I’ve been on the fence on this issue for a long, long time. Whenever I face an issue that I don’t have a stance on, I’m careful to not reject it or accept it outright without thorough consideration. I used to be a radical feminist as a teen, and I mean radical-man-hating-fist-thumping-angry feminist. And it didn’t help that my dad was one – in the real sense of the word. He’d always side with us girls and never our twin brothers because he believed that men have the upper hand in society de facto, so girls are in need of extra love and empowerment to make it out there. My dad, bless him, seems like a tough one on the outer, but on the inside, he’s all warm and fuzzy. I rarely see him as passionate as when he talks about the nature, animal cruelty, and kids. Anyway, when I reached my late teens, the anger that fuelled my radical feminism fizzled out and I become more mellow. Ever since, feminism has been on the back-burner, as I struggled with other issues in my life. And this morning I realized this: I don’t find the point of feminism as something I want to align myself with. I find that whenever one crucial issue in society is isolated and rallied for, it quickly turns into dogma and sectarianism. There are times where raising one’s voice,warring, and attacking is called for- but when this becomes the de facto state is when the original cause is lost. It becomes about people and power struggles. This is what I feel feminism , and other singular causes such as veganism,Green Peace, LGBT-issues, have turned into. They started out by addressing a rampant injustice, but then it attracted rebels without causes who were angry at anything and everything, and needed somewhere to channel their frustration. It’s the same thing with ISIS and their ilk.
There needs to be an overarching concept that transcends time and place. We have mental health stigma, poverty, corruption, climate change- the list is endless. We had other issues in yesteryear, and we’ll probably have more in two decades. Problems come with change and progress is dependant on how well we solve these issues. But to dwell on those issues hampers progress.
I think a nobler cause, for me personally, that I can relate to is to fight injustice in all its forms. Right now I’m concerned about the melting sea ice in the Arctic Circle that threatens polar bears who use the ice as a platform to hunt seals, and in the face of the disappearance of their habitat they are driven to the shores and land where they attack humans.
I’m concerned about this damning report on the silent plight of boys and men and the major social problems that it’s causing.
I’m concerned about how the West reacted to the Ebola crisis before and after it affected Westerners, and how trivial the thousands of Africans who were affected seem to us in the West as long as it does not involve us.
I’m concerned about Palestine and how the few on top get the last word because they got the deepest pockets.
I’m concerned about domestic abuse and the widespread misnomer about how easy it should be to leave.
I’m concerned about this war on drugs that is putting those most vulnerable at risk.
I’m concerned about these things. But they are transient. Because tomorrow there will be another issue, another crisis more acute than the aforementioned, and so I want to be adaptable and flexible. I don’t want to identify with a cause because that is extrinsic and whatever is extrinsic is finite and depletable. I want to tap into intrinsic motivation that comes from within me.
I don’t want to embody something other than me. But I want to focus my being on things other than myself. Makes sense?