Despite our best efforts to destroy it or ignore it, (imperialist white cis hetero) patriarchy has survived another year, sucking our energy, pitting us against each other, denying our personhood and generally making being a human being on this planet less worthwhile than it should be. Fuck. Next year we have to fight smarter, love better, think more clearly, and, simply put, be and do better.
1. Icona Pop – Girlfriend
Be one of the few things in the world singularly focused on raising up your female/queer/genderfun friends. Academic identification and analysis of patriarchy is important, as is activism and radicalism. But even before those things are possible, strong bonds and trust are necessary. This year make healthy and supportive friendships with your friends struggling under gendered and sexualized oppression one of your top priorities.
2. Beyoncé – Grown Woman
Be accountable for yourself. If you’re a white feminist and you’re called out by black women for talking over them, ignoring them, actively fighting against their interests, be accountable to that and behave like an adult. If you’re told that you’ve messed up, listen, apologize if appropriate, and use what you learned to be better. If you’re grown, act grown.
3. Little Mix – Wings
Compile a list of lessons, quotes, and tactics from those who fought before you. Mom, Grandma, Aunt, Auntie, and all those activists, poets, revolutionaries who laid the groundwork for your survival. They will keep you above water when you feel like you’re drowning and provide a light when the path is dark.
4. Tegan and Sara – Closer
As is obvious to anyone who has tried to love in a culture that doesn’t love them, words like Love, Intimacy, and Commitment roll off the tongue somewhat like Cthulhu, Azathoth, and Nyarlathotep. Be cautious, be wary, ensure your emotional and physical safety but, this year, try to let people in. People worthy of your vulnerability.
5. Nicki Minaj (feat. Ciara) – I’m Legit
This year, try being vain. Be obnoxious about it as long as you don’t put anyone else down. Or be subtle about it. Say you’re smart, say you’re gorgeous, say you’re funny. Say it to the mirror or to every person you meet. Say it until you believe all of it. You’re not supposed to believe it. Believing it, believing you are worthwhile and deserving of respect, is the foundation for any rebellion against structural violence. You can’t win a fight you don’t think you deserve to win.
6. Disclosure (feat. AlunaGeorge) – White Noise
Think about the people you interacted with last year. Who told you that the things you care about, that the things you fight for, weren’t worth fretting over? Who told you that your views were overreactions, emotional, irrational and therefore, not worth considering? Make a list of these people who don’t understand why you need to be taken seriously to maintain your sanity. Purge accordingly.
7. Beyoncé – ***Flawless
Work hard, really really hard, to understand why, just maybe, a thing you’ve always associated with the patriarchy may be liberatory or necessary for survival for others. Your views on marriage, make up, birth control, sexual freedom, reproduction, etc. are heavily influenced by your race, economic class, education, religion, and location and saying one view is the official Feminist™ standpoint erases the different struggles different communities and individuals have had with those concepts and structures. Be open, listen, watch, think critically about why that thing you find abhorrent may be radically subversive to someone else.
8. Neon Jungle – Trouble
This year keep your eye out for budding feminists. Look for girls who talk back. Girls who’ve been hurt and want to understand why no one seems to be doing anything about it. Boys with a switch in their walk and “too many” female friends. Girls who want to understand why they’ve never seen a woman on tv with hair like theirs, or with skin like theirs. Keep your eye out for them and share what you know and where they can learn even more.
9. The Knife – Full of Fire
Read more feminist and queer literature, theory, poetry. If you find it accessible and worthwhile, engage with it personally, see how theory works (and doesn’t work) on the ground and see how history is more than just history. If you find it inaccessible or not worthwhile, think about how you’d make it more accessible, how you’d communicate your struggle, your communities struggle, in a way that the next generation will understand. Be the theorist, artist, organizer you wished you’d seen.
10. M.I.A. – Y.A.L.A
Be more radical. If your feminism doesn’t extend beyond your blog, your thesis, and your interpersonal relationships then try to do some things for human liberation, not just your personal empowerment and enlightenment. Go to rallies (where your presence is requested). Donate to organizations that don’t directly target your demographic (if your financial assistance is requested). Fight your own people (when they are colonizing, gentrifying, or otherwise stealing from others). Never take center stage from those most directly affected by a problem, never give help or your opinion when specifically asked not to. But try, in whatever capacity your help is asked for, go out and try.
11. THEESatisfaction – QueenS
Own your life; own yourself. Learn to live with the motto, “Whatever you do, don’t fuck with my groove.” Never believe the harsh words of others who try to break you down, to tell you that you’re not beautiful or badass. Keep calm and carry on.