B Camminga wrote a brilliant essay discussing gender and language use in the third section of Feminism Is, “Conversations”. A stand out quote from the contribution “I am a trans person. I am also a feminist. In fact it was feminism that taught me biology is not destiny,” solidifies that feminism is not only for women. Stories like B Camminga’s make this book relatable to anyone who picks it up, no matter the gender they identify as. The section also includes conversations with Gogo Ngoatjakumba, a sangoma and relative to Nomalanga Mkhize, and Louise, who describes herself as “a queer and unapologetic fierce-as-f*** feminist”. A beautiful selection of poems by Genna Gardini appears in the fourth part, “Power and Fury”. This section will feed the fight in any feminist who has heard a version of the following “Why are you feminist types always so angry? Go ahead pay the bill then, since you want to be the man.”
The final part of Feminism Is titled “In Practice”, deals with how feminism works in everyday life and how it influences certain things such as services for rape survivors. Nancy Richards explores what the word feminism really means to her and even expresses her problems with the word. She concludes her essay, Feminism on paper, feminism in practice, by saying that whatever problems she has with the word feminism she needs to get over it because “the war on women rages on. Together we need to stop it – with more feminism, not less.”
All of the contributions by the different authors are written beautifully and when read together encapsulates all the sides to feminism and accurately describes what feminism means, how to be a feminist and why feminism is still needed in South Africa.
Image: Rhodeen Davies, Feminism Is cover