Since the winter of 2010 began thawing into an Arab Spring, I’ve been obsessed with constructing the person I’d like to be and the world in which I’d like to live. A gigantic part of those constructs has to do with the food I feed myself and my friends and family, as well as the effect its cultivation has on this planet. If you treat the earth with loving kindness, it will bestow unto you all the things that are good in the world. I believe that filling bellies is a manifestation of love, and that there is no more powerful rebellion than to love one another. Enter radical homemaking, which is, according to Shannon Hayes who coined the term, “[choosing] to make family, community, social justice and the health of the planet the governing principles of [life].”
Until the Arab Spring, I was somewhat indifferent towards organized social justice. I believed that loving one another should be enough civil disobedience to be the change that I wish to see in the world. And then a vegetable vendor in Tunisia had his cart confiscated by corrupt officials and he set himself on fire, sparking solidarity protests across the country that spread wildly throughout the Middle East and North Africa. When #Egypt started trending on Twitter I started paying more attention to the news.
I’m a pretty stoic for an idealistic twenty-one year old girl, but when I heard the NPR interview with Ahdaf Soueif when she told the stories of Egyptian women trying to delay labour until their children could be born into a better Egypt and then naming them Hurriyya and Thaura after freedom and revolution, I sat in my car and cried like a baby in the grocery store parking lot because I’d never heard of a love so beautiful, nor had I realized how important the environment is.
And then there was SlutWalk, the young Western feminists’ version of setting themselves on fire to protest corruption in the form of a Toronto cop telling some college ladies that if they didn’t want raped, they shouldn’t dress like sluts. The linguist and rebel in me were all about reclaiming the word slut, but much like Rebecca Traister wrote in her New York Times article, my initial stream-of-conscious reactions were that it doesn’t help anything to just cannonball into stereotypes in “protest” of them; that there’s nothing wrong with being a slag, but dressing like a whore on purpose and expecting to not be objectified is just retarded; and the inability to disagree that wearing clothes is a good way to not be objectified. I mean, of course women have the right to not be accosted when they go out, but dressing like women who are TRYING to get accosted is an extremely shoddy way to protest objectification. Especially since there was nothing satirical about it. On that note, I also don’t see anything wrong with prostitution as long as the prostitute wants to be fucking for money.
And with that, I realized I was a closet feminist, that all anyone really needs is love, jobs, dessert, and locally grown vegetables, and that as soon as everyone just elects me benevolent overlord, those Egyptian mothers could finally bear their Freedoms and Revolutions into a world worthy of such optimistically named futures. Duh.