by Latoya Peterson
A couple nights ago, I put “Take Off Your Cool” on repeat, grabbed a glass of wine, and my copy of When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost and tried to figure out why I had ever chosen to take on the mantle of “feminist.”
What is the point of identifying as a feminist? Why do I choose to do this?
Re-reading Chickenheads helped me to discover I want to help people. I want things to change. I want to use progressive tools to get there. I do not want to be held back by the people who are supposedly my “sisters.” Chickenheads resonates in me so strongly because I see so many girls that I know in Morgan’s prose. I see so many women I know in that prose. That novel contains the me that I didn’t find in mainstream feminism.
But feminism isn’t just about me. There needs to be more. If I only look at the lives of my friends, I can see that the concepts feminism tackles needs a lot of updating to help them as well. Feminism needs to recognize Asian American women, Latinas, Mulimahs. It needs to recognize lesbians and queer identified women. It needs to discuss ability and sexuality and freedom. It needs to discuss complexion and racial divisions and international perspectives. It needs to encompass love and both sides of the beauty debate.
If feminism is going to claim to be for all women, it needs to be about all women. I’m not sure mainstream feminism is there yet.
However, I have chosen to stay.
My preferred label is hip-hop feminist. Those will be the texts I start with, the ideas I build upon, the blueprints that I expand in order to create a feminism that is rooted in thought, challenge, and action. That is the kind of feminism I want.
And I believe, in order to get it, I will have to work on creating it.
So, I will start here. On this blog. With a continuing conversation about feminism and what we want to see happen.
So, I open the floor to you.
What kind of feminism do you want to see? And what tools will we use to create it?