Fear of the F-word

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7 comments posted
Warning: Big angry rant ahead...

::ETA: MediaGirl's article was excellent as always, but it inspired sort of a tangential rant for me. That's what follows. It doesn't necessarily reply to her comments.::

It's an old tactic to take your "enemy's" strengths and turn them into a weakness. Men have maintained their control of women by making women afraid of their own power. The irony of creating an association between the word "feminist" and masculinity would be funny, if it hadn't been so effective. We're in a culture where women are trained to be insecure, to compete with one another and to desire nothing more than the approval of a man. Little boys don't grow up hoping to walk across a stage in a bathing suit and be judged the "prettiest". They don't (yet) feel the need to look like a supermodel to be lovable. They don't wear fashions that require surgery on their feet to accomodate their extreme designs.

They've done a good job of getting us to hobble ourselves and love it. (Sex and the City was the most anti-feminist show ever made, but no one wants to admit that. Shallow and indiscriminate do not equal liberated.) Avoiding the word "feminist" is part of the package. Why should I have to tell you I shave my legs to be taken seriously? Why do we take shit continually from males who claim to be progressive? Why do so many feminists feel as if they have to prove they still love their husbands and boyfriends before they can make a damned point? I'm tired of the implication that my opinion means less because it isn't backed by a Y chomosome. Why don't men get upset when the women in their lives are put down? Why do women put up with being put down by the men in their lives? I can count on one hand the number of male bloggers who can be counted on to stand up for us.

It's entirely up to us. Men are not going to willingly cede the advantages they have in this culture. The fact that ANYONE still blogs a dKos is just one example - it's apparently OK with lots of progressives if he's a hateful misogynist - and he IS. So is Kevin Drum. John Aravosis is as well, but he hides it better. It's a slap in the face to find out you've been supporting a blogger who considers your own work as inherently inferior. Women spend their lives overlooking all the little cuts they endure from the various men they encounter because being conscious of it all is paralyzing and it happens so often that fighting it would keep anything from getting done. We overlook a lot just to get through the damned day, but we are ultimately only enabling their hateful behavior and harming ourselves. We need to stop being so accomodating.

Imagine one of those guys telling a black reader that he had "important shit" to deal with that was more important than their own interests. It's inconceivable. How many of us complained to his advertisers? How many people dropped his link and stopped going to his site? How many wrote to Joe Trippi and told him that his golden boy just insulted 500+ of the most vocal and active women in the Democratic Party? How did we react? Were we hurt? Or Outraged? Rage is our best friend - it scares the shit out of them.

I say this over and over - we are the majority. We're by far the majority in the blogosphere. Until we stop splitting hairs and get organized, they will continue to divide and conquer. I don't care which of those amendments gets put through. They both do an adequate job of meeting the needs of women. Do I think feminism and racism can or should be handled separately? No. They are both elements of Patriarchy, and that's the real root of the problem.

We need to break down every barrier that presumes the superiority of white men. There is a very distinct brand of what I call "white chick feminism" that doesn't really acknowledge that the patriarchy still exists and has never seen the effects of poverty and bigotry in this culture up close. That's where the "feminist as racist" idea comes from. I've encountered it, and it's infuriating. Too many "feminists" aren't educated about women, women's religion or the women's movement to the point that they are anything but a liability to the movement. Any concept that puts anyone "above" anyone else is just wrong.

We have to stop apologizing and explaining. Go on the offensive when they try to put us on the defensive. If a guy tells us we aren't important we need to stand arm in arm and demand theat he explain why he feels entitled to dismiss our concerns. They need our votes, our money, our time and our work or they're nothing. It's time they paid for what they get.

I wrote an article a while back about gender reparations. I'm not kidding. Why do we still tolerate being paid less than men? I'm sick of being penalized for having a uterus. Any woman who has one and doesn't know it's the center of the universe is brainwashed - just look at all the political, religious and social entities trying to control it. That's POWER.

