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  1. Renee
    Renee July 1, 2008 at 8:40 pm |

    Personally I identify as a womanist which I consider as falling under a branch of feminism. As a WOC though I would very much like to declare myself a feminist I have found that it is a group that is more than willing to overlook my needs and concerns to cater to the concerns of rich/middle class white women. My solution to this issue is that people that identify with different kinds of feminism need to more vocal. Just because the ones speaking now have the book deals and they are the most vocal does not mean that they represent everyone.

  2. shah8
    shah8 July 1, 2008 at 9:23 pm |

    Oh, think of marginalization as exactly that. POC gets ignored, and if they do engender a great deal of attention, it’s usually because of flame wars.

    Changing the dynamic generally involves getting white people to percieve minorities and women as having something worthwhile to say, and furthermore, it’s important to get white people to *not* think in terms of various zero sum tribalist patterns whenever the discussion is about them in a potentially negative light, or simply not really about them at all. Projection is generally the big bad.

    Thing is, doing something like that requires *heavy* and fairly risk-taking and severe moderation, since it requires a fairly sensitive antenna on the various kinds of trolls that infest discussions that are about race or have major minority participants. Most of the breeds involved are pretty subtle, and usually involve either a mirror attack (you’re just as racist as we are!) in some form, or a fairness/evenhanded attack (We should have WET too!). Granted nobody is going to get through the present moderation with unsophisticated versions of these two angles. Which is why one has to watch out for the subtle stuff. The big tipoff is usually normativity, because exclusion based on unstated norms assumption works often. They depend on the typical reader’s typical non-knowlege of POC norms and whiteness. After the initial thrust, the framework can be used to put POC on the defensive, as in having to *prove* their right to have the position or existence instead of operating from a position of mutual respect. It makes things “controversial”. Eventually, the POC is worn out from the sniping and goes elsewheres, while most people in the current place does not have their consciences bothered.

    Why do you think that little headliner about the romanian girl has “raped” instead of raped?

  3. Jay
    Jay July 1, 2008 at 9:28 pm |

    I agree with Renee about voicing our visions of feminism. I will not stop calling myself an American because I disagree with the government, and I won’t stop calling myself a feminist because I disagree with other feminists. I’m a white, middle-aged, well-off woman and I’m still working on recognizing and owning my privilege, but while I’m doing my own work I expect to also be working against racism and homophobia and for economic and social justice. All of that is part of my feminism.

    It’s not for me to say who is or isn’t a feminist. I can’t force women who feel alienated and invisible to claim a label that marginalizes them. I hope I can meet them somewhere, though, and work together, no matter what the label.

  4. hendo
    hendo July 1, 2008 at 10:14 pm |

    You could try Twisty’s approach: start calling yourself a pro-life evangelical Christian. ‘I’m a Christian, I just think that women have a right to bodily integrity, and I really think it’s about time we stopped trying to pretend that the bible is at all relevant as a guide for living life. But, totally a Christian.’

    God knows I’ve been tempted!

    I hate the opposite thing, too: where people say ‘I’m not a feminist, but…[insert feminist ideal/opinion/thing here]‘.

  5. sonia
    sonia July 1, 2008 at 11:01 pm |

    It kind of freaks me out that in situations like this, the word is so amorphous as to be virtually meaningless. As stealth conservatives have figured out, anyone can call themselves a feminist.

    There is an absolutely delicious book called Critical Fictions: The Politics of Imaginative Writing. It’s not explicitly about feminism, but it has a lovely set of feminist writings and essays that showcases the variant and rich forms of feminist thought. I especially recommend Mariani’s God is a Man.

    The inadequacy of the word “feminism” is not new. At various points in history, “feminism” has sold out women of color, queer women, women from developing countries, sex workers, poor women, trans-gender people. What is kind of wonderful is that critique of whichever “feminism” you prescribe to (whether you call it first-wave, second-wave, radical, liberal, womanism)—critiquing has always just enriched and enlivened it. The word, “feminism”, IS meaningless. Don’t let it freak you out. That’s sort of why it’s so cool.

  6. sonia
    sonia July 1, 2008 at 11:11 pm |

    Oh. I almost forgot! There’s this wonderful essay in the book I reference above (Critical Fictions: The Politics of Imaginative Writing) written by woman writer who suddenly discovers that nobody around her likes to be called “feminist writer”. It’s such a wonderful piece of writing, that I think you would appreciate in light of this post. I wish I could remember the author:(

  7. Suzan
    Suzan July 1, 2008 at 11:24 pm |

    I consider myself a feminist. I tend to always view issues from the POV of “Is this good for women or bad for women?”

    Being a feminist means putting women and women’s issues first. It doesn’t mean bashing other people. I can think some women are silly and even trivial without feeling I have to attack them because they are silly or trivial.

    I do draw the line at misogynistic women who make careers out of harming women the way say Phyllis Schafley and other right wing women have.

    At times I have been rather dis=gusted by feminists trashing other feminists no matter if over stupid issues like pro-sex/anti-sex or transsexuals in the women’s movement.

    Hell I’m old enough to remember when lesbians in the women’s movement were divisive.

    Things like racism and other isms… Being a feminist doesn’t mean we are free from those issues. My life partner and I were talking about how disturbed we were by some of our friend’s casual racist comments and how we ourselves are not free of those biases. Being feminist means being able to look within and see that at times we are the enemy in our own consciousness and we have to keep working on those issues.

