Feminism without fragmentation

When Jill asked me to come on as a regular blogger for Feministe, one question/concern that I had for her was about the type of stuff I could post here. Feministe is, of course, centered around feminism, so I asked whether it’s all right for me to post things that aren’t explicitly related to feminism or women. I think that I asked this more for reassurance than out of any real confusion, since I’ve read (and appreciated) many Feministe posts that don’t focus centrally on feminism. Jill gave me the reassurance that I’d hoped for – that I’m free to post what I’d like – which made me feel more confident about joining the team.

Interestingly, just as I was having this exchange with Jill, some conversations about what is or is not a feminist issue and what should or should not be posted on feminist blogs, specifically with regards to posts about the Sean Bell verdict on Feministing and here on Feministe. I made the mistake of wading somewhat clumsily into the fray and getting told to fuck off within two comments (ah, how I missed the blogosphere…) That wasn’t the most enriching experience, but it did drive home the concern with which I came to this blog.

I’m happy and excited to be joining an explicitly feminist and feminist-centric blog. But I wouldn’t be if my participation was predicated at leaving parts of my self – my identities and my politics – at the door. I live and function in this world in large part a as a woman, but also as a person of color, a Puerto Rican, a queer person, a genderqueer butch. These identities don’t merely intersect; they overlap, and they change each other in the overlapping. As I said over in that ill-fated comments thread, my entire identity is more than the sum of its parts; the overlap creates something new, something intrinsically meshed that can’t just be spliced apart into neat, discrete categories.

Likewise, my politics are interconnected. I can look at my politics and point out some different, distinct threads – “Oh, that’s a feminist politic right there; and that one, that’s anti-racist; and this one here’s trans positive.” But things aren’t always so discrete. I find few issues to be purely feminist, or purely about race or class or anything else. Just as I, as a person, am multi-dimensional and made of many different identities and experiences, my political perspective is a tightly-woven tapestry of the many issues that are important to me. My feminism informs my anti-racism, which informs my anti-classism, which informs my anti-imperialism, which all inform everything else. If I were to try to pull out one pure discrete thread, I think the whole damn thing would start to unravel. Remove one thread and the rest would be incomplete and may not hold together.

I can’t see what would be gained, then, by having me and the other bloggers here set aside all issues that are important to me yet not (obviously, on their face) related to women when blogging at Feministe. Some might argue that it would provide a space more purely and exclusively devoted to feminism; I, however, would argue that it would lop off great big important pieces of what shapes the feminism and larger politics of me and the other writers here.

I also think that if we were made to focus only on what affects women because they’re women, it would be easy to slide into the same traps that drove feminists of color away from second wave feminism, that drove some of them to even separate themselves from the entire term “feminist” and take on a new one, “womanist,” that they could define for themselves. Assertions like apostate’s that feminism must be “race-neutral” eerily echo the sorts of assertions that drove many women of color away from feminism back then, and I think that they’ll only serve to drive many women of color – and other women who refuse to segment themselves or their politics artificially – away now. Check it, y’all – those days aren’t behind us. They’re still here. I’m barely getting clued into the blogosphere again and already I’ve read two women of color talking about how they have already or are considering shedding the label “feminist” (here and here.)

Well, it’s 1:31am and I feel like I’m beginning to ramble. I’d hoped to start my blogging here at Feministe off with something a bit stronger, more cohesive, more focused. But maybe I just needed to get all that off my chest before I could really get down to work here. I hope it’ll at least resonate a bit.

Also, what Latoya said.

Author: has written 28 posts for this blog.

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120 Responses

  1. donna darko
    donna darko April 30, 2008 at 1:49 am |

    Sean Bell and Jena 6 are not feminist issues although feminists are interested in them and post about them.

    For example, what is the feminist solution to the Sean Bell and Jena 6 case? There are feminist solutions to incidents of police brutality involving women.

    This is feminism’s worst nightmare:

    IT’S NOW ABOUT TEH MENZ!

  2. donna darko
    donna darko April 30, 2008 at 1:51 am |

    Post whatever you want. But Sean Bell and Jena 6 are not feminist issues. I’m interested in them and your post did not bother me.

  3. Check it out! at AngryBrownButch
    Check it out! at AngryBrownButch April 30, 2008 at 1:53 am |

    [...] already posted one somewhat rambly post about what it means to be blogging on a feminist blog, in response to some conversations I’ve [...]

  4. z
    z April 30, 2008 at 2:08 am |

    feminism is not monolithic. there are various strands of feminism that advocate different approaches to achieving various goals of various kinds of women. what is a “feminist issue” to one feminist may not be a feminist issue to another.

    there’s no easy solution to this, but we should listen to all these strands and all these voices with respect. a lot of the oppression out there is deeply, deeply interwoven with the specific oppressions that feminisms try to address, and we should look at them all to try and form solutions and strategies…

  5. Cat of many faces
    Cat of many faces April 30, 2008 at 2:15 am |

    I agree that over focus is a problem to look out for.

    I don’t think it has happened here, but it is always a possibility just like it is on any other focused blog.

    I would expect that activist feminists are very much in the activist network. As people who are concerned about the way people are treated i would actually be surprised that someone would only be concerned about one topic to the exclusion of all others.

    Thus posting about things like the Jena 6 is a way to disseminate information to as many people as possible. Thus it spreads till everyone knows.

    I also would like to humbly point out that something all movements need is a human face, and that posting about all things that are important adds to our understanding of the person on the other side of the keyboard.

    After all, those who post here are people as well as feminists and bloggers. and in the end isn’t one of the important goals of feminism the recognition of women as people?

    So count me as someone interested in all the topics you find important. I hope the focus is on feminism, but your posts on other topics are indeed as you wrote, enmeshed in your identity.

    Lookin’ forward to it :)

  6. Jeffrey
    Jeffrey April 30, 2008 at 4:26 am |

    Feminism is only a lens of human rights: it is predicated on the assumption that, to quote the Declaration of Sentiments, “all men and women are created equal.” It privileges the examination of one oppression over others (just as race theory and queer theory privileges the examination of one oppression over others), but it cannot be considered separate from the overarching human rights movement.

    Moreover, trying to separate feminism from anti-racist, anti-homophobia, and other human rights lenses is not only disingenuous, it is stupid. Witness, for example the exclusion of women of color from the feminist movement and how it has alienated WOC. That wasn’t (mostly) due to the belief that racism is a-ok, but a belief that the struggle for womens’ rights can be separated from the struggle for POC’s rights. This alienation has harmed feminism, hopefully not irrevocably, but quite deeply.

    Also, I feel that this:

    There are feminist solutions to incidents of police brutality involving women.

    represents a fundamental misunderstanding of feminism and especially of the patriarchy. Feminism is not, and should not be, only about women. It is about society forcing roles onto people because of their sex. Women are the ones that are most affected by this, because their roles are the most strict and the most limiting, but it does affect men. Homophobia, for instance, rises from the need to force men into their proper role, which does not involve sex with other men. Viewing the patriarchy as merely trying to control women, as opposed to trying to control society as a whole for the benefit of a few rich, white, straight men, is self-delusion at best.

  7. annaham
    annaham April 30, 2008 at 7:29 am |

    Jeffrey, your comment says everything that I wanted to say, only more eloquently!

    I’ve believed for a long time that feminism is a critical way of viewing gender and its effects in our society, not just “women.” Intersectionality is also important (though for me, this may be because I come from an academic background)–how are we to address the issues of oppression of all stripes if we can’t look at all of these systems and how they intersect?

  8. Astraea
    Astraea April 30, 2008 at 7:30 am |

    There is Feminism the social movement, and then there is feminism that is a method for analyzing and understanding things. I have a hard time understanding the “not a feminist issue,” just because of my understanding of feminism. It’s like saying literature that isn’t either feminist or outright misogynist shouldn’t be analyzed from a feminist theory perspective.

    I also think applying that feminist view to things that are not normally considered “feminist issues” is sometimes vitally important because the impact of those issues on women is so often disappeared. For me, looking at the killing of Sean Bell as a feminist issue involves considering the impact on his family, and connecting it to the larger issues of police brutality, racism, and the impact on women in the communities most affected.

  9. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla April 30, 2008 at 7:35 am |

    I know Jack has said as much already, but I really have to ask: If racism hurts WoC, I don’t understand why racism isn’t a feminist issue. Women are being hurt by racism, and the fact that men are also being hurt, or that a lot of the racism comes from white women suddenly makes racism an issue that we should just ignore on this blog by saying “it’s not feminism”?

    Closer to home for me, denial of access to health care affect both trans men and trans women. Again, how can this not be a feminist issue? How can I be “just” a woman, and totally deny the fact that I’m trans and Jewish and have disabilities and have Asperger’s?

    This “it’s not a feminist issue” trope is forcing a huge number of women, the majority I dare say, to deny very large parts of our identities, and comes dangerously close to the “radical” feminist idea of The. One. Single. Universal. Women’s. Experience, which always turns out to be the experience of white, non-immigrant, middle-to-upper-class, ablebodied, neurotypical women, and women who have experiences that differ from that get smacked aside and even outright disinvited from feminism (see MWMF).

    Ok. I see the rules now. When I’m on a feminist blog, including my own, I must NEVER EVER discuss trans issues, or autism or other disability issues, or the problems faced by women with careers in information technology, etc. And I certainly should not confront my own white and middle-class privilege on feminist blogs, including my own, BECAUSE THAT’S NOT A FEMINIST ISSUE!!

    If were going to define feminism that narrowly, then I’ll have to say goodbye to feminism.

  10. Kristin
    Kristin April 30, 2008 at 8:37 am |

    Thanks so much for this, Jack. I’m glad to see this post, and glad to see you here.

  11. La Lubu
    La Lubu April 30, 2008 at 8:38 am |

    And now for a word from the labor movement……”An Injury to One is an Injury to All.”

    That says it all to me, right there. There isn’t one feminism answer to any problem we face, because there isn’t One Universal Experience, and different women (or men, or folks who don’t self-identify as either) face different conflicting or converging challenges—-simulataneously. Look at domestic violence. For some women, the solution may be to call the police. For other women, there may be access to a shelter. But what about the woman who can’t call the police, because she won’t be believed, or will be arrested for attempting to fight off her abuser, or who was beaten by her female partner and that isn’t recognized as “domestic” violence because of hetersexism? Feminist solutions that leave wide gaps of unsolved problems for women because of race, class, sexuality, disability, etc.—–are at best incomplete, at worst, not solutions at all.

