Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman-Hughes, 1972 and 2014
Both by Dan Bagan
Wanna see my cry like a baby? Ask me who these women were.
Hughes’ father was beaten nearly to death by the KKK when she was a kid, and what does she do? Become an activist to try and stop that from happening to other people. She raised money to bail civil rights protesters out of jail. She helped women get out of abusive situations by providing shelter for them until they got on their feet. She founded an agency that helped women get to work without having to leave their children alone, because childcare in the 1970s? Not really a thing. In fact, a famous feminist line in the 70s was “every housewife is one man away from welfare.”
Then she teamed up with Steinman to found the Women’s Action Alliance, which created the first battered women’s shelters in history. They attacked women’s rights issues through boots on the ground activism, problem solving, and communication. They stomped over barriers of race and class to meet women where they were: mostly mothers who wanted better for themselves and their children.
These are women are who I always wanted to be.
men whining about feminism
After threats against her life, Anita Sarkeesian canceled an upcoming talk at Utah State University. Gamergate trolls are celebrating on Twitter while simultaneously dismissing the threats as nothing. Does this read like nothing to you?“I will write my manifesto in her spilled blood, and you will all bear witness to what feminist lies and poison have done to the men of America.”
The email’s author threatened to murder feminist women indiscriminately in a mass shooting. And because carrying guns on campus outweigh the right of students and guests to be safe, Anita Sarkeesian canceled her talk.
BUT WE SHOULDN’T FEEL THREATENED, RIGHT?
BECAUSE IT’S JUST THE INTERNET, RIGHT?
The bullies won this time. And if you think this shit isn’t dangerous, I’m fresh out of fucks to give and I’m not restocking any time soon. It’s goddamn wrong to to dismiss this by claiming the author isn’t serious. Elliot Rodger’s rantings were dismissed until it was too late.
This. Is. Not. OK.
big surprise from the woman who wrote a song about why being fat is good because boys like it.
On the subject of men and feminism:
I notice a lot of men expressing a lot of confusion, fear, and even anger over the fact that they are getting what they perceive as “mixed” or “contradictory” messages from women about feminism. I keep seeing these articles that are all like, “One woman told me that I need to speak up when I see women being harassed. But ANOTHER WOMAN told me that women can take care of themselves just fine and I need to stop speaking for them.” “One woman said that porn is inherently oppressive and sexist, but ANOTHER WOMAN makes ‘feminist porn’!”
First of all, sometimes the different women saying these different things do not all consider themselves feminists. I often get, “Yeah well feminists say I shouldn’t try to pay for dates but this one woman got really angry and wouldn’t see me again after I offered to split the bill!” Right, the thing with gender roles is that some people accept them, even LIKE them.
But second, maybe the reason you’re getting such contradictory messages about feminism is that, unlike some men seem to think, there isn’t some matriarchy that Rules Feminism and disseminates the Party Line to all of us rank-and-file feminists who must then faithfully carry out Our Beloved Leader’s instructions. You’re thinking of Soviet Russia.
The ONLY thing that unites all feminists is a concern about gender-based bias, stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination, and/or oppression. What they think CONSTITUTES those biases, stereotypes, etc. is completely up to the individual. I know we trot out the “feminism is not a monolith” line all the time, but that’s because it still hasn’t sunk in for a lot of people.
Next time someone tells you they’re a feminist without any additional information, assume that all you can assume is that they think that people of different genders are treated differently and that that is bad. It doesn’t tell you anything about their sexual orientation or gender identity. It doesn’t tell you anything about their views on pornography or sex work. It doesn’t tell you whether or not they even think trans women are women and trans men are men. It doesn’t tell you whether they prefer to be submissive, dominant, or a mix of both when it comes to dating and sex. It doesn’t tell you what they’re attracted to in a potential partner (some feminists even date non-feminists!). It doesn’t tell you what they see as the role of men in feminist activism. It doesn’t tell you their views on racism, heterosexism, cissexism, classism, ableism, capitalism, or any other -ism. It doesn’t tell you what they think of religion. It doesn’t tell you whether or not they would ever take their spouse’s last name. It doesn’t tell you whether or not they shave their legs.
It really tells you a lot less than some people seem to think it tells you.
