Posts tagged feminism.
The feminist movement is generally periodized into the so-called first, second and third waves of feminism. In the United States, the first wave is characterized by the suffragette movement; the second wave is characterized by the formation of the National Organization for Women, abortion rights politics, and the fight for the Equal Rights Amendments. Suddenly, during the third wave of feminism, women of colour make an appearance to transform feminism into a multicultural movement.
This periodization situates white middle-class women as the central historical agents to which women of colour attach themselves. However, if we were to recognize the agency of indigenous women in an account of feminist history, we might begin with 1492 when Native women collectively resisted colonization. This would allow us to see that there are multiple feminist histories emerging from multiple communities of colour which intersect at points and diverge in others. This would not negate the contributions made by white feminists, but would de-center them from our historicizing and analysis.
Indigenous feminism thus centers anti-colonial practice within its organizing. This is critical today when you have mainstream feminist groups supporting, for example, the US bombing of Afghanistan with the claim that this bombing will free women from the Taliban (apparently bombing women somehow liberates them).
— Indigenous Feminism Without Apology -Andrea Smith (via whitedenial-ontrial)
Probably no man has ever troubled to imagine how strange his life would appear to himself if it were unrelentingly assessed in terms of his maleness; if everything he wore, said, or did had to be justified by reference to female approval; if he were compelled to regard himself, day in day out, not as a member of society, but merely (salva reverentia) as a virile member of society. If the centre of his dress-consciousness were his cod-piece, his education directed to making him a spirited lover and meek paterfamilias; his interests held to be natural only in so far as they were sexual. If from school and lecture-room, Press and pulpit, he heard the persistent outpouring of a shrill and scolding voice, bidding him remember his biological function. If he were vexed by continual advice how to add a rough male touch to his typing, how to be learned without losing his masculine appeal, how to combine chemical research with seduction, how to play bridge without incurring the suspicion of impotence. If, instead of allowing with a smile that “women prefer cavemen,” he felt the unrelenting pressure of a while social structure forcing him to order all his goings in conformity with that pronouncement.
He would hear (and would he like hearing?) the female counterpart of Dr. P*** informing him: “I am no supporter of the Horseback Hall doctrine of ‘gun-tail, plough-tail and stud’ as the only spheres for masculine action; but we do need a more definite conception of the nature and scope of man’s life.” In any book on sociology he would find, after the main portion dealing with human needs and rights, a supplementary chapter devoted to “The Position of the Male in the Perfect State.” His newspaper would assist him with a “Men’s Corner,” telling him how, by the expenditure of a good deal of money and a couple of hours a day, he could attract the girls and retain his wife’s affection; and when he had succeeded in capturing a mate, his name would be taken from him, and society would present him with a special title to proclaim his achievement. People would write books called, “History of the Male,” or “Males of the Bible,” or “The Psychology of the Male,” and he would be regaled daily with headlines, such as “Gentleman-Doctor’s Discovery,” “Male-Secretary Wins Calcutta Sweep,” “Men-Artists at the Academy.” If he gave an interview to a reporter, or performed any unusual exploit, he would find it recorded in such terms as these: “Professor Bract, although a distinguished botanist, is not in any way an unmanly man. He has, in fact, a wife and seven children. Tall and burly, the hands with which he handles his delicate specimens are as gnarled and powerful as those of a Canadian lumberjack, and when I swilled beer with him in his laboratory, he bawled his conclusions at me in a strong, gruff voice that implemented the promise of his swaggering moustache.” […]
He would be edified by solemn discussions about “Should Men Serve in Drapery Establishments?” and acrimonious ones about “Tea-Drinking Men”; by cross-shots of public affairs “from the masculine angle,” and by irritable correspondence about men who expose their anatomy on beaches (so masculine of them), conceal it in dressing-gowns (too feminine of them), think about nothing but women, pretend an unnatural indifference to women, exploit their sex to get jobs, lower the tone of the office by their sexless appearance, and generally fail to please a public opinion which demands the incompatible. And at dinner-parties he would hear the wheedling, unctuous, predatory female voice demand: “And why should you trouble your handsome little head about politics?”
If, after a few centuries of this kind of treatment, the male was a little self-conscious, a little on the defensive, and a little bewildered about what was required of him, I should not blame him. If he presented the world with a major social problem, I should scarcely be surprised. It would be more surprising if he retained any rag of sanity and self-respect.
oh my god, this is from 1947. doesn’t it show how much things HAVEN’T changed that I read through this whole thing assuming it was from a current article or essay, until I got to the date at the end?
Please also consider the way this speaks to trans people and how we are asked to constantly assess ourselves according to how we navigate cultural narratives of gender, never living without being conscious of that, ever, or you pay the devastatingly high stakes(via queereyes-queerminds)
More important than the freedom to choose is what choices are actually made available.
It can be willful even to name racism: as if the talk about divisions is what is divisive. Take the figure of the angry black woman explored so well by Audre Lorde and bell hooks. The angry black woman can be described as a killjoy; she might even kill feminist joy, for example, by pointing out forms of racism within feminist politics. It is as if we talk about racism because we are angry rather than being angry about racism. Women of colour don’t even have to say anything to cause tension. Listen to the following description from bell hooks: “a group of white feminist activists who do not know one another may be present at a meeting to discuss feminist theory. They may feel bonded on the basis of shared womanhood, but the atmosphere will noticeably change when a woman of color enters the room. The white women will become tense, no longer relaxed, no longer celebratory” (2000: 56).
It is not just that feelings are “in tension,” but that the tension is located somewhere: in being felt by some bodies, it is attributed as caused by another body, who thus comes to be felt as apart from the group, as getting in the way of its organic enjoyment and solidarity. “Turning up” can be diagnosed as willfulness, if your arrival is a reminder of histories that have already been “willed away.” This familiar figure of the angry person of colour hovers in the background: as if just around the corner, waiting for you. You turn up, only to find that figure has got there before you do. She always seems to get there before you can.
— Sara Salem, Redefining Feminism: Overcoming the Legacy of Exclusion (via capecodcrackercracker)
Here are just some of the reasons why: Immigration policies leave women (often mothers) sitting in detention for months—if not years—effectively ripping them from their children. The ACLU, the Women’s Refugee Commission, and other advocacy organizations have found that because of lax oversight at some detention facilities, detained women are being sexually accosted and raped by officers on their way to being deported. Detention centers lack uniform sexual abuse prevention policies and are actually ripe for abuse, as illustrated by the routine segregation of children from their parents or guardians during arrests. It’s worth noting that people held in these detention centers are overwhelmingly not dangerous—they’ve been picked up for petty crimes, such as driving without a license, and are subsequently charged with the civil crime of violating immigration laws. More often than not, this is why they are placed behind bars.
Why doesn’t feminist media treat immigration as an obvious feminist issue? Why doesn’t mainstream feminism seem to give a damn about undocumented women? Why aren’t more feminist organizations coming out in support of the Dream 9? As a comprehensive immigration reform bill is being butchered by Congress, accomplishing little more than further militarizing the border, and the Dream 9, largely lead by women, continue making national headlines after participating in the most radical, risky act of civil disobedience in the history of the undocumented student movement, there is literally no excuse for the silence on behalf of feminist media.