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oh ffffft.

Said it before, probably shouldn't bother to say it again, but, in response to this:

It's no great news that "feminism" -- the word and, by extension, the movement -- has an image problem. Women of all ages and colors have, at turns, bristled at the term, embraced it, lauded it and disdained it, practically since it was coined. However, after years of soldiering on under the burden of a heavily loaded word, a new crop of progressive and politically active women are finally addressing the problem. Some are looking to reinvigorate "feminist" by laying claim to the word -- a new magazine and a recent book are both cheekily titled "The F Word" -- while others are contemplating new words and phrases to employ in the fight for women's equality. After years of quiet debate, women are tackling their own labels with the energy of a movement anxious to make itself fresh again.
I'm not scared of the word. I got fed up with the people who seem, so easily, to become its public face. I got tired of being told over and over "if you believe in equality, then our word applies to you, and you must stick it onto yourself and be proud of the label, no matter how uneasy your alliance is with us. You're allowed to disagree vehemently with us on some matters, of course. We promise we're indulgent. But the moment you decide our word is not for you, you label yourself a hater of your own freedom, fool."

Why do these people never ask how much being condescended to a person can take before she leaves? Why not ask whether it's more important to her to be recognized as a freedom fighter -- or at least, to parade around like an idiot using the phrase freedom fighters are supposed to use, while doing nothing more than smugly blogging from behind a wall of (usually) white privilege and class privilege -- or more important to her to stand in solidarity with her sex worker friends, kinky friends, femme friends, SAHM friends? Or to stand up for herself, should she fit into one of those categories? I've seen people in all of those groups critiqued for insufficient slavish loyalty to some official concept of women's "liberation," and more than a few of them called enemies of women's freedom. And, as I've said before, I am so done.

I'm loyal to my people and my principles. Not your names. As I've said a thousand times, call me a feminist if you want. You won't be wrong. But hearing "but if you believe in basic decency, you're a feminist" for the thousandth time won't make me don the badge again.

Also, it quite honestly demeans feminism when you claim that anyone who believes in equality is a feminist. Plenty of people "believe in equality" from their couches. I don't think they should get to count alongside actual activists, simply because we'd like more people to like the word "feminist" better.

Comments

fierceawakening
Oct. 25th, 2009 02:06 pm (UTC)
Not to start another aggressive debate (unless you'd like one *grin*) but I always thought it was second wave feminism that shot itself in the foot. While I do think second wave feminism did a whole lot of good, and I think it was in some ways more effective than the third wave, yes, pastiche we've got now, there's a lot about the second wave that really bothers me.

It's been belabored to death and twisted all kinds of ways, but I do think there's something to, for example, the criticisms of Dworkin that say she makes it sound like consensual sex is rape. She does have a fair amount of ideological daughters who have turned what were originally cogent, if creepily stated, observations about the cultural playing field on which sexual interactions occurred into... well, have a few links. (The second is particularly horrifically wrong.)

And, you know, this is perhaps a bit personal, but I really get tired of being told that real feminists understand that my kinks are a threat, or even that it would perhaps be a good idea for me -- or at least for a man with the same kinks as me -- to kill himself.

And, while I'm not saying there don't exist perfectly sensible good people who were around during the second wave and prefer what things were like then to the, yes, bewildering hodgepodge of "feminisms" we've got now, many of which don't deserve the name (I'd be dissing you and several good online friends if I said that -- who are, at the very least, treasure troves of information for younger folks like me who were not there in the day), it seems that the people I and my friends run into who identify strongly with radical feminism are, sadly, all too often these sorts of people instead.

As far as tearing itself apart... hmm. I always thought that third wave feminisms (particularly if you consider the folks like Lorde who are famous for rebuking white feminists for this) were the ones who really called attention to intersectionality. Sadly, I also think that that attention to intersectionality very quickly became lip service. *sighs*
niyazi_a
Oct. 25th, 2009 02:22 pm (UTC)
Hey, I'm not saying second-wave feminism is the shiz-nit. Dworkin drives me crazy, for example. As does...Susan Jeffers, I think her name is? She argues that the only TRUE feminism is lesbianism. Whuh? So now I'm not only supposed to feel bad because I wear makeup, but because I like having sex with guys? Sleeping with 'the enemy'? (Ummmm, not to mention that robot kink I have) That's just ridiculous stuff.

