Saturday, May 16, 2009

Micro-Activism

Sometimes I get these weird anxious moments, especially when I take in the likes Latoya Peterson and Jessica Valenti and Jill Filipovic, who are only a few years older than I am, and yet have accomplished more than what I've ever dreamt of being able to do. This is not to say I never dreamt of accomplishing as much, but I just never thought of myself as capable of doing so.

It kind of really fucking sucks to feel that way sometimes, to wish I had more of a voice, more of a driving sort of personality, more charisma to draw people to my cause.

Learning that feminism is more than just conferences and rallies, more than Take Back the Night and the Vagina Monologues, more than articles at RHReality Check or Bitch magazine, helped alleviate it somewhat.

After all, it's about the little daily things one does, too - calling out someone on racist / sexist language, or pointing out micro-aggressions. Buying from small bookstores and organic food. Donating to charities and small volunteering at other helpful causes.

Renee of Womanist Musings points out that many of us can't do it all, especially those at some form of disadvantage. But everyday actions can stand for something, and as Melissa McEwan says, is a teaspoon. Renee writes words of truth:

Small everyday acts disturb the norm. It can be as simple as calling out someone when they use racist/sexist/transphobic etc., language. Each person we touch is an opportunity to make change. One need not lobby on Capitol Hill to take on the label of activist, you simply need to live your stated beliefs to the best of your abilities.

...

Each time you demand the right to take up space, you disturb our dissonance in worth in value. I matter, you matter, we all matter, we just have to believe it.
Yes, Ma'am.

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