After reading The Absence of a Gender Justice Framework in Social Justice Organizing by Linda Burnham, I looked up the definition of framework because I hear frame/framework used so often that its meaning has been dulled into phrase-yawning jargon. That curiosity led me to a crumb by the name of Isaiah Berlin and his infamous essay, The Hedgehog and the Fox. Berlin exhumed the ancient Greek allegory of the hedgehog (monolithic, focused) and the fox (multiplicitous, decentralized) which re-adjusted my personal feminist framework, just a little.
Burnham argues, rightly and simply, that “social justice activists operate with a woefully inadequate understanding of how the society they are trying to change actually functions”. She outlines that the danger in playing “oppression Olympics” coupled with feminism’s “tainted” reputation means gender is delegated to making the coffee not policy. A salient quote by an interviewee eloquently demonstrates that if you don’t practice gender justice at home (i.e. every day), you won’t have a framework that will survive the fox’s pursuit of complexities. “I find that in personal relationships it’s important to create a language and a platform to discuss problems. Then you reach a threshold and eventually it becomes easier. It becomes part of the fabric of the relationship.”
Finding space to practice justice in a culture that is polarized and marginalizes for the sake of profit and protest, leaves me desperate for passion, for creation, for joy. To quote Margaret Kilgallen, “The obsession with imperfect perfection has changed my work.”