A Word from Nicole, the ReproJustice Founder
I must admit, I’ve lost a bit of my initial lust for ReproJustice. When I first started the blog, I was sure that it was exactly what the world needed at the moment, and that I would be welcomed with nothing but open arms and hearts. While I think it’s cute (and sometimes necessary) to live in a bubble of positivity, the past few weeks have caused me to reconsider that very notion. I published an article entitled White Male Privilege: Why We Can't Have Nice Things (Like Public Nudity) and received quite a bit of backlash, mostly from internet trolls. I don't want to dwell on the negativity too much, since I also received a lot of positive feedback, but the response did force me to take off my rose tinted glasses and really look at what I am trying to accomplish.
My conclusion: Though everything isn't rosy pink, it's still pretty damn beautiful. The honeymoon phase of my ReproJustice marriage may be coming to an end, but I’m not sad. In fact, I am a bit relieved. It means it’s time for me to pivot in to another direction. Though I will continue to use ReproJustice to highlight women making a positive impact, I won't (under any circumstances) stop to feed the trolls.
Being an intersectional feminist in a binary world
The truth is, though I consider myself an intersectional feminist, the world is still very binary. There are still MANY female-centric taboos that need to be shattered and I wanted to give women a safe place to talk about them (cramping, body image, periods, sexual assault, etc.) The reason I chose to focus on the struggles that women face is because of this simple fact, I identify as a woman. I am not going to speak on trans issues, because I don’t know what it’s like to be trans. If I started a blog about colon cancer, it doesn’t mean I don’t care about breast cancer.
By starting ReproJustice I never intended to place anyone else’s struggle with sexuality or gender identity above mine. I believe everyone should be able to shine as bright as they possibly can without worrying about tired labels or outdated societal constraints. But, positivity only gets you so far. In order for us to clear out the shadows, we must first bring them to light.
Bottom line, there is still a LOT of work to do. Pitting marginalized groups against marginalized groups is not helping anyone. ReproJustice is going to continue to focus on women's issues primarily, though I highly encourage you to carve out your own space to highlight issues that you think are important (if they aren't being addressed elsewhere.) Start a blog. Join a meetup. March in a parade. Do SOMETHING (but don't troll others trying to make a positive change, that's not helping anyone.)
My Goals for the Site
My goal for the site is not to change other people's minds. While that would be awesome if I woke up some folks with my writing, I am a bit more realistic about the whole thing. Instead, my mission is to empower other women to speak out (especially when their voice shakes). When I first began to publish my writing, I felt a lot of fear, but then I felt extremely empowered. I started to carry myself with purpose. I didn’t mumble nonsense when people asked me what I did for a living, instead I enunciated, "I'm a writer." I felt a fire burning inside of me. Though I think I always came across as a confident person, for the first time in my life, I actually believed it.
I think it’s really easy to get caught up in the negativity. I know it's happening when I start to feel red inside and then get defensive. It's happened a few times to me on the ReproJustice social media channels already. I'll never understand why people would rather troll a feminist blog than actually try to make a positive change in their community, but that's besides the point. Though I've embarassingly fallen victim to their bait a few times before, I refuse to do it again. That’s why I am going to keep casting light on the positive women who get up every day and make the world a bit brighter. Some of them are friends, some of them I don’t know, but all of them are an inspiration.
"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'" - Mr. Rogers
If you have a story you'd like to share or a rad lady you'd like to shine the spotlight on, please get in touch. We are stronger together.