A lot of the time when I try to engage with people about feminism or share a feminist opinion, I get told that feminists always push our ideas on other people, that we should shut-up and stop trying to force the people around us to do things our way.
Aside from the obvious mistakes of treating feminism as a monolith and having a poorly informed knee-jerk reaction to what they've picked up about feminism the people who have said this to me are clearly buying into attitudes that women who are not submissive, intellectually lightweights are pushy and fail at femininity (and therefore humanity), this is a. But that's not why I'm so ssick of this silencing tactic.
I'm sick of it because feminists/ womanists are not reserving the right to force people to think the way we do when we point out inequalities, we're reserving the right to critique the assumptions about gender and sexuality that underlie societal attitudes, cultural products, institutions and anything else we think might have faulty reasoning. This isn't overreacting, taking things to seriously, or wasting our efforts of trivial matters, it's a critique of an argument. A basic fact of debating.
And if there exists nothing meaningful outside of discourse, if the personal is political, then feminists have the right to critically analyse these assumptions.
Yes it's tiring to hear that something we thought was fine actually isn't. But not becasue the person whose saying it is tiresome to be around or listen to. It's tiring becasue that means there are a lot of people have be hurt and are still being hurt by those assumptions.
For those dedicated to social change, equality and respect it's tiring becasue we recognise the person talking is right, and that there is a lot of work to be done to change things. Actual work, on how we interact with people, not petty manipulation for the sake of seeing others do things our way.
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