Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Juicy Feminist Goodness

Blame the Spice Girls? (via Twisty)

Barbara Ehrenreich has a blog! (thanks, Jenn)

And if you haven't read this bit about "choice feminism" from Linda Hirshman, you should. (also via Twisty)

Yawning Lion defines feminism (ohhhh yes, the feminist sex wars continue! For the record, I think trying to force yourself to be a lesbian is about as sexually unfair to you and your partner as trying to force yourself to enjoy sex with men. But hey, that's why I'm not a radfem or a real feminist, I suppose)

Women, Health, and the Politics of Fat.

I'll rant about all these links later...

6 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Patrick said...

Kam, real feminists are willing to suppress their innate sexual tendencies to promote their preferred political agendas. I don't think anything bad can ever come of doing that. Ever.

I personally loved the "you can argue with me, or you can look at the reasons I'm saying what I'm saying" line. When the reason is "because you're an idiot who's playing militant-er-than-thou because of low self-esteem," I don't see arguing as mutually exclusive.

Kameron Hurley said...

Oh yes. Hence, once again, I don't pass the "real feminist" test. I should be encouraging all women to go to bed with people they aren't attracted to. What a loving society that would be...

heh.

And don't forget: real feminists don't have children, either!

Real feminists will not reproduce and inflict their feminist-thinking-ways on their offspring.

Sorta defeats the whole point, I think.

You know, I don't mind somebody giving a list of "here's what I believe" but saying, "Here's what I believe and if you don't believe it, you're going to hell" bugs me.

Particularly in the case of something like "feminism" that already has a dictionary definition that a lot of people adhere to who wouldn't make YL's list: feminism is the radical notion that women are people. "Feminists" believe that women and men should be treated equally in all respects.

The fact that you desire men or have children doesn't mean you don't believe women are human beings. It doesn't mean you don't fight for your or their right to equality within society and before the law.

It's an interesting laundry list, in any case. It made me think, and hey, if it can do that, there's value in it for me.

La Gringa said...

I was recently marching in the local dykemarch during pride; I was with a friend of mine who is about as girly-girly as you can be and still; be a 100% chick-loving-chickand feminist...she - in her makeup and dangly earrings and cleavage enhancing blouse - was walking the three miles in three inch heels.

At one point a very angry young woman came up to her and declared that my friend's shoes were "tools of the patriarchy." My friend, without missing a beat, replied "Really? And here I just thought they made my legs look hot in these shorts." I nearly cried laughing.

Patrick said...

The article on "choice feminism" and stay-at-home moms was an interesting one for me, too, primarily because (and I say this not in a back-patting way but a surprised way) I hadn't realized how far from the norm my home life is.

The damsel and I both work, and we pay for childcare. Originally, the plan was that I would leave my job to stay at home and take care of the dude -- but then I got offered my dream job, and the damsel's job was NOT her dream job (as we determined from discussion, so she stayed at home for awhile. Had the dream job not dropped into my lap, I'd have stayed at home for awhile instead.

My wife's sister is the full-time worker in her family -- her husband does some part-time work as a physical therapist but primarily stays home to take care of the two kids.

Neither my brother-in-law nor I were gunning for "stay-at-home dad", but in both cases, we looked at the situation -- how much each partner was making, what the family needed as far as income per month, which partner liked his or her job more -- and made a decision based on that.

I will admit that it felt ODD briefly introducing myself as a stay-at-home dad -- I didn't think that society had totally changed to the point where nobody would notice it. But to see how out of the norm my family and my in-laws' family are... that's kind of a bummer.

I have a feeling -- and this is not the profoundest prediction of all time, so I'm not begging for prophet points -- that we're going to see an even more violent polarization of feminism in coming years. On one end, we'll have the "real feminists" who insist that the womyn must be militant and be lesbians or celibate in order to secure victory -- and they will turn men into the enemies who must be defeated, which will turn those men into enemies of feminism, because very few people enjoy getting told that they're an evil enemy who must be defeated.

And the intelligent feminists will educate both men and women in order to create a society that supports working instead of stay-at-homing as the default option for women. They'll work to close the housecleaning gap and the bill-paying gap and all the other atavistic gaps that keep women in the home-mistress role, using that as a foundation from which women will hit harder in the workplace.

It'll be really fun and interesting to see which of those movements has the most long-term effect.

Kameron Hurley said...

I think every movement needs its radicals, especially the feminist movement. If you've got conservative, moderate, and radical feminists, I'm probably a moderate. And I *need* radical feminists to keep me questioning why I believe what I believe, why I'm taking the route I'm taking.

Why do I shave my legs? Why don't I wear heels or make up? How do I justify having relationships with men? How do I negotiate relationships with men? How do I justify trying to make money in a society where I do that by oppressing somebody else? How do I justify using the word "fuck" when using the word is an artifact of living in a rape culture?

I mean, I have to have somebody out there who forces me to question my choices and assumptions. I may believe that the best route to attaining equality is to educate men and women, to teach men to listen more and women to speak more, to teach women how to defend themselves when neccessary and how to feel confident in expressing their opinions. I'm not looking for a violent overthrow of the patriarchy (though hot damn that would be cool), but if I'm not, why not? Isn't the only way to really change anything to do it by way of a bloody revolution?

Well, no. I think that's one of the reasons so many communist countries tanked. I think there's a way to do it that imprints these ideas of equality more and more with every generation, until suddenly the "radical" position is now the norm, and radicals have to go out and become even more radical, and we keep progressing until we get to a point where we do reach true equality.

Because the problem with a bloody revolution is that you're still the same people after the revolution as you were before. But if you're constantly bringing up a new generation with a more and more radical "norm," you're eventually going to get a society of people whose norm is way different than what we've got today. The assumptions I have about what it means to be a woman, to work, the way I express my sexuality, is different and, I'd hope, more radical than that of my great-grandmothers.

And the best way to get to that place is to keep talking about it. To not hide and pretend that everything is OK when it's not. Speak up about it, think about it, talk about, and above all, question assumptions.

And reading about other who hold more radical positions definately challenges me to defend my own position, or alter it based on new information or new ways of looking at the world.

Anonymous said...

I couldn’t feel more alienated from radical feminism.

I have a Master’s degree—earned a 3.93 gpa all through school. For several years, I was on a fast-track in my career. My elementary-school-aged child spent most of his spare hours with my mother. I felt empty inside, detached from my family and community. Though I enjoyed my work, it wasn’t enough to compensate for all I felt I was missing. Now, I work part-time and have time to spend with our second child and to invest in my community. I am happy. Sometimes I feel guilty, because my husband is locked into a demanding job that takes him from home 12 hours a day. There are nights he cannot sleep, because of stress over his job. I sleep like a baby for the first time in years. He envies my life. Yeah, I find housework tedious, but I do it efficiently so it doesn’t interfere with the activities that are most meaningful to me. I manage the household and handle all of our finances. I do not feel powerless.

If some women find all the answers to life in work, then I say, “go for it.” But that is not true for me. I am a complex human being with many competing needs. Performing worthwhile part-time work, staying connected to people (including my children and husband), and having time for reflection are the things that make my life meaningful.

If ideology does not meet basic human needs, it is worthless. So I guess that means I am not a real feminist. I can live with that.