A few weeks ago, I completely forgot about the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. My forgetting was of course short lived as my numerous social media feeds started trending with memorial posts, but the point is, for a very brief few moments, I completely forgot about the anniversary, about the event, about violence against women…
In discussing this with friends, a few of them joked that what every good feminist needs is an email reminder that they are a feminist. Maybe an online service [www.remind_me_i’m_a_feminist.com] that would compile all of the important dates and events and send out email alerts and news digests.
The darkly comical element here is that one shouldn’t need reminding. Our feminist consciousness should never be that far away. And yet, sometimes we will it into the background. I am sure I am not the only feminist out there that has had her friends complain about a propensity to make every social event/pub night/movie outing into some kind of “feminist thing.” My powers of feminist observation are never far from being unleashed at any given time and place. However, I have also learnt to choose my battles, and that not every event welcomes such politics. This has been a hard lesson to learn, and I’ve definitely alienated a few friends and family members who – for their own reasons – are not particularly enthused by feminist politics.
What I am trying to come to terms with is the difference between “choosing my battles” and forgetting them. There is a certain social convenience that comes with overlooking our feminist politics. What dates like December 6th (or horrific events like the shooting of Malala, or protests like Chief Spence’s hunger strike) reinforce is that the personal needed to become political for very good reasons. Our feminist foremothers knew what they were on about. It may seem easiest at times to push aside our politics for the sake of our everyday sanity, but it is in the everyday that these politics are most profound – in the fight to go to school, to walk the streets unharassed, and to live with dignity in a safe, warm, and permanent home.
I’m resolving to re-engage with my everyday feminist politics. To remember more forcefully that the personal is political.