Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Mail Time!

I actually got some worthwhile mail for the first time in months! As in something besides dudes making sad attempts at trolling or whining about being banned.

Dimitri writes:

Hello! I read your post on how the raised fist in the venus symbol is cultural appropriation from the Black Power movement.
I myself am white and I am a strong feminist. Because it is not my place to say what is and isn't from the Black Power Movement, I accept what you have said.
My question is not one of "Wah wah I want what I want because I should be able to take whatever I want when I want". Gosh, no.
My question is what symbol should feminists use. If feminists who are white shouldn't use the raised fist, what should we use? White women do not face the same discrimination at all that black women do. However, that doesn't mean they don't face unfair treatment compared to their white male counterparts. What symbol can be used for feminists of all colours, races, and ethnicities, without having to worry of appropriating something? I don't want to hurt people. I don't want to be a part of the problem. I just want a solution.
Thank you for educating me and others.

Dear Dimitri,

First I want to say thank you, this is the first reasonable response I think I've ever gotten from a fellow white feminist on this issue.

And it's an interesting question! It's true that besides the raised fist inside the female symbol, I've never seen a symbol used to represent feminism. I've thought about this before but never made a serious attempt to come up with something. Maybe we should start here!

It's a tricky thing, however. Though the raised fist has been used in many movements as a symbol of resistance, there's no getting around the fact that it's become strongly associated with the Black Power movement in the U.S. I also think we should consider the fact that trans women tend to use a different gender symbol than the classic "female" symbol, and we want to make sure to include them. We also want to make sure not to exclude or appropriate from any other cultures.

It's a tall order. What symbol can represent women without reducing us to stereotyped characteristics or body parts? And what symbol can then be added that represents liberation?

Of course, we could always just use dragons.

It would certainly be cool if someone could come up with a symbol for global, inclusive feminism, but it's also such a broad movement (no pun intended) that I'm not sure it needs a symbol. I'm not one of those people that thinks feminism needs "branding" (barf) and feminists these days don't tend to use the fist in the female symbol thing anyway. Feminism is about liberation from bullshit constraints, so maybe a symbol is too constraining?

Or maybe like a foot stomping on a fedora. Too specific? I'll keep thinking about it.


Lindsey "Fuck Your Hat" Weedston

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