What's Your Feminism?
If it’s not intersectional, then it’s not feminism.
It’s that simple. Feminism is about more than just gender equality and pink pussyhats. It’s about more than the mainstream media narrative of a middle-class white cis-woman agenda. It’s about more than a woman’s right to choose. Feminism is about remembering and acknowledging the mass sterilization of Mexican immigrant women in the Los Angeles County. It’s about protecting black women. It’s about race. It’s about class. It’s about ethnicity. It’s about religion. It’s about sexual orientation. It’s about recognizing the multiple identities that make up an individual and how these identities impact the way they are oppressed and discriminated against. It’s about remembering our history and making sure we don’t repeat it.
It’s about slaying settler colonial, white supremacist, heteropatriarchal, capitalist bullshit. “I’m a first generation student. I’m the oldest of six. I’m the first in my family to go to college. When I took my first Gender and Women’s Studies class my freshmen year, I just felt like this whole world cracked open for me. I was immediately able to find the words to articulate the experiences I’ve had and continue to have throughout my life. I really fell in love with education as a place to empower communities both on the individual level and more largely on a community level. So for me, the education is really the foundation of where my art comes from, particularly the ‘Slay’ piece. That piece is very much informed by my work in Gender and Women’s Studies and American Indian Studies. ‘Slay’ for me is really a piece that articulates the intersectional, de-colonial, anti racist feminist theory and practice," says Kimberly Robertson.
Are there different forms of feminism and feminist practices? Yes. However, it is crucial for these different forms and practices to look past gender. The Dakota Access Pipeline, fracking, environmental violence, police brutality, and the disproportionate killing of indigenous people all form part of the feminist movement. It’s time to start pushing for the mainstream media narrative to include and jumpstart these important conversations. “I’m thinking of someone like Beyonce as part of that cannon. She’s very mainstream which is where I get the ‘slay’ from but she is allowing us to bring certain discussions into mainstream spaces.” The sooner we begin to acknowledge the complexities of feminism, the sooner we can begin to create a feminism that is accessible and inclusive of those that live on the margins. “For me, the point in ‘Slay’ is to demonstrate how those kind of feminist practices [indigenous, decolonial, and social justice oriented] can rise to the top and help us begin to submerge, eradicate, and eliminate discriminatory and oppressive structures. One of the things that I’m doing with my art is imagining a world or even a future where my girls would feel like they could be fully complex human beings.”
Kimberly Robertson (Muskoke) is an activist, teacher, scholar and mother who hustles to fulfill the dreams of her ancestors and to build a world in which her daughters can thrive.
Arleny Vargas is a Boyle Heights-bred resident who divides her time between Boston and Los Angeles. She’s currently an undergraduate student at Wellesley College pursuing her degree in Spanish and Studio Art. Passionate about art and representation, she seeks to combine her writing and art in an effort to combat negative media representation and amplify the narratives and experiences of the Latinx community.