I first heard of this in the comment section of a YouTube video I watched a few weeks ago. I generally try not to read the comments as this section is always a breeding ground for every one's unsolicited opinions, and I usually exit out in a rage of anger every time I read them.
I must say this time was no different. I remember the video being about some sort of feminism minded topic, and the commenter had said something about how the girl should stop complaining about her "first world feminism" needs.
In some ways I get what they're trying to say. We're fighting for equal opportunity in the workplace and a world where we don't get catcalled walking down the street; many women in other countries are fighting for their right to an education and a world where they don't fear their life every time they step outside of the house. When looking at the big picture, what we're fighting for is so small compared to what others are fighting for. I'm not afraid to admit that. We're not afraid to admit that.
The concept of first world feminism makes us seem petty. People seem to think we should be grateful for what we have. We shouldn't try to push it. But that concept seems to irritate me even further.
In the mindset of first world feminism, it's okay that only three out of every 100 rapist serve a prison sentence or the fact that mothers are punished in the workplace but not fathers because other women have it worse. It justifies my inequalities because I should simply be grateful for what I have.
The problem is that inequality is never justifiable no matter how small the inequality may be.
I get that women in other countries face way worse. I will help them fight for the equalities that I already enjoy and for the equalities that I still don't have. I will stand with them to end sex trafficking, and I will help fight for their right to an education.
But that will never stop me from fighting against my own inequalities. The fact that my calculus teacher still makes sexist comments repeatedly, or that an engineer came to my school as a guest speaker and asked if he needed to explain what a wrench was to the girls in the room. The fact that women make up 20% of our Senate and 19% of our House of Representatives, yet 51% of America's population. The fact that people suggest that I choose a career that will allow me to have time off once I have kids. The fact that we teach women how to prevent rape instead of teaching men not to rape.
Being a feminist in a first world country is a balance of being grateful for what you have yet not contempt with what you don't. We must be ready to fight for women down the street and women thousands of miles away. Equality doesn't stop around the borders of our own country, equality extends around the world.
Most importantly, we must remember that this fight is for women everywhere.
Have a fabulous day.