A strong feminist practice must be based on a solid foundation. To that end, we present some of the key principles that inform and guide our day-to-day lived feminism. The overarching concept tying these principles together is a commitment to practicing a self-aware, intersectional sisterly solidarity that underpins our struggles to unlearn, address and correct the oppression present in ourselves, our circles, and our societies.
We note that the personal is political and no position is innocent. Thus, not only do we acknowledge the ways we ourselves are conditioned by the WMPS, but we also actively seek to 1) identify oppressive forces in ourselves and in our communities, 2) work to understand them with an anti-oppressive feminist analysis and re-visioning of each situation, and 3) actively re-figure our roles, responsibilities, and relationships so that they are honest, healthy and free from patriarchal oppression and other systems of domination.
Read these principles, digest and share them with fellow feminists and allies, and particularly with anybody who claims that they are feminist yet continues to cause suffering due to misogyny, sexism, or other oppressive practices. We hope they will be of use to you in your personal feminist praxis. In the comments, share with us and other readers the feminist principles you choose to live by, so we can continue to learn together. Continue reading
Under patriarchy, expectations of monogamy and compulsory heterosexuality mean women are conditioned from childhood to be on the lookout (or compulsively searching) for “the one,” her “soulmate,” or Mr. Right. This is a fantasy induced by a combination of Disney princesses, white dresses and storybook weddings, as well as social and cultural influences, public discourse, mass media and celebrity culture. What this means is that many of us are so eager to get married, and so conditioned to be the damsel in distress or unconditionally self-sacrificing for “love,” we often overlook some basic things that illustrate how, far from being a prince or knight come to rescue you, your intimate partner may be in fact dangerous to your sense of self, your individual identity and your independent thought. You do not need rescuing, and no one should make you feel that you do. If any man in your life exhibits the below behaviours, he is at worst an abuser or at best an emotional/financial drain; you are better off without him. In particular, don’t marry him. He is so not worth it. See also: How to Leave a Bad Relationship.
12 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Marry Him
- He interrupts what you are doing to demand his dinner. He demands his dinner. He seems to think his dinner is your priority/responsibility.
- He interrupts what you are doing to demand anything.
- He expects things from you he wouldn’t do for you, and doesn’t do himself – e.g. washing his clothes, caring for his children, paying for or “helping” him with his large bills/expenses. He does not share equally in what would be the tasks of a marriage.
- His “affection” is always aggressive and only manifests when he wants something. He withholds attention, and if he does give it, he expects/requires you to respond positively to his advances. Sisters of Resistance place coercion on the spectrum of sexual harassment, assault and rape. In our experience coercion is common and we call it when we see it. (In the case of rape, help is available. International Resources)
- He cuts you off from your friends and family. Tactics may include: judging your friends and relatives, telling you who he likes and doesn’t like, or who you are allowed to see and when, if at all. (See: Narcissist Abuser).
- He has cheated on you. Or when you got together, he was cheating on someone else.
- He doesn’t have a life. (See: Peter Pan Man)
- He puts you down, ridicules, or degrades you. This wears away at your self-confidence while keeping you trying harder to win his love. He may say he is just joking, but that shit ain’t funny. (Men have sayings that relate directly to this one: “Treat her mean, keep her keen” UK / “You treat a girl like dirt, she’ll stick to you like mud “ USA) (See: Narcissist Abuser).
- He is always negative/moaning/feeling sorry for himself. He expects you to carry this emotional burden.
- He only speaks badly of his exes and past relationships, painting them always as being in the wrong. He accepts no responsibility for the ending of past relationships and breakups. (He probably doesn’t accept much responsibility anyway.)
- If he already has kids, and he has not raised them well, why would you (possibly) want to make more with him?
- If things have only gotten worse since you moved in together, why get married and make that shit permanent? Continue reading
To assist you in identifying and resisting dominant and unequal power relationships in your life, we’ve compiled a list of common phrases people in historically dominant roles have been conditioned to and may use to try to silence oppressed others, particularly when they perceive their dominance to be challenged.
The quotations below were used by men against women and are thus patriarchal; however, one could expect to find similar strategic dismissals and silencing of the accounts and concerns of people of color, working class and poor people, queer and LGBTQI people, young people, fat people, disabled people, and other marginalized folks in the discourses of those who discriminate against them. The simultaneous and intersecting nature of oppression is also considered here.
These strategies, and others we may have missed, can be found in any order, but from our experiences attempts to silence us commonly go something like this:
Question your knowledge/judgment
Delegitimize your response
Enforce dominant point of view
Shut down debate or conversation