This Is Why I’m Tired Of Lip-Service Feminism

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These days, it feels like claiming to be a feminist is the trendy thing to do. Women (and men) are wearing shirts, hats and tote bags with the word, often in all caps, emblazoned on them for the world to see. But it hasn’t always been this way. Feminism has often been a term women shied away from. For plenty of people, the word meant nothing more than being a man-hating bitch, despite the fact that it’s always been about the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.

Throughout the years, we’ve seen celebrities who once denounced the term start to embrace it. For instance, we often think of Lady Gaga as a liberated and outspoken entertainer; however, years ago, she had a misguided response when asked if she was a feminist. I’m not a feminist. I hail men, I love men, I celebrate American male culture: beer, bars and muscle cars.” But years later, her tune changed when she declared, “I’m certainly a feminist.”

Not unlike Gaga, that once contentious F-word has now garnered approval and acceptance within the majority of popular culture.

Now, I’m all for this societal shift toward embracing the word (granted, I understand it has really just happened in more liberal circles), but because of this mainstream,it’s cool to be a feminist” mentality, the significance behind the term has been diluted and abused.

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I co-host a podcast with my good friend and fellow journalist Yarel Ramos called “Wait, Hold Up!” In a recent episode, we joined forces with fellow Latinx podcast Tamarindo and spoke with co-hosts Melinna Bobadilla and Brenda Gonzalez about what feminism truly means today. Yes, the traditional definition is the equality between the sexes, but we were more concerned with what it looks like in action versus how the dictionary defines it. During the conversation, Bobadilla dropped the phrase “lip-service feminism” to describe women who are all rah-rah, yay feminism, but when it comes time to put that word into action, they fail, time and time again. Basically, they’re all talk — nothing more.

This phrase stuck out to me as I and many other women I know have often been brought down by the very women who tout that their work, life and intentions are focused on the betterment of other women, yet when given the chance to show up for said women, they instead choose to berate and have ill-will toward them.

One instance that comes to mind is years ago, when I was a regular freelance contributor at a publication that served millennial women. After more than six months, no full-time opportunities were offered, so when the chance to get full-time employment with another company presented itself, I, of course, leapt at the opportunity. (Hello, a girl can’t turn down health insurance). When I informed my manager at my freelance gig of my new job prospect, she proceeded to treat me like a child, scolding me and telling me that, basically, I was so wrong for moving on because “she made me.”

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Yes, y’all, she tried to discredit the years of work and experience I’d acquired prior to working with her and make it seem like I owed her a loyalty that she never extended to me. Suddenly, all that “I support you! Let’s empower each other and see Latinas grow and do the damn thing” went right out the window. In the moment, her feelings were hurt, and her true colors were shown.

Sadly, I know this story isn’t unique. I’m familiar with plenty of women who haven’t been supported in the workplace due to fear of competition or who have been badgered for coming up in a way that wasn’t on someone else’s terms.

There are also the “feminists” in the workplace  who live in their own bubbles, not considering the plight, or uplifting the work, of their LGBTQ family, sisters of color, disabled, immigrants, poor and so on. When we say “if your feminism isn’t intersectional, it doesn’t mean shit,” we mean it. So if you’re a boss lady rocking a “We Should All Be Feminists” tee, consider what you’ve done to help advance the cause for equality, especially in a sector that doesn’t directly impact you.

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I’m constantly working to hold myself accountable to the standards I hope others will hold themselves to. We don’t live in a time where silence or passivity is acceptable. Truthfully, such a time may never have existed. Through my work on my podcast, as a journalist, as a friend, sister and citizen of the world, I continue to focus on educating myself and my circle of influence. Knowledge is power, and if I can gain the tools needed for success, I never want to selfishly hold onto them.

I am a proud feminist, and I will make sure my actions in every sector of my life work to dismantle the patriarchy and free women from all walks of life, because our liberation and glow-up are intertwined.

Read: 10 Pins To Rock Your Radical Latina Feminism On Your Denim Sleeves

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