feminism is not a dirty word. it does not mean you hate men, it does not mean you hate girls that have nice legs and a tan, and it does not mean you are a ‘bitch’ or ‘dyke’, it means you believe in equality.
i’ve seen this more times than i can count.
i get that these kinds of quotes can be a “gateway drug” to feminism and/or critical thinking for lots of young folks… but lately i am just so TIRED of seeing and hearing them.
because you know what?
sometimes feminism DOES mean you hate men.
sometimes feminism means you ARE a bitch.
sometimes feminists ARE hairy angry dykes…
and they’re fucking allowed to be. i know that’s not really the message they are trying to presenting but it just feels watered down to me. i know the goal is to challenge the stereotype that only one kind of (lesbian-man-hating-fat-ugly-angry-hairy-butch-dyke) woman can be feminist, and that that idea is problematic and prescriptive… but consistently, when i see young women challenging that, they still tend to have an inherently negative tone about feminists who happen to be hairy. or butch. or angry.
i think that’s why i can’t handle this shit.
i think that’s why i miss the friends i had who would laugh about this shit with me. friends who would create zines like “dirty (un)feminist secrets.” it’s why i still hunt for moments like that online, it’s why i connect with rgr-pop’s and k’s and cassie’s ways of mocking this sanitized version of feminism with their own dark humour or unbridled rage.
perhaps it’s because i’m conscious that even at twenty-six, i’m still unlearning. still unlearning the sexist-racist-homophobic bullshit that i was immersed in on so many occassions as a kid. still unlearning that i don’t need to apologize. i’m pissed that i can still remember the number of times i apologized to men for not wanting to have sex. or for wanting to have too much sex. apologized to women for having slept with men, or vice versa. apologized for getting “too drunk.” or wearing too short of a dress. or for swearing in public. or for my body, my hips, my body hair. for my vulgarity. for being loud. for being angry.
i don’t want anyone to have to apologize for simply learning how to be themselves.
i understand that these quotes are, for some people, their own way of resisting that, and that taking the time (especially when you’re young) to put those frustrations into words, art, zines, and share them with everyone can be cathartic and productive.
but the number of times fellow feminists have asked me to “tone down” my anger? that talking about race is “getting us off topic.” that my suggestion that we use a different chant instead of “stand up fight back” for a less ableist chant is marked as “sidetracking” or “besides the point.” that other queers, activists and critical folks have used my femme presentation as a way to discredit the work i do? successfully?! of course i’m going to be fucking angry.
it’s why i “get” the humour behind memes like “is this feminist” and need to let myself laugh my ass off every once in a while at a movement i often consider myself a part of. it’s why i laugh at almost all of rgr-pop’s response to whoneedsfeminism. i get, to a certain extent, the message that the creators of projects and quotes and zines like this are trying to convey (discrimination/oppression/subjugation based on gender should be challenged) but i can’t handle the simplification of an incredibly complicated interconnected system. no one is challenging white privilege with these statements. no one is talking about how we can fight the good fight together. instead it just feels divisive and glossy. if it were as simple as quotes like this purport the fight to be, we wouldn’t need a century of “capital F” feminism and a million fucking waves and STILL be bringing up the need for intersectional analysis, and STILL be fighting transphobic assholes who actually dare to call themselves radfems, etc. etc.
goddamn. i just feel like everyone wants these guidelines of what is and isn’t feminist so they can simultaneously reward themselves and punish/chastise others (but in the most unproductive of ways).
POINTING OUT SMALL-SCALE PROBLEMS DOES NOT DIMINISH ONE’S CAPACITY FOR TACKLING LARGE-SCALE PROBLEMS
+ Pointing out small-scale problems does not diminish one’s capacity for tackling large-scale problems. In fact, small-scale problems are born out of the larger ones, they feed into the larger ones, they keep those larger ones intact and acceptable to mainstream society. Every rape joke makes a rapist feel more comfortable amongst zir peers, and a victim less comfortable speaking up. Every racial stereotype on a TV show or in a macro on tumblr helps make every 3D person of color feel that much more 2D and invisible, makes that kid not want to speak up in class, makes that girl feel ugly, makes that bigot feel more welcome. Every “no-homo” in a music lyric or a standup act makes a queer person that much more afraid to be who they really are. Every “durr, that’s retarded” in general conversation reinforces a society where people with disabilities are dehumanized and reduced to an illness. Every time some hipster wears a headdress or talks about their spirit animals, that contributes to a climate that makes it harder for colonized cultures to hold onto the few shreds of identity, of dignity, that haven’t already been stripped from them, assimilated and commodified, because it’s not like there is no history of this literally, tangibly happening to civilization after civilization after civilization. It’s not like it isn’t still happening.
