duminică, 23 ianuarie 2011

Clarifications and That Damn Dworkin Quote

Amy said the following in the Comments of this post:

"I'm a radical leaning feminist. I, so far, haven't done much in the way of activism - am, I guess, technically still a baby feminist, but I do have plans. This post was a real kick up the arse to me, to actually stop mulling things over in my mind, and actually get off my arse and do things. I can't say that I was thrilled by the anti radfem tone, but I can see why you would be angry, and hey... I'm not saying you should sugarcoat it or anything like that ... What I'm saying is, like I mentioned right there, I'm a rad-leaning feminist...but I don't feel like I should be painted with the same brush you dubbed other feminists. I'm not perfect - as a person (who is) or a feminist (no such thing as the perfect feminist). I don't get involved in any blog wars between different perspectives of feminism, as far as I'm aware.

But yeah. That story about that woman, it just, well, it really got me. I mean, that's what feminism is about. I mean, I know I'm guilty of talking about leg shaving and make-up - and I do have my reasons for doing so - and haven't really discussed DV (lack of knowledge mainly and failure to articulate such a subject like it deserves to be articulated). I don't believe the FBH, make up etc blogging makes me a bad feminist...but, honestly, I feel heartily ashamed that I haven't discussed, blogged about DV. That's what makes me a not so good feminist (if there's not the 'perfect' feminist, there can't be a 'bad' feminist). At the end of the day, thanks for this post - it really gave me a kick up the arse (I need 'em sometimes), and has already had an impact on me."

To which I replied: " Amy: you know, your comment was a kick in my arse. I forget at times, that there are plenty of radical/feminists, blogging or otherwise, who absolutely do not deserve to be on the receiving end of that angry spew of hatred. I'm sorry about that, Amy.

And, gracious, you are NOT a 'bad feminist' for 'the FBH, make up etc blogging.' In fact, that's what started my whole rejection of radical feminism to begin with: this notion of real/radical feminist v. fake/"fun" feminism a year or so back. (Frankly, if I never see that damn, snobby "I'm a radical feminist, not the fun kind" Dworkin quote again, it would be a good thing. A post on that, perhaps.)

For the longest time with these blog wars, I tried to be neutral, held back my acid anger side. There have been just too many "last straws" lately. I'm angrier than I've ever been with some of these fools claiming to be feminists. But like Sassy said[in comments], regarding these 'feminists' who make me so angry: 'I think it's important to keep in mind that they are the minority in the movement... it just so happens that they are a very vocal minority.'

I rather tossed that out the window yesterday with all that angry posting. And I really shouldn't. Before Walrus hits me over the head with a pair of iron testicles and says 'Dammit, Kim -- don't apologize for yourself -- GROW SOME OF THESE!' let me say I am not retracting my words towards this select, vocal, hateful group. Also, to my credit, I did say in these comments 'Bear in mind, real, sane, non-hiding being the Internet radical feminist do NOT fall into this category [of my spewing hatred.]' Which to clarify, nothing wrong with BLOGGING, per say. By 'hiding behind the Internet,' I mean those folks who either post and/or blog largely Anonymously (with respect to certain privacy precautions we all should take) who suddenly turn Big Asshole because of the protection of the Internet.

Anyhow, thanks right back at ya for the kick in arse, Amy. I needed a reminder that to lumping folks into one category is stupid, even IF if the name of 'venting' as I did here."

Also, as my own ass was getting a little too sanctimonious for it's own good, I also said at Belle's place under This post: "... back in my rad fem blogging days, I believed strongly blogging/the Internet was indeed an exciting, relatively new tool for activism, feminism, etc. I still feel that way [to a degree] ... I love a good, funny, rambling blog or mulling, thoughtful, informative post or what have you ... I love writing. I can understand the enjoyment of spending hours on a post. But when some of these posts work only to further give feminists a bad name (slut-hating zealots, for example), then maybe it's time to step away from the blog and start getting your fingernails dirty, you know. Or something."

On that Dworkin quote, which is again: "I'm a radical feminist, not the fun kind."

