More Hell, Fewer Dahlias: The Musings of a Radical Feminist.

Archive for the ‘rants/digressions/that ain't so.’ Category


http://genderbitch.wordpress.com/2010/01/23/intent-its-fucking-magic/

Please, go here and read.

Pear of the awesome linkage linked me to this and it sums up everything i’ve been being upset about for the past, oh week.

My sociology class is hung up on intent. Lots of second wave feminists, including a second wave feminist presenting professor. Addressing those marginalized in comments would be negating the intent of the comments, which was to…uhm.

Well, I’m not really sure what was intended by comments comparing the oppression of lesbians to the “oppression” of brunettes, and I would have loved to find out. But that would have been “villainizing” the girl who made the comments, so instead I should shut the fuck up and “not get angry when people say insensitive things.” because “intent goes a long way in the classroom.”

Yes, intent goes a long way in the classroom. A long way in MARGINALIZING PEOPLE.

Fuck people, srsly.

I’m sure some of my angst over this has to do with actually COMING OUT to my family and claiming the identity of lesbian (I mean I’m telling my GRANDMOTHER, people. I can’t get out of this one) and this is my first actual incident where I’m experiencing marginalization and can talk about it with people in real life.

And talk about it I do. Constantly. Perhaps at the risk of becoming annoying.

But I mean, I just defined kyriarchy for my girlfriend!

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“Men’s bodies are commodified too!” “Men can understand the female experience!” “Men’s genitalia are stigmatized, just like women’s!”

I really think this is  just another way of turning feminist dialogues into being about men and their oppression. Oh noes, it happens to them too!! Which can easily be turned into, “see, they understand what its like!!!”

Nope. Not at all.It happens to the general population, but it specifically and systematically targets women on a large and deeply rooted scale and men can not understand what it means to live that, because they do not live with that reality. Bringing their oppression and experiences into the discussion is another way of the privileged group exerting their privilege.

Example: I’ve been involved in a conversation on Livejournal where the experiences of people with “black” names, like “LaShawn” are treated negatively in job situations due to their names, either by not being called for interviews, but being called when submitting the same resume under Shawn, or by customers while working in telephone positions and giving their name and getting requests for “white” or “nonethnic” personnel. Suddenly, it seemed like a large storm of white people decided they needed to share their experiences with their names barring them from opportunities: a welsh girl in America’s name being spelled a more American way. A white woman named Monica (said Moe-knee-kuh, not mohnikuh) having her named said incorrectly in a waiting room. These events have little to NO significance in the context of discussing the systematic oppression of people of color through name/stereotypes, so it is totally inappropriate for these types of stories to drown out the voices of the people actually living this experience, and it is an example of them using their privilege to continue the oppression, HOWEVER unintentional it is.

That’s what I see whenever I hear “well men’s bodies are stigmatized too!” or “Men don’t feel good about the wage gap!” or “my boyfriend says…” in feminist discussion. It is just another way of shifting the focus off of the people who need to be doing the talking by making the problems less gender specific (“it happens to men too!”), thus marginalizing women even further.


FYI: If you google “sex worker photos” or “indian sex worker photo” you can get here. Hm. Also “rape schedule.” I like the third search term the most but oh well, can’t win ’em all. I’m calming myself by thinking that maybe these people were looking for photos of sex workers as they really are: people with families, work, bills to pay, etc and not for any sort of porn purposes. Don’t disabuse me of this notion plz! It is possibly valid.

PSA: So I’ve been fighting the sexist language battle for sometime, with various people and places. Saying “she’s got balls,” “be a man,” and using slang terms for vagina (“cunt” “pussy”) as insults is supporting a sexist culture. Recognizing where these terms come from, why we use them as such, and the systems we are supporting while using them is important.

I’m sure someone much better verses in linguistics and language/culture relation can elaborate/disprove/whatevs this little PSA, but there you have it. It is 2:35 in the morning and I am done with finals, people!


Okay, does everyone know MTV’s television show 16 and Pregnant? I’ve gone back and forth on what aspect of this show to talk about, both positive and negative.  So here’s my handy dandy chart!

Positive

-Sex education ads, encouraging teens to seek information and giving then handy websites

-Fairly realistic portrayals of problems: a child with some sort of heart or lung problem, some difficult labors, and multiple complicated living situations.

Negative

-Exploitive

-Dr. Drew

-Possible glamourizing of situation?

Dr. Drew? He’s a negative? Uhm, yeah. Have you seen the Season wrap up?