    As for Camille Paglia.. I actually liked some of her stuff, then I saw her and ever since then I’ve wondered about her usage of stimulant drugs. She has a few brilliant essays including “Junk Bonds and Corporate Raiders: Academe in the hour of the Wolf” Along with a ton of total BS.

    Roiphe is some one I’ve read more about than anything she has actually written.

  8. Pop Feminist
    Pop Feminist July 1, 2008 at 11:59 pm |

    I’m of the mind that if we take this to its intellectual extreme, we’ll have to confront the idea that “feminism” really can’t connote an inclusive agenda…it means too many things to too many people from too many walks of life to be a unifying term.

    Struggling with that fact is certainly worthwhile, but I don’t know that your dismissive statement that “all of these women spend their lives bashing feminism, with one thing separating them from your average conservative: they preface their sentence by saying, “as a feminist…”” is very helpful.

    I am a liberal. I identify as a radical feminist. I think about/read about/ talk about/ work for feminism in some combination every day of my life. I earned my degree in the subject. Shall I go on? I could qualify myself as a feminist (or what we understand the term to mean) all. day. long.

    And yet, if I dissent from what I know I’m supposed to think—if I try to work through an idea instead of being flogged into submission by it—I’m called a conservative and not a “real feminist”.

    I’m not familiar with Megan McArdile, but her latest post contained some reasonable points. And some points I disagree with. If she wants an “expansionist” feminism, I say she should have it. I don’t know that jealously guarding the term from the likes of her and “her ilk”. Discouraging any contemplation of their position by marking them with the scarlet letter, “C”, or compartmentalizing “these women” and setting them aside is what’s really killing feminism.

    I happen to think that Camille Paglia is one of the most interesting, passionate and provocative feminists writing today. I also think Andrea Dworkin’s positions are indispensable to the complex development of feminist thought. I disagree strongly (am even offended by) many of their arguments. They are on two opposite ends of a feminist cipher, and both worthy of consideration.

    The impulse to cloak any self-identified feminist in the robes of conservatives, or roll our eyes at truly interesting suggestions because they might not conform to every aspect of the feminist agenda (political, social, cultural, aesthetic and so on) and crowd along decks chanting “impostor!” as they walk the plank, is small minded and off-putting.

    We loose so many valuable minds that might otherwise help refine and complicate feminist identities to this leftist brand of excommunication.

  9. Hypatia
    Hypatia July 2, 2008 at 12:22 am |

    The F word. One of the worst things that I think we can do to feminism is to degrade it as a label. Yes, feminism has problems. Yes, some feminists are exclusionary. But if all the feminists that are not exclusionary stop identifying as feminist, we have an even larger problem. I think that there can be enormous power in trying to broaden the scope of feminism and reclaim it, so to speak.

    Even among the groups typically represented by feminism (white, middle class, etc.), it can be enormously difficult to get feminists to claim the identity. One of the largest challenges to feminism is its fragmentation. To me, anyone that is working for the betterment of womyn (often in a way that benefits men) or working toward equality is a feminist. I may not agree with their means to achieve that end, but I will not deny them being “feminist.”

    We can’t make “true” feminism just one strand of an entire body of thought that is varied and different. It is the media or uneducated people that try to simplify the complexity of feminism by choosing a few visible feminists and claiming they speak for all under the label “feminism.”

  10. The Flash
    The Flash July 2, 2008 at 12:24 am |

    Frankly, I’m constantly alienated away from feminism by the impulse tor edefine feminism as needing to solve all problems. Why does feminism need to encompass anti-racism and anti-colonialism and anti-ableism and all these other anti-isms? why do feminists need to only identify as feminists and therefore make everything they believe into a feminist issue? It is possible to talk about power and privilege in many contexts, and trying to turn feminism into a one-stop-shop for progressive politics renders it meaningless. There are issues shared by feminists and other progressive activists, but that doesn’t mean that feminism needs to be redefined to include all of these things.

    Can’t feminism just be about seeing things through a lense of gender and sex, and specifically address these issues?

    I understand that these issues result in different consequences in different communities– that increasing police presence as a disincentive to rapists may have an adverse effect on communities of color because of police harrassment of black men, which sets off a cycle of demographic consequences that results in ramifications specifically affecting WOC. That’s not exactly what I’m talking about. It’s extremely important to talk about how feminist positions will affect all women and not just women who are privileged by one solution to a widespread problem. But that doesn’t mean that anti-racism efforts become feminist efforts. Feminism cannot hope to destroy all institutions of power and eliminate privilege for all, on the basis of all distinguishing characteristics. Focusing on sexism and misogyny should be the calling card of specifically feminist efforts, and, to use a word that seems to have taken on some taboo qualities, intersectionality should be explicit, and not worked into a subtext of the definition of feminism.

  11. Cecelia
    Cecelia July 2, 2008 at 12:51 am |

    A WOC of color feminist, native american, blue collar/working class gal here.

    I agree with Renee. The book deal folks don’t represent everyone!

    Regarding labels…

    I think we need labels for identification purposes at this time to validate people for who they are and where they have been. Secondly we need these labels for healing. Until we move through and heal issues between race, class, gender, ect, we need these labels. I had a conversation with a friend today about labels. I told her that I was tired of labels and division. Then she gently reminded me that I identify myself as and Ojibway Native American woman. So, I do and I need to I feel right now.

  12. Ofneverwherelse
    Ofneverwherelse July 2, 2008 at 1:14 am |

    Feminis(m) / (t) is a powerful word. I really enjoy using it to describe myself and my politics. It has its limitations because of the many different things that it can mean, many of which are legitimate, many of which are either intentionally subversive, or simply misguided and naive. That said part of why I LIKE using the word is the diversity of things it can and often does mean.

