While building solidarity between activists in the U.S. and Iran can be a powerful way of supporting social justice movements in Iran, progressives and leftists who want to express solidarity with Iranians are challenged by a complicated geopolitical terrain. The U.S. government shrilly decries Iran’s nuclear power program and expands a long-standing sanctions regime on the one hand, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes inflammatory proclamations and harshly suppresses Iranian protesters and dissidents on the other. Solidarity activists are often caught between a rock and a hard place, and many choose what they believe are the “lesser evil” politics. In the case of Iran, this has meant aligning with a repressive state leader under the guise of “anti-imperialism” and “populism,” or supporting “targeted” sanctions.
As members of a feminist collective founded in part to support the massive post-election protests in Iran in 2009, while opposing all forms of US intervention, we take this opportunity to reflect on the meaning and practice of transnational solidarity between US-based activists and sections of Iranian society. In this article, we look at the remarkable situation in which both protests against and expressions of support for Ahmadinejad are articulated under the banner of support for the “Iranian people.” In particular, we examine the claims of critics of the Iranian regime who have advocated the use of “targeted sanctions” against human rights violators in the Iranian government as a method of solidarity. Despite their name, these sanctions trickle down to punish broader sections of the population. They also stand as a stunning example of American power and hypocrisy, since no country dare sanction the US for its illegal wars, torture practices and program of extrajudicial assassinations. We then assess the positions of some “anti-imperialist” activists who not only oppose war and sanctions on Iran but also defend Ahmadinejad as a populist president expressing the will of the majority of the Iranian people. In fact, Ahmadinejad’s aggressive neo-liberal economic policies represent a right-wing attack on living standards and on various social welfare provisions established after the revolution. And finally, we offer an alternative notion of and method for building international solidarity “from below,” one that offers a way out of “lesser evil” politics and turns the focus away from the state and onto those movement activists in the streets.
We hope the analysis that follows will provoke much needed discussion among a broad range of activists, journalists and scholars about how to rethink a practice of transnational solidarity that does not homogenize entire populations, cast struggling people outside the US as perpetual and helpless victims, or perpetuate unequal power relations between peoples and nations. Acts of solidarity that cross borders must be based on building relationships with activists in disparate locations, on an understanding of the different issues and conditions of struggle various movements face, and on exchanges of support among grassroots activists rather than governments, with each group committed to opposing oppression locally as well as globally.
We’re in post-racial America, so we shouldn’t be so touchy about MacFarlane and Lincoln star Daniel Day-Lewis sharing a guffaw about Don Cheadle being mistaken for a slave while he’s in character. We shouldn’t care about Iron Man star Robert Downey, Jr. defiantly clapping as MacFarlane joked about the brutalization of a then 21-year-old Rihanna, because she went back to her abuser, so to hell with objectifying her for shits and giggles.
And we most certainly shouldn’t care about a 9-year-old Black girl-child being called a “cunt” on the biggest night of her life because there are more important white feminist things to be concerned about.
Rebloggable on request, and link in the question/comment added for context.Anonymous asked: Thoughts on this argument re: lifting the ban? Why don’t they ever mention the rapes of women in war by the soldiers? Is that supposed to magically go away too with women on the ground? thepoliticalnotebook.com/post/41381354564/motherjones-pentagons-top-general-barring
Pfffft. “Treating people equally” my foot. And yes, you’re right: that ridiculousness also doesn’t explain or even acknowledge the rape and assault of women in countries the US throws its troops in. Fuck that. I am sick and tired of the US military throwing around words like “gender equality” and “feminism” when it benefits them, right as they go around killing people in other countries.
The military itself enforces a system of sexism, racism, violence. Putting women on the ground isn’t going to make that go away. All it does if enforce internalized sexism and the idea that if you play by the master’s rules, maybe, maybe you’ll be okay. That’s no where near confronting issues of rape or sexual assault, anywhere- in fact, it encourages it. It says, “if you’re a “full soldier” and therefore follow all our orders to kill innocent people, then maybe you deserve to not be raped”.Not here for that. Not my “feminism”.
