things that matter

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

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.

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

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.”

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

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.

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

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

Recommend this story by clicking the share button below!

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

When Emma Gonzalez Leads The March For Our Lives, She’ll Be Following In The Footsteps Of These Latina Civil Rights Leaders

fierce

When Emma Gonzalez Leads The March For Our Lives, She’ll Be Following In The Footsteps Of These Latina Civil Rights Leaders

As you gear up and rally to march for our lives this weekend, you might be completely in awe of the power and effect of Emma Gonzalez. The high school student from Parkland, Fl has, along with the great efforts of her peers, rallied cities and communities across the globe to fight back against the NRA and the inaction of political leaders who have long held the power to put an end to gun violence. For many of us, it’s exciting to see a Latina show the world that once again we are forces to be reckoned with. But long before Gonzalez called B.S. and became the face of a growing national movement, other Latina activists had a huge hand in changing the course of our history.

Here’s a look at seven of some of history’s most powerful Latina activists who led marches and fought for your civil rights.

Sylvia Mendez

the.daily.feminist / Instagram

When it comes to the desegregation of schools in the country, American history often credits the case of Brown v. Board of Education for the changes. Barbara Rose Johns is also the one who is most typically considered to be the face of that movement after she led a 450-student walkout at a high school in Virginia in 1951.

But history has largely written out the work of Sylvia Mendez an American civil rights activists of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent who played a key role in the integration movement back in 1946.

nhmc_org / Instagram

Mendez v. Westminster was a case sparked by Mendez’s rejection from an all-white school in California back in 1943 when she was just eight years old. Mendez’s parents sued the school district and the landmark case which was ultimately settled in 1947 successfully desegregated public schools  in California making it the first U.S. state to do so.

Dolores Huerta

@thewipinc / Instagram

As a fierce civil rights activist and labor leader, Dolores Huerta became a tireless advocate of the United Farm Workers union. The American-born Latina of Mexican descent originally started out her career as an elementary school teacher. After seeing kids in her class come to school hungry and in need of new shoes, she decided she would help organize their parents.

She started to fight for economic improvements for Latino farm workers and pressed local government organizations to improve barrio conditions.

excellentcoatsonirritatedwomen / Instagram

In 1962, she co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (now known as the United Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee) with César Chávez. Her non-violent strikes and protests led to her 22 arrests. In 1997 she was named one of the three most important women of the year in by Ms. magazine.

Carmen Perez

Noam Galai/WireImage

In 2017, Perez helped lead the country in its largest protest in U.S. history as a co-chair of the Women’s March on Washington.

In her 20 year career as an activist, Perez has dedicated her advocacy to some of today’s most important civil rights issues including violence against women, mass incarceration, gender inequality and community policing.

taiiasmartyoung / Instagram

Before the Women’s March she helped launch a 9-day 250-mile march from New York City to Washington, DC called March2Justice which implored congressional lawmakers to turn their attention to the nation’s police justice crisis.

Berta Cáceres

univisionplaneta / Instagram

Best known for leading a campaign that opposed a dam on the Gualcarque River, Cáceres was an award-winning Indigenous environmental activist. In 2015, the Honduran environmentalist received the Goldman Environmental Prize for helming the grassroots effort that pushed the world’s largest dam builder to stop the construction of the Agua Zarca Dam at the Río Gualcarque.

Because of her efforts the river that was saved and considered to be sacred by the Lenca people, was still able to provide the nearby tribe access to water, food, and medicine.

infonodal / Instagram

On March 3, 2016, Berta Cáceres was assassinated for her activism when two assailants broke into her home and shot her. Her murder sparked international outrage and brought attention to the fact that Honduras is the most dangerous country in the world for activists who fight to protect forests and rivers.

The Mirabal Sisters

lorpop3 / Instagram

Patria, Dedé, Minerva, and María Teresa Mirabal were four sisters from the Dominican Republic who ferociously opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo and became known as Las Mariposas. In 1959, after witnessing a = massacre executed by the Trujillo regime the sisters were sparked into activism and rallied communities into public protests that renounced Trujillo’s rule.