I see this damn quote over and over at radical blogs, often proudly posted in blog headers.

I believe this quote should be permanently retired.

Think about this, those of you who are genuine about your feminism: it's not a statement I feel should be bandied around if you are truly concerned with issues that surround all women. This statement is separatist. It divides women/feminists like no other quote I know. It creates an Us and Them among feminists -- which, until fairly recent words and behaviors of some bloggers, I would have thought no feminist would desire.
For all my anger, I will never, ever believe this dividing and choosing sides does jack-shit for feminism. I get tired of pussyfootin' around certain bloggers and lately, a few need to be called out on their philosophies and behavior, hence, angry rants from yours truly. But even still: if any of these women with whom I have beefs were genuine about burying hatchets and forming truces, I'd be the first one at the Truce Table, all smiles and "I'm ready to listen."

To label a feminist as "the fun kind" is just so damn insulting. I guess a "fun feminist" is one who does any of the following:

-- wears makeup, shaves, wears heels or follows any other trends of stereotypical "femininity"
-- does not clearly oppose sex work such as pornography, stripping, prostitution, etc.
-- does not have a few extra pounds of Fuck Your Thin Ideal on her
-- is married
-- has "bred"
-- is heterosexual
-- is transsexual
-- does not agree verbatim with the Scum Manifesto
-- is Christian (is Buddhist okay? Muslim? Agnostic? Or does one have to be pagan or atheist to be a "serious" feminist?)

I'm sure I'm leaving something out.

Any time I see a feminist site bandying around this quote proudly in its header, their "feminist creds" goes flying out the ass-window for me.

Or forget "feminism" all together: their I Would Like to Hang Out With This Person Factor is greatly reduced.

I have no problem with the first part of the quote, "I'm a radical feminist." If that's your bag, great. Own it, go ahead and be proud of it. But the latter part, "not the fun kind" is just a big red flag that you

1. have clear disdain for those Other Feminists/women
2. are interested in separating "good" women like you from "bad" women like me.

I'm sorry, gals, but that just ain't feminist.
You can fill your bandwagon with Dworkin-quoting feminists from here to kingdom come, but it ain't never going to be feminist.
Wake up, ey?

Additionally, Andrea Dworkin, in my opinion, had some great ideas and some not-so-great ideas. In any case, perhaps she earned the right to make such a statement, popular figure of public scrutiny and attack as she was. If Ms. Dworkin were here to observe these blogwars between feminists, perhaps she'd have a thing or two to say about it herself. (And maybe not -- her call for the execution of Suzie Bright alone clearly demonstrated her feelings towards certain women.)

But at least she got plenty of shit and *took it. I can respect her for being true to herself, if nothing else. But Dworkin's possible earned stripes aside, I still hate this quote and still feel it is profoundly against the interests of feminism.

What say you?

*I understand the "radical" in "radical feminism" refers to the first definition listed in the dictionary: "of or going to the root or origin; fundamental." The second definition of radical is: " thoroughgoing or extreme, esp. as regards change from accepted or traditional forms."
While the word "extreme" can have negative, fanatical connotations, the rest of that definition kicks ass. Who wouldn't, among us self-identified underdog, ranting types, want to be associated with fighting for "change from accepted or traditional forms?" Indeed, how many us have been doing this, is a sense, virtually since birth?

If you're going to own the word "radical," for God's sake, act like a radical. I hear "radical" in the second definition and I think: strong, tough; something I perhaps would want to claim for myself. Ideally, for me, a radical would also be strong of mind and in search of allies -- not for reasons to divide the potential troops.

I don't think of soft, lazy in mind and body, coddled and spoon fed activism in the word radical.
I also don't hear "victim" in this word. Most of all, I don't hear "Oh my goodness, someone spoke ill of my movement! I'll not have it!" in this strong, kick-ass word.

It was that part of "radical" that made me proud to call myself a radical feminist back in the day.
It is that part of me that still respects radical feminism done right.
Which isn't to say one can't act radical in heels and eyeliner either.