you wear or shout or protest about or choke down. i spend much time in fight mode with feminism - as much outwardly as internally. every day that i remain steadfast in self is another day when feminism lives deeper and deeper in there. our profs used to talk about putting on the feminist lens - i always thought, what the fuck are you talking about, lens?? if i had any, i'd put them in a box and ship them the fuck back. it's not life with a caption. it's life.

i've always sort of resented the hell out of feminism, but my most comfortable self is in its embrace. yet more often than not, i want to punch it in the fucking eye because i don't feel like it was a choice for me - never was. we happen upon it through any number of doors - rape, abortion, discrimination, poverty, or classroom, union, library, film. but ultimately, we know our voice and fire and fight will never be for naught, because it's all a part of an ongoing movement.

so i say to the foremothers, feminism is a strong woman. we should not want her to stand still. let her fall into the mosh pit and float on the hands of the funky grrlz who've bothered to show up. wise women of generations before mine, please know that if i could give back the shadow, cloud, and heaviness on the heart, i would. if i could go through all of this as a bumbling fumbling ditz who can't care and doesn't get it, i would. if i could give the feminism back, i most certainly would. but it is my essence and it is everywhere, and so i am grateful instead.

you built it for me and i do not take mine lightly. i wish you wouldn't either. cuz there's nothing light about it. and we have a lot of fucking work to do.


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