    One clarifying mechanism I use, is to describe the other aspects of my politics as well. Be they, environmentalist, anti-racist, anarchist, etc. This is useful for me because it puts more points on the map and allows me to present with greater clarity my positions on oppression in general, and figure out where people stand on how they use the word. If a person questions why I am presenting myself as an anti-racist, when discussing feminism, I have a better, not 100% accurate, but better, understanding of how they are using the term feminism.

  13. Thene
    Thene July 2, 2008 at 2:06 am |

    When talking to non-feminist friends and acquaintances about my beliefs, the only F-words I use are freedom and fairness. These things are far more important to me than identification with any ideological movement, as well as being simply less cliquey, less likely to alienate people who don’t ID as feminist.

  14. professor what if
    professor what if July 2, 2008 at 2:52 am |

    Great post and comments. I agree with Hypatia that “there can be enormous power in trying to broaden the scope of feminism and reclaim it.’ Thus, I too am reluctant to give up the word.

    However, each semester as I teach new batches of students in Introduction to Women’s Studies, lots of students argue we need a new term (for many of the reasons above). The most common suggestion is “humanism.” However, as I tell them, that one is taken (and has it’s fair share of problems).

    I am fond of the f-word. I also like that feminism is really “feminisms.” I think by giving up the word we would be giving up a lot of our wonderful history and accomplishments, while also erasing (and not dealing with) some of the uglier aspects of feminist history.

    I do wish, however, that people like Paglia would stop claiming the term. She recently wrote “as a feminist” on the SAIC movie in Enterntainment Weekly (which I posted about at my blog). UGH.

  15. bellatrys
    bellatrys July 2, 2008 at 3:45 am |

    McArdle used to blog as Jane Galt, btw. Which explains a lot about her depraved inhumanity and self-important puffery, but not why the Atlantic thought she would make a good addition to their stable. (Or how she manages to be a pro-war, pro-life Catholic Randian who boasts of her Lenten fasts between defending Operation Rescue without her head exploding, but I guess if you have nothing inside then cognitive dissonance is not so much of a risk.)

  16. prof black woman
    prof black woman July 2, 2008 at 5:13 am |

    So by implying that neither the current generation nor its following ones are capable of unlearning bigotry (oh um “blind spots”) aren’t you basically saying that feminists are bigots? I thought the point of all the conflicts was so that we could have a feminism without bigotry. It seems like every year someone from the margin has to remind someone from the center that we exist, is the problem inherent and unexcercisable bigotry or a willful to unintentional unwillingness to learn and change? If feminists can learn other complex ideas, why can’t they learn to see without “blindspots?”

  17. SarahMC
    SarahMC July 2, 2008 at 7:37 am |

    We absolutely need words to describe the movement against gender oppression. And the fact that anti-feminists co-opt the word “feminism” only makes me want to call attention to my ACTUAL feminism, in an attempt to take it back. We can’t let the antis force us into abandoning the label.
    Plenty of Christians aren’t bigoted fundamentalists, but they still call themselves Christians. This issue isn’t unique to feminism, but it seems feminists are the only ones who’d consider abandoning their label b/c of the jerks.

  18. Anna
    Anna July 2, 2008 at 8:02 am |

    One of the things I hate about self-identifying as a feminist is suddenly I am personally responsible for everything every feminist has ever said since the beginning of time. Even friends who have known me for years suddenly demand I account for anecdotes, FoaF stories and “post-feminism”.

    It’s sorta like being a woman playing chess. Suddenly, if I lose a game, all women suck at chess. Suddenly, if I say the wrong thing, all feminists want to rule the world and eat men for breakfast (and babies for dinner).

    That’s what aggravates me so much about this.

  19. SarahMC
    SarahMC July 2, 2008 at 8:25 am |

    If we in the movement against gender oppression decided to identify as Purple Piglets, those opposed to female equality would tarnish that label, set up stawPurple Piglets to tear down, and demand that all Purple Piglets take responsibility for the Purple Piglets who want to “eat babies and kill men.”

  20. Emily
    Emily July 2, 2008 at 8:33 am |

    I think part of the reason that WOC constantly have to point out blind spots is that there are always new people entering the dialogue/blogosphere. Certainly, there are some people who have shown no inclination to engage in real introsepection and growth on that front; but there are many, including, I think, Jill of this blog, who are making conscious, sustained efforts at getting past their blind spots. It’s not easy, and I completely understand WOC seeking spaces where the dominant discussion doesn’t include/revolve around/require intervention to point out those blind spots. But there are a lot of us out here learning and endeavoring to improve. It may not always be visible, and I certainly can’t say if it’s “worth it” for those who have to constantly educate, but I very much appreciate the opportunity to be confronted with my blind spots on racial issues in feminist spaces.

  21. norbizness
    norbizness July 2, 2008 at 9:03 am |

    There’s an oddly appropriate Def Leppard song on the subject. Well, maybe just the title. I can’t even tell what Joe Elliott is singing there.

  22. Lauren
    Lauren July 2, 2008 at 9:56 am |

    To me, feminism is about being able to understand the gendered subtext behind- well, everything- and how that hurts those who aren’t conforming to their gender role, either by ostracizing them or imposing their role upon them. This includes assertive women, unassertive men, gay men, lesbians, and transsexuals. But it also reaches into race, which is an incredibly sexualized concept. Black people are seen as more masculine and aggressive; asians as feminine and submissive.

