“Feminist evaluations” have become standard procedure in today’s social justice driven, 24-hour news cycle world. No one is safe from judgment. Not Beyoncé with a giant FEMINIST sign behind her. Not Divergent star Shailene Woodley who doesn’t quite identify with feminism. Not the “bad feminist” herself, Roxane Gay. Not the local school teacher, your good cousin, your dad, your best friend’s sister’s cousin’s boyfriend’s brother, not Felicia, and not even you.
It’s sad, really, that feminism is most frequently brought up in pop culture, written about, or discussed (as a term and ideology) when people feel it’s being done wrong. “Anaconda” isn’t feminist song, they say. Is Beyoncé a true feminist? Taylor Swift calls out Nicki Minaj for being problematic. Nicki (rightfully) claps back. The two make up. Miley brings it back up. Nicki (rightfully) claps back. These were arguably some of feminism’s biggest cultural moments this year, and that’s scary.
We need to break out of this shock/anger/reaction cycle, and use what’s left of 2015 to build the foundation for 2016 feminism and beyond. This is not to say that people shouldn’t get upset over white feminism, or with people who (ignorantly or consciously) reject the word “feminism,” or that one sexist uncle that we’re already dreading seeing on Thanksgiving. This is to say that fighting and blowing up Twitter maybe isn’t conducive to a more inclusive feminism.
Here are four ways that you specifically can break free from the rage and disappointment that so often plagues feminists in this oppressive, male-dominated world.