I recently saw a quote denouncing “first world feminism.” It was interesting because I agreed with the sentiment, but I still support first world feminism.
I don’t think we can get rid of third world problems without it. While this may sound absurd to some, it takes money and work to get rid of third world problems for women and those women don’t have it.
On the other hand, it also takes a spirit of service and community to want to take your own time and/or money and give it to people who are fighting third world problems. We definitely need more of that too. We need more education and compassion on how to do it, too. We can’t realize full worldwide equality without each country doing it at their own pace, but we can certainly help out those we are ahead of. It takes listening to their needs, though, and not just assuming we know their problems or biggest concerns. It takes money, it takes time, it takes service. It takes people wanting to get out of their comfort zones.
Some people are already doing this by donating to places that help women and girls oversees and some are right there in the midst of them, fighting their oppressors. But none of us are getting it completely right. Focusing exclusively on women and girls may pass as feminist in some circles, but it doesn’t in others. Feminism isn’t the end all be all of human rights or social justice problems. There is so much going on in the world and so many things that get confused for each other. Labels blur as some feminists get misandrist and others start to embrace gender-diverse problems. It all starts to blur at different points along the line because as for many of us who believe in equality, it doesn’t stop at this kind or that kind. For many of us who have started down this road, fully realizing the vision that we have includes a safe place for every group to share in their sameness and their differences the way that feminism should allow women to inhabit women only spaces and allow the creation of men only spaces and the same for all the other gender groups. As we venture outside of our comfort zones, many of us see a world full of possibility where others see a world of tyranny and strife alone.
Making a change can start with first world feminism, it’s almost required for those of us who live in the “first world,” but I consider it a gateway feminism, if you will. The more I am exposed to the stories of people in other countries who fight for human rights on all levels, the more I want to be a part of their fight too. Every journey begins with a step, first world feminism is important because it is that first step for many. Let’s not bash or cut out some feminists because they don’t see that. Let’s work together and each in our own sphere and with our own talents and we can do this together far quicker and easier than we would while knocking each other down.
Join me again for more on gender issues! You can follow me here, @createparity, Google+ or like me on Facebook! Each medium contains this site’s content but some of the articles that get shared will vary.