    As I see it, feminism must address issues of race, class, LGBT rights, etc. Not necessarily all instances of these issues, of course, but they are often intertwined with sex or gender shit, and that needs to be addressed.

  23. Renee
    Renee July 2, 2008 at 9:57 am |

    @reply at flash Can’t feminism just be about seeing things through a lense of gender and sex, and specifically address these issues?

    Attitudes like this are WOC of color continually abandon feminism. If you don’t include race into the debate it, it creates us as invisible. Some issues happen because we are female but some happen specifically because we are WOC.

  24. Tom
    Tom July 2, 2008 at 10:41 am |

    Attitudes like this are WOC of color continually abandon feminism. If you don’t include race into the debate it, it creates us as invisible. Some issues happen because we are female but some happen specifically because we are WOC.

    I get the frustrations, but doesn’t “abandoning” feminism in this way feed into white privilege? If there’s an undercurrent of racism, it’s to feminism’s detriment, not its definition. As a woman, aren’t you entitled to feminism regardless of race? White, middle class women are no more the “real” feminist than republicans are “real” Americans. If they present themselves as such, it’s far better to call them on it than to let them live in their fantasy world.

  25. Latoya Peterson
    Latoya Peterson July 2, 2008 at 10:44 am |

    Why does feminism need to encompass anti-racism and anti-colonialism and anti-ableism and all these other anti-isms? why do feminists need to only identify as feminists and therefore make everything they believe into a feminist issue?

    Because feminists like to advertise what they do as “for all women” – and there are a great many women who are affected by all of these things.

    Personally, I came really close to giving feminism a “fuck you” over all of this. I don’t understand how feminism can try to represent all women, and still promote racist behavior and activity. I do not identify as disabled, queer, gender-queer, nor am I from a developing nation, but I imagine the same issues apply.

    How can you be my ally if you can’t understand who I am?

    How can you claim to speak for me when you refuse to listen to my voice?

    How can you try to solve my problems when you don’t have a clue what my life is like?

    I suppose if you don’t want to deal with these problems in feminism, you could just drop the “for all women” label and adopt something like “for women who experience gender inequality above all else and for men willing to toe the line.” I think that would fit a bit better.

  26. Latoya Peterson
    Latoya Peterson July 2, 2008 at 10:57 am |

    I get the frustrations, but doesn’t “abandoning” feminism in this way feed into white privilege?

    Or, one could consider abandoning feminism after it becomes a hostile as a method of self-preservation, which ever.

    I do not think the feminist label is required to care about the rights of women or to take action. And while some may chose to stay and fight, others may choose to take their battle elsewhere.

    Some of us feel like this kind of war with feminism is a waste. If I am not welcome here, I will just head to a space where I am. Or create one that speaks to the people I am trying to reach. Feminism does have its good points and its uses, no doubt. But patriarchy and kryiarchy are two different things (which inhabit the same circles), and I believe it is one’s own life experience that will tell them which of the two they want to spend their time fighting.

  27. Tom
    Tom July 2, 2008 at 11:24 am |

    Some of us feel like this kind of war with feminism is a waste.

    For what it’s worth, I’m a regular reader of your blog and came to it through both this site and Feministing. There’s a great deal of justified criticism of feminism, but there is also an conscious effort in 3rd wave feminism to make it more inclusive.

    Differing priorities are one thing, abandonment is another.

  28. juju
    juju July 2, 2008 at 11:29 am |

    I agree with Renee and Latoya. And this is worth repeating:

    I suppose if you don’t want to deal with these problems in feminism, you could just drop the “for all women” label and adopt something like “for women who experience gender inequality above all else and for men willing to toe the line.” I think that would fit a bit better.

    I would add “for women who experience gender inequality above all else [and in the ways specific to, and/or deemed as such, by "women who matter"] …”

    As has already been said, just because someone doesn’t identify with the “feminist” label, for reasons already stated here and elsewhere, does not mean that they are not actively engaged in activist work that could be called feminist. I am looking forward to reading about ideas of how to make the term less alienating to women who agree with many of feminism’s basic precepts.

    @Flash

    Focusing on sexism and misogyny should be the calling card of specifically feminist efforts, and, to use a word that seems to have taken on some taboo qualities, intersectionality should be explicit, and not worked into a subtext of the definition of feminism.

    Would you mind elaborating on the bolded text?

  29. tanglad
    tanglad July 2, 2008 at 11:32 am |

    @ Flash –Why does feminism need to encompass anti-racism and anti-colonialism and anti-ableism and all these other anti-isms?

    I’ll address the “anti-colonialism” part because that’s what I know best.

    ALL people in countries like the US benefit, directly and indirectly, from globalization and neocolonialist economic policies turn countries like the Philippines into suppliers of labor and resources. Women from groups like Innabuyog and Amihan have been telling us how “development aggression” has displaced them from their roles as knowledge producers in their communities. How neocolonialism undermines the community ties that have protected indigenous women and peasant women from violence.

    So yeah, women in developing countries have been explicitly making the connections between colonialism, globalization, feminism. Whether feminists here are listening is another matter.

  30. Latoya Peterson
    Latoya Peterson July 2, 2008 at 11:48 am |

    @Tom,

    Very true. But if you read my blog regularly, you should have seen this thread pop up with the resulting comments about racism fatigue. That feeling extends to feminism.