    I lost my job after my pregnancy (check the October 07 archives here for my guest-blogger post about it), and feminism gave me the right to sue my employer. It didn’t put the money in my bank account for my newly-jobless self to hire a lawyer. It didn’t put the lawyers in my locale who are willing to take on such cases against large local employers. I got lucky and was able to get help from the DoL—-but millions of women find themselves in situations just like mine and are left with their asses out in the breeze.

    Meanwhile, when I think of Sean Bell, I’m not just thinking of a innocent young man gunned down in cold blood by the police. I’m thinking of his fiancee, and their young son. I think of the struggles she is going to have raising her son as a single mother. How is that not a feminist issue?

  12. Christina
    Christina April 30, 2008 at 8:44 am |

    If feminism is really separate from all other fights for equality, then the systems we are fighting must also be separate, right? Are they?

    I suggest they are not. It is one system whether one calls it the patriarchy, hetero-normativity, or (a word of my own making) the pasty-archy. They are all the same system and the proof of that is that they all benefit the same people.

    Artificial separations of the fight only serve the patriarchy/pasty-archy/hetero mainstream by having us to do their work–we are dividing ourself and so making it easier to conquer us, one at a time. It is no mistake that feminism got a ton of things done while the civil rights movement was afoot, as well as LGBTQI as well as access issues for the differently-abled. When we all fought the system at the same time, we were overwhelming and could not be stopped.

    The very idea that feminism is separate from anti-racism, et. al., is just as artificial as the idea of race itself or the wacked-out evo psych theories on gender at which we all laugh.

  13. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie April 30, 2008 at 9:17 am |

    I’m agreeing with Jack, GalllingGalla, Anaham, etc. Feminism is not just one separate issue.

    GallingGalla, don’t leave! Feminism needs you. To hell with people who don’t like your ideas. Get pissed, get righteous, get in EVERYONE’s face with your beliefs. Who cares what people think? Women are already so hated anyway, what else have we got to lose? No matter what we say, someone derides us for it, so who cares?

  14. Jay
    Jay April 30, 2008 at 9:40 am |

    Wow, I thought I had something to say but Astraea and La Lubu have said it. And I agree with them and with you, Jack.

    As a diagnostician, I’m a lumper, not a splitter. As a literary critic (when I was one, lo those many years ago) I was a synthesizer. As a facilitator, I work to bring the voices of subgroups into the larger group. Yeah, there’s a pattern – I work to keep fragmentation and disintegration at bay. I work to make myself whole, to enter every space as my entire self. My identity as a woman is not separate from my identity as a Jew, or an adoptive mother, or a member of a multiracial and interfaith family, or a fat woman, or any of the other pieces that make up who I am. This is who I am. I am a feminist and by definition my issues are feminist issues.

  15. Miriam
    Miriam April 30, 2008 at 10:37 am |

    Hi Jack!

    I’m pscyhed that you are joining the Feministe crew. We need more perspectives about race and gender on feminist blogs. And thanks for trying to take on Apostate. Lordy.

  16. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla April 30, 2008 at 11:01 am |

    Christina@13:

    I suggest they are not. It is one system whether one calls it the patriarchy, hetero-normativity, or (a word of my own making) the pasty-archy. They are all the same system and the proof of that is that they all benefit the same people.

    A word I learned recently for the system of multiple interlocking oppressions is “kyriarchy”. Sudy explains.

  17. tanglad
    tanglad April 30, 2008 at 11:51 am |

    Astrea@9:

    I also think applying that feminist view to things that are not normally considered “feminist issues” is sometimes vitally important because the impact of those issues on women is so often disappeared.

    I definitely agree, except perhaps to remove the word “sometimes.” In the early 1990s, for example, there was a big push for land conversion in Philippine rural areas, a program that was supposed to help the entire community. But there was a lack of consideration of the gendered aspects of agriculture and land ownership (e.g. women planted subsistence crops, women had tax certificates instead of land titles, etc), and many peasant women lost their land as a result.

    So now, land reform obviously affects women, and now maybe we can all agree that it’s a feminist issue. But it would be nice if people could see that it was all along, even before peasant women lost their land.

  18. exholt
    exholt April 30, 2008 at 11:59 am |

    That wasn’t (mostly) due to the belief that racism is a-ok, but a belief that the struggle for womens’ rights can be separated from the struggle for POC’s rights. This alienation has harmed feminism, hopefully not irrevocably, but quite deeply.

    And that along with a strong heaping of White/Wannabe White upper/upper-middle class suburban privilege among the White and Asian-American campus feminists was one reason why many POC, including many international Asian students I’ve known who were active feminists back in their home countries were turned off by the academic or campus feminisms on my undergrad campus back in the mid-late ’90s.

    They saw the feminism in both of those groups as an extension of the paternalistic White western colonialist mindset they hated and vehemently fought against.

  19. Astraea
    Astraea April 30, 2008 at 12:04 pm |

    I definitely agree, except perhaps to remove the word “sometimes.”

    I would agree with that edit. :) I didn’t say that as well as I should have.

  20. Radfem
    Radfem April 30, 2008 at 12:13 pm |

    For example, what is the feminist solution to the Sean Bell and Jena 6 case? There are feminist solutions to incidents of police brutality involving women.

    I’m sure they’re but the first thing you learn is that it’s very difficult to neatly separate police brutality into separate genders, as many bloggers who’ve written about this have stated over and over and over including those who are offline now.

    I’ve lost count at how many women have asked me why feminists don’t care about what the police do to them, why NOW doesn’t give a damn, why Feminist Majority doesn’t give a damn. Why they’re supposed to subscribe to feminism, which after all is about the liberation of women, when feminists don’t care what happens to them. When it comes to the policing of women in a community, it’s kind of hard to separate it from the policing of men, as nicely and as tidy as many feminists would like to do so to offer up another reason why they are not involved in these issues. The simpliest thing way to rationalize nonconcern is to call something a “man’s” issue.

    I think what I’ll do now when it happens, like today perhaps, is just to tell these women it’s not a feminist concern.

    One issue of the Bell shooting that comes to mind is that 50 bullets have to go someplace and not all of them went into Bell’s car. Some of them went into a nearby house in that neighborhood. And one of the issues that comes up in shootings with a lot of gunfire like several by the NYPD and one by L.A. Sheriff’s Department deputies in Compton severa years ago, is that there’s so little concern about safety of people living in houses in the neighborhoods including women and children and whether or not the bullets will hit these homes and these people.

    A lot of feminists are mothers for example as are a lot of women. Some moms can raise their children that the police are heroes, the good guys, call one if you are in trouble or ask one if you even need directions from point A to B. Always trust a man in uniform. That’s not true of all White middle-class women but it’s true of a lot of them.

    Then there are mothers most often but not always those with Black or Latino sons, especially those who are taller, larger men. The mothers who tell their sons and daughters too how to act when the police stop them, to keep their hands in plain sight, to speak calmly even when the officer is not, to do what is needed to do to not get shot, not get beaten, not get arrested, slammed against the car, etc. Essentially to get home that night. They tell their kids to be careful about calling the police, to avoid them, not to seek them out.

    These mothers also ask me why feminists, and feminist organizations don’t care about them.

    I’ll place a bet that when more White women are disproportionately represented in these police shootings and White women do get shot by police and I remember a really bad one in my city and where were the feminists then? So maybe when that happens, they still won’t care because after all, the police are there to protect them and their property second, after that of the state of course.

    If feminism is really separate from all other fights for equality, then the systems we are fighting must also be separate, right? Are they?

    You’d think. But when you look at race and gender as separate entities, which group of feminists can more easily place them into discrete categories which of course have nothing to do with each other.

    There’s much more to say on these issues but it’s finally sinking through my thick little head that a feminist forum is just not the place to say it.

  21. tanglad
    tanglad April 30, 2008 at 12:16 pm |

    I would agree with that edit. :) I didn’t say that as well as I should have.

    Ooops, sorry Astraea, I didn’t mean to go editor on you (I play one in real life though). I just totally totally agree, and all this “this is not a feminist issue” crap is frustrating. I like how you put feminism as a method of analysis. I think that those who wail about the dilution of feminism miss this very important point.

    Also, thanks for the great post, Jack.

  22. Kathleen
    Kathleen April 30, 2008 at 12:21 pm |

    Well, the list has gotten quite long but I completely agree with everyone upthread who has said that Jenna 6, Sean Bell, etc. etc. are all feminist issues. We’re talking about a total system! So where authority is figured as violent, aggressive, physically dominant– hey, we’re talking feminism! When we see “overkill” in response to any kind of challenge to that kind of authority — hey, we’re talking feminism! And so on, as others have said so well already.

  23. Astraea
    Astraea April 30, 2008 at 12:27 pm |

    No problem, tanglad! I took it as a constructive comment.

  24. isaidfeminist
    isaidfeminist April 30, 2008 at 12:30 pm |

    I think it’s incredibly problematic to say that only things that racism isn’t a feminist issue, that classism isn’t a feminist issue. Like you said, women have a multitude of identities and all of these inform our politics. When someone has race and class isn’t an issue, they’re telling women who aren’t white and who aren’t middle to upper class that their experiences outside of being a woman don’t matter. And quite frankly, when this country thinks it’s OK to shoot unarmed black men, does anyone honestly think that women are safe?

  25. juju
    juju April 30, 2008 at 12:50 pm |

    Great post! I look forward to reading your future contributions.

    At the moment, I have nothing to add that hasn’t already been very well stated in other comments.

  26. exholt
    exholt April 30, 2008 at 1:03 pm |

    I’ve lost count at how many women have asked me why feminists don’t care about what the police do to them, why NOW doesn’t give a damn, why Feminist Majority doesn’t give a damn.

    Contrary to popular stereotype, police brutality and excesses is not solely a MOC problem as a certain earlier commenter has noted.

    Most WOC would vehemently disagree….especially in one case I witnessed more than a decade ago when one WOC classmate who was pulled over by a White Ohio state trooper with a gun drawn and pointed at her face despite her calmly and courteously following the trooper’s instructions after being pulled over. Though we attempted to file complaints with the authorities, nothing came of it because we were dismissively seen as young non-White students who “must have been up to no good” to prompt such a trooper response.

    It didn’t help matters that our campus was well-known among the authorities for its “troublemaking” due to the strong progressively radical left campus orientation and the fact nearly daily campus protests has been a regular part of campus life since the 1960’s.