Patriarchy ain’t over just because we got a shot at the lead part in the genocide show. That is not my feminism.
It is my intention to put together a non-western feminism course syllabus for submission to my Women’s Studies department. In that spirit, I have collected a list of texts on non-western feminism, mostly in the voices of non-western women, to serve as a starting point for developing this syllabus.
I’m sharing this list with Tumblr because too often “feminism” is understood through a western lens, and this includes African-American and Latin@ feminism, as practiced in the academy. Positions at the margins of feminism, developed from theoretical frameworks that do not rely on western epistemology are necessary to disrupt the theoretical assumptions that we have grown too comfortable with.
Further, it is my intention that, as this list circulates tumblr through reblogs, more texts will be added to it so that space can be made for voices that are all too often unheard, new voices can be added to the feminist “canon,” and we can recognize the very real need for feminisms that arise in contexts outside the american and the western theoretical.
Maria Lugones “On the logic of pluralist feminism” in Pilgrimages
Alison Bailey “Locating Traitorous Identities” (about how privileged should proceed)
Uma Narayan, Chapter One, “Contesting Cultures: ‘Westernization,’ Respect for Cultures, and Third-World Feminists” in Dislocating Cultures (about what is really western about our (eastern) feminism)
bell hooks “Sisterhood: political solidarity among women” in FEMINIST theory
Sumbul Ali-Karamali, “Women in Islam: Marriage, Divorce, Polygamy, and that Veil Thing” inThe Muslim Next Door
Amina Wadud “Rights and Roles of Women” in Qur’an and Woman
Azizah al-Hibri “The Nature of Islamic Marriage” in Covenant Marriage in Comparative Perspective
Birdwhistell, Joanne D. 2007. Mencius and masculinities: Dynamics of power, morality, and maternal thinking. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Butnor, Ashby. 2001. Self and social engagement in Zen Buddhism and Western feminism. East-West Connections 1(1).
· 2011. Cultivating self, transforming society: Embodied ethical practice in feminism and Zen Buddhism. In Buddhism as a stronghold of free thinking? Social, ethical, and philosophical dimensions of Buddhism, ed. Siegfried C.A. Fay and Ilse Maria Bruckner. Nuestall, Germany: Edition Ubuntu.
Dalmiya, Vrinda. 1998a. Not just “Staying Alive.” Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research 15 (3): 97-116.
· 2000. Loving paradoxes: A feminist reclamation of the goddess Kali. Hypatia 15 (1): 125-50.
· 2001a. Dogged loyalties: A classical Indian intervention in care ethics. In Ethics, in the world religions, ed. Joseph Runzo and Nancy M. Martin, 293-308. New York: OxfordUniversity Press.
· 2001b. Particularizing the moral self: A feminist-Buddhist exchange. Sophia 40 (1): 61-72.
· 2009. Caring comparisons: Thoughts on comparative care ethics. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 36 (2): 192-209.
· 2009. The metaphysics of ethical love: Comparing practical Vedanta and feminist ethics. Sophia 48 (3): 221-35.
Goswami, Namita. 2008. Auto-phagia and queer trans-nationality: Compulsory hetero-imperial masculinity in Deepa Mehta’s Fire. Signs 33 (2): 343-69.
Herr, Ranjoo Seodu. 2003. Is Confucianism compatible with care ethics? A critique. Philosophy East & West 53 (4): 471-89.
· 2004. A third world feminist defense of multiculturalism. Social Theory and Practice: 30 (1): 73-103. Reprinted and trans. into Chinese in Collected works in Sino-Western political culture, vol. 5., ed. Will Kymlicka and Depu Ma. Tianjin, China: TianjinPeople’s Press, 2006.
· 2008. Politics of difference and nationalism: On Iris Young’s global vision. Hypatia 23 (3): 39-59.
