I can’t actually remember the last time I opened a search engine for research. Googling how to cook a turkey without giving everyone you know salmonella or launching an inquiry into the meaning of the hieroglyphics on your clothing labels so you don’t have to call your mother again, doesn’t qualify. The empty search bar was an open invitation; a blank slate. As I stared at the screen, something began to shift. With each flash of the cursor, that feeling of infinite possibility became increasingly distant, in its place grew bewilderment. Why exactly do I have to google anything? I wasn’t searching for something specific; I was googling a starting point. Why was it that I couldn’t immediately think of an engaging topic to write about? I had been presented with a no-holds barred opportunity to write about women and my first instinct was Google? What was I afraid of? Last I checked, I was in fact a woman, so why was it so difficult to write about my own gender? How exactly did this happen? When did it happen? How had I become so apathetic that the subject of feminism might as well be the Egyptian script on my tags?
I listen to the news while I get ready for work in the morning, occasionally becoming outraged by the ease with which people post insensitive comments on social media and consider myself to have a decently calibrated moral compass. However, I am no activist. I am not designing signs to hold or organizing rallies; I’m certainly not against them, but I’m not exactly with them either. I have a certain placation with life, an umbrella of blissful ignorance I use for shelter from the torrential downpour of reality.
Like an animal enjoying a deep winter sleep, when provoked I can easily (and gleefully) fight with the best of them. The need to advocate my point of view with zeal is a genetic marker; a gift from my mother. I have never met anyone who can execute a debate quite like she can; she is fierce, opinionated and argues while remaining deeply rooted in fact. She speaks up and out unapologetically and is never afraid of doing the right thing. Somewhere along the way, that instinct she passed along fell into hibernation.
Meanwhile, seemingly overnight, everyone had become an activist. I was besieged with cyber activism and while so many were finding their causes and more importantly their voices, I had lost interest in my own. Never before in our history have our opinions had so many platforms on which to be explicated and means by which to be absorbed by the general public. Making a statement on any form of social media is no longer simply a post on your wall; that statement is now out in the public sphere, ready and waiting to be copied, pasted, shared, linked and made into a clever meme, giving any thought the potential of going viral. In the midst of this outbreak of conscience, I couldn’t help but feel inoculated.
It has become easy to scroll past posts that should outrage me, only occasionally stopping and even more rarely feeling the urge to react. Perhaps for some the law of averages comes into play; only so many posts could be ignored, one will have to land and change their point of view forever. For me it was too much noise; things were being posted haphazardly and the true believers were never satisfied. There was always someone more environmentally friendly (you’re a vegan and your pants are made from conflict free hemp, we know), more politically conscious (I actually did vote, thanks for assuming I didn’t though) or more feminist (sorry, I still love Disney movies and their princesses) than I could ever be. But in spite of the comment wars being waged all over social media, I came to realize it isn’t about being ‘enough’.
There must be others who wonder if they are the right kind of feminist or if they’re feminist enough. I appreciate the fact that my mom kept her last name at a time when that was an unpopular choice, I support equal pay and value my rights to vote and choose. Then again I also like Taylor Swift, shaving my legs and when men hold the elevator doors so the 500 bags I constantly seem to be carrying and I can get in first. Is that feminism light? Feminism for beginners?? Feminism for the basic bitch??? I don’t know where exactly I fall on the spectrum of feminism but I do know everyone, every woman, has a lens through which they view women’s issues, each one unique. I’m probably always going to want to shave my legs but that doesn’t have to limit how I participate in the conversation. I may not be the perfect feminist, but I’m also no longer convinced there is such a thing.
Systemic inequality, entrenched sexual suggestion and chauvinistic representation surround women every day in nearly every facet of life and film is the perfect example. Having this website as an open forum on women, their position and representation both behind and in front of the camera is a modern and ubiquitous gateway into the foundations of feminist theories.
I choose not to focus on the embarrassment of the indifference that led me here, instead the optimism in my renewed sense of resolve. Every woman has a lens through which they view women’s issues, and while mine is a bit crooked and rose-colored, it’s never been clearer.