Like many feminists or contemplating feminists, the journey is rough. Sometimes you'll be sitting in your bed watching T.V shows on hulu without blinking or noticing anything peculiar. Other times, you're the first one to start deconstructing the commercials in between by catching all the instances where it perpetuates stereotypical gender roles. Perhaps you're getting down to Lil' Wayne's Lollipop, but shake your head at Jason Derulo's Talkin' Dirty. Both these situations may leave you confused and have you wondering "What is the dividing line?" The question is "Should there even be a dividing line?"
I began struggling with these questions after reading the popular Onion article, Woman Takes Short Half-Hour Break From Being Feminist To Enjoy TV Show. So to answer these questions, I turned to none other than bell hooks for tips.
1."There is no one path to feminism"
Feminism looks different for everyone. There are simply some things that "erk" one person more than another. However if it helps, create some hard lines for yourself, but also understand that you're not perfect. For example, if watching Morning Joe just makes you want to break your T.V, yet Hardball with Chris Matthews seems reasonable, don't watch watch Morning Joe and don't think too hard (well maybe a little). Or if you love Scandal but can't stand Being Mary Jane, don't watch being Mary Jane; however, recognize that similar critiques can be made for both shows. The point is that if you're consciously deciding to watch or listen to something while knowing its gender biased flaws, you are using your agency and hopefully not internalizing what you see or hear.
2. “Feminists are made, not born”
It is important to understand feminism as both a movement and a lens, which is why I was confused when my brother said he couldn't identify himself as a feminist even though he supports the philosophies because he is a man and therefore will never fully understand the experience of being a woman. Well, feminism is for everybody. Even though you may not want to self-identify as an ally to a cause for marginalized peoples, feminism is for anyone who moves to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression and as well as works towards the social and political equality of the sexes according to bell hooks and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The definition may be different for each person, but the foundation of feminism is that it is consciousness, and once you see, many times you can't "un-see". So don't be afraid to either identify as a feminist or say you believe in the feminist lens because you feel you either don't know enough yet, or you're not a marginalized gender or sex.