This letter to a friend acts as an update to “We Should All Be Feminists.” In some ways, it covers a lot of the same examples, ideas, and subjects, but it also adds in some oblique references to the 2016 presidential election in the US and also provides some various kinds of intersectionality (specifically toward race and class).
One of the things that I think this tract does really well is heavily emphasize the process aspect of Feminism. For a lot popular discussions of Feminism, whether pro or anti or even neutral, there’s a static nature to the status of “Feminist.” In this sense, the label itself becomes more important than the action of Feminism. So whether or not a celebrity cops to Feminism or not greatly outweighs whether or not they do the things that are or promote Feminism. So while the platform of 1000s of Twitter followers is important, the idea of “right speech” is often promoted than “right action.” And when the process is de-emphasized (ie you either are or are not) then it becomes falsely monolithic and impossible to maintain. This idea that you are 100% perfect or 0% valuable (an idea that is almost never argued for but constantly reinforced) becomes an impossible standard to maintain and one’s psyche can’t usually handle the challenge of being perfect. It’s a weird kind of situation to try and fail and then when you are pilloried, and you apologize to an amorphous online mass whose own perfection comes across as unquestionable.
This letter basically suggests to lay off on the labeling of ideas and people as _______ or anti-_______ and instead focus on conversations about those ideas. It’s important take because it allows for process to occur, for the cultural dismantling to take place, and a place to live in after the fact.
Through and through this is humanistic piece of writing that looks toward spaces of imperfection in individuals to help understand ideals.