Say No to Performative Activism
To anyone jumping on the International Women’s Day (IWD) posts and hashtags, I am curious about how you advocate for women and those who do not identify as cisgender men.
The purpose of raising awareness about gender equality and uplifting women is because inequality exists in human rights, discrimination, and disparities between cisgender men and everyone else. It is important to apply intersectionality and recognize how white feminism, classism, beautism, ableism, and racism affect the dynamics.
What can you do to help? Here are some suggestions,
- First and foremost, be empathetic and acknowledge that gender inequality exists.
- Learn about “How to Practice Unlearning Gender Roles.”
- Change out the language you use — Instead of saying “hi guys,” use inclusive language like “hi all,” “hey everyone,” or “hello people.”
- If you benefit from the power of bro culture or networks/circles where most people are heteronormative and not actively working on equality, regardless of your gender (which is common), think about how you can uplift women, especially women of colour, trans individuals, and non-binary individuals with your power. Help normalise praising them, start by recognizing their contribution and work, and celebrate them whenever possible!
- Consider what you can do or say when you witness microaggressions, power plays, downplaying of people’s abilities, biases towards non-men, and discriminatory talk. Women can be oppressors, too, if they internalize these isms and try to leverage power with other oppressors. In short, think about how to hold yourself and your peers accountable for these comments and actions.
- Think about dismantling hierarchy and patriarchy!
- Think about what to say to stand up to the oppressors.
- Consider how you can discourage, distract, and eventually stop sexist conversations.
- Google things, follow informative social media accounts, talk about it with your friends, and learn to spot and voice the issues. Do not make it women’s work to educate you. Educate yourself.
I do not want to see you simply posting “Happy International Women’s Day” if you are not learning about these issues or doing any of the above.