Solidarity is everything. NOW and organizations like that will get absolutely nowhere in this system and they're selling us out trying to fit in. You can't work within it - it's rigged against us by design. Even the elections are useless if the machines are rigged. We have to get completely outside the power structure and break it down.

Why do women pay taxes when we aren't fairly represented in Congress? Take a look at that collection of unimpressive people some time. Maybe half a dozen I'd even consider sitting down to a meal with and they have the authority to make decisions for me? If you've ever been involved with local politics, you know this system is fucked from the ground up. What would happen to this economy if women of childbearing age all became "sick" for a few days during the hearings for the Supreme Court nominee? Think that might make them think twice about fucking with our privacy?

Why work for less money? Why have sex with a man who thinks you're inferior? Is survival reason enough to sell out all women -- your mothers, your sisters, your daughters, your friends? We need to ask ourselves difficult questions and we need to demand real action.

If we were paid in accordance with the amount of work we do, we'd control the wealth in this country, so let's insist on it.

Morgaine-ism© #8

"A Woman's Sexual and Reproductive Autonomy is Sacred and Absolute."

Morgaine Swann's picture
Posted by Morgaine Swann on 5 July 2005 - 2:37pm
Kevin Drum is not a hateful misogynist

i don't excuse his asinine 'where are the women bloggers' post, but calling him a hateful misogynist is way over the top. unlike kos, he's willing to question his biases. being ignorant and insensitive does not a woman-hater make.

emily1's picture
Posted by emily1 (not verified) on 7 July 2005 - 9:41pm
Actually, it does.

Being "ignorant and insensitive" is just a nice way of saying "hateful". The underlying misogyny is indisputable. A bigot is a bigot, and I'm not Dick Durbin -- I don't apologize for telling the truth. Since when is stating a fact "over the top"?

Morgaine-ism© #8

"A Woman's Sexual and Reproductive Autonomy is Sacred and Absolute."

Morgaine Swann's picture
Posted by Morgaine Swann on 8 July 2005 - 5:02pm
Cites please

i want links to posts that expose him as a hateful misogynist. it is my personal opinion that your remark was over the top. i didn't say that you had to apologize or otherwise retract your statement, but actal examples that back it up would be nice. i can cite posts where he has been far more considerate and thoughtful than kos ever was when it comes to women's issues.

emily1's picture
Posted by emily1 (not verified) on 8 July 2005 - 11:36pm
You said it!

Morgaine, remember the big bad boycott of South Africa because of Apartheid? It was Barbara Walters, of all people, who asked why there wasn't a boycott of nations who enslaved and abused women. That is what a lot of us were asking, even as we abhorred what was happening in South Africa. But who would ever think of giving up a dollar over an exploited woman?

Here we are again, "helping" Africa, with big fund-raisers and newspaper columnists sucking up to Bush when he has brought about the deaths of thousands of African women and their children.

Just this evening, I read an editorial about how "refreshing" it was that a sportswoman who was outrageously insulted by a sports executive didn't "over-react" but just went on in a dignified way. Why is it when women object to being degraded, insulted, dismissed, and even physically assaulted, we are "over-reacting"?

Media people talk about "the feminists" as though it were somehow cultish to believe that women should have social, economic, and political equality with men. Some of the very women who have gained some equality are clueless about the roots of feminism and often actively speak against it. That is because being one-down is still the norm. Enduring sexual harrassment is still the norm. Presuming male privilege is still the norm. Internalized sexism is very much the norm.

Diane's picture
Posted by Diane (not verified) on 5 July 2005 - 10:31pm
Strange Amendment

The new amendment says nothing about how men are no longer subordinate to women. The amendment seems ill thought out. I'm for ERA. I am not so sure about the NOW amendment.

Matsu's picture
Posted by Matsu on 6 July 2005 - 11:16pm
Grievance based

...rather than centered on moral principle. -The language, that is.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 7 July 2005 - 9:15am