    It is difficult to find a space where you can discuss social problems through any kind of lens – be it anti-racist, feminist, what have you. However, if you feel that this space is hostile to you – not saying that all WoC do, mind – my question is why would you stay? Particularly if the space kind of takes on an abusive kind of tone – we love you, we need you, but shut the fuck up and do what I say?

    In that case, I would argue it isn’t abandonment of feminism, it is the preservation of the self. Fighting with enemies is tough, but fighting with allies is even harder. And why bother, when they aren’t your real enemies anyway? Why not look to refocus and regroup with like minded allies (the ones we were hoping to find in the feminist community?)

    Now, obviously, I’ve chosen to stay for quite a few reasons. But I must say I truly understand if any woman of color chooses not to identify as a feminist.

    Making something inclusive is a long, messy process and there are a lot of people who are not willing to change. And trying to constantly explain and interject a minority opinion into what becomes a majority dominated conversation (even if it is about a minority issue) is exhausting in its own right – and that is even in spaces like Feministe, which are more progressive and forward thinking than other spaces (online and offline) that I frequent. So imagine what it’s like to be in a space that is not progressive and is hostile but still terms itself feminist.

    The problem is tough, and I don’t think there are any easy answers.

    But I do want to impress that abandoning “feminism” or any other movement that no longer serves your needs is often seen as necessary for self-preservation. I left quite a few male dominated anti-racist/pro-black spaces because they did not suit my needs, and in many cases, were unwilling to try to understand them.

    I didn’t quit being pro-black or anti-racist.

    But I had to quit that idea of a community.

    And later, I was able to find a space that fit better with my needs. And as we grow stronger, we can start applying pressure on other organizations to change.

    So, I also think one can leave feminism without leaving its principles or core beliefs.

  31. shah8
    shah8 July 2, 2008 at 11:58 am |

    I’ve said this before
    and I’ll say it again…

    Women aren’t an ethnicity

    This has really important implications that may be counterintuitive.

    Like, say, unity of women’s voices, or expectations theroff, is a mirage

    Especially in a world of nuclear families, which as I said before, nuclear families are expressly a patriarchal device to prevent countervaling public value systems.

    The implications from that is that feminism has only one fundamental premise: egalitarianism. There are no other plausible alternatives that can rally women’s voices in a million languages. That tower of Babel prevents any of the kind of concrete seperatist or supremecist or isolationist movement from being valid. So feminism is never going to be able to get the products of a Marcus Garvey or Nat Turner/L’Overture’s flanking leadership.

    Egalitarianism is the only way women can prevent dialogue about gender from being subsumed into the ethnic national dialogues.

    That means, however icky it is, feminists gotta have gay sex, black and brown and red and yellow sex, environmental sex, prison sex, masochist sex, and oh my god, have sex with *everyone* in the world! After all, women as a whole, practically does have sex with everyone in the world. Every child was born through someone’s canal, eh?

    It sorta means that most gains are gains made by asserting *everyone’s* personal selfhood. A feminism that is narrow viewed, is ultimately ineffectual.

  32. Tom
    Tom July 2, 2008 at 12:25 pm |

    Thank you, Latoya. That clarification helps a lot.

  33. shah8
    shah8 July 2, 2008 at 12:54 pm |

    Oooh, only now did I read The Flash‘s post.

    Thing is, I don’t see very many feminists tackle any of the subjects she’s, I presume it is a she, talking about *without* applying gender lenses.

    This is something I see all the time. People who whine about the dissipation of feminism while saying that if we do it right, we can talk about those topics. Guess how often any topic, especially on race or anti-colonialism, is handled correctly and relevantly enough for those people?

  34. sonia
    sonia July 2, 2008 at 12:54 pm |

    But that doesn’t mean that anti-racism efforts become feminist efforts.

    It doesn’t? Then how do women of color (one of many communities) supposed to co-opt it as a weapon against gender struggles? I think Latoya addressed this nicely already. I just wanted to add my “ditto”.

    One of the things I hate about self-identifying as a feminist is suddenly I am personally responsible for everything every feminist has ever said since the beginning of time. Even friends who have known me for years suddenly demand I account for anecdotes, FoaF stories and “post-feminism”.

    It’s sorta like being a woman playing chess. Suddenly, if I lose a game, all women suck at chess. Suddenly, if I say the wrong thing, all feminists want to rule the world and eat men for breakfast (and babies for dinner).

    If you took out the word “feminist” from this comment, and inserted “minority group”, it would fit perfectly.

    I think it’s hugely important to be critical and understand our shortcomings as well as our accomplishments. But it’s also important to understand that too often, it is a little too easy to beat up on this movement. Owning feminism doesn’t mean you own every single word uttered by feminist theorists (I’d be in big trouble a long time ago, since I disagree/dislike most of the big wigs.)…

  35. sonia
    sonia July 2, 2008 at 12:57 pm |

    P.S. I just want to be clear. I totally totally understand that feminists are not a “minority group” socially, culturally, geographically and many other “ically”. It was not the point I was making. Preemption.

  36. Latoya Peterson
    Latoya Peterson July 2, 2008 at 12:59 pm |

    @Tom – No problem.

    I just read a post from BFP that gets at that same idea:

    I deleted the above because it was irritating me. Why am I constantly writing about how to “make a movement” when the damn “movement” has made it perfectly clear that I am not welcome? Do I really care about “the movement” or do I care about the lonely and depressed queer girls out in the middle of Religious Town U.S.A? Lonely and depressed queer girls, forget the above paragraphs and pay special attention to the paragraph below. There are alternatives out there. There are spaces where your presence is not only honored but desperately needed. And some times, you don’t have to leave your area to find those spaces. When you get out–pay attention to what amazing women like Invincible did–go back. Go back and sing that voice out loud and powerful and strong. Then teach other lonely and depressed queer girls how to do the same thing. Bless all of us with your words, your voice, your music!