· 2012. Confucian Family for a Feminist Future Asian Philosophy, 22 (4 ), 327-346.
· 2013. (forthcoming) Confucian Family-State and Women: A Proposal for Confucian Feminism. In Ashley Butnor, Jen McWeeny (Eds.), Liberating Traditions: Essays in Feminist Comparative Philosophy. (pp. 261–282). N.Y., N.Y. : Columbia UP
Hu, Hsiao-Lan. 2007. Rectification of the four teachings in Chinese culture. In Violence against women in contemporary world religion: Roots and cures, ed. Daniel C. Maguire and Sa’diyya Shaikh, 108-30. Cleveland: Pilgrim Press.
· 2011. This-worldly Nibbāna: A Buddhist-feminist social ethic for peacemaking in the global community. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Jiang, Xinyan. 2000. The dilemma faced by Chinese feminists. Hypatia 15 (3): 140-60.
· 2009. Confucianism, women, and social contexts. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 36 (2): 228-42.
Klein, Anne C. 1994. Presence with a difference: Buddhists and feminists on subjectivity. Hypatia 9 (4): 112-30.
· 1995. Meeting the great bliss queen: Buddhists, feminists, and the art of the Self. Boston: Beacon Press.
Li, Chengyang, ed. 2000. The sage and the second sex: Confucianism, ethics, and gender. Chicago: Open Court.
McCarthy, Erin. 2003. Ethics in the between. Philosophy, Culture, and Traditions 2: 63-77.
· 2008. Towards a transnational ethics of care. In Frontiers of Japanese philosophy II: Neglected themes and hidden variations, ed. James Heisig, Victor Hori, and MelissaCurley, 113-28. Nagoya, Japan: Nanzan Insitute for Religion and Culture.
· 2010. Beyond the binary: Watsuji and Irigaray in dialogue. In Japanese and Continental Philosophy: Conversations with the Kyoto School, ed. Bret Davis, BrianSchroeder, and Jason Wirth, 212-28. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
· 2010. Ethics embodied. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
McWeeny, Jennifer. 2010. Liberating anger, embodying knowledge: A comparative study of María Lugones and Zen Master Hakuin. Hypatia 25 (2): 295-315.
Rosenlee, Li-Hsiang Lisa. 2004. Neiwai, civility, and gender distinctions. Asian Philosophy 14 (1): 41-58.
· 2006. Confucianism and women: A philosophical interpretation. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Wang, Robin R. 2003. Images of women in Chinese thought and culture: Writings from the pre-Qin period to the Song dynasty. Indianapolis: Hackett.
· 2009. Kundao: A lived body in female Daoism. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 36 (2): 277-92.
Wawrytko, Sandra A. 1981. The undercurrent of ‘feminine’ philosophy in Eastern and Western thought. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
· 1994. Sexism in the early Sangha: Its social basis and philosophical dis- solution. In Buddhist behavioral codes (sila/vinaya) in the modern world, ed.Charles Wei-hsün Fu and Sandra A. Wawrytko, 265-80. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
· 2000a. Kong Zi as feminist: Confucian self-cultivation in a contemporary context. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 27 (2): 171-86.
Chandra Talpade Mohanty “Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity,”
· Chandra Mohanty “Under Western Eyes” http://blog.lib.umn.edu/raim0007/RaeSpot/under%20wstrn%20eyes.pdf
Susan Moller Okin “Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?”
Gaytary Spivak “Can the Subaltern Speak?”
Intersectionality provides a way out of the cultural essentialism, objectifying and infantilising that often occurs when the Middle Eastern woman is the subject of feminist research or writing. It takes into account different positionalities, as well as whether these positionalities marginalize, empower, or grant privilege. It addresses power and inequality, as well as how different systems of oppression interlock, such as capitalism, patriarchy, imperialism, etc. It encourages self-reflexivity, and a constant awareness of one’s own assumptions, background, and position within the social, political and economic spheres.
