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What kind of feminism do you do here?

13 June 2010

In short, not the fun kind.  If you Get that reference, this post will be old news to you.

This is a transnational radical feminist/ally* space.

Social conditioning, not biological essentialism, is the mechanism through which gender disparity is maintained.  Wherever biological differences do exist, they offer insufficient evidence that women and men are inherently incapable of experiencing the full range of human emotions and agency currently denied by divisive gender regimes.  With over 99.5% genetic similarity among humans, it is highly improbable that any portion of us originated on a different planet from the other portion.  Modern mythology even casually supporting that meme is damaging to all of us and just plain boring.  Feminism as a movement is still crucial to women’s full humanity, but it’s meant to become obsolete.  Liberation from oppressive, stifling, socially-constructed gender roles is the ultimate goal – not some half-assed and biased notion of ‘equality.’  What’s wrong with equality?  Nothing, in a vacuum.  However, as the term is used (particularly by many-but-not-all liberal feminists), it still privileges masculine values and social organisation.  Equality means getting more women on Big Sports Clothing Company’s board of directors.  With even a rudimentary knowledge of what kind of person is generally on BSCC’s factory floor and what forces put her there, one of the problems with this sort of ‘equality’ quickly becomes apparent.  Political participation raises many similar problems, as the briefest of glances at Sarah Palin’s career history should reveal.  The equality position is also favoured by many liberal anti-feminist dudes (whether they identify as such or not) who think that equality means they can call Sarah Palin a bitch** for, I don’t know, the dozens of reasons they do it.  Additionally, women’s growing political and economic participation has not exempted us from sex-caste status nor fixed rape culture (more on the failure of the ‘sexual revolution’ in the Global North in a future post, perhaps).  A complete overhaul of society, including every element of the fivefold path, is necessary for liberation.  At the forefront of this is the dismantling of the global capital system, which depends completely upon the exploitation of and discrimination against*** subordinate races, classes, genders/sexualities, and animalkind.

Feminism – including the radical variety – continues to be problematic for further marginalised groups.  Women of colour, trans people, and working-class women are among the most injured by aspects of the movement.  While I can’t speak from a lived-experience standpoint about the former two, I intend to write extensively about intersectional issues and critique problems within ‘the movement’ as I understand them.  I wouldn’t presume that I can fix exclusion on my own, especially since the points of privilege I do occupy can make me oblivious to a lot of things, but I intend to constantly improve myself and work against that.

In addition to the 101-301 tag system, I’m not planning for every post to appeal to everybody.  Some stuff is going to be pretty academic – not in the Gayatri Spivak way, but with references to other authors/works/theories/concepts that may not be explained in that context.  A lot of what I’ve written about lately is more gender theory than it is feminist politics, though the latter is really my passion, and they do have to work together.  Come November I’ll have my MA in transnational feminist/gender studies (that’s not exactly what we call it, but I go to a weird school and have to explain it that way).  I’m not a cultural relativist, though, so justifying queerphobia and women’s dehumanisation via ‘culture’ isn’t going to fly here.  Much of the stuff culture is responsible for is actually pretty crappy no matter whose culture we’re talking about.

Anyway, trying to splice down my entire philosophy into a manageable intro post is kind of impossible, so I’m going to stop there and let future posts expand upon it.

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What does this mean for comments?

Although posts with the 101 tag are intended to be accessible to anyone, and discussions from all levels of familiarity are welcome on them, that’s not to suggest that feminism itself is up for debate.  If we feel like you don’t know what you’re talking about, we might send you here.  This isn’t (necessarily, haha) intended as an insult; we just don’t want to waste our time rehashing basic questions over and over all across the internet when someone has put together a resource to address them.  If we send you here, however, we’re running out of patience and probably think you’re arguing in bad faith anyway.  If we feel like you’re just trying to dismiss the feminist movement because it hurts your feelings, the civility portion of our comments policy will no longer apply to you, and we’re honestly not going to feel bad about it.  Folks who don’t think women should exist with basic humanity intact can piss right off.  To further clarify where I stand on that, my favourite blog on the whole internet is I Blame The Patriarchy.  The discourse on 301-tagged posts is intended to be a similar level of embiggenment, so don’t assume that we’ll slow the train down in there.

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*I personally prefer that those on the receiving end of male privilege–particularly cisgender men–use the term ‘feminist ally’ or ‘pro-feminist’ rather than ‘feminist.’  See Chris Clarke’s Why I am not a feminist post.
**Using the word ‘bitch’ on this blog when not in direct reference to a published work that I probably wouldn’t read anyway is 99% likely to get your ass banned, because I’m an autocrat like that and it’s my most hated word in the English language.  Claims to ignorance of this policy will probably be ridiculed, because duh, this is a radical feminist space, so why would you say it here anyway?
***I like bell hooks’s use of “exploitation and discrimination” (from her 1984 text, “Black Women: Shaping Feminist Theory”) as a more nuanced take on “oppression.”

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Tim Cronin permalink
    13 June 2010 19:38

    A true feminism appreciates the genius and differences of women from men. A feminism that tries to blur the differences is false and misleading.

    • EDB permalink*
      13 June 2010 23:22

      A dude telling me how to do “a true feminism” and saying that my way is false and misleading *already*? It feels like christmas would probably feel if I celebrated it!

      Explain societies with more than two genders. Explain the existence of intersex children and what you’d do with them for not fitting neatly into a category. Explain what you think should happen to people who don’t perform their gender ‘properly.’ Explain why women should buy into the existence you’re implying for us when it’s maintained our second-class status for thousands of years.

      What other categories of people do you think should be happy to live under the banner of “separate but equal”?

    • 13 June 2010 23:25

      binary gender is a myth. welp, bye!

      But really, what sort of differences would you have us appreciate? And what differences do you think it’s bad to try and “blur”?

      Furthermore,

      coolfrog

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