  27. Radfem
    Radfem April 30, 2008 at 3:10 pm |

    And quite frankly, when this country thinks it’s OK to shoot unarmed black men, does anyone honestly think that women are safe?

    Maybe some White feminists do. Here some words for them. Some of the shootings of women in the past 10 years.

    Tyisha Miller Riverside, CA

    Margaret Mitchell Los Angeles, CA

    Kendra James Portland, Oregon

    Kathryn Johnston (and nearly Francis Thompsan) Atlanta, GA

    Summer Lane Riverside, CA

    Ginienne Stover Highland, CA

    LaTanya Haggerty Chicago, IL

    Jennifer Strobel California

    Melodee Beleu California

    Cheryl Lynn Moore Eureka, CA

    Ashley MacDonald Huntington Beach, CA

    Moore, MacDonald, Lane were White. Stover was White but had a Black boyfriend and allegedly when she was shot during a domestic violence call that she initiated, the officer said “another Negro lover down”.

    Maybe these aren’t really women. What a coincidence. In some of these cases, the police didn’t think they were either or even really human. I’ve been researching these cases because like has been said, often they are rendered invisible including by feminism. Where and when did these women and their lives and deaths become a “men’s issue”?

    Having known Mitchell a bit when she was alive and being actively involved in organized efforts after the deaths of Miller, Stover and Lane, even when it’s White women, you’ll see women of color more concerned about it than feminists, which was true in the case of Stover and Lane.

    Mental illness played a role in some of these cases, including MacDonald and Mitchell. Johnston and Thompsan were 92 and 80 respectively in their own homes, which were raided by narcotics officers. I though mental illness was a feminist issue, in terms of its impact on women and how women were treated by medical professionals but apparently not police?

    I also think applying that feminist view to things that are not normally considered “feminist issues” is sometimes vitally important because the impact of those issues on women is so often disappeared. For me, looking at the killing of Sean Bell as a feminist issue involves considering the impact on his family, and connecting it to the larger issues of police brutality, racism, and the impact on women in the communities most affected.

    Yes! But obviously making these connections is unfortunately too big of a leap for some folks.

  28. Well, that isn’t feminism « Feminocracy

    [...] addresses this issue at Racialicious, so does Jack at Feministe. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Ooga Booga, where all the antiracism [...]

  29. donna darko
    donna darko April 30, 2008 at 7:01 pm |

    Feminism is a solution to the Sean Bell case if we look at how traditional masculinity contributes to the problem of police brutality but Sean Bell and Jena 6 are not feminist issues. Racism should be fully incorporated into feminism. It’s not because white women dominate feminism. Women of color should continue to speak out about how race and gender intersect but white feminists should put women of color into decision-making positions.

  30. Lyndsay
    Lyndsay April 30, 2008 at 7:19 pm |

    I would’ve agreed that Sean Bell is a feminist issue but couldn’t have told you why. So thanks for the informative and interesting posts everyone. Both my boyfriend and dad don’t like the police much and they both grew up fairly poor. It’s quite something the different perspectives people have of the police but I think it might be surprising how many people don’t fully trust them. Is it really not an issue for Feminist Majority or NOW?

  31. Alexandra
    Alexandra April 30, 2008 at 7:27 pm |

    Should “put” women of color into positions of power? I’m nervous about the way you phrased that, Donna, just because it seems to me there are an awful lot of grassroots or, for that matter, long-standing, political organizations in which women of color already make decisions, and I doubt they necessarily need to be put into a different place by white women.

    I’m not jumping all over you, just noticing something about the language that reflects on power/privilege.

  32. donna darko
    donna darko April 30, 2008 at 9:21 pm |

    The mainstream feminist movement.

  33. Lisa Harney
    Lisa Harney May 1, 2008 at 1:40 am |

    Welcome, Jack. :)

    On the feminist issue: Radfem says it all better than I could. Women are suffering from this violence.

    I’m suspicious of attempts to frame race issues as not feminist at all. The first time I saw it happen, it was a white woman saying that involuntary sterilization of women of color was a race issue, not a feminist issue (hello, reproductive rights and justice, anyone?) on the Ms. forum several years ago. Does this specific case deal with a woman unjustly shot by police officers? No. Do police officers unjustly shoot women as well as men? Yes. Is that a feminist issue? Yes. Is Sean Bell’s case inextricably linked here? Yes. It’s still police brutality, and what goes for him will also go for women.

  34. shah8
    shah8 May 1, 2008 at 5:44 am |

    One thing I figured while writing some comments at Racialicious is how much some feminists interpolate what are civic goals as their envisionment of feminist goals.

    Civic goals like equality in law and commerce is not what feminism is. Taking civic goals out of context like that, and sticking “equality” into the midst of feminism does feminism a disfavor. People and social groups can play rather dynamic games with the concept of equality, unmoored from the root concepts of what it means to be one among many and to organize that sum. In the history of race, there is Seperate But Equal doctrine, tokenism, paperbag tests…many ways to bring out that equals but some are more equal than others. There is also things like Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, which is putatively neutral on sexuality but not so in actuality.

    More than this though, in order for women to be “equal” women have to be largely all alike. Otherwise, trying to figure out just what is “equal” to women of different circumstances grows byzantine. Some women can call the police, but others cannot. Some women have ready access to personal connections that can help them to legal and commercial access. Others cannot. Some women have access to a community that assists them with their lives. Others don’t, or are unwilling to put up with the demands that the community makes in return (like, say from a megachurch). There is no freaking way it’s possible to even inform women what “equal rights” actually means, given the disparate lives of each and every woman. And I don’t quite know what would make a woman equal to me, a large, good looking, intelligent, black, and hard of hearing male, who still lives with his mother for various reasons. Not only that, there are even more significant slices of me that I haven’t said that either empowers me or disempowers me. So how do I know that the woman has, even roughly, the same, or more power than me in society? I don’t.

    On the flip handle, when some feminists talks about “issue dilution”, I see the perniciousness of the idea of feminist equality rather than civic equality, because it fades and dampens the fire for civic participation among certain women. If a major issue on race pops up, their mindsets is mostly about a lukewarm, “hey, that’s bad and we’re totally against that crap.”, and pressed for further action, might say well, “We’re Feminists, let the Race People handle all of that, because hey we don’t know it as well as they do anyways!” and believe that they are being progressive and inclusive. No using feminism as a means to dissect issues or convince people about race, or the range of sexualities, or anything else, because that would be a “dilution”. It really doesn’t have to be an overtly feminist issue for feminists to be heavily involved, if not because they are personally interested in civic nature, then because it helps coalition plays for what is, broadly spoken, spreading greater civil rights to more people–not women, just people.

    Issues are spoken around coffee tables, dinner tables, counter-tops, water coolers. Issues are *felt* around these places where people connect. People press for what they know. For middle/upper class white women, many of them meet so many of the norm-testing that society imposes that it can seem that feminism is about a very narrow issue tied directly to sexual organs, and the rights of brothers, sons, and fathers. It can be pretty hard for them to realize that they are only one facet of femism, and it’s easy for them to empathize with Hillary Clinton, even at this late date, and continuing swerve to the right. She’s just as good as Bill, why shouldn’t she get the job–without acknowleging the sense of entitlement that is associated. It’s also hard for them to realize that enjoying the rights of their male family members means participating in the oppression of others. Want power? Get to be like Maggie Thatcher, or like Angela Merkel, or like XiChi, and be ready to stomp on the despised classes in order to keep elite male support.

    That isn’t the way. Leave equality for civic thought, and take liberation for feminist thought.

  35. International Worker’s Rights Day « Radical Doula

    [...] people have been reiterating this for a long time, but in light of recent discussions, I want to make it clear: immigration is a feminist issue. It’s a human rights issue. The [...]

  36. Jasmine Iqbal
    Jasmine Iqbal May 2, 2008 at 4:48 am |

    Are gang bangers who turn young women of color into crack heads so they can be abused and then abused a little bit more by white punters a feminist issue?
    Let’s say I am a new immigrant to the US and I work for the LAPD, a Pakistani uniformed girl cop, yes, it can happen, or let’s say it’s a blond cop, or a green one, if you prefer. She walks right into a drug bust and takes a bullet in her stomach and dies in the gutter. Is that a feminist issue? Any female cops ever got any coverage on Feministe, ever? Now why would that be. Me, I wanted to be a cop, here in the UK, I want to vomit when I see drugs in me community and how Pakistani runaways are targettted time after time. I always know, that people here, when a woman police officer gets gunned down by a perp, if he’s black or brown, well, we all know where we stand, don’t we. Sick, that’s feminism, supporting gangsters who farm out woc to white suits for abuse? You even know how many female cops died in the line of fire in 2008 in the US? NO, cos every piece of Americana trash is a feminist issue for you, but a female cop crawling in the gutter, no, that isn’t. Well maybe you see her as agents of patriarchy, guess what, YOUR agents of fucking patriarhcy urselves, only the low-end side, Jamal and his hoods. Keep praying at the sepulcher of the black male, cos I just wondering how long it’s going to be till you start suggesting feminists should be hijabis. RAD FEM in the US Navy, in the LAPD, thta’s the way forward, it’s bets model for feminism for us as Pakistanis, not this community based stuff which is totally politically suspect and tainted with black nationalism, this is what I think.

  37. Jasmine Iqbal
    Jasmine Iqbal May 2, 2008 at 5:16 am |

    LAPD OFFICER: IT’S A FEMINIST ISSUE

    Er, ok then, we’ll play by ure rules, this means that police officer Randall Simmons is ALSO a feminist issue, as are every woman who gets injured or killed in the LAPD in the line of duty, so let’s see this. Now who was Randall Simmons, he was a SWAT officer, his family now got very little, like Sean, there are children to consider, ironic, as Randall Simmons cared about kids very much.
    LAPD SWAT Officer Randall Simmons was killed in the line of duty on February 7, 2008 in West Valley Division.
    Now how come Sean Bell is a feminist issue and Randall Simmons isn’t- both were married, both have kids, one got killed by officers (not the state), the other served the community and got taken away. You people, you talking down to Pakistani feminists all the time like we’re ten years old and don’t know nothing, see how easy it is for us to expose ure hypocrisy- IF WE WANT?
    American friends of Feministe site, always listen to any Pakistani feminists, never argue, our experience in fighting patriarchy is more than yours, you don’t know about theocratic patriarchy- we know, NEVER DARE TO DEFEND ISLAM ON THIS SITE.

