Guest Post | A letter to the privileged

I am one angry feminist. And, I’m owning it.

I used to tiptoe around the self-descriptor “feminist”. If I ever dared to use it, I would quickly assure my counterpart that I was a “happy feminist” (this is after I saw Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Ted Talk, which you should definitely watch!). I tried to talk about feminist issues in a light-hearted and easy to digest manner. Well, not anymore.

Gone are those happy days. I am an outright radical feminist kill-joy. And I am angry. I need to be angry because if I wasn’t I would be hopelessly sad and cynical. It would make everything seem pointless. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of moments when I still feel hopeless. But most of the time, I am angry and that anger fuels me to want to better myself. I also demand better of the people around me, men specifically. It’s fucking 2019. All over the world, minorities are still denied basic rights and human decency. What does that mean? Basically everyone who is not a straight white male gets screwed over big time, if you catch my drift.

Let’s assume that the overwhelming majority of humans subscribe to the idea of universal human rights and support the idea of a just world. A world where everyone has a good life. Then why is there so little being done to change our fucked-up world?

I mean, we know—we really do—how absolutely not okay we are as a society. Just look at any profession, any realm of public or private life and you will see all the evidence you need to prove that the systems and society we have built benefit mostly one group. You guessed it, it benefits straight white males.

If you happen to be a straight white male reading this and you feel attacked: Good! I am no longer serving you sugar-coated bits of information. I won’t request politely for you to think about your privilege. I am openly and loudly asking you to woman the fuck up.

How do you think I got informed? Do you think someone spoon-fed me information about discrimination and bias while massaging my feet? No. I DID MY WORK. I sat down, read and learned. It was painful and uncomfortable, but I stuck with it. Why? Because as a white straight cis woman with many privileges (able-bodied, middle-class European, etc.) I am a huge part of the problem.

It was hard to learn that I have unconscious biases and that I need to change how I behave, but I didn’t get all whiny and demanding about it. (Actually, if I am really honest I probably did get whiny, but I kept it to myself and worked through it as you should too.) I shut up and listened to what the minorities have to say (and boy, do they have a LOT to say). I suggest you do your research too. All you have to do is 1) listen 2) read articles and books written by others (not white men) and 3) be open to change.

Minorities have kept their anger bottled deep inside for too long, but that time is over. And this anger not just directed at men. It goes far beyond sexism; the list is a mile long. (Intersectional feminism is key!)

I wish you would recognize that the patriarchal system is hurting you in so many ways. For starters, you were taught that emotions are unmanly and not for you. Well, I have great news. Emotions are for everybody! They’re just like clothes, colours, jobs, sports and everything else humans can imagine—nothing belongs to one “gender”.

So yes, I am angry. Angry that I still feel like I have to defend being a feminist and that even when I was “happy feminist” men saw me as a threat. I am Angry that people with the most privilege want people with the least privilege to do all the work, but in a nice way. Angry that the system is so fucked up you feel it even in your most private spheres and there is little you can do. I could keep typing for a very long time, but I want to be direct and to the point. Do your homework and start changing.

Now, you expect me to close on a positive note that relieves you from that uncomfortable feeling of reading all this, tough luck. Stay uncomfortable and FUCKING check your privilege.

Author: anonymous