Second wave, remember, though, were all raised by moms who were raised in the 50s. Uptight about sexuality much? Oh yeah. You younger women might have been raised by women who remember the Free Love of the 60s, and thus don't have my generation's shame attachment to ANY kind of sex, kink or no. In a sense, Dworkin and her other rabid friends came out of at least an exploration of sexuality. A misguided and narrow minded one, perhaps, but it was a start. Most women I know read and react against Dworkin. That's how you grow as a person, no? Reacting to thoughts you don't like, and figuring out why you think they're wrong? In that sense, she at least deserves some respect. I love to hate her, but I admit I had to re-evaluate my stance on things, A LOT, because of her.

I'm not a 'real feminist' in a political sense--that's where the second wave really went off the rails--they were trying to unify to create political power. My notion is that as a woman, you should enjoy whatever kink you enjoy (so long as it doesn't involve children, okay? I draw the line there unapologetically). My 'feminist' stance just wants women to realize they have more OPTIONS than missionary position with one man for the purposes of procreation. And that they keep hold of their dignity and self-worth in the process.

When I was in the military, my guys would disparagingly refer to a girl as 'three hole qualified', meaning she did it orally, vaginally and anally. They meant it as an insult. She might have felt it was a positive statement about her sexuality. As a woman, I am frankly confused, because I see that the guys do not share her vision. How do we deal with that? (Yeah, I realize that's a tangential issue, but.... I'm sure you have a more updated perspective on this than I do).
fierceawakening
Oct. 25th, 2009 02:41 pm (UTC)
Dworkin drives me crazy, for example. As does...Susan Jeffers, I think her name is? She argues that the only TRUE feminism is lesbianism. Whuh? So now I'm not only supposed to feel bad because I wear makeup, but because I like having sex with guys? Sleeping with 'the enemy'? (Ummmm, not to mention that robot kink I have) That's just ridiculous stuff.

Sheila Jeffreys.

And your robot kink CLEARLY excludes you from the sisterhood! *laughs*

Dworkin and her other rabid friends came out of at least an exploration of sexuality. A misguided and narrow minded one, perhaps, but it was a start. Most women I know read and react against Dworkin. That's how you grow as a person, no? Reacting to thoughts you don't like, and figuring out why you think they're wrong? In that sense, she at least deserves some respect. I love to hate her, but I admit I had to re-evaluate my stance on things, A LOT, because of her.

Yeah, I feel the same way. I hated her at first because I completely didn't get what she was saying about how sexuality is presented by the culture. I thought she was just picking on people she thought were too kinky or too sexual or too fond of pornographic imagery. Once someone explained to me that she was making a larger point, and once I actually looked at some older pornography, I found myself realizing that she did have a point. now I'm pretty much back to rolling my eyes at her ;-)

My notion is that as a woman, you should enjoy whatever kink you enjoy (so long as it doesn't involve children, okay? I draw the line there unapologetically).

*agree*

When I was in the military, my guys would disparagingly refer to a girl as 'three hole qualified', meaning she did it orally, vaginally and anally. They meant it as an insult. She might have felt it was a positive statement about her sexuality. As a woman, I am frankly confused, because I see that the guys do not share her vision. How do we deal with that? (Yeah, I realize that's a tangential issue, but.... I'm sure you have a more updated perspective on this than I do).

I think they might and they might not. I think that even if you like something, you can tell when somebody is looking down on you for it. for me, the thing is, whether guys are looking down on someone for being "too slutty" or "frigid," they're still behaving badly because they're assuming it's up to them how someone should behave at what someone should want. IMO in an ideal world, everyone would be able to do or not do what they wanted (as long as it did no harm to anyone, of course) without being mocked for it.

Edited at 2009-10-25 02:42 pm (UTC)

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fierceawakening
Minister of Propaganda for the Decepticon Empire

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