  38. A Continuing Conversation on Feminism: What Did We/Do We Hope For? at Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture

    [...] tensions are still running high. People are raw. Emotions are just out there in cyberspace. And this tough month is drawing to a [...]

  39. Jasmine Iqbal
    Jasmine Iqbal May 2, 2008 at 1:26 pm |

    Jack, if I tell anything that can be evenly mildly construed as transphobic, shut me down, u got that right. What I am saying to you is that if you was living in a Muslim country, u would not have the rights you deserve, and this would be true to all women, not only ureself. And I say that hand on heart and encourage you to study how sisters are treated in Pakistan.
    Now how would you feel, if you lived in one of our countries, and instead of supporting ure apsirations to live freely, to own ure own body, to have access to basic health care, family planning advice, to be able to own and explore ure own sexuality any way u want, to have intellectual autonomy, to be free to say u don’t want to believe in a male supremacist religion, that you don’t want to marry someone you don’t love, never met or just can’t feel any physical attraction for, people in the mightiest country on earth, who support the oppression on a huge level and have done with trillions of dollars over decades, come out, even in the most progressive sectors of the blogosphere and basically slap you in the face and tell you, “Hey, Islam is great, we love it, we wear the hijab and to hell with your experience cos we’re Americans and we know more.”
    How would YOU feel as a Muslim woman from Pakistan? I think you would be angry, Jack, this is what I think. This is ure chance now to make a stand, u can come and join with us and we will embrace to you as our sister, or you join with American Muslims, agents of patriarchy, the same set up that would crush you if you was born in any place where they got the power. Jack, please, don’t give them a chance, they wouldn’t give it to you, and they don’t give it to millions of Muslim girls in Pakistan, what we get, this is punch punch punch, kick kick kick, or worse. We ready to embrace you, will you do the same for us?

  40. donna darko
    donna darko May 2, 2008 at 5:17 pm |

    Are gang bangers who turn young women of color into crack heads so they can be abused and then abused a little bit more by white punters a feminist issue?

    Definitely a feminist issue.

  41. Jasmine Iqbal
    Jasmine Iqbal May 2, 2008 at 6:25 pm |

    Well I agree, but only in the sense that tubercolosis is too.

  42. octogalore
    octogalore May 2, 2008 at 8:36 pm |

    While I don’t agree with everything Jasmine has said, I think it’s unfair to lump it all in as an off-topic rant. With the topic being interconnection between feminism, race and other aspects of ones identity, she has spoken about how that has operated for her and how that interconnetion has affected her relationship to feminism. As other women above have done. She has also asked some interesting questions about female police offers, some of color, dying on duty.

    Those are squarely on topic, IMO. If we’re really about diversity and about all women, we should be empathetic to when personal experiences create an emotional response? We can still reject and vociferously disagree with some statements that were transphobic and racist. And to Jasmine’s credit, she admits that this kind of statement is out of hand.

    But not listening to her at all seems to be counter to the spirit of this post. Not everyone has the luxury to approach these issues from the same kind of cool distance. The comment at 1:26 opens up about why her reactions may be why they are, and I think refusing to engage with that as a “rant” is highly problematic.

  43. baltogeek
    baltogeek May 2, 2008 at 9:57 pm |

    Keep praying at the sepulcher of the black male, cos I just wondering how long it’s going to be till you start suggesting feminists should be hijabis. RAD FEM in the US Navy, in the LAPD, thta’s the way forward, it’s bets model for feminism for us as Pakistanis, not this community based stuff which is totally politically suspect and tainted with black nationalism, this is what I think.

    I don’t know about off-topic rants but half of that right there is some fucked up racist shit that barely deserves an answer.

  44. octogalore
    octogalore May 2, 2008 at 11:13 pm |

    baltogeek — agree with your observation about that section.

  45. Jasmine, My Ally « The Apostate
    Jasmine, My Ally « The Apostate May 2, 2008 at 11:51 pm |

    [...] to this, I say AMEN. Jack, if I tell anything that can be evenly mildly construed as transphobic, shut me [...]

  46. Kali
    Kali May 3, 2008 at 8:49 am |

    Pakistanis/Indians are considered ‘black’ along with AfroCaribeans in the UK.

    I agree with Octagalore about listening to the palpable pain in the post. I don’t think “barely deserves an answer” is an appropriate response to another woman with a different/visceral/painful response to ‘black men’.

    More talking and listening is the answer to this shit-storm in feminist circles IMO.

  47. baltogeek
    baltogeek May 3, 2008 at 10:41 am |

    I’m black too and I said it barely deserves an answer because I think it’s a typical response that feminists take when dealing with MOC.

    I’m not arguing that MOC are angels but it never ceases to amaze me how blind people can be to the real danger that our society’s attitude towards those men presents not only to them but the women in their lives.

    I’m not worshipping at the alter of any man but having seen the direct and indirect effects that police corruption has on communities of color you’ll forgive me if I don’t look at the police kindly.

    And you’ll also forgive me if I don’t want to take that criticism from someone who doesn’t even live here.

    I don’t know what the relationship between Pakistanis and the police are over in the UK and I certainly wouldn’t be arrogant enough to post a comment acting like I do.

    If you can’t see the sheer racism, ignorance and stupidity in that part of her comments then I can’t help you.

  48. Kali
    Kali May 3, 2008 at 11:00 am |

    Jasmine feels as ”black” as you do. She does not need anyone here to confer or retract that ‘identity’.

    I don’t need “help”. You are being condescending again – your particular viewpoint deserves attention and respect – but no more and no less than Jasmine’s regardless of whichever (powerful) country you are from.

  49. Jasmine Iqbal
    Jasmine Iqbal May 3, 2008 at 11:31 am |

    I just going to be honest cos I got no shame to tell, I applied to join the UK police and got sent to Hendon Police College for me interview, this was proudest day of me life cos I got treated like a animal when I was living in a Arab Muslim country that I don’t want to name, and not only me, all us Pakistanis were, males also, we got treated like we was all trash. If I tell you what was done, you will vomit. People even took their own lives where I was, u don’t know, and you don’t want to know also.
    And that was for 8 years, the abuse i suffered on the streets, got me so sick I was unable to leave me bedroom and missed me schooling. I got back to UK in 1999, me age was 18. I done all me catch up studies and got to the police interview in 2004. I wanted to join the police, with all me heart, all me soul. Why can’t I be in the Police? Just cos I am of Pakistani heritage, no, I want to help people, do stuff, assist, get into desicion making, why have I got to be ghettoized or sent home to wear the hijab, i DON’T WANT. But Islam had one last stab in me back, cos I never really escpated it in me mind, this is I could not join up cos I got a history of mental illness, this was all the way back to age 15 in Country X, and with the meds I was on, no, they had to turn me down. And then things got worse when the one person who had stood by me got sent to Pakistan BY FORCE. BUt the question remains, why can’t I be in the police, I want to be someone, I was never no one, I want to be something and make a difference, and I know all what’s happening in me community also, girls are getting targetted, tricked into drugs, men are trapping them into sex work, so for me, I wanted then and still want now to FIGHT BACK, cos I was nearly one of those girls meself. Now what YOU see is a Paki, a downclass, someone who has no place doing anything except being a professional victim of the state, no, I got me own ideas, I want to influence the state, and we can, cos it’s not as hard as you think, if you stand up and say, “Hey, this is our country too.” And now us Pakistani girls in UK we are policing the Nazis, helping our own abuse victims, giving advice, spreading awareness that if you are in danger, don’t run blindly, get sheltered accomodation, and we are the ones protecting our community’s so it’s not just a situation where there’s a them and us mentality, no, and you can’t erase a woman cos she’s brown or black and wears a police uniform, how come, and if she’s white, SHE’S URE SISTER ALSO. Me, I am brown, proud of this, got no interest in being anything other than I am also, me only interest is to help others so they don’t end up like me, in rehab, scarred after a crack up at age 15 and a sucide attempt years after that, totally dependent on one or two people and unable to form normal relationships with the opposite sex, no, I don’t want that, we suffered enough, i want to break the cycle, that means getting involved, really involved, and if i can’t wear a police uniform then I will do it in another way. It’s racism to tell me I can’t do nothing, no way, I don’t accept, even now, I want to do something, one day I will, you’ll see.

  50. baltogeek
    baltogeek May 3, 2008 at 12:20 pm |

    Kali, where did I ask for extra attention?

    Where did I say she needed help?

    Did you actually read what I posted or are you spouting some pre-prepared bit of outrage?

    I didn’t say a damn thing about her comments about her particular experience as a Pakistani woman in the UK.

    I didn’t instruct her to do anything in terms of expressing her feelings toward her experience.

    My objection is when she uses that to pontificate about something she knows nothing about which is the black community in this country.

    Here’s a concept that will blow your mind.

    Just because someone is a person of color doesn’t mean they have any more insight into what happens in another community of color than anyone else.

    At the end of the day we are all ignorant. We are all ignorant and have to be educated about the goings on in cultures and communities outside of our own.

    She has no more business making blanket statements about black men and women in this country than I would talking about hers.

    Her words.

    Keep praying at the sepulcher of the black male, cos I just wondering how long it’s going to be till you start suggesting feminists should be hijabis.

    She accuses people of worshipping black men at the expense of ourselves and then talking that bit of nonsense and using it to accuse people of advocating people wearing hijabs.

    RAD FEM in the US Navy, in the LAPD, thta’s the way forward, it’s bets model for feminism for us as Pakistanis, not this community based stuff which is totally politically suspect and tainted with black nationalism, this is what I think.

    She completely disrespects the fact that people of color in this country are wary of the military and the police and for good reason.

    She then takes a swipe and belittles that fact by saying it’s all based on black nationalism.

    Spare me your outrage.

  51. Kali
    Kali May 3, 2008 at 12:51 pm |

    If you can’t see the sheer racism, ignorance and stupidity in that part of her comments then I can’t help you.

    and

    Spare me your outrage.

    Tough. You will have to put up with my outrage and Jasmine’s without trying to shut us up.

    I may be ignorant of, or disagree with what Jasmine or Apostate say – but I listen and argue if I feel so inclined. Silencing them with talk of their “ignorance and stupidity” not the way. Perhaps Black nationalism is a good and worthy cause – as an agent of change if not an achievable goal. Why don’t you enlighten us rather than trade insults.

    Frankly I (a non-muslim) find myself a little alarmed at the risk of being so proIslam in antiracist circles in this country, as to justify the oppression of muslim women – as in insisitence on their wearing hijab. In this country they may have a choice – in other Musllim countries including my own they very often don’t.

