Following Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, where the oldest foundation of White Supremacy and colonialism was openly challenged and the ensuing confrontations between work colleagues pushing to the surface long-hidden bigotries and inequities that were kept silent, it became more apparent that we must find the courage to better frame and address the differences between Woke Feminism and Bespoke Feminism.
Added caveat: Woke is a strictly AAVE term and in order to not abuse it or misappropriate it, I’m using the full expression of “Woke Feminism” that is making its way into main stream discussions pertaining to intersectionality and the expressed frustrations when negotiating with Bespoke Feminism.
Woke Feminism is all inclusive, intersectional, ever expanding and progressing, leading the charge towards change that lifts up All Women instead of only the chosen few that pander to some strict doctrine, ideology, political leaning, gender conformity, race, ethnicity, social or economic class, etc.
Bespoke Feminism is self-centering, self-serving, ever maneuvered and exploited to suit one’s objective of the present time. It is not intersectional, it does not fight to include or even elevate all Women, it is more of the moment responding only to one person’s immediate need.
Woke Feminism does not center one cult figure; it does not center male grievances under the veil of allyship; and it does not vilify Feminism or malign movements birthed from its strive to better acknowledge the centuries of discrimination and injustices, such as the Me Too Movement, in order to serve someone’s political agenda. No one extremist faction ever defines a whole movement, it does not redefine centuries of fight for Progress, just as one grifting element abusing the Movement in order to monetize it does not discredit the whole fight.
Bespoke Feminism is temporary and conditional. It is mostly a conditional allyship based on the unspoken agreement that it would be centered, its needs looked after first, and that it will lend its support as long as those most marginalized and discriminated against would look the other way every time Bespoke Feminism centers male grievances with the ever present threat of aligning with Patriarchy if Woke Feminism dares to speak up and challenge the status quo.
None of us were born Feminists. We were made. We were taught. We were witnesses, observers, victims, and then we had a defining moment where we chose to become active participants. We start off as Bespoke Feminists because that is Human Nature, to care first and foremost about the wellbeing of one’s self. Then we grow up. We notice the world without instead of only the world within. We learn of the complexities of gender norms, of the centuries old ideology that centers and elevates White Supremacy, and the shame of how we were ingrained to uplift, to preserve, and to protect that ideology no matter the skin we were born into. And then comes the time when, at least to ourselves, we admit that nothing will change if we don’t decenter ourselves and find the courage, the temerity, and the determination to center the whole Movement instead. For uplifting All Women is how you achieve true meaningful and lasting Progress.
Today’s Prompt: What was your defining moment, that trigger that made you rethink yourself and push you further away from Bespoke Feminism while moving you closer towards Woke Feminism?