Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ramblings of a Traveling Feminist

This has been an unexpected hiatus from blogging.

I can't tell if it's the hiatus from blogging, or thrilling adventures, or the extreme alternative learning experiences that has yielded a cleansing in my life and soul.

I think I've stayed away from my site because I am afraid of the inevitable fragmentation that will happen when I try and write about my experiences here in the Philippines over the past two months. My life in the US is hanging in a balance; a pendulum held between forefinger and thumb, waiting for release. I return in two weeks and both tears and joy will burst from me when August 25 arrives.

This trip was unrealistic from the start. My research plans were to investigate the contemporary women's movement in the Philippines. My life plans were to meet family I have never met and grow to understand the land from where my parents were born and raised. I came here to expand the proverbial perspective of the mind.

That's all shit now. Shit, I tell you.

Life is never as smooth as we plan. It's so very American for me to have arrived in a foreign country with objectives, maps, and timelines with no consideration that perhaps the most critical component for me is not research but to allow myself a natural progression of self-transformation through cultural immersion. How noble but foolish for me to project my work into a country with no thoughts of physical ailments and fatigue or mental strength.

I am humbled by the gift of opportunity. Each day here has been an adventure through heaven and hell, paradise and cave, devastation and euphoria.

I do not know when I will blog again. I hope tomorrow, but while I am in this land, I want to be in this land. Blogging takes me back to America too soon. The words, the fighting, the disrespect thrown around in the femblogland holds no interest to me right now. This adventure has led me somewhere else. I see, hear, taste, and feel differently here. Those most oppressed ask me to tell their stories on my blog, to get their stories out.

It's not my blog that's the problem, I say, it's how it is received and interpreted that can be problematic.

Blogging is not just a privilege, it's another passage of classism that I am struggling with. I began blogging to have a space for myself, but don't I already take up enough space in this world? Have I not received the privileges associated with citizenship and education that less than 1% of the world are given?

This is not a problem of reconciling privilege. For me, this is an issue of media justice. Who I am to tell these stories of rape, torture, political killings, and poverty so severe I'm wondering how the earth isn't already shaking?

The biggest problem of feminists, in my humble opinion, is not that US feminists don't have the right to ask questions, it's that US feminists ask the wrong ones. It's equal pay and panties and book covers in femblogland. I can't stand it and for that anymore. What the shit does that have to do with ANYTHING that I am passionate about? I am passionate about singing political prisoners who go on hunger strikes during marshal law. I am passionate about the surviving comfort women of WWII - The Lolas - who I danced with for 30 minutes to old kareoake music. I am passionate about garbage eating families who are being displaced by foreign investors and children who are being forced to learn and speak English. I am passionate about asking what in the hell George W. Bush is doing on a Philippine stamp.

These are my passions and, yes, I am a feminist. I do not want to be told "that's not a feminist issue," and have no space anymore to pretend I care about 80% of the shit that is written by contemporary "feminists" who blast womyn of color on the left and preach about intersectionality on the right. I'm sick of anonymous cowards who have nothing better to do than leave their unchecked baggage at my station and expect me to deliver their goods because they forgot how to unpack their own shit.

I have 13 days left. These precious days are gifts and I hope to return to you soon with more than just ramblings.


  1. Joan Kelly7:40 PM

    You have popped into my head the last couple of days, I was wondering how you are, glad to see you check in here.

    For whatever it's worth (I grant you that I am a selfish Sudy-lover but still, I came by it honestly via you writing great things), I find you to be thoughtful and self-reflective, and the world both online and off is better for the space you take up in it. I do get your point about the questions you're asking, but I'm serious about what I'm saying too.

  2. emilka8:21 PM

    this entry brought tears to my eyes, and i need to say thank you to you for sharing so openly with all of us strangers who can so quickly become hostile and evil in anonymous comments.

    just thank you.

  3. ASHE ASHE ASHE!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. I am passionate about asking what in the hell George W. Bush is doing on a Philippine stamp.

    Ohhhh, holy God. How horrible to see.

    Looking forward to your insights.

  5. Anonymous9:25 PM

    These don't sound like "just ramblings" to me, kabayan. The honesty and truth that you put into your writings mean a lot of this reader. I'm looking forward to your next reflections. Enjoy the rest of your time in Pilipinas.

  6. Hi there!

    I look forward to seeing more of your work!



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