Saturday February 9, 2019 By: Farah Amr Desouky
Anyone who knows me knows what feminism is to me and how passionate I am about social justice generally, so admitting the negative effect being woke has lately had on me is definitely not easy. Doing good and advocacy has been my default for a long time, being critical about every single thing is important, but when is it too far that it transforms into a constant state of anger?
For me feminism has made me feel alienated. Despite the awesome feminists I know and the supportive communities I’m lucky to be part of, looking at society as a whole I – and probably all feminists – do not feel included. When 10 thousand people are laughing at a joke and the minority only sees that joke problematic, we are the ones who don’t get to laugh and are seen as “too whiny”. We are the killjoys basically, supposedly ruining everyone’s fun despite being the only ones furious.
A debate about feminism has turned into part of my daily routine, a constant emotional labor, because in every conversation of that nature I’m the one who cares more whilst the other person perceives our talk as a fun witty game of who is more right. But this is my belief system and what’s common sense to me, so having it questioned on every occasion and going through justifying myself is definitely not a fun witty conversation. The label of a feminist comes with the responsibility of being an educator of the sort, like a requirement to explain and give opinions. And honestly if it was actually to change someone’s perspective or have an open-minded debate, that would be great, but more often than not it’s just a conversation where the other person is looking forward to proving you wrong, not listen to what you’re saying.
The burden of feminism comes with a lot of guilt, as if I’m betraying my cause or getting too close to giving up a fight where I think I’m right. Aren’t all the feminist warriors we know resilient and brave? So why not me? Are they better or stronger? Keeping up with the turbulence is supposed to result in change and in bettering of society, but personally I believe that in caring about change and about a society that doesn’t really want or care to get better – and better here being my perspective – I forgot to care for my myself and for my wellbeing.
Never in a million years would I have thought I’d be writing or feeling this way, but right now I’m all for selfishness. Everyone gets to go on with their lives without worrying about everything wrong going on earth (which is a lot). So, I’m getting off of my moral high horse and while striving for change I also wanna let things be for a bit. Reflecting on my attitude towards negative happenings and feeling like the negativity is getting to me as well, is something that could stop anyone from being an actual effective member of their community. It’s actually a fact that blocking our access to news makes us happier. A couple of months ago if that topic was brought up I would’ve said that turning a blind eye is selfish and irresponsible, while I still believe that, now I get the logic behind living in a bubble.
What if that idealistic world of social justice I want is a mirage, something I and every activist will constantly fight for but practically it could never be achieved. This isn’t even limited to feminism, but environmental reform, class equality, and basic human rights which apparently aren’t perceived by everyone as a necessity. This sounds incredibly selfish and although I’ve always been a believer in doing and believing in the right thing, my “right” is becoming incredibly frowned upon, feminist communities actually face more stigma than misogyny in itself. So, if being “right” whatever that word entails means I’ll be constantly feeling frustrated, to hell with it.
So, to end this existential “what is social justice” rant, dear me, and every feminist or righteous person out there, who cares and works for a better world, you are more important and your peace of mind could sometimes come before world peace. Off to self-evaluate.
Farah Amr Desouky is 18-year-old feminist at heart. Farah combines her passion in writing and women’s issues to advocate for her cause.
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