    I guess a lot of answering Ashley’s question comes from figuring out why you came to feminism in the first place.

  37. RenegadeEvolution
    RenegadeEvolution July 2, 2008 at 3:49 pm |

    Feminism is one of those things that seemed so promising, until I figured out a whole lot of people claiming the word “didn’t want my kind” around, many of them did not see any import in issues I felt to be important, I met with a great deal of outright aggression and was basically given the impression “some feminists (and women) are more equal than others”.

    And I sort of get the impression, though for wide and varied reasons, that I’m not the only one who feels this way or who has experienced this.

    For me, personally, the WORD is not that important. Actions count.

  38. Persia
    Persia July 2, 2008 at 3:52 pm |

    women in developing countries have been explicitly making the connections between colonialism, globalization, feminism. Whether feminists here are listening is another matter.

    Another excellent point. For that matter, good luck addressing women’s rights in this country or any other without confronting racism, ablism, heterosexism, etc. Intersectionality is inherent to my feminism, because if I’m only making life better for white women of a certain class, I’m not making life better for women.

  39. The Flash
    The Flash July 2, 2008 at 4:08 pm |

    Wow. The “attitudes like this are why WOC abandon feminism” response is really problematic for a lot of reasons. I get the impression that there’s some disconnect between a liberal attitude that treats feminism as an approach that an individual adopts, versus a more collectivist notion of feminism coalescing and remaing a cohesive social movement with clear delineating objectives. So do I think “feminists” like Wendy McElroy are full of it? Yes. But do I understand when someone imagines that there is something positive about creating a space where people can be proud to want to champion the rights of women on the one hand, but do it through a different operative political prism on the other? Yes. Feminism makes a GREAT prism through which to view race issues and colonialism issues and ableist issues and LOTS OF ISSUES.

    That doesn’t mean feminism *is* all of these issues. It’s falacious to present the alienation of WOC from movement-feminism as monocausal; yes, feminism historically was driven by women who were very happy that they could hire third-world nannies to permit them to have careers and families, but how much of the drive to transform feminism comes from reprioritizing broad-based women’s rights *under* the rights of particular voices for change? To what extent is there a zero-sum between women who want to hire third-world nannies and women driving for an anti-colonialist feminism? For that matter, to what extent is there a zero-sum between long-resident WOC in the U.S. and immigrant WOC, mirroring the broader immigrant/community of color tension in the U.S.? Feminism can’t always just be about its most-beleaguered supporters. That creates an oppression olympics like what everyone kept saying they were trying to avoid in the Democratic primary.

    I’m not taking sides, except insofar as to oppose revolution is to take sides with the status quo. And yeah, I’m also saying that rich white women shouldn’t be defined out of the targeted constituency of feminism either. But the drive to narrow down the definition of feminism is also excluding a huge base of women and men who want to adopt the lens of gender and sex issues as their politically interpretive lens, but are constantly being told that they can’t be feminists because they aren’t anti-racist enough, or anti-ableist enough, or anti-colonialist enough. If you keep pressing feminism to define itself more specifically, then it becomes a movement about its own special-interest sub-groups, and loses a broad meaning.

    So does that mean that a lot of feminists may have to redefine as a particular sub-group of feminist (WOC feminists, radical feminists, non-ableist feminists… just, y’know, someone come up with a catchy descriptor), instead of sticking with the umbrella term and trying to get it to match their beliefs? Yeah. What’s wrong with that?

    But I do also understand that if you don’t have a particular intersectional advocacy agenda (as in the case of upper-middle-class white women who hire third-world nannies), then you’re left just calling yourself a feminist, and we return to these issues of who owns the definition of feminism. But why can’t “mainstream feminism” refer to a feminism for the mainstream of the U.S. (since we already define other groups as marginalized, that sort of suggests that non-marginalized groups are “mainstream”, problematic as that normative term may be) rather than a mainstream of feminism? so if you call yourself a mainstream feminist, that means that you’re focusing on particularly gender/sex defined issues. “Feminism” can maintain an umbrella definition for approaching different issues from a gender/sex discrimination perspective.

  40. RenegadeEvolution
    RenegadeEvolution July 2, 2008 at 4:26 pm |

    and see, I like McElroy…don’t agree with her on everything, of course, but…

    “feminists” is the problem.

    I simply don’t ever see feminists, people interested in feminism, so on, ever coming together on much of anything so long as “feminism” is…well, like that.

  41. Mr. J
    Mr. J July 2, 2008 at 6:00 pm |

    For me, feminism means believing that women should have equal rights as human beings. That’s all.

    One of the problems with feminism is who media outlets choose to represent their dysfunctional view of feminism. Most of the people running media conglomerates are not feminists, and have no intention of accurately representing feminism. Therefore, some of the people who get to shout loudly about feminism and their feminist beliefs are not feminists at all. They are people with their own agendas who have no desire to make the world better for anyone of any gender.

  42. Loosely Twisted
    Loosely Twisted July 2, 2008 at 6:57 pm |

    I liked the poster above. Eglitarianism. That’s my feminist view. Equality for all, no matter who. I don’t Identify as a feminist if the conversation is about faux feminists.. If it’s not, then I will Identify, it just depends on who my audience is when they ask me a question. I am not one to take the blame for others incompetence, nor do I take kindly to being accused of various sundry things. (Phyllis Shafely, comes to mind). So I make sure before hand which direction they are coming from before I open my mouth. LOL

    But specifically, my pov of feminism comes from eglitarian view, I try to see the entire picture, and while I can see it. I have no idea how to solve any of the problems I see.