Maci and Ryan have had problems all along: Maci is a star mother. She’s in college, she works hard to ensure her son Bentley has food, birthday parties and toys and a stable living situation.

Ryan: can’t hold down a job, shows no interest in his child, doesn’t come home for nights on end, and won’t change his son so Maci can take a shower or study.  He’s called her a bitch, called her lazy, and said they wouldn’t be together if it wasn’t for Bentley, and that he’d never speak to her again if it wasn’t for the baby, that he doesn’t care about Maci.

Well, guess what: you officially suck as a father and a boyfriend.

So there’s Ryan!suck. But where does Drew suck come in?

Right around when, on the season finale, he says that he believes Maci and Ryan can work it out.

Work what out, exactly? Ryan’s immaturity, his lack of care towards his son? Maci doesn’t have shit to work out, she’s got it worked out, except for this deadbeat boy who stays around, calling her a lazy bitch.  But instead of condemning him for his immature, irresponsible behavior, they can “work it out.”

Way to pass the buck, Dr. Drew. This isn’t a relationship problem. It’s a “boy is too fucking immature to be a dad or a husband” problem. It isn’t like they’re not communicating over their budget or how to cook hamburgers, HE’S CALLED HER A BITCH AND STAYED OUT FOR NIGHTS ON END.

If you really supported a strong mother raising a strong child, you’d say “forget him. you can raise your child in a healthy environment where he won’t see his mother mistreated, even if it means no father figure for a while.”

But its so much easier to blame “the couple” (which we all know secretly means the woman) and encourage a heterosexual, nuclear family centered “ideal,” even if it is far from ideal.

So, Dr. Drew, thanks for showing the thousands of young women who watched that it really is their fault. Or at the very least, it isnt HIS fault. Oh god, no. Why won’t that lazy bitch just cooperate?

Over and out,

Radfemles (who is swearing off mainsteam media again.)


As a freshman in college, I took a woman’s studies class. No problems, right? At the time I didn’t consider myself radical, but the seeds were definitely there, and I was definitely a feminist. I’d been calling myself one since I was nine years old, knew everything about Gloria Steinham, and just assumed I’d have no trouble in the class.

I ended up dropping it after seven weeks, switching advisors out of the women’s studies faculty, and never setting foot in another women’s studies class again.  There were some things wrong with the class: it was mostly freshmen, so the level of discourse wasn’t very high and people didn’t know how to respectfully disagree and were still adjusting to a discussion based seminar style class.  But reading my journal from those seven weeks…wow. Some of the things that were said, and how I interpreted them, weren’t conducive at all to fostering a level of respect for all women. Some quotes from my journal:

“Apparently my stay at home mother set back feminism by having a career, getting married, and continuing her career until she had children. I mean, it’s not like her and my da decided, TOGETHER, for mum to stay home because they wanted us to have the attention and support after school that they didn’t always have. Nope! Women shouldn’t make conscious decisions about their life, apparently, especially not with male input. Everyone can afford a nanny or daycare while mom works and have it be a good financial decision.”

“Did you know my Da controls the finances in my house, gives my mum an allowance, and obviously spends the rest drinking and carousing with loose women? That’s what men who have stay at home wives do. All of them. I brought up my parents as an example, and apparently I’m wrong, I didn’t live in my house for sixteen years or anything, watching them pay the bills and make all financial decisions together. I must have missed all the loose women parading through and my mother’s overt oppression. And obviously I’m not at college, because all men with stay at home partners FORCE THEM to stay at home and all female children will be made to do the same! Oh shucks, guess I’ve been brainwashed by the patriarchy into thinking you’re all crazy!”

The amount of hatred for males and women who chose other options than what they had chosen or would choose in the future was scary. At the time, I was particularly interested in what I’ve heard referred to as “Kitchen Feminism.” You know that scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, where the women formulate a plan and then coax the males into the plan, giving them all the credit? I was so proud of the women in that scene. They lived in a patriarchal subculture, but managed to do what they wanted anyways, and make decisions for themselves. Do I wish they’d said “Hell no, we aren’t taking this,” walked out, and formed a Greek Women’s Collective complete with lending library? Of course. But that didn’t happen. And instead of being proud of their ability to stretch and challenge their culture while still maintaining a respect for it, my women’s studies class was the environment that faulted them for not starting up the lending library right then and there. The lack of respect for women’s choices (including starting families young, not attending college, having large families/not using birth control, being involved in sex work, just to name a few from those seven weeks) was suffocating. I had to get out, and I did so.

