I know feminism is almost a dirty word in our society. The second you raise it someone is angry. Even now, it is possible that you are reading this and readying your fingertips to say something about how misguided or wrong feminism is or how we are all just humans and why can't we be humanists instead. As though we cannot be both.
It is feminists though, specifically, who have consistently taught me exactly how I can offer more integrity and fairness to people whose experiences are so different from my own that I at first struggle to understand them. It is their dedication to honesty and their willingness to challenge me and each other, for the purpose of growth, that is so fundamental to my increasing understanding of the imbalances of the world around me.
Women of colour and black feminists especially have extended me the kindness of talking to me and teaching me, either directly or through their words, despite the fact that they are already wearied by a world stacked against them for their skin colour, and don't need to educate oblivious white women.
I will always have to challenge my obliviousness, and when people disregard feminism they disregard the power of a movement that calls us to face our own lack of knowledge and our own ignorance, and to overcome it. Even in incremental steps. Even in tiny ways.
It is feminists who, in focusing on what it is to be a woman (which has nothing at all to do with physical form) and in encouraging the sharing of the vast knowledge we have as a collective, allows us to be kinder to others and better sisters to them, too. To show up for them regardless of whether they identify as feminists or not.
Anything that helps us to reduce the unintentional harms we contribute to, and to comprehend them more clearly, has the power to make us better human beings, and that is an exceptional gift.