Feminism and Communities of Care
By Ippy Gupta
Feminism and self-care – two of today’s hottest topics, buzz words, perhaps even millennial obsessions. But what do they really mean and what on earth do they have to do with each other? In an age where the demand of everyday life is asking so very much of us that burn out is inevitable at some stage, what can we do about it?
The Centre for Gender Studies ran an event addressing feminist care. The point of the event was to formulate ways to avoid this eventuality. I choose to see feminism as a mindset which privileges listening, understanding and not judging, and network of support, encouragement and inclusivity. Most of us are Gender Studies students but beyond that we believe in and live by a similar definition of feminism. We were all looking for how to seek support and be supportive in a way that was kind, caring and feminist.
Nowadays we are constantly sold this idea that looking after ourselves means we must purchase the newest formula of face cream, or buy the most expensive gym membership plan or pay in monthly instalments for that app that tells you how to breathe. As students it is not always easy to live with London prices, but we discussed other ways of caring for ourselves that didn’t involve spending a small fortune. Our discussions led to the realisation that there were ways to avoid this capitalist approach and instead find many other ways to care for ourselves that didn’t involve spending £140 on a haircut.
In doing so we would not only be saving ourselves hundreds of pounds but allowing ourselves to be more feminist in our approaches to self-care. Of course, that’s not to say we mustn’t ever treat ourselves to that new pair of shoes or a spa day with our pals, but rather placing value on spending time with each other, offering a shoulder to cry on and sipping on tea sharing our experiences, good and bad alike.
We learned that by spending time and energy on the things that we loved and the people we care about we surround ourselves by a network of support and a bubble of safety from the demands of everyday life. In choosing to go to that pottery class with a friend you choose not only an outlet for your stress but a solidarity and an understanding that you are not alone.
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