  52. baltogeek
    baltogeek May 3, 2008 at 1:51 pm |

    I’m not a black nationalist.

    So I wouldn’t be able to explain that.

    There is nothing wrong with anyone talking about their lives but there is a problem and I will ask you or anyone to stop talking about issues that they know nothing about. Things they couldn’t have possibly experienced.

    How does a Pakistani woman in the UK have a right to speak on the issues facing black women in the United States?

    Where does she have the right to critique relationships between black women and men in a culture that she isn’t a part of?

    Where does she have the right to tell me what to do in a community she isn’t even a part of?

    Let’s start there.

    Because that is what is upsetting me about her post.

  53. Kali
    Kali May 3, 2008 at 2:25 pm |

    Baltogeek
    Blogs and the internet have made this kind of trans-culture conversation possible, let’s not kill it. People who come from such different backgounds will have a lot to understand and disagree about.

    Over at Racialicious they are discussing Indian newspaper ads and BBC TV ads with contributions from many different countries.

    I am guessing you and Jasmine are both angry young women who would have a lot in common if you had the opportunity to meet and talk.

    FWIW Sean Bell’s killing makes me sick to my stomach and find the beauty and innocence of that family picture so saddening – but I still find it hard to see as a feminise issue. However, I respect other differing people’s views and would be happy to go along with that interpretation of feminism as not that much different from my own.

  54. Kali
    Kali May 3, 2008 at 2:56 pm |

    Jasmine
    You have intelligence and courage and strength.
    When a door closes a window soon opens if we look for it.
    Not being accepted into the police force so that you can fight these men forcing women into prostitution must be very disappointing for you – but I am sure you will continue to find other ways to help yourself and others.

  55. Lala
    Lala May 3, 2008 at 3:39 pm |

    As a NYer, a student, as a young Puerto Rican woman I have never been comfortable with the term “feminist”. I don’t trust the word. I don’t trust the people behind the word. In my heart I know they don’t give a damn about us no matter how many petty speeches they give trying to recruit us. The Sean Bell case brings it home. If my son or my brother were murdered the feminists would not be there to help me and support me fight for justice because at the heart of it our lives are meaningless. I’ve been police harassed. Police terrified. Pulled over for no reason. Cuffed. Searched. Threatened. For the crime of being a WOC in this city. If this isn’t about feminism then feminism is useless.

  56. octogalore
    octogalore May 3, 2008 at 3:48 pm |

    Jasmine — like Kali, I have confidence that you will find a way to make an impact.

    Baltogeek — as you’ve granted that Jasmine has unique and worthwhile contributions, why kill the dialogue over disagreements? Yes, the seemingly blanket indictment of black men was out of hand. But ultimately, people draw from environment, both good and bad. Clearly, Jasmine has had some really difficult experiences. Shutting someone off, rather trying to get at what she meant, taking the good and strongly disagreeing where indicated, seems like a healthier way of connecting.

    Isn’t the goal to get rid of certain attitudes? Simply telling someone who has a lot to offer that these attitudes make her completely worthless is not going to achieve that.

    Jasmine — I don’t mean to be talking about you as if you aren’t here. I am not sure what you meant by “praying at the sepulcher of the black male” and “tainted with black nationalism.” This strikes me as making the same generalizations that you resent when made about your experiences. I don’t think the solution to people not listening and making assumptions is to replicate that.

    That said, I am fascinated by your story and looking forward to talking further.

  57. octogalore
    octogalore May 3, 2008 at 3:59 pm |

    “my heart I know they don’t give a damn about us … If my son or my brother were murdered the feminists would not be there to help me and support me fight for justice because at the heart of it our lives are meaningless. I’ve been police harassed. Police terrified. Pulled over for no reason. Cuffed. Searched. Threatened. For the crime of being a WOC in this city. If this isn’t about feminism then feminism is useless.”

    Lala — I understand your concern. I think you’re confusing what feminists care about and what (some) feminists deem to be feminist issues. Whether someone thinks something should be featured on Feministe doesn’t implicate her desire to help women, and men, who are at harmed by police harrassment. As an example: the Grameen foundation. I don’t try to restrict contributions there to only helping women in third world countries. According to a source, one beneficiary was a homeless man opening a textile shop. I would not view a story on Feministe about an African man opening a textile shop to be a feminist issue.

    Similarly, environmentalism, anti-poverty activism, the disability right movement, etc. would not consider police violence affecting POC to be issues within their bailiwicks. But that doesn’t mean people don’t care. Why would you indict feminism for having a focus and decide that mean feminists don’t extend themselves to help others, and not indict other leftist movements as well? I fear there’s an unpleasant answer lurking there.

    I could as easily point to a homeless white woman who got beaten and raped in my city based on today’s headlines and say that anti-racist activists don’t give a damn about her, and say “if this isn’t about anti-racism then anti-racism is useless.” But it’s not about anti-racism, and anti-racism isn’t useless. It needs to focus around race. But that doesn’t mean that an anti-racist wouldn’t care about the poverty of anyone.

    Bottom line — blaming women is a fine old tradition, and wrapping it in the banner of a worthy cause can confuse some of the people some of the time. I’m not buying it.

  58. Jasmine Iqbal
    Jasmine Iqbal May 3, 2008 at 4:00 pm |

    when i was in me community support group, this is where I started to learn how to write, I first learned a word, one word, this word is “Patriarchy”. What is that? I did not know, even though I had lived under it all me life and even though I had been victimized by it. And little by little I started to piece the puzzle together, why was I assaulted, why was I denied mental health support in country X, why was me mum always afraid to leave the house, we did we live with bars on our windows, why was me friend ripped out me life and sent to Pakistan, why, why, why. And I followed all this reasoning and reflection and this brought me to feminism. I was standing on the gallows with a noose around me neck, feminism cut me down. Feminsim is the liberation of women from all what we suffered under patriarchy, it’s equality, an end to gender oppression and to achieve that, we got to tear down Islam, rip it down, claw it to shreds and trash it. There is no compromise. I found me window and it’s name is feminism. And then, no, it appears now as a dead end, diluted versions of what almost detroyed us appearing here and there, blocking our path to liberation, obstacles, deviation, appeasement, people ready to sell us out. Close this window on us and you forcing Pakistani feminists into a very desperate position. What you got to understand is this, we feel so strongly about the fight against gender oppression in our country, we are ready to give our lives and will fight any attempt to sabotage the womens’ movement in Muslim countries. If Muslim propoganda is brought here against us, you will have opened a door that will never close. You put that rope around our necks, we not going to sit down and take it this time.

  59. Kali
    Kali May 3, 2008 at 4:18 pm |

    Lala,
    I hope enough people on Feministe read your post – and more importantly change focus and take action. It is bound to happen because the world is changing fast – but it would be so worth the effort if we could make this happen sooner rather than later.

  60. baltogeek
    baltogeek May 3, 2008 at 4:24 pm |

    octogalore, I am talking only about the section I’ve highlighted nothing else.

    The funny thing about this whole conversation is that neither you nor Kali have actually thought to respond to the questions I posed in my comment.

    Nothing.

    I find it funny I’m accused of shutting someone up when all I’m asking for is that if you are going to talk about a community like you know it at least be a part of that community.

    At least be a part of the every day dialogues and interactions that go on there.
    At least be here!

    Is that too much to ask?

    I’ve actually enjoyed Jasmine’s comments about her life as a Pakistani woman in the UK.

    Where she veers off into a screed about black people in the US?

    Yeah I do have a problem.

  61. Kali
    Kali May 3, 2008 at 4:33 pm |

    Octo,
    I think Lala like Jasmine is saying if Sean Bell, why not me – I am a woman (unlike Sean Bell). Why don’t you care about my problems?

    I think police brutality/profiling of Latins/women of color as experienced by Lala should be a feminist concern – even more than Marcotte’s silly book.

    I think the voice of minorities do get drowned out on these blogs. We have experiences and attitudes that are hard for the majority to ‘get’, therefore the problem must lie with us.

    Lala is only echoing what many others have said here and on their own blogs about main-stream feminism.

  62. Kali
    Kali May 3, 2008 at 4:42 pm |

    Baltogeek,
    Forgive me – I am old and impatient. I hope you and Jasmine continue the conversation.

    Jasmine, I also feel a little uneasy about the embrace extended to American Muslimahs – some of them are even Muslims ‘of choice’ – a luxury you were never offered. I am an agnostic – I think religion has done more harm than good in this world.

  63. Jasmine Iqbal
    Jasmine Iqbal May 3, 2008 at 5:51 pm |

    Women who leave Islam in Pakistan are executed, burned alive and have been gang raped on the orders of religious councils. The sharia’ punishment is beheading. These issues are REAL. No member of any community in the United States suffers this degree of oppression, thankfully. If they did, we would support them without question, we would not betray you. So why by extending invitations to American Muslimah’s, apologists for this oppression are you out to insult and betray us? We done nothing to you.
    Do you know that Islam, like filthy Christianty, like all male supremacist patriarchal religions, has ruthlessly exploited black women, in particular? American friends who do not know the world, it is not only Pakistani women who are terrorized under Islam, so too are our African sisters, THE ONES WHO DON’T HAVE US PASSPORTS TO HIDE BEHIND. Without ure rich American passports to protect you, American Muslimas, you will be beaten down with the stick just same like us. It is easy to be Muslima in New Jersey, Haarlem or Brooklyn, throw away ure American passport and come and be a Muslima in a Islamic society, we’ll come back in a few years and check on ure progress, if you even survive 3 weeks that is. If you are suffering under American system, HOW CAN YOU SURVIVE BEING RAPED, BEATEN, ACID THROWN IN URE FACE, UTTERLY ERASED AND TREATED AS HUMAN TRASH UNDER OURS? This is our lifes, our world, you never dreamed of what is going on. We are weak, we are oppressed, but don’t think u are better than us just cos you live in a RICH country. Most of what we are suffering under Islamic extremism is cos your powerful governments support for Islamic mysogonyst Jihadis. And now you planning to bring that support into feminism and spit on us? STOP INSULT TO PAKISTANI FEMINISTS- WE KNOW HOW TO FIGHT BACK AGAINST AMERICAN MUSLIMA COLLABORATORS.