  43. Bq
    Bq July 2, 2008 at 7:56 pm |

    “Feminism can’t always just be about its most-beleaguered supporters.”

    The Flash,

    Your comment seems to be an expression of a common fear for people interested foremost in protecting their privilege – any amplification of the marginalized voice is perceived as a “takeover” rather than an attempt at equality.

  44. jessilikewhoa
    jessilikewhoa July 2, 2008 at 8:34 pm |

    the flash, you mention the women who want to hire “third world” nannies. first, i personally find the term 3rd world offensive, like becos their countries are poorer than ours and different than ours, they are somehow less than us. thats bullshit. second, i assume nobody here would have any problem with one person hiring another person for a job that person genuinly wants so long as the employer maintains apprporiate respecful work conditions and follows labor laws pertaining to wages and work hours and treats the nanny the same as she would a US born nanny with white skin. the problem would arise if the woman doing the hiring was instead exploiting her nanny, underpaying, overworking, abusing or endangering her, or if her nanny wasnt working in that job out of her own free will.

  45. jed
    jed July 2, 2008 at 9:09 pm |

    “… and follows labor laws …” : So much for illegals working in your world.

  46. Renee
    Renee July 2, 2008 at 9:25 pm |

    When you don’t address race and class and make it a point of theory issues like this happen. Race is enough to equal death for some women and yet feminists claim to care about womens equality. What can be more important that the right to life and dignity?

  47. Rockit
    Rockit July 2, 2008 at 9:29 pm |

    Well feminism’s problem is that, similar to Christianity, it’s such a vast ideological umbrella that people can use it to justify vastly different, even diametrically opposed viewpoints (eg. the whole stripping debate) depending on what their individual view of freedom/rights/equality expressly consists of.

    But that doesn’t mean it’s not invaluable as an umbrella; the commenters on this site are a great example of how a wide range of politically active people can come together through a common principle to exchange ideas and hopefully build them into solid, real-life action. No mass movement can ever be perfect and anyone trying to affect change through democratic means has to accept that they’ll need to work with people they don’t always agree with to achieve their aims. That’s not to say it’s always a comfortable situation but surely the good points outweigh the bad?

  48. The Flash
    The Flash July 2, 2008 at 9:59 pm |

    Bq: Good selectivity. That wasn’t how I meant what I wrote, and if you included the next sentence and paragraph it wouldn’t sound like I’m trying to write the needy constituencies out of feminism. What I am saying is that you are trying to write white, economically comfortable women OUT of feminism, and it’s just as bad.

    Jesslikewhoa: “Third world” was a term popularized by Nehru to refer to countries that chose not to participate on either the Soviet or American side of the cold war. Yes, it has come to mean the developing world, because it was developing countries that fell into that category, but it isn’t meant to imply hierarchy. Also, there have been MANY voices that say that the low wages paid to immigrant nannies are the classist crime on which feminist victories were built. That pits privileged feminists directly against anti-colonialist feminists.

    To ask everyone with any privilege to abandon all their privilege before they can make any advances is to cut out most feminists. It’s worse, because it’s self-negating; asking whtie privileged women to abandon what they have is not womanist, because it hurts those women. If you focus on things like class and race, you’re turning other women into the problem, because the problem has stopped being about gender or sex, and has started being about whatever that other issue is for you. THAT’S OKAY, but don’t call it feminist. It’s something else.

    And Renee, that could’ve been a man and the same thing would’ve happened. It wasn’t a feminist issue. It was a race and class and ableist issue. Make that person white, or make them rich, or make them sane, and it wouldn’t have happened… but it’s true, institutions in the current system don’t pay attention to mentally atypical economically unprivileged people of color. Gender/sex wasn’t the defining characteristic here. And it’s horrible, and Iw ant desperately to fight it, but THAT DOESN’T MAKE IT AN ISSUE OF FEMINISM.

    Feminism is not a synonym for ‘justice’. Try to make it that, but it is incomplete as a descriptor for ‘justice’. And that’s okay. There are other words to combine it with to arrive at a more full description of a just system.

  49. Panopticon
    Panopticon July 2, 2008 at 10:13 pm |

    What I am saying is that you are trying to write white, economically comfortable women OUT of feminism, and it’s just as bad.

    Who is trying to do that? Can you provide examples?

  50. Ashley
    Ashley July 3, 2008 at 12:11 am |

    In this space, I really don’t want it to be a question that addressing various forms of intersecting oppressions is an essential aspect of feminism. I just don’t want to debate that, both because it is painful to me and to people who I consider my community and because it has been done elsewhere.

    Just to bring the discussion back to the original question: when is a label useful? When is it not useful?

    Obviously, as people’s comments show, everyone will have a different definition of what feminism “means.” I don’t think anyone will answer that question definitively (although I will still contend that Christina Hoff Sommers is not a feminist).

    I’m interested in discussing when a label helps us, and when it hurts, strategically speaking. For example, when I started a group to reform my college sexual assault policy and someone asked if they had to be a feminist to join, I said “no.” But when Christina Hoff Sommers tries to pass herself off as a feminist for the purposes of opposing some feminist gain, I call her out (which implies that I am a feminist and she is not). Am I right to act this way, or is it problematic? Is there a rule of thumb for labeling/not labeling ourselves?