Carrying out research from an intersectional perspective allows us to decentre Western feminism. This would mean no longer locating the “start” of the feminist project in first wave feminism, but to see women’s activism as a process that has happened across many places during different times. It would mean acknowledging the importance of other systems of oppression that have been downplayed by Western, white feminists, such as race, religion, class, imperialism, and so on. Finally, it would mean an explicit focus on power relations. In essence, using an intersectional approach is one way of reclaiming the feminist project and making it a project all women can be part of.
“Redefining Feminism: Overcoming the Legacy of Exclusion”, by the brilliant Sara Salem
Are you following her on tumblr? because you should be!
Fuck this article. This is such a lazy summation of feminism, I could scream. In the first sentence alone, the author cites Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique. Even though the author recognizes Friedan as a figure of controversy, Friedan and her ~seminal~ text are major focal points here and thus tools with which one should ~evaluate~ and ~critique~ Beyonce. In other words, the ~legacy~ of an openly homophobic, privileged, white, and now deceased second-wave feminist woman should, by all means, constitute a rubric for ~uncovering~ and ~problematizing~ everything that is apparently “wrong” with Beyonce’s feminism. Drawing from Beyonce’s recent interview with GQ Magazine, the author regurgitates the same tiresome remarks, reminding their readership that there is “more to Knowles than raging narcissism.” There’s no mention of — probably because the author is a white woman with, in no uncertain terms, a devastatingly unidimensional perception of feminist theory and praxis — the imperative project of radical narcissism and the ways in which Beyonce has brazenly cultivated and performed self-love, compelling women of all backgrounds to acknowledge and accept the transformative properties of personal (r)evolution. The author validates Beyonce’s astute deconstruction of women’s (dis)enfranchisement, but then makes the sweeping claim that “American women earn 77 cents to every dollar earned by men” which, by the way, is linked to a recent piece by the National Women’s Law Center clearly delineating that “the wage gap is more pronounced for women of color” (e.g., Black women with year-round, full-time jobs make 64 cents for every white male dollar while Latin@s with year-round, full-time jobs make 55 cents for every white male dollar). After conveniently evading the pertinent aforementioned statistics, the author essentially shames Beyonce and her contemporaries for their participation in “porn-like” photo shoots which “pander to the male gaze” and employ predatory villains like Terry Richardson. The author spends the majority of the article casually indicting Beyonce for “selling out” and “commodifying” her body yet refrains from going beyond one critical line about Richardson. How can one discuss what one believes to be the compulsory hypersexualization of arguably the world’s most popular female entertainer without even alluding to a paternalistic music industry’s racialized and gendered modus operandi? How can one not commend Beyonce for surviving and thriving in this environment? The article ends on a bitter note, mocking Beyonce’s conceptualization of women’s emancipation — the author dubs it “her Dworkin-ish call to arms” — and postulating the absurdity of “famous women [who] can sing about ‘independence’ and ‘girl power’, as long as they’re wearing next to nothing.” According to the author, it is these paradoxes, then, that “do not live up to” the ~dreams~ of Friedan. But what about women of color feminisms and the revolutionary practice of embracing contradiction, as it were? If we actually go beyond Friedan’s second-wave liberal feminist framework, we can explore the philosophies of groundbreaking Black feminist theorists, scholars, and activists such as Audre Lorde and Patricia Hill Collins and bell hooks and Pauli Murray and Elaine Brown and the Combahee River Collective and Angela Davis and Assata Shakur whose lives and works are testaments to the rejection of dichotomous thinking and, instead, the espousal of a “both/and” orientation that views thought and action as the same process, creating new possibilities for relationships between thought and action and valorously transgressing the confines of a white-supremacist, capitalist heteropatriarchy.
