A day in the life of a feminist: an unironic exposition of how to demolish the patriarchy in 24 hours
Put down your borrowed copy of bell hooks and roll up the sleeves of your “This Is What A Feminist Looks Like” t-shirt made by Bangladeshi children. Lay them at the altar of my practical guide to a day in the life of a feminist. Weep, for as our ancestors foretold, there is more nuance to it than embracing body hair and retweeting Emma Watson.
This is not when I want to wake up. Not to toot my own horn, but I see beyond this system we’ve been conditioned to accept where the powers-that-be (behold, the playground of -isms like capitalism, sexism, racism, colonialism) don’t want me rested. If I rested enough, and was not on the clock, I’d be awake enough to push back against this inane legacy of the industrial revolution. Sleep helps us wake up–wake up to who we are and what we are up against. (I’ve seen all two seasons of Fleabag, ok? I was interested in meta-reflection before it was cool). You may say that the early bird gets the worm, but the early worm also gets eaten. Rest is resistance.
I’m at the gym, the communal place of recovery for women who eat. Why would I conceptualize exercise as anything more than punishment when everything that enters a woman’s lips is a dietary sin? I cannot possibly have health on my mind when there are cute boys to attract (thanks for interrupting my circuit to give me your number, Brad). Fearing that the Smith machine is too complicated for my glitter-infused brain, and god forbid it tones my muscles, I stay on the treadmill. I recreate a gendered space and uphold the shallow cultural basis and causes of sexism that are so deeply enriching for the soul.
I’m in a work meeting with Bob, world-renowned for his performative allyship as he mansplains yet again. He can correctly pronounce the name of every Game of Thrones character but repeatedly asks if I have a shorter nickname. He recommends I read an article. I debate telling him I co-authored the paper but I stay silent. I embrace this new era of Girl Power where my silence undervalues and erases women and perpetuates the underestimation of patriarchy’s toll.
Fuck Bob. I speak up. I am more than just a pretty face, I am an intellectual. A flurry of private messages arrive from other women at the meeting telling me that was great. One of them has already tweeted, “White people, we have a responsibility to use our privilege to speak up,” unaware of how to embody said advice offline, ideally in front of Bob. I can’t wait for their Instagram selfies quoting Audre Lorde, all the while ignoring the injustices happening around them.
I’m at the department store. From “This Is What Feminist Looks Like” to “God Is A Black Woman,” I have the option to purchase a trendy t-shirt and shamelessly subject other women in foreign countries to outrageous labor conditions, all in the name of equal purchasing power. But I, your feminist idol, abstain. There was a 630% increase in the use of the word “feminist” in brand marketing between 2016 and 2018 (I watch Ricky and Morty, I know everything.) But how and where I spend my money matters. How can I redirect my spending in a way that benefits those who do not have the luxury of a lunch break to order six types of nigiri sushi?
I leave the department store. It’s easy to think that consumption in a capitalist context is a fundamentally un-feminist thing, but consumerist feminism and feminist consumerism are not the same. The former should make you question your existence because, shockingly, you cannot buy feminist liberation. The latter applies feminist practices to consumption. It’s about our collective impact. We have the power to support small-scale, sustainable production and make feminist commodification emancipatory. Nothing can compare to the high you feel when you realize your purchasing decision has saved Taiwanese children from exploitation.
I need to pee. I use a Shewee, doing my part for the stand-to-pee revolution. One small step for my bladder, one giant leap for gender equality.
I come home to my partner (that millennial term that is 8 times more popular today than 15 years ago). I refuse marriage, refuse civil partnership. We reject heteropatriarchy together, a Jesus-like path to redemption. Moments of solidarity are what bring resistance into existence. We split care work. Neither of us are paid for it but at least we are unpaid together.
I’m in bed, a full 30 minutes before my partner. I’m fighting back against the gender sleep gap, one well-rested night at a time. Rest is resistance.