"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Apr 22, 2010

Where I Wade Into The Shark Tank

I have a generally negative impression of middle class, white, wage-and-power parity feminism. The whole party line smacks of reaction. I don't mean that these sort of feminists have regressive ideas. I mean only that they conceive of their points in reaction to business and political organizations which will continue to chew up poor people close to home, will continue to grind up resources (but now with shiny greenwashing), will continue to bomb or excuse the bombing of poor people somewhere else, the world over.

They react to power and patriarchy by treating access to the throne room as a magical curative for the problems which arise from the use of thrones themselves.

Forgive me (truthfully, because I fully admit to the exponentially increasing possibility of my own errors) if I offend, but what's the fucking point of wage parity or access to high office, or the board room, if the fucking organizational machinery still eats up the lives and labor of everyone who doesn't have legacy or merit access - when that same machinery shits out their living deaths as alienation, isolation and captive markets?

Why should I care if Betty so and so gets elected, if she's just going to end up drawing a wage from an imperial war machine?

Why should I give a damn if Marjorie whomever has a huge salary and bonus package when her business model still depends on her shilling lies for oil barons and the enthroned princes of the war industry?

On this account, perhaps the great, the inestimable Red Emma ought have the last word:

"The misfortune of woman is not that she is unable to do the work of a man, but that she is wasting her life-force to outdo him, with a tradition of centuries which has left her physically incapable of keeping pace with him. Oh, I know some have succeeded, but at what cost, at what terrific cost! The import is not the kind of work woman does, but rather the quality of the work she furnishes. She can give suffrage or the ballot no new quality, nor can she receive anything from it that will enhance her own quality. Her development, her freedom, her independence, must come from and through herself. First, by asserting herself as a personality, and not as a sex commodity. Second, by refusing the right to anyone over her body; by refusing to bear children, unless she wants them; by refusing to be a servant to God, the State, society, the husband, the family, etc., by making her life simpler, but deeper and richer. That is, by trying to learn the meaning and substance of life in all its complexities, by freeing herself from the fear of public opinion and public condemnation. Only that, and not the ballot, will set woman free, will make her a force hitherto unknown in the world, a force for real love, for peace, for harmony; a force of divine fire, of life-giving; a creator of free men and women."

http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/anarchist_Archives/goldman/aando/suffrage.html

8 comments:

Charles Davis said...

Not sure if you've seen this, but I think everything wrong with the brand of feminism you're criticizing is typified by this organization: http://www.fifty-one-percent.org/index.php/about

Jack Crow said...

Charles,

I really appreciate that link.

My original post was based off something I read at a "leading feminist" site.

I redacted the original reference, because I'm not sure I want to provoke a specific shit fight.

This is a great substitute example.

Since I have a man tube hanging between my legs, I usually refrain from commenting on patriarchy and the systemic oppression of women.

I'm not Census style caucasian, but I grew up White, male and merit advantaged. My working class parents had to double up jobs to put my brothers and I through private school, and it took a long, brutal fall from grace, right down into homelessness and the lumpenproletariat, to understand the meaning of privilege, and the problems presented by race, gender and class.

But, I still have never been a woman, or a black person, or gay, or have my brain gender and physical equipment fail to match - so I don't claim to understand every way in which the culture in force handicaps those unwilling or unable to compromise with it.

This sort of "feminism" seems exactly that, though. One fucking compromise after another, so long as the people getting the goodies, and the perks, have female parts about half the time.

Respect,

~ Jack

A Sane Person said...

I think it is important not to think that this kind of feminism - which is narrowly focused on the betterment of mostly middle-class white women within the existing oppressive realities of the capitalist society - is the main representation of feminism today because I don't think it is. From my infrequent forays into the depths of Internet, I have found that there are more and more women who are non-white, non-middle class, non-Western and anti-capitalist writing and having their voices heard, and who are expanding ideas of contemporary feminism to focus on the conditions produced by intersections of race, gender and class in contemporary society. Having said that, I think you are right to have a negative impression of this narrowly focused type of feminism. As much as I am enraged every day because, despite all their achievements, women are still vastly underrepresented in arts, in criticism, in culture, in business, and society in general, I still feel that focusing mainly on that without a wider social perspective, does a great disservice to many people, both men and women.

Jack Crow said...

Sane Person,

I tend to share your assessment. What gets the press, the dollars and the institutional support, though, is this demographic of feminist thought.

A Sane Person said...

Yes, that is true. Probably because this type of feminism is least threatening to the status quo. But I am hoping these other voices will have strength and numbers big enough to influence a change in that respect.

Jack Crow said...

Sane Person,

I wonder if a better route is to abandon any pretense of capturing the institutions of a venal and destructive power structure - even in the name of ending the program of oppression begun five millennia ago, instead to create alternatives outside of its political and economic landscapes.

A Sane Person said...

If those alternatives could be subversive enough to destabilize and dismantle the power structures, then yes. I don't know which is the better approach. Forming alternatives outside the power structures could be insufficiently successful in destabilizing power, but working within the power structures might result in replicating the oppressive behaviour (like feminism is doing when it focuses on how to distribute power equally between genders without examining that power and what it entails). But, yeah, I have no idea. :-D

Jack Crow said...

Sane Person,

Not an easy task, either way. Personally, I think that the oil dependent nation state is on the way out, so it makes little sense to try to preserve it as a meliorative tool.