Excerpted by Latoya Peterson
After college and I entered the real world and got a job (in a feminist office) and starting volunteering off-campus with feminist groups, that’s when the racism shit started to fly. So I’ve been there. Been the token who works her ass off and gets shafted in the end. Was accused to stealing a speaking engagement when the group specifically asked for me. La-de-da, Ms. JD.
So what keeps me coming back to feminism?
It’s my home. Despite its flaws, calling myself a feminist is the truth. Each movement has its own devils to wrestle with – but that is an individual thing. Feminism the philosophy, transcends the bullshit and comforts me. And I refuse to let racism define feminism for me.
I refuse to be run out of the movement.
I refuse to let racists have total access to the soapbox, even if their soapboxes are larger, cooler, and get more ears.
I refuse to be silenced.
My feminism initially aimed to tackle issues like the gender gap in health and education. But since then, my feminism has branched out, to include concepts like colonialism and globalization. I learned much by listening to women like Zenaida Soriano and Teresita Vistro of AMIHAN (the National Federation of Peasant Women in the Philippines), who explain here why globalization is a feminist issue:
We comprise the majority of the landless poor, 51% of the total female population in the region are employed in agriculture and we produce 60% of the food for the Asian region, yet our right to land continue to be denied.
As our right to land is continuously denied, so is our right to decent lives. As our rights are denied, so is our children’s right to a healthy lives and therefore of the lives of future generations.
Globalization is a social justice issue, it’s a feminist issue. To be a feminist in the Philippines means that one also has to take part in the struggle against export-oriented economic policies that deny peasant women their land.