This is amazing. Brownfemipower:
The thing is—I thought that those who were a part of a “feminist community” were held to the same sort of standards. That when a woman of color says that she will not be published thus the white women who are published need to spend more time than they feel comfortable talking about the needs of women of color—THEY WOULD DO IT. That they would say “It’s the least I can do” or “What else can I do” rather than JUST DO IT, JUST DO IT. Because we are all in a community together and we all are working to create something that challenges and dismantles gendered violence and inequality, right? And if it takes writing a book that does not assume all women are staying away from feminism because they are white and privileged and just don’t get it—well, ending gendered violence and inequality is worth it, right? Working together towards a common goal, right?
It just took reading Hugo’s response for me to realize that I was fucked up wrong. That feminism’s goals and my goals are completly and totally opposite of each other. That in feminism’s eyes “dismantling” gendered violence= “shifting” gendered violence.
Well. To me, this looks like a really glaring fallacy. “Feminism” is not one thing, and I don’t accept the idea that one set of people (say, Hugo) has more right to the term than another (say, Sylvia), when both clearly are interested in ending patriarchy. Also, what Anxious Black Woman said:
I’m just reminding everyone that the “Feminist” label belongs to us, as women of color. We laid the foundations for feminist theory and practice. We are the bodies on which feminist theories are created. We are the “comparative” variable and the case study for why “life sucks for women.” It’s because of the combined effects of sexism, racism, imperialism, heterosexism, etc. why we’ve got it bad. And it’s because we “bleed at the intersections” why we, more than any other group of women, need feminist movement.
(By the way, that whole post is really amazing and informative and I recommend you read it.)
For me, it’s really problematic when BFP writes this:
“Feminists,” on the other hand, are not movement building, they are actively destroying women and blaming those women for the destruction. They are saying the point of feminism is “equality with men” without even thinking to acknowledge that “equality with women” is just as admirable of a goal and maybe even possibly the first step to achieving the goal of equality with men. They are saying, Just do it, just do it, JUST FUCKING DO IT.
BFP seems here to be defining feminists as people who subscribe to these behaviors. That ignores lots of women who don’t and who aren’t rejecting feminism. The fact that there *is* an argument in the feminist blogosphere indicates to me that there are feminists who believe as BFP is asking them to. Why write them off? Why are certain people more entitled to the label feminism?
I do fully understand that BFP is more educated than I am on these issues, and more articulate, and probably just plain smarter. But I find this part of her argument really frustrating.
When I stop to think “what am I missing here?”, I feel like what I’m missing is the real frustration and desperation and anger that accompanies these sentiments. I am truly missing them, and I do not wish to deny their legitimacy.
But at the same time when I think of my feminist influences — for instance Carolyn Martin Shaw, a black anthropology professor of mine who teaches on gender and sexuality and has organized women’s movements in Kenya — I… can’t really fathom ascribing to her the motives BFP professes belong to “feminists,” not can I fathom removing the label feminist from her because “feminism” — in BFP’s outline — means the (as far as I can tell) deliberate trampling of WOC. She’s a feminist.
I know, I know, if the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t wear it.
Still. The only way I can reconcile these thoughts is to assume that there’s a difference between feminists and “feminists,” the same way there’s a difference between nice guys and NiceGuysTM — but if that’s the case, why not say so? I’m not reading this as an accusation toward individuals, but toward the moral quality of the entire movement (which thus requires its rejection, instead of merely the renouncements of “feminists”).
Feminist, anti-racist comments only.