“I’m a feminist so I believe in inhabiting contradictions. I believe in making contradictions productive, not in having to choose one side or the other side. As opposed to choosing either/or, choosing both.” -Angela Davis
Minh-Ha T. Pham, “Fraught Intimacies: Fashion & Feminism (The Director’s Cut)” (via indigocrayon)
As we have just passed the ten year anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, we might consider how civilizational-sartorial thinking has shaped recent cultural politics and military policies. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, veils and veiled Muslim women were pathologized as passive victims in need of rescue from their oppressive religion, culture, and men. As I discuss in greater detail elsewhere, it was not just the fashion media but also the news media, politicians, and, yes, mainstream feminists who perceived the veil as the exemplary Other to fashion. Consider this statement by a Salon.com writer: “frivolous fashion is itself a patriotic symbol of America: You may never be able to afford that shredded Georgette Givenchy gown, but at least you aren’t forced to live underneath a burqa.” The veil, within this civilizational logic, is rendered the material symbol of not only Eastern tradition (as opposed to Western modernity) but a tradition imagined as brutally backwards and oppressive. This image of the victimized veiled woman played a large role in substantiating the humanitarian justification for the war in Afghanistan. Recall all the ways in which the U.S. State Department’s Report on the Taliban’s War against Women centered on the burqa and its perceived infringement on Muslim women’s freedoms. Civilizational thinking occludes the possibility that the burqa might be a fashionable garment that women wear to express their own identities, worldviews, and choices. In other words, civilizational-sartorial thinking denies Muslim women’s agency and in so doing, it negates important feminist histories of veiling such as the choice of some Egyptian women in the 1970s and 1980s to veil as a resistant act challenging Western and secular cultural domination.
Ironically, on certain bodies (often, white, thin, and normative gender-presenting) “non-fashion” can be transformed into “fashion”. By the latter half of the 2000s, burqas and other kinds of veils were seen on fashion runways and magazines, worn by young white models like the Australian Gemma Ward. But instead of operating as a material sign of unmodern, non-Western, Oriental otherness, the young, white Australian model’s body legitimated the burqa as a cosmopolitan commodity belonging to and circulating within multicultural global capitalism.
The many incidences of fashion’s cultural appropriation are too long to list but some are found in the histories of now iconic and/or trendy garments like bloomers, miniskirts, and name plate necklaces. Each of these items originated in “non-fashionable” locations but came to be later recognized as “fashionable” when worn on the bodies of influential white women.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
In November 2011, Egyptian blogger Alia al-Mahdi sent shockwaves through the online Middle Eastern community after she uploaded a naked picture of herself. Al-Mahdi claimed that she was challenging Egyptian patriarchal structures in general, and the negative views of women as simple sex objects in particular.
Interestingly, Egyptian self-identified liberals and secular activists were the first to disown Alia and her photo, denouncing it even before more conservative factions such as the Muslim Brotherhood did. They claimed that it was pointless, and did immense harm to the liberal/secular cause in Egypt, especially with parliamentary elections coming up. Much of the debate also centered on the issue of feminism and women’s rights. Many claimed that stripping naked was not a feminist tactic by any stretch of the imagination, and in fact simply reified the image of women as a sex object to be consumed for the pleasure of men. Others disagreed, pointing out that the photo had stirred up a debate about women in Egyptian society, in particular with regards to sexuality and nudity.
After receiving death threats, al-Mahdi and her partner Kareem Amer had to leave Egypt.
On 20 December 2012, new photos began circulating of al-Mahdi, this time posing naked with members of Femen, a Ukrainian-based feminist movement, under the title “Apocalypse of Muhammad.” In one of these photos, al-Mahdi is standing with an Egyptian flag, with the words “Sharia is not a constitution” written on her body in black paint next to two nude Femen activists. In another photo, al-Mahdi is holding a paper over her crotch with “Coran” written on it. The reaction was instantaneous, as the photos were shared widely on Twitter and Facebook.
In collaborating with Femen, al-Mahdi is essentially normalizing certain problematic discourses about Egyptian women. While the action of uploading a photo of herself naked can be seen as one avenue of challenging society’s patriarchal norms, the fact that she collaborated with a group that can be defined as a colonial feminist movement should be problematized.