If you don’t understand how these “small, insignificant, nitpicky” things can build on each other, can chip away at a person and a community, congratulations. You are goddamn lucky. But you should, you know, try to understand. Because you live in a world with other people in it.
+ Klansmen and Westboro Baptists and other blatant, vocal bigots are easy to recognize, to fight, and to distance oneself from, but it’s not the only form of bigotry that exists. Would that it were. Modern day bigotry in this ~post-racial, ~post-feminist, ~post-everything society is much more insidious and much more harmful. It’s easy to say we’ve got no internalized prejudices just because we’re not like them. But at the end of the day that helps no one.
+ It’s not just TV. It’s not just comedy. It’s not just music or books. All media is made by real people in the real world, with all the baggage that goes along with that. That doesn’t mean everyone is required to analyze it critically, or that no one can have fun with it (or that people can’t do both at once! WEIRD, RIGHT?), but analysis is as valid a part of consuming media as squee. Telling people they should think less is about as non-constructive as it gets. No one’s trying to force people to read or engage in discussions against their will. No one’s trying to make anyone else feel bad for enjoying things. No one except the strawpeople, anyway.
+ We aren’t perfect, no one is. Since when is that a reason not to try to be conscious of how our words affect people? It’s not about who’s offended and who isn’t because that’s an individual thing that changes from day to day. It’s about trying, wherever possible, to avoid contributing to real systems of oppression that harm our entire society in tangible ways. Weirdly enough, it’s possible to do that and still manage to have fun on the internet.
re-reblogging this because i will constantly be repeating myself when it’s already been said better.
long story short:
i had heard of pork magazine via tumblr a year or two ago, namely via some style bloggers who wore pins and cool shit from the mag. i kinda dug the aesthetic, but didn’t really look more into it. i flipped through a few issues i came across in a store but it’s not like i had a subscription or anything.
this changed last summer.
july 2011: pork magazine published some photos of a “cowboys and indians” photoshoot, featuring white folks dressed up as - you guessed it - stereotypical cowboys and indians. worse still, one of the people dressed up as an “indian” is swigging back hard liquor (as if we didn’t have enough bullshit propagating the stereotype of native people = drunks). some people involved in the photoshoot have a pretty big online following more around fat positive politics, so most critical folks involved in that community were totally caught off guard by this blatantly racist photoshoot.
then, the reaction to criticisms and comments saying “hey white folks you might want to think twice before putting on a headdress and playing dressup this way” was even worse than the photoshoot itself, if you can believe it.
april 2012: people point out that even with all of this behind us, some fat-positive blogs are still celebrating the people who have yet to be held accountable for participating in a racist photoshoot and very publicly aligning themselves with a publication that prides itself on using offensive imagery, racist language, and saying “fuck off” to anyone who disagrees with them.
and that, unfortunately, is why people are still talking about this shit almost a year later.
personally, i have directly contacted the editor of the magazine and some of the people i saw very publicly associating themselves with pork magazine who i had otherwise thought were cool dudes. sean responded quickly and respectfully enough, but we clearly disagree on the basics. i prefer that to the radio silence i got from people who still get lauded as “amazing babes.” there is ZERO accountability here and ZERO reason to support an independent magazine that is completely unapologetic about any criticisms that it uses violent racist imagery and language.
don’t forget it. you have to work at it, you have to unlearn that shit.
- De Beers has a history of indigenous abuse; they’re highly critical of indigenous rights in Africa, where most of their mines are, as they fear that they will lose money if indigenous peoples are given basic human rights.
- But it’s not just Africa; the recent dumping of sewage in Attawapiskat by De Beers played a substantial role in the on-going housing crisis.
- De Beers played a crucial role in the forced removal of the Bushmen from the CKGR in the early 21st century.
- De Beers has a history of blood diamonds. The film Blood Diamond is based on the way De Beers have dealt with diamonds in the past as well as today.
- De Beers supported and indirectly funded Apartheid in order to be able to continue to sell diamonds.
- DeBeers has a history of undermining the governments of diamond rich African nations by helping to enrich their presidents to the tune of several billions of dollars while their population had to beg money from the UN and the World Bank in order to survive.
- De Beers owns most of the world’s diamond mines and they fixed the price of diamonds for decades.
Some links worth reading http://intercontinentalcry.org/attawapiskat-holding-winter-blockade-against-de-beers/
- The De Beers operation is unethical not only towards the end buyers, the public which buys diamonds but also to all distributors and retailers of diamonds in the whole world.