Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Stop Misrepresenting Our Own Movement

I just read this glowing piece, "Can We Stop Misrepresenting Our Own Movement," that stomps out the points of what I have been thinking about in my head.  It's concerning the latest call for submissions for a feminist anthology which explores sexual assault, sex, and consent. It's getting pitched by the Feministing crowd with a title, "Yes Means Yes."  

I say YES to this article by Andrea Rubenstein.  Praise the words this womyn's got!

It got me thinking, again, about feminism.

Inspired by Sylvia in a non-public discussion, the question of when do I want to be a feminist settled my rear end into a couch.  

When do I want to be a feminist?
  • When I read poetry, memoirs, fire pieces by womyn of color about the movements throughout history and knowing that I am a part of it.  Like carving my initials into a feminist tree, I want to write SUDY WAS HERE.
  • When people genuinely ask about women and gender issues, I'm thankful to be a feminist.
  • When I think about raising children.
  • When I meet other rad fems who make my soul sing with their undeniable power and grace.
  • When I think about womyn, poverty, backlash, and energy - I want to be a feminist.
  • When I think about strength, self-definition, spirituality...mhm mhm mhm I love me some feminism.

Which leads me also to think about when I DON'T want to be a feminist.
  • When I read mainstream feminists in any form - tele, radio, book, blog (especially blogs)
  • When I teach students about different feminist authors who insist Betty Friedan write for all women, including womyn of color
  • When feminism's boot refuses to ease up on the throat of womyn of color and the backs of marginalized people
  • When BLIND feminists are given the mic and supposedly speak for the (capital 'm') "Movement"
I am a feminist.  I am feminist.  And just as I say I am a Catholic with some SEEEEEERIOUS issues, the same is true for feminism. 

I am.

But that doesn't mean I like it everyday.


  1. And just as I say I am a Catholic with some SEEEEEERIOUS issues, the same is true for feminism.

    Oh, I like that! That's a great way to put it.

    I like Tekanji's post too. I'm not keen on the premise of this anthology and really not keen on the way it's being sold. None of it sounds like what made me want to be a feminist in the first place, and worse, that's the LEAST of its problems.

  2. tekanji6:18 AM

    Thank you for linking (and praising!) my post.

    I feel very strongly on the subject of people -- especially feminists -- working together to end oppression and posts like this one help me to remember that there are others out there who have the same goals.

    This is the second time in the past week or so that my attention has been brought to your blog. I think that's a sign that I should start reading it regularly :)

  3. AHH, the battle to change the system within it. I too am challenged, frustrated, and yet on rare ocassions enamored with my reality as Catholic, feminist, American, Irish, female, Kentuckian, Democrat, etc. Awake and aware people will always struggle within the ideologies that they posess. Being part of a group does not mean that you agree with everything that everyone in that group states. But abandoning the world because it needs change is never a solution.

  4. Anonymous7:43 AM

    One of the things I have noticed about the split or splinters between woc bloggers and white feminist bloggers (esp. feministing) is that we all still seem to be caught up in the same books/CFPs/Conferences and the drama they create. There are tons of woc run opportunities out there.

    Two I think are worth mentioning right now: NACCS which always has a place at the table for radical women of color LBTQ and straight. Their CFP closes really soon but even going would be a plus.

    And FemTAP. There is a CFP out for teaching feminism/women's studies from a women of color and/or queer perspective edited by 2 radical women of color and 1 white feminist who has worked for years on anti-racism and anti-classism stuff. They are pretty committed to ensure new voices make it to print.

    you can find the cfp at: http://www.femtap.com

    I for one think we need to refocus on getting our voices published and our social-mentorship connections solid with as much vigor as we critique our continued erasure by mainstream white feminists who have not learned their lesson since the days of Sojourner Truth.

  5. is NACCS the national association for chicana and chicano studies? that's what came up when i searched for it.

  6. apostate feminism? heterodox feminism?

  7. Hi,

    Sorry but how could one be Catholic and Feminist at the same time?

    Feminism is about equal rights whereas the Catholic church is a political organization whose Head is "Benedict XVI", a white male, this organization is violently anti-women, anti-queerrr, anti-sexual freedom!!!

    best regards :)

  8. I'm sorry, but I can't help but find it appallingly hypocritical when you say that that do not tolerate ableism in your comments and yet you say something undeniably ableist like "When BLIND feminists are given the mic and supposedly speak for the (capital 'm') 'Movement.'" Even if you were not referring to literally blind people, using blindness as a metaphor for ignorance is ableist in and of itself. Because of this blatant ableist slur in the middle of an otherwise incisive post, I just can't take it seriously.


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