If you thought Arya Stark was cool before…

(Leah Haynes)

“I also feel like we should stop calling feminists “feminists” and just start calling people who aren’t feminist “sexist””

arya-stark

 

This is an actual quote from Maisie Williams (Arya Stark on Game of Thrones), in an actual interview with Entertainment Weekly, where she ACTUALLY SAID THIS PERFECTLY CORRECT THING.

Aside from the fact that the no-bullshit meter is off the Richter after this kind of comment, it’s also operating in a really useful way when we consider this redefining/retelling the story motif this class has been looking at.

I am used to thinking of “feminist” as a term that I proudly wear on my chest as a badge of honor. *Hell yeah, I’m a feminist, what of it?* And while the label provides a lot of solidarity to the movement, and I by no means consider it a dirty word, William’s comment made me take a step back and ask myself:

“Why do I, as someone who supports gender equality, have to designate, delineate, separate myself with a label?”

When a person advocates for racial inequality or, more commonly, is a participant in a system or institution that perpetuates racial inequities and oppression, we the socially informed call it what it is:

Racist.

And we should! But I don’t have a specific term that I herald as an identifier of my support for racial equality (other than ‘not-a-racist’). And I think that is a good thing. Labeling suggests that I need to be separated from the pack. It’s marginalizing. If we changed the language around feminism, we could potentially take away some of the language tools that allow people to write uninformed garbage like that Odyssey piece: “I Am Not a Feminist, And That’s Okay.” It would be a very different tone–though no different in implication–if her options were either sexist or not sexist, instead of feminist or not a feminist.

“I Am Sexist, and That’s Okay”

Really?

200

Imagine that article from a standpoint that defends a racially inequitable status quo. Its title would be something like:

“I Am a Racist, And That’s Okay”

200 (1)

That kind of article would be forced to own up to it’s damaging narratives. Now I know that you could easily write a less jarring title for a pile of uninformed ramblings, but my point is this: by forcing the conversation toward marginalizing sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia. classism, and other forms of delegitimizing/dehumaning ideologies–instead of allowing them to be figured as the norm– we might could take the wind out of those hate sails.

 

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