Femen is a Ukraine-based movement that was started in 2008 to protest the growing sex industry in the country. The movement soon branched out and began protesting other gender issues, including the perceived oppression of women at the hands of religious institutions.
According to their website:
FEMEN - is the name of the new woman
FEMEN - is the new Amazons, capable to undermine the foundations of the patriarchal world by their intellect, sex, agility, make disorder, bring neurosis and panic to the men’s world. FEMEN – is the ability to feel the problems of the world, beat it with the naked truth and bare nerve. FEMEN – is a hot boobs, a cool head and clean hands. Be FEMEN - means to mobilize every cell of your body on a relentless struggle against centuries of slavery of women!
FEMEN – is an ideology of SEXTREMISM.
FEMEN - is a new ideology of the women’s sexual protest presented by extreme topless campaigns of direct action . FEMEN – is sextremism serving to protect women’s rights, democracy watchdogs attacking patriarchy, in all its forms: the dictatorship, the church, the sex industry.
The magic of the body get your interested, the courage of the act make you want to riot.
Come out, Go topless and Win!
I first heard of Femen when they protested in Paris by wearing burqas and then stripping them off, to reveal their naked bodies underneath. This protest was aimed specifically at the Muslim community. Femen claimed that the veil and the burqa should be seen as intrinsically oppressive, and encouraged Muslim women to “free themselves” by stripping. This is apparent from both their protest actions as well as the slogans they use, including “Muslim Women! Let’s get Naked.” Femen have also made problematic statements about Arabs, including: “As a society we haven’t been able to eradicate our Arab mentality towards women.” The slogan and statement point towards a specific view of Arab and Muslim women that forms part of Femen’s activism and ideology.
What struck me at the time was the underlying assumption that Femen was operating on, namely that female liberation can be directly linked to what women wear. This is not a new idea, and in fact has formed the basis of much of western feminism. One of the most prominent examples is the way the French state produced Algeria as a backwards country because Algerian women veiled. This type of logic automatically leads to the conclusion that in order to progress, women who veil must unveil, and therefore “free” themselves.
As a feminist, these colonial undertones were extremely worrying. It seemed to me that we were returning to the never-ending debate about veiling and feminism, in which many feminists continue to claim that in order to be a “real” feminist, one must reject the veil.
My concerns about Femen intensified after I watched an episode of “The Stream” on al-Jazeera English. Femen explained that women’s bodies are consistently used by men, and that their movement aimed at taking back women’s bodies and thus freeing them from patriarchy. This was to be done through the act of stripping.
Halfway through the episode, the Femen spokeswoman began to question the feminist credentials of some of the other guests, who were questioning Femen’s tactics. For Femen, it appears that their kind of feminism is the only kind of feminism. Women who choose to wear the veil cannot and will not be called feminists, since they do not adhere to the same logic that Femen adheres to.
This is not the first time that feminism has confronted the issue of diversity. First and second wave feminists in the US, for example, were notorious for excluding women who weren’t like them: white, middle-class, American. Their feminism was distinctly local, but was branded and spread as ‘universal’ and if women didn’t adopt it then they were anti-feminist. The arguments advanced by the Femen member on al-Jazeera was eerily reminiscent of those kinds of discourses, especially when she accused the other participants of not being feminists because they didn’t agree with Femen’s tactics.
By collaborating with Femen, al-Mahdi has essentially condoned their problematic stance towards feminisms that are different from their own. The reality is that many feminists in Egypt – where al-Mahdi is from – have rejected Femen and their brand of feminism. This does not mean that it is not seen as a legitimate form of feminism, but rather that it is not the only legitimate form of feminism. Moreover, the assumptions underlying some of Femen’s stances are very troubling from the perspective of post-colonial feminism, especially the assumption that women who veil are uniformly oppressed.
