How to Be a True Feminist

by Ana Chaves

This is the latest installment in Ana Chaves’ bi-weekly column, published every other Thursday.

  1. Red lips like the gorged heart of a lion.
    Narrow your eyes; steady your gait; brazenly occupy space with the aura of a goddess.

    Contemporary feminists like Malala Yousafzai are truly remarkable for their callous austerity.

    Nude lips, flushed with womanly grace and organic vegan lip balm.
    Master witchcraft; refuse to shave; burn your bra; smash the patriarchy.

    Tina Fey, replete with misandry and devoid of all beauty, would ask no less.

    Chapped lips like death born of winter and heavy breathing.
    Live in the caverns of your mind; fidget; speak to no one; pick scabs.

    Complete reclusion is key, as actress Scarlet Johansson would clearly advise.

  2. Scour your pantry, closet and drawers for humor. Look under the bed; check the corners. Drown it; cackle. Stoicism is central to feminism.

    Amy Poehler, after all, is a true exemplar in her biting sobriety.
  3. Abandon your family. Feed on power; let a career consume you. Scowl at women tending to children, for they undo the liberation you so laboriously secured.

    Audre Lorde, the powerful feminist mother of two, would have never approved of their outrageous femininity.
  4. Alienate your friends; refuse to speak of anything but feminism. Wake them up each morning with a brisk reminder that the patriarchy remains alive and well, and that you, for one, are highly disappointed in each of their contributions. Do not let them respond; remember that your words are law, matriarchal queen.

    Hilary Clinton, of course, murmurs only feminism as rebuttal in debate.
  5. Announce, haughtily, that it is, in fact, that time of the month to those who didn’t ask. Learn and publicize the biology of your warrior body; graphically explain to the Starbucks barista asking for your order. Insist that her annoyance at this verbal dissection is internalized misogyny.

    As everyone knows, Anne Hathaway owes her career only to the vivid explanations she proffers of her womanhood.
  6. Take your sexuality by the horns and ride out its every kink. There is no greater path to liberation than orgasm, no greater empowerment than that of carnal fulfillment. Fight for women in the quivering pleasure of your sinews.

    Women’s suffrage certainly came of no other means; Susan B. Anthony is notable for nothing else.
  7. Reject lists that tell you how to ‘truly’ become what you know you already are.

    Unearth your own philosophy, premised on the nuances of your personal lens. Conform not to these expectations of what a feminist must be, but to your own understanding of this winding fight for equality, leaving all or none of the stereotypes behind. Acknowledge the breadth of beliefs under this feminism umbrella; recognize that with an open mind, you have a place here. The loudest voices are not always the most representative; the most radical are not always the most accurate – and you are not asked to be them or anyone or anything else, but a believer in equality, whatever it means to you. Don’t fit the mold – or do – or stretch it, live it, change it, break it. Form your own brand of feminism; fight for rights as you see fit.

    Just a suggestion.
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