  64. belledame222
    belledame222 May 3, 2008 at 7:32 pm |

    I think that the notion that feminism should deal only with issues that are universal to all women is patently false because the way our other identities intersect with our womanhood is an integral part of the discrimination, oppression, and experiences we have as women.

    and also the flip side of that: what’s often assumed to be “universal to all women” really isn’t at all, and the assumption that it MUST be is alienating all by itself.

  65. Kali
    Kali May 3, 2008 at 8:20 pm |

    And the solution Belledame?

    Construct a hierarchy of Kyriarchy and address the problems of the most opressed at rhe bottom of the pyramid first?

  66. octogalore
    octogalore May 3, 2008 at 11:25 pm |

    Baltogeek – in that case, gotcha. You’re right – it’s not too much to ask that someone be part of a community before declaiming on it. In fact, much of feminist bloglandia could learn from that.

    Kali and Lala – if the point was indeed “if Sean Bell, why not me – I am a woman (unlike Sean Bell). Why don’t you care about my problems?” then: exactly.

    As to: “I think that the notion that feminism should deal only with issues that are universal to all women is patently false…”

    Who is making this claim? The claim I hear being responded to by this post is that feminism should deal with issues that are relevant to ANY woman. And that this linkage should be across race, income, (dis)ability, education, etc. Not ALL women at the same time. The posts linked here are not making assumptions about what is “universal to all women.” Granted, that’s a much easier argument to oppose.

  67. ChicaGoing
    ChicaGoing May 4, 2008 at 12:10 am |

    Any discrimination or oppression that a woman experiences, though not necessarily based on gender, should be universal to all women, Belledame. Because my issue may be based on an experience as a woman of color does not make it a invalid feminist issue.

    In general, I greatly appreciate this post and the conversation that has derived from it. Many people have already said everything that went through my mind, but with much better verbiage. So, thank you.

  68. Jasmine Iqbal
    Jasmine Iqbal May 4, 2008 at 3:55 am |

    What’s the position of me and african americans? There is no position, no more than there is one with white Americans, you got no special strategic significance other than you are part of America, a country that has meddled in our affairs for decades. White Americans running the CIA funded Jihadists and mysogonyst forces, we condemn it. Now we see a new threat, again, from America, this is women who know nothing about Islam, speaking out in its defence, white liberals also u got the same problem, same like neo cons, you all against us, but in different ways.
    Now here we got on Feministe Islam defending women pretending to be feminists, this is fragmentation, worse, it’s a direct assault on the feminist movement in our countries cos you got infiltrated by agents of patriarchy, American society is SICK, so you contaminated the ideals of feminisn with this revisionist, appeasing back sliding. Why are some American women doing this? There are many reasons actually and you can believe what you want, of course, but main reason, at this social level represented here on Feministe, it is reactionary, this is not progressive and it is a danger to us as it undercuts our arguments, when we need funding. You are getting involve with areas you got no idea, STAY OUT, Islam this is our world and our business, you got no right to supoort Fascist male supremacist gender tyranny, cos you’re not going to be its victims, are you? No, we are.
    Americans, stop lecture us talk down to us, we are Pakistani girls, we don’t accept, another, u hide behind ure technology in war and in debate- YOU HIDE BEHIND URE COMMENTS MODERATOR, so Americans is cowards, this is what I think and another, don’t think we’re afraid of you, cos we’re not, if you debate with us- you getting rolled over pretty quick.

  69. donna darko
    donna darko May 4, 2008 at 5:03 am |

    Any discrimination or oppression that a woman experiences, though not necessarily based on gender, should be universal to all women, Belledame. Because my issue may be based on an experience as a woman of color does not make it a invalid feminist issue.

    Yeah, well put. Who said this was about white women? They get the most exposure but some of us constantly speak out about sexism as women of color. Mainstream feminism should center these voices but it doesn’t.

  70. donna darko
    donna darko May 4, 2008 at 5:05 am |

    Interesting points, Jasmine.

  71. Jasmine Iqbal
    Jasmine Iqbal May 4, 2008 at 5:35 am |

    ty donna darko, but cos of the silencing i doubt u going to see me reply. Why can’t we speak out, we offend to no one?

  72. Kali
    Kali May 4, 2008 at 8:38 am |

    And the moral of this particular story for me as a WoC:
    Contribute, engage and we will help other minority women, again with different experiences and even different countries from ours – find a voice and feel safe enough to reveal their pain.

  73. bastard.logic
    bastard.logic May 4, 2008 at 11:48 am |

    Sunday Blogbord…

    by matttbastard
    Enjoy the following celebration of tasty links from a variety of textural chefs:
    Daisy’s Dead Air: Dead Air Church: May 4, 1970
    Elle, PhD: On Double Standards and Women Paying for Men’s Actions
    cripchick: the terp from hell…

  74. donna darko
    donna darko May 4, 2008 at 4:35 pm |

    How hard is it to give Samhita, Holly, Jack and Pam the keys to Feminsting, Feministe and Pandagon? All won’t go to hell. It might be the only thing that “saves” mainstream Feminism at this point.

  75. donna darko
    donna darko May 4, 2008 at 4:39 pm |

    Jasmine, the racism in feminism and sexism in communities of color make it almost impossible to speak out about sexism in communities of color. White feminists lack the flexibility to discuss it, women of color should speak up more against it.

    If they were as oppressed as you and I, they would speak up.

  76. Jill
    Jill May 4, 2008 at 4:56 pm | *

    How hard is it to give Samhita, Holly, Jack and Pam the keys to Feminsting, Feministe and Pandagon? All won’t go to hell. It might be the only thing that “saves” mainstream Feminism at this point.

    How do Samhita, Holly, Jack and Pam not have the keys to their respective blogs? I hear what you’re saying about dealing with issues of race in feminism, but part of the problem is that the contributions of WOC are downplayed, or WOC bloggers are considered secondary to the contributions of their white co-bloggers. I didn’t start Feministe, and while I’ve been here the longest at this point, I don’t see how Holly or Jack somehow have the keys any less than I do, or than Zuzu or Piny or Cara does.

  77. Jasmine Iqbal
    Jasmine Iqbal May 4, 2008 at 5:05 pm |

    Donna, hi, America is so conflicted about race it’s losing focus on the big picture and this in the country that is one of the most influential in the Muslim world, especially in those states where gender repression is most savage. This means alone means that the American feminist perspective would be of interest to progressive women in the Islamic world. What we find however is a tangled mess of race and class issues, that seem to turn even the basic tenets of feminism on it’s head, thus, feminists end up- to further their own agenda- supporting brown patriarchy, either in their own communities, or, much worse, in our countries. Issues like the hijab and support for Islam generally underscore this. Now Muslim Media Watch, do you think that is any kind of reflection of the reality of life under Islam for millions of women, u know Donna that it isn’t, I don’t know where you are from in the Islamic world, but you know the real truth, we suffer horribly, American reverts of whatever color don’t, and hence the disconnect. Feminists in the US ought to be able to solve this, to educate the Muslimas in the US about the male supremacist nature of Islam, but, of course they cant. Worse, as you said, white feminists and woc feminists have checkmated each other into silence. I will give you a historical parrael of when this happened before, in the 1930’s in the Spanish Civil War, when rather than fighting Franco’s pro Nazi forces, Communists and Socialists and Social Democrats, the left in other words, slaughtered each other, the Poum, the Cominterm, etc etc. Needless to say, the Fascists won in the end. White feminists and woc feminists in America, arguing when they should be allied on basic issues like wearing the hijab, polygamy, forced marriage, gang violence etc etc, they are committing the mistake all idealogue make, they end up losing site of their reason to exist. What is feminism? It can not co exist with racism, exploitation of women by gangs, drugs, porn, johns, bdsm, religion, low pay, police repression, mysogony. You can’t ally with anti social forces, practices degrading to women, or with Islam; What we are calling for now is a full debate on this, cos if there are feminists in the US who think you can, and still be a feminist, sorry, we need to inform you why you can not. Islamo-feminism is a contradiction, as is being a Nazi-feminist or a feminist in some freaky child abusing Christian cult, sorry, u just can’t be. You’re either a feminist, or you aren’t.

  78. donna darko
    donna darko May 4, 2008 at 5:18 pm |

    Do they get to choose the new bloggers, guest bloggers or make the biggest decisions? Does Pam have all those privileges? Does Samhita? Executive privileges.

  79. donna darko
    donna darko May 4, 2008 at 5:19 pm |

    Or kactus? Feminism still seems to be run by middle class white women.

  80. Jill
    Jill May 4, 2008 at 6:07 pm | *

    Do they get to choose the new bloggers, guest bloggers or make the biggest decisions?

    We all choose our own guest-bloggers ourselves. I’ve chosen most of the guest-bloggers because I’ve been the one who has been in and out the most, and I always have people cover for me when I leave. But when other bloggers have taken time off, they’ve picked their own replacements. When I’ve done long-term guest-blogger projects, I have emailed the whole Feministe team to ask if people have suggestions or requests for someone to take over while I’m gone. When other Feministe bloggers take time off, they can choose their own guest-bloggers however they see fit. We all agree on who the new bloggers are going to be; I don’t make that executive decision (although I am usually the one who sends the official invite). Any big decision gets discussed amongst all of us. I have no idea how things work at Feministing or Pandagon; you’d have to ask them.

    I’m not going to deny that at the end of the day, the buck stops with me. I do run most of the back-end stuff for Feministe. I deal with the ads, I set up the guest-blogger accounts, I am the one who carries out the decisions we make collectively, I am the one who pays for the domain, etc etc. I’m not denying that I tend to be the “face” of Feministe, and I do run a lot of the back-end things. When we have collective decision-making processes, I’m usually the one to initiate them, and I’m the one who concludes them by doing whatever it is we decided to do. When it was me and Lauren, she ran those things. Part of the problem with group blogs is that there’s some stuff that one person just has to handle; there’s really no way to divide up the business stuff evenly and still get shit done. So yes, I will cop to taking control of that aspect of the blog, largely out of necessity and seniority, but also because of time. I put in a solid 50 hours a week here, between posting and doing the back-end stuff. Someone has to do that (and quite honestly, I’m pretty sure no one else wants to do that crap), and since I’ve been here the longest, I know my way around the inner workings of the whole system. When I’m not taking a break, I write every day. I check comments multiple times a day. I am physically attached to my computer, and Feministe is essentially a full-time job for me. Again, someone has to take that on, and I don’t think anyone would find it particularly helpful if I shoved that burden off on someone else under the guise of “sharing the keys.” I can guarantee that every other big group blog works the same way — but that doesn’t mean that, say, TRex has less of a voice on FDL than Jane does just because Jane manages the back-end stuff.