Feminism has the potential to be greatly emancipatory by adopting an anti-racist, anti-homophobic, anti-transphobic and anti-Islamophobic rhetoric, instead of often actively being racist, homophobic, transphobic and Islamophobic. By clearly delineating the boundaries of what is “good” and “bad” feminism, Femen is using colonial feminist rhetoric that defines Arab women as oppressed by culture and religion, while no mention is made of capitalism, racism, or global imperialism. It is actively promoting the idea that Muslim women are suffering from “false consciousness” because they cannot see (while Femen can see) that the veil and religion are intrinsically harmful to all women.
Yet again, the lives of Muslim women are to be judged by European feminists, who yet again have decided that Islam – and the veil – are key components of patriarchy. Where do women who disagree with this fit? Where is the space for a plurality of voices? And the most important question of all: can feminism survive unless it sheds its Eurocentric bias and starts accepting that the experiences of all women should be seen as legitimate?
Sara Salem is a PhD researcher at the Institute of Social Studies in the Netherlands. Her interests include decolonial theory, third world feminism, critical political economy, and theories of post-development. She tweets at @saramsalem.
I know some of you from the department follow me, but I don’t fucking care if you see this — that is to say, I hope every single one of you see this and get angry with me.
A white liberal feminist from our department just re-posted the “We can all do it! Feminism is worthless without intersectionality and inclusion” poster that’s been circulating the Internet.
totally been struggling with this lately…feeling super dismissed and confused about the shame i start to feel about the color of my skin…then i realize that the root of that shame is total bullshit… nonetheless, glad you posted this and glad someone else is feeling me on this
I have no words.
My heart is POUNDING.
I do have a poem from my drafts, though.
Murder White Feminism
I want my feminism to be mean.
I don’t want to water down my meanness.
My meanness is something that I’ve worked hard cultivating.
My meanness is fruitful.
My anger is righteous.
My rage is a resource.
I don’t want my sister to grow up in an environment where feminism is co-opted by our oppressors.
I don’t want my feminism to be whitened, to be deadened, to be sucked dry of its most potent ingredients, to be drained of all its venom and vitality.
When can we bury white feminism?
How much longer do we have to wait?
When can we put this godforsaken entity of static movements and futile ideologies to rest?
Because we deserve better. Because we deserve more than what they give us.
In fact, we don’t even want what they give us — we are fucking done with what they give us.
They give us wars against the ones we love.
They give us drone strikes and sanctions and genocide and famine and imperialism.
And we are fucking angry.
We are so angry.
We cannot go on.
We refuse to align ourselves with such utter bullshit.
And we remain contemptuous.
And we remain skeptical.
And we remain strong.
Because we’ve learned from the best:
Nina Simone, High Priestess of Soul
Leila Khaled, Poster Woman of Palestinian Militancy
Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa, two unapologetically radical queer Chican@ freedom fighters
And the Lorde Audre, too, whose words on the power of personal (r)evolution remain unparalleled in a world that keeps telling us that feminism is a Fun Bourgie Anglo Thing™
I’m here to tell you that it’s not.
Together we will exorcise the lies.
Together we will re-(w)rite our lives.
Together we will passionately, provocatively, pridefully slay this beast of prey.
- Audre Lorde’s The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House
- Audre Lorde’s Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power
- Aurora Levins Morales’s Radical Pleasure: Sex and the End of Victimhood
- bell hooks’ Cultural Criticism & Transformation
- Chandra Talpade Mohanty’s Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses
- Combahee River Collective Statement
- Dorothy Allison’s A Question of Class
- Judith Butler documentary
- Leslie Feinberg’s We Are All Works in Progress
- Paula Gunn Allen’s Who is Your Mother?: Red Roots of White Feminism
- R.W. Connell’s The Social Organization of Masculinity
- Sandra Lee Bartky’s Foucault, Femininity, and the Modernization of Patriarchal Power
- Sandra Cisneros’s Guadalupe the Sex Goddess
- Sojourner Truth’s Ain’t I a Woman?
- Susan Bordo’s The Body and the Reproduction of Femininity