*disclaimer* hey all you "i'm not a feminist but..." lurkers: i do NOT speak for the feminist movement as a whole, the feminists on this board, or anybody but my own sweet self. if i confirm all your most horrible fears about how feminists seek to tear apart the very foundations of society, please do not hold it against any other feminist.
Originally Posted by Sustainer
Gay rights and poverty are two of the National Organization for Women's biggest issues.
ok, i made some very broad statements that i don't have the time to adequately back up or explain. for now, let me just say that on the one hand, i want a radical feminist movement that addresses the root causes of poverty (which i don't see NOW doing); that has an analysis of power and privilege and the way all these oppressions interlock; that encourages honesty and accountability from whites (women and men) in regards to racism and from straights (women and men) in regards to homophobia. [you might well ask what does that high-falutin theory look like in real life, and i would have some answers but jeesh that would take lots and lots more explaining of my analysis... not today
ok and on the other hand, we're struggling to have any kind of feminist movement at all, and we're still fighting this stupid stereotypes of feminists as frigid man-hating sociopaths.
gay marriage is a feminist issue and a human rights issue and i am all for it. at the same time, i'm dismayed by the LACK of critique of the insitution of marriage in the midst of this gay marriage debate. as long as we have an insitution of marriage queer couples should get the same benefits, otherwise it's 2nd class citizenship in my book. but why do we have an institution of marriage anyway? what purpose does it serve? why the obsession w/ the nuclear family? what purpose does that serve? where did it come from?
freedom of choice? you bet! we are holding on to roe v. wade by a hair, and that is way scary. but whose choice are we talking about? choose to do what? [when i started telling people i was pregnant, why did some people - including self-identified feminists - say, "but i thought you were a feminist?" meaning, apparently, that believing in the right to abortion means you are *required* to have an abortion???
] the right to abortion is just the tip of the iceberg. what about the reproductive rights of poor women and women of color sterilized against their will or presssured into taking birth control? how can we seriously talk about reproductive rights when most of us don't have access to decent health care?
equal pay for equal work? of course! but while we're at it, can't we examine which work gets paid at all, and why? i believe parenthood and housework should be compensated; the equal pay agenda won't help there. migrant farmworkers are slaving away so we can have cheap strawberries, dying from preventable diseases and getting beaten up by foremen and immigration agents, but they're getting equal pay for work, female farmworkers get the same below-minimum-wage pay as their husbands.
all across NYC, domestic workers (usually immigrant women of color) work for way below minimum wage, day and night, taking care of the children of white professional women who call themselves feminists. that's difficult to reconcile.
the culture and language of feminism is still very alienating to many women of color and working class women. here's a quote from
They did not want the issue of racism raised because they did not want to deflect attention away from their projection of the white woman as "good", i.e., non-racist victim, and the white man as "bad", i.e., racist oppressor. .... To those who saw feminism solely as a way to demand entrance into the white male power structure, it simplfied matters to make all men oppressors and all women victims.
that quote aptly describes a lot of interactions i have had w/ self-identified feminists. it also describes the apprehensions that a lot of people of color have about feminism.
ok, that was random and rambling.... i have a complicated relationship w/ feminism. i don't always feel comfortable in feminist "spaces." in my personal experience, i have felt more comfortable and effective struggling against sexism in "anti-racist" movements/spaces, than struggling against racism in "feminist" movements/spaces. of course that is only my experience (and that dichotomy i just set up is kind of problematic, but oh well).BUT I AM A FEMINIST.
by way of analogy ... i have a complicated relationship w/ my mother. we fight. i disagree w/ her on many things. sometimes i'm disappointed in her. but i am still proud to be her daughter, and i love her more than anyone besides my child and my sister.
sorry that was so incoherent. i really don't have time for this! i really need to stay OFF MDC!!!!!