    So I don’t think that means that the other Feministe bloggers don’t have the keys to the blog, or don’t have the right to do whatever they want in this space. And if people don’t think that the other bloggers here have equality in voice and access, I wonder what I’m supposed to do about that, especially given the fact that I seem to be the only one who can dedicate the time to running all the back-end stuff, and whose name is on all the bills. Yes, there are power differentials that come from one person running the business end and everyone else just writing. I try to make things as equitable as possible when it comes to content management, but yes, the business stuff falls on me, and I am the “executive” in that sense. Lauren was the “executive” when she was still here, but no one ever made me feel like she had the keys and I didn’t, or that I had less of a right or voice than she did.

    A similar conversation to this was happening over at Feministing a few days ago, and one commenter flat-out said that Jessica should just quit and have Samhita take over. I don’t know if that’s what’s being implied here as well, but I find it frustrating (and insulting to my co-bloggers) to suggest that they don’t have equal rights to this space or that it isn’t as much their space as mine. I will also admit that I find it frustrating that I put insane amounts of time and effort into running this space, and am then criticized for not having my co-bloggers take care of the boring and thankless tasks.

    Anyway, this is long, and I do hear what you’re saying about divisions of labor and who executes decisions and whatnot. I’m not going to deny that I serve that role here. But that honestly has almost nothing to do with what gets posted on the blog, and who can do or say what. This is a shard space, and we all have equal rights to it. Big decisions get made collectively. Beyond making someone else foot the bill for our domain or assigning someone else 50+ hours of work a week, I’m not sure what else should be done to make it more equitable. I am, of course, open to suggestions.

  81. Jasmine Iqbal
    Jasmine Iqbal May 4, 2008 at 6:39 pm |

    Jill, Hi, this is Jasmine from Pakistan, u got the keys to the blog, so you also got the right to inititate debate and we need to start to talk openly about Islam and it’s relationship to American feminism (patriarchial religions in general actually, not only Islam), and with no particular racial group of American feminists in mind either either cos white liberals and woc feminists are both defending Islam, though they do so from different angles. Fine, but we need to discuss this. Jill, as a feminist, can you open up a thread on Islam and the different reactions feminists have to it? There is clearly a growing consesnus here that this debate is well over due.

  82. Jill
    Jill May 4, 2008 at 6:43 pm | *

    …and with that, I will no longer de-rail the thread. Sorry Jack! Back to studying for me.

  83. Jasmine Iqbal
    Jasmine Iqbal May 5, 2008 at 9:46 am |

    We want to debate feminist support for the hijab. American comrades, do not be afraid of this debate. You can choose location right here, right now on Feministe.
    Pakistani feminist extend invite to Aaaminah Hernandez and Cara to discuss in civilized fashion.

  84. donna darko
    donna darko May 6, 2008 at 4:56 am |

    Jasmine, those are some interesting points! Checkmate is a great descriptor. White feminists are afraid to look racist, women of color don’t want coopted racist tropes. Feminism is sophisticated enough to meet in the middle to talk about oppression in Islam or their communities.

    I’m not going to deny that at the end of the day, the buck stops with me. I do run most of the back-end stuff for Feministe. I deal with the ads, I set up the guest-blogger accounts, I am the one who carries out the decisions we make collectively, I am the one who pays for the domain, etc etc. I’m not denying that I tend to be the “face” of Feministe, and I do run a lot of the back-end things. A similar conversation to this was happening over at Feministing a few days ago, and one commenter flat-out said that Jessica should just quit and have Samhita take over.

    Interesting, Jill. Also that someone said that at Feministing. No one needs to quit. The face of feminism is still middle class white not Samhita, Holly, Jack and Pam. The people who get invited to everything and guest post at big venues. Many people are unhappy so it would make a huge difference.

  85. Jasmine Iqbal
    Jasmine Iqbal May 6, 2008 at 8:54 am |

    Jack, ty cos you are me friend and a good person, this is what I think. So if I making a official request then we can have our open, free and fair debate with Cara and the other Pro Hijabis? Ok, then so i ready to do that. Many persons want this debate, this is sure, and u can have muslima media watch also, bring anyone u like todefend Islam, it’s ok. Donna, I visited ure site, it is excellent in all ways and you got me TOTAL support for evreything u said.
    Now is it the case that i staging like a coup d’etat on Feministe to seize a thread or something like a hijacker girl, no, but, we are totally desperate to get message across also. I hope u give me this chance to speak and not also be afraid of us and think we very much against u, cos we are not, just we want to speak and have a voice, this is only demand right now, to speak with all american comrades.

  86. Jasmine Iqbal
    Jasmine Iqbal May 6, 2008 at 2:36 pm |

    “How does a Pakistani woman in the UK have a right to speak on the issues facing black women in the United States?”

    Same way Americans, even some reactionary feminists got the ‘right’ to speak on Islam. Islam is my birth religion, you know it onoly second hand, which gives you no right to speak about Islam in totally oppressed societies like Pakistan, or for that matter to even imply that the hijab can ever be progressive.
    For me it’s obvious that gender is the basis of feminism, not race, feminism is racially inclusive, not divisive, so it can’t sit with white or black nationalism, got it yet or, no?
    I think a Pakistani speaking about America is a big deal, that’s funny, cos YOU speaking about us has become a cottage industry in the west, and when you start to speak about supporting patriarchal theocratic oppression, in order to rationalize the reaction in ure own country against racism, I got every right to speak out. If u don’t want to get us involved, don’t get us involved, just do this;
    1) No support for Islam
    2) Don’t define feminism along America’s racial fault lines

  87. Kali
    Kali May 6, 2008 at 3:43 pm |

    Jasmine
    I sympathize and grieve with you. I meet many young women like you and hear their terrible stories knowing that the majority never get to speak to anyone, sometimes not even their own parents or siblings.

    Now think about this:

    You are as wrong and ill-informed about issues facing black women in this country , just as they may be about women in Pakistan – but no one here has expressed any opinions about women in Pakistan.

    If you want people to listen to you on this and similar blogs you will have to be more respectful of other peoples’ experiences and reality. You can have no real idea of what they experience here in the US and cannot jump to conclusions and say things – as you are doing – that will completely antagonize the people you are trying to engage.

    I see that you use what sounds like your real name and it worries me. Is that a safe thing to do? People in the UK read these blogs too.

  88. Jasmine Iqbal
    Jasmine Iqbal May 6, 2008 at 3:44 pm |

    Me name’s Jaz and I’m from London and I’m Pakistani and those persons who don’t like me and was saying I got to shut me mouth this is me
    answer, ‘I’m a Pakistani, not afraid of Islamists and Americans also, and I going to speak up if i want, so COLONIZE THIS!“.

  89. Jasmine Iqbal
    Jasmine Iqbal May 6, 2008 at 4:05 pm |

    Kali, how come, I got real interest in black women in America, u think I don’t feel sad in me heart when I hear about all what goes on, of course, i feel bad. I never told anything wrong, but what I am saying is that everyone as women, trans folk, black and brown persons, white persons also, we all got to feel each others pain, like me, Arab sisters, even all that happened in the past to me, I ever say one word against Arabi ladies, so if not them, how can I say against Americans of african heritage, and why would I? I don’t get it Kali, what’s me mistake, this is just being honest cos I respect everyone in America except Nazis, neo cons, race hate people and those who talking down to Pakistanis, like that. Another, America is nice, peaceful, no massacres, no genocides, no round ups by security services, etc etc, problems of America, it’s another. Also, look what’s happening now to Chechen girls (white), Bosnian girls (white) and millions of girls of eastern europe (white), they suffering really bad, terrible stuff- from Amsterdam to Dubai, no one is help for them, how come? So American people is moan if they got a broke window, if their neighbours and sisters getting their whole house smashed down- they saying nothing, just concerned with their own broken window, no way. Another, Pakistan girls are BLACK, we same like u, in all ways, just I am trying to help people in me own country and make sure u as feminists stay on point with our mission.
    “No one here expressed opinions about women in Pakistan”.
    Huh, how come? If they are support for black nationalism then they are linked to Islam which links back to support for theocratic patriarchy in our countries, this link is clear and obvious and so we got to cut it. So again, we got to be sure that there is no dealings with woc feminists and reactionary fascist forces in alliance with Islamist oppressors in Pakistan and other Muslim countries. The effect of not doing this is catastrophic.
    About me name and stuff, me online name is apostatepakistanigirl and i got me own blog site of course, but i use me name cos it’s not fair to any other apostate Pakistani who might not always want associate with me stuff, so I write me own name with pride and out of respect for that person also, like that, so I speak for meself, blame me, if you think you got to. And me name is very common also, also most people hate me in me community anyhow already.
    I going to listen to what u told anyhow and ty for pointers and advice and most surely I will think on all what you said Kali, this is sure.

  90. donna darko
    donna darko May 6, 2008 at 5:56 pm |

    For me it’s obvious that gender is the basis of feminism, not race, feminism is racially inclusive, not divisive, so it can’t sit with white or black nationalism, got it yet or, no?

    YEAH gender is the basis for feminism. WOMEN are the basis for feminism. WOMEN are the common demominator.

    Don’t mention black nationalism unless you’re black. Ppl get mad though feminists SHOULD have a discussion about black nationalism.

    The problem is white and woc feminists are so afraid of looking racist, feminism ignores women’s needs to mostly protect men of color. It’s about teh menz again which kicked off this thread.

  91. Jasmine Iqbal
    Jasmine Iqbal May 6, 2008 at 6:09 pm |

    “feminism ignores women’s needs to mostly protect men of color.”

    Donna, white men destroyed the black family, white men tried to enslave the world, white men are trafficking women out of CIS and they are trawling the world with their stinking dollars to corrupt women and girls from Moscow to Bangkok. They are the ENEMY.
    Brown and black men are terrorizing women in Muslim countries, raping poor maids on a systematic level, shaming women who refuse Hijab and still harassing those who do. Women who want to fight back risk everything from beatings to beheading or stoning. Brown men kidnapped the only person I loved and forced that person on a flight to Pakistan. Brown men got me so sick I was totally dysfunctional in Arab country X when I was still at school. On and on it goes. THEY ARE THE ENEMY, no iffs or buts.
    I think u got it, Donna, abuse is abuse, cos when you suffering, you just don’t see color, you just see a man’s leering face u want to smash.