There are many issues with contemporary Western feminism but one of the biggest flaws it has today is the abandonment of the dialectical method of understanding historical materialism and how capital ties itself with identity and difference. So, many western feminists (liberal white, black, brown, etc) will turn oppression into issues of discourse and ideology and representation while completely ignoring the fact that the means of production form the basis of oppression for the majority of women around the world. Take the example of the United States of America where 63% of the 18+ demographic is poor and female and usually non-white. A socialist feminist will propose a revolutionary demand that this gap be eliminated and that the question of class should be raised once and for all to destroy a social production like class. This is for one simple reason: The most dangerous life one can live is as a poor woman; her body becomes a marketplace. This is why you will not find socialist feminists congratulating young female students for taking up prostitution and pornography to pay their bills. What cultural or post-Marxist feminists or postmodern intellectuals will tell you is that the issue here is not the accumulation of profit/surplus value through the unrewarded labor of this young woman but more likely an issue of representation. Which is why liberal feminists fail; they focus on the cosmetic and cultural level of misogyny and forget class analysis. While cultural analysis of patriarchy is indeed important, class analysis will point out the root of a woman’s precarity in society. Representation will allow you a moment of respite in terms of lending you temporary political visibility and legitimacy but when it comes to social mobility and economic empowerment, representation will get you nowhere because representation simply makes an appeal to the state that created the difference to begin with. State will not bend over to give you more than representation. For the state, capital is more important which is why you will see that when a person from a marginalized community (racial or sexual or combination of several factors) is represented in culture industry, not much changes for the people on ground-level. There is a reason for that. This is why socialist feminists do not care if we as non-white women are represented in a capitalist entertainment industry. It does not mean better wages for us and it does not mean decreased violence from the state against our communities and it does not address our core problems. Back to Western feminists. Western feminists have abandoned what we call praxis and have turned feminism into middle-class academia integrated banter. This is why you see students angry with how inaccessible the language of feminism has become; it’s because it is now simply an issue of an academic panel to sit down and talk about it for 30 minutes and not do anything outside for the public. The dominant discourse of Western feminism is cultural feminism and that is the most dangerous thing you can do when it comes to the liberation of women: constricting yourself to an analysis of patriarchy that omits the reality of class and only focuses on culture. By reducing social life to representation, Western feminists ignore the fact that social life as a totality has a lot more to do with class *especially* for poor women. It ignores the racialized division of labor and assumes that black and brown women will be empowered if there is some celebrity representing them on the TV screen. It forgets the material basis of women’s oppression. The most ignorant step that cultural feminists take is forgetting that underpaid and/or unpaid labor is necessary for the accumulation of capital and the majority of it comes from women.
When you take class out of the analysis, you do a huge disservice to feminism and become, what is now a pejorative among socialist feminists, a rabid postmodernist.
male celebrities for Emma Watson’s #heforshe
how is jared leto a feminist ally when he’s a violent fucking rapist ughughugh
We’re the generation of women who will teach their sons to act respectfully instead of teaching our daughters to beware
This is everything I stand for.
Taking care of babies, feeding people, nurses, cleaning bathrooms and offices. So much of this life saving care taking work is devalued and it is literally what makes the world run. To all the ‘cleaning ladies’ and the nannies, and the master chefs making magic everyday, you make us all more possible. #respectdomesticworkers #tipwell #keepitcleanwherepossible
im SO SICK of hearing about how feminism “helps men” i don’t care why do they need to be reassured that they will benefit from it before they can support us fighting for basic human rights and liberation
Dear fellow white women:
Protect women of color at all costs.
Recognize your privilege.
Don’t whine about non-white women getting the spotlight when they get it.
Understand that we face oppression as women, but women of color face the same thing PLUS racism not only from men but also from other women, times 10.
If you call yourself a feminist, defend ALL women.
The more I spoke about feminism, the more I realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain is that this has to stop. For the record, feminism by definition is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of political, economic and social equality of the sexes. […] You might think: who is this Harry Potter girl? What is she doing at the UN? I’ve been asking myself at the same thing. All I know is that I care about this problem and I want to make this better. And having seen what I’ve seen and given the chance, I feel my responsibility to say something.
Radical feminists on this website are absolutely unbelievable. Saying you are bisexual in your blog description or url is heteronormative reassurance and makes you untrustworthy? In what world
the fuck even
oh, and just because it will piss off a radfem: I’M BISEXUAL LOOK AT ME WOOOOOO FUCKING DEAL WITH IT