Meet Hannah Krieg. Hannah is a student studying Communication: Journalism at the University of Washington. She is a writer at the campus newspaper, The Daily, where she writes a weekly dating advice column called Thirst Trap that often dabbles in feminist issues. Here, Hannah voices the need for active, vocal feminism. Enjoy!
Feminism is active
It’s easy to call out misogyny from the safety of your Twitter [CQ] timeline where your followers will reward you with likes and retweets and the bestowal of titles such as “kaween” and “sister” in your comments. It’s a little harder to call out your friends and family for similar behavior offline.
Being strong is hard, but it’s a part of the gig. Of course, if you are in a situation where upholding feminist ideals puts you in danger, save all that good femisinst angst for a different setting. But in most cases in America, we have the privilege, and therefore the duty to bring feminism into our day to day.
Thank Tumblr [CQ] social justice warriors, or stan accounts on Twitter [CQ], or Donald Trump’s [CQ] presidency, but being both politically informed and correct is in vogue right now– and that’s cool. Making efforts to understand current events and social issues is part of being an active and compassionate citizen. Good for us! However, intention really does matter.
Slapping a “Future is Female” [CQ] sticker on your hydroflask really doesn’t do much in the way of social change (unless of course the profits of that product go directly to a woman’s interest charity). This is especially true when someone makes a snide comment about it and you just shrug it off.
Feminism is active. It is not a trending hashtag or a T-shirt or a means to sound clever in conversation. Passive, performative feminism is not only lazy and vacuous, its harmful.
Yes, a snap of the squad at a women’s march on social media can spread awareness amongst your following. On a macro level, even if this post is purely incentivized by social capital, this could contribute to an overall more aware society. So, yes! Make that post! Share it on all your socials and be sure to hashtag appropriately to boost engagement.
However, and here’s where things get sticky, it is imperative that in addition, we live this activism on a micro level. We must not log out of our ideology like its Twitter.
Slamming a rapist for being a rapist online is one, immensely fulfilling, and two, pretty low-risk. Online, if you see a tweet circulating about Brett Kavanaugh [CQ], that’s an easy retweet. Offline, if your friend is accused of rape, for some reason, sexual assault is no longer black and white. People slink out of the feminist pagent sashes they once wore proudly across their chests.
Posting about feminism or wearing the movement as accessory without continuing feminism into your daily life, is frankly false advertisement. For example, a performative feminist posts something on her snapchat story for National Women’s Day [CQ], but when a frat boy in her lecture makes nasty, sexist comments about the professor or when her male friend sexually assaults her female friend, she is MIA.
By her social media and her feminist merchandise, you would think she would step in, but in these situations, the performative feminist does not gain anything by implementing her supposed idealogy. The advertisement for feminism is great, and she should keep it up, but without action in real life, it is a ploy to gain clout.
This being said, there is no one way to be a feminist and we should not gatekeep feminists who keep their activism in the cyber sphere. There are feminists who wear pants suits and heels that clack against the tile and inspire office-wide fear. There are feminists whos alarm clocks are tiny little humans that she has to mold into good citizens of our world. There are feminists who let the hair under their arms grow free, and those who wax every inch of their body. There are feminists across the gender spectrum, feminists of all races, and religions, and sexualities. But there is, I believe, one rule we should encourage. A feminist is active.