Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I am not a real feminist.

Yesterday and in the past couple of months I've got some new readers (HI HOMIES) and I've gotten a lot of questions about feminism and it's been a while since I've talked about my relationship with feminism.

Now if you want a short version, I do not and refuse to identify as a feminist period.

Stay tuned for the longer story.

For background my first exposures to feminism were not good.

Early on when I started reading about feminism as a concept I was happy. Conceptually the basic tenets of feminism are great. However the application and discussion of them over the years have proven to be more and more problematic.

When I was in my late teens and early 20's my experiences (also let's note I had no internets at that time) were mainly wrapped up in things like lesbian separatism, sex negative, shaming grossness.

Yes for my new homie, most of the wardrobe shaming and victim blaming for harassment I got was from feminists. Always from feminists I respected and thought were so smart at the time because they were in or graduating from college and I was a customer service rep/occasional sex worker.

Through my mid 20's, most of my interaction with feminists consisted of being called a slut. Being told that my love of all things beauty related was me being a slave to the patriarchy (I wish I was exaggerating), that me wearing the trashy tight/short/skimpy clothing I favored at the time was me asking to be disrespected not just by men but worse by self proclaimed feminists.

Over the years, the worst bouts of ugliness I've had in my wee blog here and in other interactions on the nets have been with feminists.

I have watched "famous" well respected feminists get away with gross racism with impunity "for the good of the cause", I have watched them steal from women of color with that same impunity. I have been chased out of discussions because I am "too sensitive" or "pulling the race card" when pointing these things out.

I have spent eons of time in the last say ten years, trying to distance and separate myself from feminism and feminists because I have the audacity to suggest that shaming another woman because she doesn't make the same choices as you might make, whether it be being involved with sex work, wearing sexy clothes, kink, fat, whatever makes you worse than a straight up misogynist because, if feminism tells us anything one of those things is that we are supposed to have some invisible sisterly solidarity that only seems to exist when you are a Nice White Lady or if you will toe the Nice White Lady Party Line.

Fuck that.

To watch the grossest behavior of the gross, go read any of the popular supposedly feminist blogs when it comes to matters of fat or race.

Frankly I refuse to be party to or involved in, any movement that insists regularly and with a straight face that I ever figuratively kowtow to keep the peace or keep the shape of some bullshit fake ass solidarity.

I won't participate in anything that over and over again insists I divorce myself from my Blackness, while telling me that I should keep talk about said Blackness to myself because it makes Nice White Ladies uncomfortable.

I have experienced being booted from a conversation because when I pointed out that the OP in the discussion was saying gross racist things, that it hurt her feelings so I needed to stop.

I have been called things like stupid, slut, bitch, asshole, talked down to, condescended to etc more often by feminists than I have by men or non feminists.

That is an absolute fact.

In the grand scheme of my life, I have been more damaged by feminism as it is done in modern times than I have by a lot of other things.

Here's the bottom line.

At the ripe old age of 35 I have very defined boundaries when it comes to what I will and won't put up with for a cause.

I do appreciate when I see things like the phrase talking about my feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit (who actually said that? Anybody know? THANK YOU ANON, it is from Tiger Beatdown read it here) however, I can't get behind statements when I see a constant failure to stand behind it.

I will not stand behind an identifier that on a scale of good and bad, gives more bad.

And the bad has been so personal. So incredibly personal. I wish I still had some of the emails I've exchanged with anti sex feminists, anti racism yet so fucking racist feminists. From "educated" feminists trying to explain to me why I am ever so wrong about my dress/how I speak/etc.

This isn't a decision I came to lightly. It took years and a lot of pain and tears. I won't even get into the levels of trans-misogyny, trying to talk about privilege or the epic fuckery that is trying to get any Famous Nice White Lady to admit wrong doing without caveats and my forever least favorite phrase "but that's not how I meant it".

No.

I read around in feminist circles still and I frankly don't see a time anytime soon when I feel like I would be comfortable reclaiming feminist as an identifier.

In my own optimal future there will be some kind of epic breaking point and things in feminist circles will improve and I won't feel this way. I'm not optimistic about this.

As for feminism as it is now you can have it I don't want it and it doesn't want me.

And that's okay.

Now homies, I'm going to do a thing tomorrow or Friday and we're gonna have to talk more about health moralism because I had an A HA moment last night.

Look for that.

Now Homo Out.
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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Flavia Dzodan made the statement "my feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit" http://tigerbeatdown.com/2011/10/10/my-feminism-will-be-intersectional-or-it-will-be-bullshit/

Natalie said...

I love and respect the bollocks out of you. If I ever say any thing out of line and continue about my business being blind to the hurtful shit I've said, please call me out on it.

I recognise that it's wayyyyyyyyy easier for me to id as feminist because I'm a white cis lady, but I don't want to uphold a shitty feminism that fucks over POC, trans* folks and sex workers. It's really no wonder you don't want a thing to do with the identity.

Mad Gastronomer said...

I'm with Natalie. I hate it that feminism is so fucking awful, and I completely respect women who say "fuck a bunch of that" when they've been treated that way by feminists (not, y'know, that you have any particular need for my respect). I can't even say that I haven't been treated some of those ways. But since I'm a white and cis and I have that privilege, I kind of figure I might as well attempt to use the protection it affords me to stick around in feminism and try to fix what's broken so that it does what is claims it's doing and actually fucking helps all women.

Er. I completely lost track of where I was going with that, other than I see the problems you're talking about, and maybe to apologize for all of feminism. I'm sorry so many of us are such racist, victim-blaming, homophobic, transphobic, femme-hating, fat-hating, generally bigoted assholes. I really am.

Haddayr said...

Our history speaks volumes. Sufferagists, the mothers of the modern feminist movement, used as one of their talking points their outrage that COLORED men could vote and they couldn't.

The second wave is all about getting white middle class women more power. Full stop. End of story.

When people parade around in feminist boots trans*bashing, being racist asshats, and slut-shaming, they are wearing the boots AS THEY WERE MADE FOR THEM.

Tanz33 said...

I wonder too if part of this is an age thing - I'm the same age as you and I've also felt estranged from feminism for some broadly similar reasons (my life choices/things I've done weren't *right* in their worldview). The reason I wonder if it's an age thing is that a hell of a lot of women I know who are the same age are saying the same thing.

(And I think Haddayr has a hell of a point with the idea that the second wave was about gaining power for middle class white women.)

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