7 Things To Do When You Need A Break From Feminism

Ladies, I’m exhausted.

I know, I know — things are better in 2014 then they have historically been for women and gender minorities for generations. Our foremothers’ victories are nothing to sneeze at. They’ve paved the way for us to do incredible things, and in doing so they’ve raised the bar. We now know that we don’t have to accept “realities” like, oh I don’t know, that women aren’t cut out to be CEOS because PERIODS. Or gender minorities have to fit into a narrow, arbitrarily-created boxes. Or that getting drunk and dancing like a hilarious maniac means you’re responsible for putting yourself in danger if you’re raped.

Feminists don’t accept the status quo, and we shouldn’t. The status quo is sometimes pitiful and “but we’ve come so farrrrrr” doesn’t change that. I’ve thought many times of how to go about quitting the rat race that is feminism. It would be so much easier to not care about mistreatment of transgender women in prison, or paycheck inequality, or the university campus rape epidemic. But one cannot unsee that which has been seen, you know? Once we’re tuned in, it’s not so easy to tune back out. Being tuned in, however, doesn’t make me want to get up in the morning — it makes me want to stay in bed, in my house. My house is the only place I can guarantee that the women in the room (me) experience full and just equality.

But I have to leave my house, and I have to turn the computer on so that I can live my very busy and important life. And the moment I do so, there is the potential for exposure to injustices so horrific and so pervasive that ignoring them is not a viable option.  Questioning authority and publicly challenging governments, bosses, family members, Facebook friends, internet trolls, in-laws, dudes on public transit — those things are tiring. So what do we, the feminists of 2014, do to take breaks from the hard work of awareness raising and standing up for what’s right? How do we regroup so that the next time we hit up social media or see some bullshit toy designed to teach little girls that their place is in the home, we’re rejuvenated and ready to hold heads up and keep going.

We don’t really get to take the day off of being committed to a world where everyone gets to experience wellness, justice and full equality. As scary as it is, we probably never will. Here’s what I do to get my moments of zen when I need them most (PS I’m intentionally not linking to stories that will anger us):

1. Emotionally eat. In order to truly appreciate this one, make sure to ignore the political implications of indulging in your comfort food of choice, just for the day. You can focus on the fact that McDonald’s doesn’t let workers unionize another day! Don’t treat your body like a temple if you don’t want to on your feminist break. Don’t force yourself to use locally grown ingredients. Make a cake from a box, knowing full well that Michael Pollan says women who craved boxed-cake convenience in the 1950s have ruined our diets today. Let him blame you! No critical analysis on your break. Sit in your bed, a place where there is no NFL or world leader (sorry Michelle Obama) and eat food made entirely of chemicals. Or not. Whatever!

2. Binge-watch a contest series and get really passionate about it. Pick something relatively mindless like “The Voice.” Research the contestants online, take part in chat forums about them, and hate their critics. My personal favorite feminist-break television choice is “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” There’s lip-syncing (for your life!), good makeup, and lots of petty drama.

3. Lay in nature and listen to music … that you can’t understand. As of recently, I live in Australia, where there are things like kookaburras and endless eucalyptus trees. There is also a massive hole in the ozone layer directly above Australia — probably a direct result of over-consumption by rich westerners — but I digress. Sometimes I like to walk in that stinging sun and listen to French music as a break from my pesky feminist critique of the world. I like to listen to Edith Piaf or Carla Bruni, because I don’t have a fucking clue what they are singing about. Avoid lyrics you understand (or lyrics at all) because we just can’t help it, can we? Without lyrics, there’s no option to politicize a song’s message. And why lay in nature? Nature doesn’t vote. And kookaburras love equality.

4. Reorganize your pantry. You’ll hate nothing more in that moment — not politicians, not men’s rights activists, not the vitriolic religious right. Take a break to hate your three bottles of cinnamon, spilled balsamic vinegar that’s created a mini pantry ecosystem and sweet potatoes that are growing shit. And the best thing is that you will have accomplished something that makes your life better. Suck it, misogyny!

5. Have sex. They can’t take that away! It’s the ultimate fuck you to those misanthropes who hate us and try desperately to legislate our reproduction and sex lives … and you don’t even have to try that hard! It’s what you want to be doing anyway, in some cases. Just make sure you do it in whatever way you like, no matter how off-the-wall or vanilla. Sex for reproduction OR just for pleasure. Sure, this does have the potential to be a micro activist activity, but don’t let it be. It’s just you doing you (unless you’re with someone else, but you don’t have to be)!

6. Do yoga. I admit yoga is fraught. There’s a lot of body politics ugliness wrapped up in yoga these days. Is it just for skinny people? Is it culturally appropriative? Have rich white women made it inaccessible for women of color?

If you can move beyond questioning the role you’re playing in turning something beautiful, peaceful and eastern into something competitive, exclusive and western, do it. I bloody love yoga. Hot yoga is particularly good for clearing your mind because you’re mostly focused on how to survive the subsequent minutes in the blinding humidity. Best case scenario is that you can find an amazing yoga studio where everyone is a body-positive, social justice-oriented yogi and feed two birds with one scone: get your challenging, mindful yoga fix and/or a good break from feminism, whichever you need on that particular day. Also, you’ll look awesome.

7. Look at funny things on the internet. Like this!

Or this!

Or this!

What do you do when you need a break? Watch ridiculous animal videos online? Go for a run? Drugs? Read gossip mags in the bathtub with wine? Do tell!