Three of the sisters, Minerva, María Teresa, and Patria, were murdered for their advocacy when they were beaten to death by associates of the government.

historiadeellas / Instagram

Following the death of Las Mariposas, Dominicans across the island decided they had had enough. Six months later, Trujillo’s dictatorship was brought down when he was assassinated.

Sylvia Rivera 

luz_0602 / Instagram

Well before activists like Harvey Milk and figures like Caitlyn Jenner made waves, there was Sylvia Rivera. The Latina born and raised in New York City had Puerto Rican and Venezuelan roots and a tragic story when she first began to carve out a place for trans people in the American gay liberation movement. 

Rivera was a self-identified drag queen and transwoman who participated in the Stonewall riots of 1969 and soon after founded Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries (STAR) with Marsha P. Johnson.

anithacocktail_ / Instagram

In 1970 she led trans activists in the country’s first Gay Pride march, then known as Christopher Street Liberation Day March and in the years after she delivered fervent speeches that called for the support of LGBTQ people of color and who were homeless.


Recommend this story by clicking the share button below!

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Michelle Obama Keeps It Real About ‘Leaning In’ Saying It ‘Doesn’t Work All The Time’

fierce

Michelle Obama Keeps It Real About ‘Leaning In’ Saying It ‘Doesn’t Work All The Time’

There’s countless reasons why former First Lady Michelle Obama is so beloved. For eight years the world saw a woman who made life look effortless. She easily transitioned from being a mom, wife, feminist, health nut, without missing a beat, all the while keeping it classy.

Now with the release of her memoir “Becoming,” we are getting an even more authentic look at this remarkable woman in a way we’ve never seen or heard before.

On Dec. 1, in a rare and candid moment during her book tour in Brooklyn, Obama kept things honest about the realities of the “lean in” women’s movement.

Speaking at Barclays Center on Saturday evening, Obama candidly touched on the struggles of ensuring a functioning work-life balance. “That whole ‘so you can have it all.’ Nope, not at the same time. That’s a lie,” Obama told an audience that had come to see her on her Becoming book tour. “And it’s not always enough to lean in, because that shit doesn’t work all the time.”

The amused crowd erupted at her blunder causing Obama to quickly apologize for her blunder. “I forgot where I was for a moment! I thought I was at home y’all. I was getting real comfortable up in here.”

The term was first coined by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in her 2013 book in which she said in order for women to achieve success, women need to project confidence and “sit at the table” in order to be heard. The way to do physically do that is by “leaning in.”

Sandberg herself said earlier this year that “leaning in” isn’t as effective as she once believed because women weren’t better off today than they were in 2013.

“We are stuck at less than 6 percent of the Fortune 500 CEO jobs and their equivalent in almost every country in the world,” she said in USA Today. “There were 19 countries run by women when “Lean In” was published. Today there are 11. Congressional numbers have inched up a tiny bit. And so, overall, we are not seeing a major increase in female leadership in any industry or in any government in the world, and I think that’s a shame.”

The term “lean in” was first coined by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in her 2013 book in which she said in order for women to achieve success they need to project confidence and “sit at the table” in order to be heard. According to Sandberg, the way to physically do this is by “leaning in.”

Sandberg herself said has said that “leaning in” isn’t as effective as she once believed because women weren’t better off today than they were in 2013. Last year the COO remarked that women “are stuck at less than 6 percent of the Fortune 500 CEO jobs and their equivalent in almost every country in the world,” she said in USA Today. “There were 19 countries run by women when ‘Lean In’ was published. Today there are 11. Congressional numbers have inched up a tiny bit. And so, overall, we are not seeing a major increase in female leadership in any industry or in any government in the world, and I think that’s a shame.”

It didn’t take long for Twitter to reveal just how much they loved seeing Obama get comfy.

If you were one of the 19,000 people at Barclays that night, you’ll definitely want to tell your kids about it one day.

It’s timeless advice from a timeless lady.

It might be true that you can’t have it all, but let’s be real, Obama will always be pretty darn close in our eyes.

It was clearly a night of laughs, cheers, and tears.

We can’t wait to hear what she’ll say next. She’ll return to Barclays on Dec. 19.

READ: Michelle Obama Talks About Going High At Times When Donald Trump’s Lowest of Lows Threatened The Lives Of Her Children

Recommend this story by clicking the share button below! 

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com