I am tired of playing the role of the Approachable Feminist - the woman expected to hold the hand of all those people who still, in the year 2014, claim not to understand what it is that causes women's oppression; who demand to be convinced even of its existence and who then, when you cite fact after statistic after anecdotal report after reality, still use diversions and hypotheticals to try to prove you wrong.
I have wasted so many hours over the years giving precious energy and enforced respect to people who have only ever been either invested in defending their own privilege by denying the existence of it, or who acknowledge it only to ignore it, just so I can avoid being branded an "angry, rabid feminist" who is made to feel as if she's letting down the side. In the course of trying to make my feminism palatable to people who were afraid or derisive of it, I spent almost a decade conforming to all the patriarchal expectations for women's behaviour that I despise. My feminism wasn't challenging, but conciliatory. It wasn't honest, it was hamstrung.
I succumbed without realising it to one of the more insidious tactics of the backlash - the one that made me question my right to be angry as a feminist, and instead had me thinking I needed to justify my right to exist as one at all.
On this International Women's Day, I'm angry. And I'd like to see more women and feminists embrace their own anger uncompromisingly and without dilution. I want to see us stop pandering to the patriarchal expectation that we once again shrink ourselves - in our very own movement, no less - to make way for men to move in and dominate rather than simply support what is right and what needs to be done. To borrow a very famous tumblr quote: "It is not up to feminism to make space for men. It is up to men to take the space they have in society and make it feminist."
Happy International Women's Day. Don't get even, ladies - get mad.
I read Clementine Ford's International Womens Day speech and I thought this was really interesting. The whole thing is at ABC.
ETA: a bit more as some pointed out it lacked context. Read the whole thing and check out her Ted talks. She rocks!