Sunday, December 02, 2007

Helen Zia on "What is Feminism?"

I have been doing a lot of thinking today. On A Womyn's Ecdysis, there is a post that features an excerpt of an interview with Helen Zia. I left a comment asking about where I could find the rest of the interview because after reading this one part, I am dying to hear what else Zia had to say.

The question that Zia was answering here was, "What is feminism?"

"Feminism is not a racist ideology. If someone claims to be a feminist but exhibits exclusionary behavior and is reluctant to change--we all have prejudices, so I'm not holding feminists to a higher level--I expect them to change. What I say to women of color and other young feminists or womanists is this: there is no Women's Movement, capital W, capital M. There are women's movements, plural.

And those movements are alive and well in communities of color. Many of the strongest voices in our communities of color are women. We carry our communities on our backs. With or without the label, we're there. To say that women of color are not interested in equality for women is just not true.

But many women of color have had negative experiences with individual, white, so-called feminists or with organizations and institutions within a feminist framework. I've had negative experiences. But we accomplish much more together than separately. I don't throw out the notion of feminism because of the negatives. We all have to work on these negatives. We cannot sum up a movement based on individual experiences."

I'm going to turn off comments on this post in the hopes that you'll comment on A Womyn's Ecdysis instead, since this really isn't anything I came up with. I just had to share it with folks here too.