As bell hooks says, feminists are made, not born. None of us are perfect and every single day is a challenged to address the internalised misogyny, racism, homophobia, classism, ageism, and disablism that we are taught from birth within a white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy . We all make mistakes and we all fuck up.
The problem is not in the mistakes we make. It’s in the refusal to reflect on the mistakes when someone raises the issue. Clearly, there is a real issue within online feminist communities on how issues are raised – abuse and bullying are not all that uncommon. But, someone pointing out your comment might be racist or classist or lesbophobic isn’t abusive behaviour. Nor is people disagreeing with you abuse.
Self-reflection is essential to feminism – both in theory and praxis. The following are all true:
You can support more than one campaign at once.
Refusing to support a campaign because you dislike the person who started it is childish and anti-feminist.
Refusing to support a campaign because the person who started was an ass to your mate once is also asinine.
Dismissing campaigns or petitions because you don’t like the way they are written is infantile – and usually involves elements of classism, racism and disablism.
It is perfectly possible to support a campaign even if the person who started it is an abusive bully.
Feminism is a political movement to liberate all women from the white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy. We don’t have to be friends. Hell, we can actively loathe one another as individuals without compromising our feminism or the goal of liberation.
We need to stop thinking of feminism as a popularity contest and start focusing on the issues of male violence, male entitlement, VAWG and a political and economic system predicated on the unpaid labour of women. This does not involve making decisions based on who is friends with who but on the individual campaigns themselves.