Many smart, well-meaning people are terribly confused about feminism and its power.
Many folks assign those committed to feminist based struggle and societal reordering as: banner wavers, complainers, angry dykes (men in drag upset because certain resources are unavailable).
My understanding of Radical Feminism’s power is based on how my life has been affected and continues to evolve as a result of living a feminist based life.
As a young black male and now middle-aged black gay male, my feminist leanings have allowed me an incredibly inquisitive mind and stellar critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.
Whether creating innovative ways to live with family and friends or taking on the forces of psychosis(sexual and drug addiction) that sought to dictate the world I could design, radical feminism taught me to love and live well.
It has taught me to deeply love and challenge (the racism of) white friends and lovers.
It has taught me to deeply love and challenge (the machismo and classism) of black friends and lovers.
True radical, well thought out and constantly changing feminist principles allow everyone to create lives of their own without the constant checking in that oppression and domination require.
Radical Feminism insists on access to resources, thinking, and ways of being that allow everyone opportunities that encourage compassion, concern for self and others, and most importantly a redistribution of wealth and access.
Media has created a focus on what feminism means to a few select members of society while ignoring the overall effects it can and does have for the masses.
When properly applied, it forces us all to take very disturbing looks at what we do daily and the many ways that a less than full commitment to society’s emancipation becomes commonplace and acceptable to so many of us.
While many of us unwittingly partake of dominator ways of interacting, it is not the nature of humans to want other humans to hurt and suffer.
Watching young children grow and mature has taught me that all types of manipulation, hurt, domination are not natural and in fact are taught.
Our systems that allow goodies for a select few (Radical Feminism’s opposite), rely on not only a scarcity model but that we will also teach this way of existing to our young.
My youngest sister and my very young granddaughters ingest what is permissible for young women and either alter or disrupt the dreams they have for their lives.
By introducing them all along with the young boys in my tutelage to the work of bell hooks, Essex Hemphill and Tim Wise, I offer them glorious chances to dig deeper and challenge a society that believes it has no interest or use for any brilliance that comes wrapped in a darker package.
Using feminism as our beginning point, I often stress that our job is to restructure our society by becoming powerful, thoughtful, creative citizens whose behavior is not rooted in domination, belittling others or selfishly hoarding goods from those that could most use them.
While the conversations are often awkward and in pieces, they are necessary and can be seen when my young folks incorporate this thinking and learn to practice patience, understanding, and respect for themselves and others.
Photo Credit: Getty Images