Do you call yourself a feminist?

Whitelash, Backlash, call it what you want, but America and the world have some interesting days ahead. Whilst there are so many issues with Trump for president, my focus here is one of the take away messages for me as a woman – that sexism is rife and accepted by many.

It astounds me that sexism is just not a thing for half the American people. In terms of choosing the next president, a large number of Americans were not concerned about the way Donald Trump treats and speaks about women. If it is a thing, it was not enough of a thing to vote for Hillary Clinton.

I don’t live in America and can’t understand how disaffected people must feel to take this gamble. It also highlights that many of us are living in our own spiritual, left wing bubble. We don’t know what the reality is for many people in our society, how they live day to day, their struggles to keep a roof over the head, to feed and educate their children.

I can’t know what it is like to be a person of colour, nor can I know the double whammy of being a woman of colour. However, what is clear is that women of colour largely did NOT vote for Trump. Besides Trump behaving like times as a bigot – why is this? It is because black women are the most likely to suffer under a Trump presidency. What shocks me is that so many white woman DID vote for Trump, and his backward stance on women’s issues.

For those of you who think we don’t need feminism, or who don’t feel the need to call yourself feminist – it is time to take a look at what is going on around you. Women have only had the right to vote in America since 1920. Men started voting in 1788, and in reality black woman only truly found freedom to vote in the 1960s. In Australia Aboriginal women had their right to vote fomalised in 1965.

It was not that long ago that women, and especially women of colour, where not seen as sufficiently ‘equal’ to vote. I think we have short cultural memories when it comes to sexism, and I believe it is because we choose not to look beyond our own small bubble (and yes there are yoga bubbles too). The white women of America who voted for Trump – I am horrified by your choice. Perhaps you are so desperate for change and find yourself in difficult circumstances that this is a last ditch effort for much needed change. Yet I do believe that you have chosen the wrong person. If you chose to be represented by a man, please, I beg of you consider choosing one who doesn’t demean women.

It is clear to me that feminism is dying. Women I speak to do not want to call themselves feminist.

Feminism at the most simplest is advocating for women’s rights on the basis of the equality of men and women. There are many types of feminists and many different philosophical frameworks feminists embrace. Men and women are feminist – I married a feminist!

If you believe women are deserving of the same rights as men (at a minimum) then why not call yourself a feminist? It is not a dirty word (Julie Bishop take note the term IS useful and necessary!).

Feminists don’t vote for a vagina grabbing president whose misogyny is simply put down to ‘locker room banter’.

Perhaps you don’t need to be feminist because you are affluent? Circumstantial ignorance is convenient. For example if we are affluent and live in a country or state which doesn’t guarantee your reproductive freedom you can simply fly somewhere else and have access to those services. But affluence won’t completely inoculate you from sexism – I would be surprised if you can find a woman for me, who in her old age does not have a tale of sexism to tell.

Perhaps you are so into yoga you don’t need an ‘ism’ such as feminism to define yourself by? Let’s chat when you have figured out how to integrate the experience of oneness in your day to day life of duality to assist in overcoming our society’s most harmful dualities: racism, sexism, homophobia. Yoga is something that we can live –  and retreating into your neo advaita Vedanta non dual world (then posting on FB about how nothing has changed for you) is not helpful.

Yoga can expand our small egotistical self to allow us to encompass the needs, hopes, and possibilities of others. It allows us to extend the bounds of compassion beyond simply our self and a few close to us. Calling ourselves feminist helps us be clear where we stand on the equality of the sexes. We can of course hold the term lightly, it does not need to be adversarial, but identifying as feminist may help start conversations, create dialogue and overcome difference and duality.

To my mind what we have witnessed in America should  remind us that we are not living in a post – sexism world. Sexism is rife and it is institutionalised, normalised and ACCEPTED.

So please, let’s start talking about it, and talking about feminism. You don’t need to burn your bra, hate men or shave your legs.

Feminism: It’s not a dirty word

*Image ‘Oh America’ by Gee Vaucher

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