I stopped calling myself a feminist. I wasn’t going to degrade other women and limit their options to fit an upper middle class white worldview. After relating these experiences in a safe space with other feminists, radical and not, I came back to self identifying as a feminist, but the whole experience has made me incredibly wary of academics in feminism.

Except for Mary Daly, who I sort of want to be one day.

Things on my To Blog About Post It: The US Military and Abortion, Alter Boys: Why I’m a Bad Angry Occasional Catholic But Not Really, Tech School Men: Women’s College Doesn’t Equal Lesbian Training Camp, Feminism Reading List, Why Mary Daly Rocks, and Sweetie, You’re a Feminist: A Rant On The New “F-bomb.”

I also have enough Econ HW to kill a cat, so I bid you adieu.


I’ve gotten that comment several times in the past week, mostly from people who know me in off the net land and I’ve linked to this blog. Apparently, I need a shaved head (I’m detangling waist length hair as I type), lots of denim (I prefer cotton blend) and combat boots (I do have really awesome black and white boots, but they’re less combat and more adorable imo).  Those attributes, along with a “Dead Men Don’t Rape” sign and some copies of the SCUM manifesto, and I’m all set to portray the characterized image of a radical feminist that our media is so eager to toss around.  Despite the fact that I, and many of the other radical feminists I’ve met, don’t at all look like that, this image is what is tossed around. Oh, and we’re babykillers. Can’t forget that part!

Instead of launching into what I’d planned right here, I’m going to stray from my outline: I originally was going to talk about how feminists come in all shapes and sizes, and how the image the media puts out marginalizes women of color, differing abilities, and many other factors, all of whom already participate in and shape the culture of radical feminism. But most reading this (from my estimates, who I’ve linked, and the cute referral thing WordPress has!) aren’t radical feminists, and some don’t even self identify as moderate feminists (though those of you I know IRL are totally feminists and more radical than you think and I bet those of you I don’t personally know are too!).

Hence, there’s a slightly different need for this post: the image that the media puts of out of feminists, both radical and not, cuts you, the non identifying feminist, off from feminism. That seems like a “Duh” statement to make, and especially to bold, but after reading several signs my women’s college put up about feminism, it needs to be said. These signs were attached to whiteboards, and people wrote their opinions on them. I was fairly horrified at some of the responses, which identified feminists as whiny, lazy, “others,” unpopular, ugly, and fighting a lost battle, along with being unneeded and outdated. Woah. The thing is, I guarantee you that 90% of the people who wrote those things all take advantage of the things feminism has provided on any given day.

HELLO, WOMEN’S COLLEGE.

Maybe if we were at women’s college devoted to the “womanly arts” of sewing/cooking/being submissive, like offered at some Bible Institutes, you could disavow feminism, but feminism is the reason that you, as a woman, are attending college, living on your own, in dorms or apartments, and able to go on afterwards to fufilling careers and travels. Sorry that we’re apparently so ugly and outdated now, but seriously…we got you where you are today.

So why all the disapproval? Shouldn’t every woman be a feminist to some degree, if they value even one of these abilities: to get an education, work at (most, still some room here) careers, marry whom they choose if at all, develop their sexuality, travel unescorted, own/sell property, control their own bodies and reproduction, VOTE and SO MANY OTHER THINGS?

It’s that image. The one of me in denim and passing out the SCUM manifesto. Women can look at it and think “Well, I’m not like THAT. That’s not ME. They’re so ugly and outdated.”  Many of the people saying these things are feminists: they hold jobs, degrees, educations, property, etc. They just don’t self identify as feminists. And hence a huge issue within the movement: the thousands of “secret feminists” who feel they defy the feminist image and hence aren’t feminists and won’t identify as so.

But who put that image out there, and should we be listening to them?

NO!!!

Being media savvy is part of being a feminist, a woman, and a human, and it should be a part of everyone’s day. The media feeds us things that aren’t true, that are overexaggerated, that are purely sensationalism. And while I love the stories of puppies and small children being rescued from lakes/trees/burning buildings, that’s not the only thing they tell us is true/good/right. Question the six o’clock news. Question the validity of what they’re saying, ask if you see that in your daily life. Give it a quick google, talk to people.

You’ll find that radical feminist, the one who fits the image. You’ll also find a lot of girls with long hair in velvet skirts. The face of feminism is NOT just who the media portrays it to be, it is so much more diverse and encompassing and is working on becoming more so.

Step past the media’s lights. The next time someone starts in on us “ugly, outdated” feminists, look them in the eye and say, “you really think I’m ugly and outdated?”

Chances are, they don’t. And if they do, well, they’re an asshole and you won’t be able to get through to them anyways.