  92. Kali
    Kali May 6, 2008 at 6:40 pm |

    Then please think over what I said Jaz – you just said they did something bad to the person you loved.

    Please get a gmail address in a different name- something you like (don’t provide any real info in the profile when you sign up) and then you can use that name on blogs but don’t mention your real name ever afterwards otherwise you defeat the purpose.

    For instance Kali is not my real name – as you know it means black in many Indian languages and in Urdu! She is also the Hindu godess of war!

    You are brilliant Jaz and so well informed.
    I know you will find peace and happiness.

  93. Jasmine Iqbal
    Jasmine Iqbal May 6, 2008 at 7:03 pm |

    Jack, I am going to refer to Kali, this is someone who I believe has got a real idea about the United States and I am ready to say that further comment from me is not going to assist, this is what I think, but I can point to specific instances actually, but it’s not going to help. I prefer to leave to Kali and Donna Darko and you to explore the issue. If there is a issue, then they are more qualified to comment on it than me, as as Kali correctly says, I don’t know very much about african american communities- BUT I DO KNOW ISLAM AND ITS SIGNS WHEN I SEE IT. What I am calling for is a debate on feminist support for Islam, which we see from white feminists and woc too. In terms of the global picture, CIA support for mysogonyst elements in my country has done more damage to the progressive womens’ movement than woc support for feminist community based anti establishment islam in the ghettos will ever do. But those two threats combined DO intersect with our reality. THis debate is not about african americans as such, it’s about anyone, for whatever reason, in whatever position, who is American, who might want to undermine our struggle. If you want to hurt us as Pakistanis, we would just want to ask, why?
    I think it is really hard for you to understand the extent to which a ex muslim woman sees Islam as a threat, wherever it is, whoever is promoting it, regardless of whatever local reason has led to its adoption. It is simply Islam, end of story, from that point on, thinking stops and thought itself becomes the enemy.

  94. Jasmine Iqbal
    Jasmine Iqbal May 6, 2008 at 7:07 pm |

    “they are part of a system of power, privilege and domination that includes sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, classism and other matrices of oppression that I truly believe to be inextricably linked and interdependent.”

    That’s EXACTLY how I feel about anyone, from whatever community in America, who supports Political Islam, including Cara who referred to the Hijab as just a piece of cloth, or anyone else, black, brown, white, or green who reases our experience under patriarchy’s most vicious tyranny.

  95. Kali
    Kali May 6, 2008 at 7:20 pm |

    Donna

    I read Jasmine’s words again on your blog – where they leapt out at me and almost brought me to tears.

    This young woman deserves to be heard loudly and clearly.

  96. Lauren
    Lauren May 6, 2008 at 7:34 pm |

    On a personal level, I’ve always considered feminism a specialized section of the human rights formula. Because it’s a human rights issue, and because I am interested in exposing the offenses against human rights, I see a definite connection between, say, prisoners’ rights and the War on Drugs, police brutality, religious beliefs that restrict the actions of certain members of the general population, the Mommy Wars, etc., not because they are obviously and inextricably connected, but because they result from the same general primary beliefs of the ruling class, whatever culture that happens to be in the context it exists. These things get nasty when you figure in the “multiculturalism” part of the narrative, and that’s what I think rules part of the disagreement here, as an observer. Nevertheless, I happen to be particularly educated in the feminism part of that formula and that’s what I primarily write about, but I don’t think it’s any less feminist to be concerned and bring to the table the kinds of issues that result not only in the oppression of women, but also similar oppressions in independent and intersecting social classes.

  97. Kali
    Kali May 6, 2008 at 8:19 pm |

    These things get nasty when you figure in the “multiculturalism” part of the narrative,

    What is that supposed to mean?

    Nevertheless, I happen to be particularly educated in the feminism part of that formula and that’s what I primarily write about,

    And where were you ‘particularly educated’? In a “women’s studies” course at an American University?

  98. Lauren
    Lauren May 6, 2008 at 8:55 pm |

    What is that supposed to mean?

    Because it’s an ongoing debate in the feminist community.

    And where were you ‘particularly educated’? In a “women’s studies” course at an American University?

    Why, that’s condescending. Should I send you my resume?

  99. Kali
    Kali May 6, 2008 at 9:23 pm |

    Claiming you are some ‘particularly educated’ expert on feminism is condescending

    and

    These things get nasty when you figure in the “multiculturalism” part of the narrative,

    is racist AND condescending. And it is not the same as saying that there is an ongoing debate in the feminist community.

    The drawings in Marcotte’s book were also both racist and condescending – and NOT ironic and amusing except to ‘particularly educated’ women who kid themselves about being experts in ‘multicultural interpretation’ after they have graduated from their insular American University.

    This arrogance is truly astonishing and I am tempted to agree with Jasmine that it is a peculiarly American phenomenon.

  100. donna darko
    donna darko May 6, 2008 at 9:40 pm |

    The sanctimonious anti-racist set.

  101. donna darko
    donna darko May 6, 2008 at 9:40 pm |

    Fun for everybody.

  102. Kali
    Kali May 6, 2008 at 9:40 pm |

    Jack

    I would like an explanation of

    These things get nasty when you figure in the “multiculturalism” part of the narrative,

    not just “multiculturalism” – that is giving Lauren an easy way out.

  103. Lauren
    Lauren May 6, 2008 at 9:48 pm |

    Claiming you are some ‘particularly educated’ expert on feminism is condescending

    It would be if I had said so, especially if I had aimed it at a particular poster as proof that my opinion is the end-all-be-all of feminist thought above another’s. But that’s not what I said. What I said, in the context of my statement, which references no one in particular, is that “Nevertheless, I happen to be particularly educated in the feminism part of that [human rights] formula and [here's where I could have been more clear in saying "therefore"] that’s what I primarily write about…” I am not referencing my “education” literally.

    The drawings in Marcotte’s book were also both racist and condescending – and NOT ironic and amusing except to ‘particularly educated’ women who kid themselves about being experts in ‘multicultural interpretation’ after they have graduated from their insular American University.

    Agreed, but I don’t know where Marcotte’s drawings can be figured into anything that I said above, nor why I have to answer for her. I’ve made my opinion on the issue very clear elsewhere.

    I guess at this point, having been singled out based on one singular comment as an arrogant racist, I wonder what your motivations are for trolling Feministe for the last few weeks. As someone said above,

    If you want people to listen to you on this and similar blogs you will have to be more respectful of other peoples’ experiences and reality. You cannot jump to conclusions and say things – as you are doing – that will completely antagonize the people you are trying to engage.

    Forgive me if that’s arrogant.

  104. Kali
    Kali May 6, 2008 at 9:57 pm |

    I wonder what your motivations are for trolling Feministe for the last few weeks.

    And I thought you were the troll since I am new to the blog.

    And you still have not answered Jack’s question.

  105. Lauren
    Lauren May 6, 2008 at 10:08 pm |

    And I thought you were the troll since I am new to the blog.

    Apology accepted.

    Jack: I was thinking particularly about a long series of essays that shaped my thinking on what is generally accepted as pat “multiculturalism” — which is frequently in danger of being defined by neocons, IMO — between Katha Pollitt, Susan Okin, and some other person, Bonnie Something?, about not letting the patriarchs of one culture dominate the discussion any more than we let them dominate ours — and what they used as examples, were the debates surrounding FGM, veiling, sexuality in religously dominated cultures, etc. There are plenty of other probably better pieces on the topic, but I’m most familiar with these because I blogged about them a few years back.

    As per this conversation and others like it, re: fragmentation, I think it gets particularly nasty because western feminists like to apply our ideas of feminism to other cultures in ways that don’t respect the diversity of opinion and nuances of daily life that others live in, which inevitably leads to tension even where the best of intentions lie, or worse, like to deem a particular issue “feminist” because it’s obvious. What I was trying to get at in my first comment, which was admittedly poorly worded and lazy, is that feminism so obviously intersects with other social justice movements in so many layers and textures that I think the movement would be remiss in trying to draw lines.

  106. Kali
    Kali May 6, 2008 at 10:25 pm |

    Sanctimonious women’s studies gobbledy gook – just as I expected

    poorly worded and lazy,

    is bang on the money.

    PS Jack- ‘sanctimonious women’s studies set’ is part of the feministe manifesto

  107. Lauren
    Lauren May 6, 2008 at 10:33 pm |

    PS Jack- ’sanctimonious women’s studies set’ is part of the feministe manifesto

    Sure is. It is also a direct reference to a misogynist blogger’s attempt to smack down other women, so I find it interesting that you appropriate the sentiment so nicely.

    Sorry, Jack, for derailing. I’ll bow out now.

  108. kiki
    kiki May 7, 2008 at 4:38 am |

    What an interesting exchange. I’ve been living in Europe for a while and when people outside the US think “American black woman” they think of Condoleezza Rice who they see as a warmonger and a powerful tool of an evil regime. It’s a reminder that while we may have serious divisions and conflicts within the U.S. from the outside we are all viewed as “Americans” and we are all held equally accountable for the actions of our country with women of color in the image of Condi at the forefront. I don’t go anywhere or meet anyone here who doesn’t expect me to answer for this damn war.

  109. juju
    juju May 7, 2008 at 1:51 pm |

    My understanding is that some feminists are saying that there simply isn’t enough time in the day, and venues to voice the cause of women’s liberation. And when there are postings that do not directly relate to women on a feminist blog, that means that focus is being taken away from a discussion of other issues that desperately need attention. In discussing the Sean Bell shooting, Amidou Diallo may come to mind, but why not also Alberta Spruill.

    I have had a hard time hearing this argument because it has too often been coupled with an anti-black american bias. White people are not the only ones who can have this bias.

  110. donna darko
    donna darko May 9, 2008 at 5:11 pm |

    This discussion came up because of the sense feminism was being REPLACED by anti-racism and sexism. Feminists can be interested in many topics but it’s anti-feminist to TAKE GENDER OUT OF FEMINISM. The Sean Bell case came up during these discussions the example. Carry on. As Amber said

    To me, this is just the same tired old dynamics being replicated yet again. Women are socialized to always put others first, not be assertive, downplay our own needs. To see this same thing happening within feminism is beyond disheartening.

  111. On digital clusterfuck feminism « Problem Chylde

    [...] for fugitive and criminal immigrant arrests.  The world debates the relevance of feminism to the brutal police shooting of a young black woman’s fiancé, an older black woman’s son.  The relevance of feminist cultural analysis is supplanted for [...]

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