the ch!cktionary

I'm Lena Chen, a writer, activist, and media producer who's been called a "skank" (by Bill O'Reilly) and "a small Asian woman" (by The New York Times). My favorite part of my workday is the hate mail.

For the unlikely story that is my life, read on.

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irregular features
Ask Lena: Reader Questions Answered
Anatomy of an Outfit
Bad Feminist Confessions
Freelance Friday: Career Advice for Young Writers
Hate Mail
Gratuitous Photos Of My Bulldog
Notes & Snapshots from Abroad
Recent Tweets @lenachen

I’m a feminist and I often think “Fuck Feminism”. I’m glad Maia is gutsy enough to say it out loud (in this latest Feministe post), even though her point seems to be lost on the outraged commenters.

Feminism, like many progressive social movements (LGBT rights included), is not always concerned with the issues affecting poor women, women of color, disabled women, queer women, the list goes on. And the list includes, to some extent, women like me.

I say this as a woman of color born to working class immigrants, neither of whom know anything of the feminism I embraced during my years at an Ivy League university where I felt like the odd girl out because of the money I didn’t come from. I can call myself a feminist and accept at the same time that mainstream feminism didn’t and still doesn’t represent women like my mother. I can call myself a feminist and sometimes think myself “Fuck feminism!” because I don’t agree with its elitist brand of progress. Sometimes, I feel like I’m drowning in privilege because of who I associate with, where I live, what I do for fun. But though I went to Harvard and fulfilled the supposedly obtainable American Dream, I’m not under any illusions that this is because of feminism. Feminism made it possible for women to go to college, but the women they were concerned with were not women like me. The second-wave sold us the idea that little girls can do anything boys can do, but the only people who can do anything they want in this country are the people with money.

"Fuck feminism!" doesn’t mean that gender equality isn’t important, but it does mean that society and even progressive movements value some people more than others. It means that those with the luxury of time and the luxury of capital can set the agenda that women like my mother don’t even have time to read. This is a fact that has gone unacknowledged for far too long within the Feminist Establishment. And if it takes someone shouting “Fuck feminism!” for everyone to wake up to it, then I’ll be there shouting it with them.

  1. livefrugallyonsurprise reblogged this from lenachen
  2. kungfucarrie reblogged this from lenachen and added:
    Emphasis mine - this might be the truest thing I’ve read ever.
  3. jessiramsey reblogged this from lenachen
  4. lenachen posted this