  51. Radfem
    Radfem July 3, 2008 at 12:22 am |

    Feminism is one of those things that seemed so promising, until I figured out a whole lot of people claiming the word “didn’t want my kind” around, many of them did not see any import in issues I felt to be important, I met with a great deal of outright aggression and was basically given the impression “some feminists (and women) are more equal than others”.

    And I sort of get the impression, though for wide and varied reasons, that I’m not the only one who feels this way or who has experienced this.

    For me, personally, the WORD is not that important. Actions count.

    No you’re not the only one.

    Parts of it remind me too much of “patriarchy” only with women faces.

    I suppose if you don’t want to deal with these problems in feminism, you could just drop the “for all women” label and adopt something like “for women who experience gender inequality above all else and for men willing to toe the line.” I think that would fit a bit better

    That’s one option. It might save some of us from having to listen to how they’re for women and then call racial profiling for example a men’s issue.

  52. octogalore
    octogalore July 3, 2008 at 12:52 am |

    Hi Ashley. I agree with you, there should be no debate about “the question that addressing various forms of intersecting oppressions is an essential aspect of feminism.” You’re right on to feel like that’s something we should be past questioning.

    I’m wondering if Flash’s issue was not about intersectionality but about substitution.

    Anyway, about the label — my $.02 is that it’s important. There are other labels — like woman, teacher, lawyer, mother, sister, leader, Democrat. Most of the time we don’t question those. But we also don’t expect that people we (sometimes violently) disagree with, to whom these labels also apply, make them not apply to us. Why is feminism — which basically means women are equal — so easy to cast off?

  53. Latoya Peterson
    Latoya Peterson July 3, 2008 at 8:35 am |

    The feminist label is a heavy liability for me.

    There is a very long history of distrust in feminism because many people who call themselves feminists have proven that they do not care as much about the issues that impact other communities. And many feminists will blatantly tell you this, letting you know that “special interests” are nice, but we need to coalesce around “real problems” – you know, the things that affect white people.

    Even on my own blog, with as much as I have written about feminism and the identification and why I chose to do so, I still get pushback from readers who wonder why I still deal with feminism in the first place? And my readers are generally progressive women of color who’ve all been through the “I love feminism but it doesn’t love me” phase.

    (Please note – WoC is not a term that is interchangeable with black for me. The people I hear this from can be identified as Latinas, Muslimahs, Asian women and Black women. )

    In real life, my friends and other progressive women of color love bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Patricia Collins Hill, but leave feminism on the table. It’s got too much baggage. One friend told me straight up – this isn’t our fight. For most of my friends, feminist theory is interesting and useful – but being involved in feminism isn’t worth the trouble.

    And, some days, it really isn’t.

    Quite a few men of color react with hostility when they find out you are a feminist – to them, it is explicitly linked to a white agenda. Even men who believe in feminist ideals hear the word feminist and react badly. Automatically, the conversation is a fight and you are forced to defend why you identify as a feminist and start dispelling myths before the conversation goes anywhere.

    And with the young women and girls, I want to reach? Who the hell wants to be a feminist? I’m trying to convey that there are other ways to get what you want in life outside of your physical appearance, when most of the girls I see want to be in music videos. That’s a major reason why I identify as a hip-hop feminist. I am marrying this hostile term, feminism, with the more known term, hip-hop. That is the prism and soundtrack that a lot of young women experience their entire lives with, and it is almost overwhelmingly ignored by feminism.

    Female Chauvinist Pigs was a great book, but I couldn’t give it to any girl I know. Why? Because it doesn’t reflect their reality at all. Hip-hop is mentioned in passing in that book, though it has recently been acknowledged by the Smithsonian as influencing the dominant youth culture around the globe.

    I could go on for days. But basically, the point is this: the feminist term carries a lot of baggage with it, and is a label that I am not always prepared to unpack on demand. And if I am out in the world, fighting for feminism, with feminism, on behalf of feminism, advancing feminism, the last thing I want to do is come back and have to fight with feminism to acknowledge who I am and the people I love. It’s exhausting.

    So, as I said upthread, I can acknowledge the power in identifying as a feminist. But I will never, ever fault a woman of color who chooses not to.

  54. Lady S
    Lady S July 3, 2008 at 9:48 am |

    If we’re thinking about feminism as movement, we need to think why we allow women who are racist, classist, transphobic and hostile to sex workers speak for the movement.

    It’s worth thinking about how the structure of the feminist movement replicates the dynamics of larger society – and tackling those.

    The most obvious start is to listen to the discontents that people have and work together to creating a solution.

  55. Renee
    Renee July 3, 2008 at 10:59 am |

    @ flash o if you call yourself a mainstream feminist, that means that you’re focusing on particularly gender/sex defined issues. “Feminism” can maintain an umbrella definition for approaching different issues from a gender/sex discrimination perspective.

    You continue to prove my point regarding the alienation of WOC. Yesterday I posted about the death of Esmin Green…do you know how many mainstream feminist blogs posted on this??? NONE You see, she was black, poor and mentally ill. These specific factors were a direct cause of her death. If feminism does not extend itself to race and class women like her are invisible. So I ask you again if you claim to care about women why is focusing on issues like race and class so problematic? Actually don’t answer I know why, you want to maintain white privilege in the movement.

  56. Emily
    Emily July 3, 2008 at 12:27 pm |

    Anyway, about the label — my $.02 is that it’s important. There are other labels — like woman, teacher, lawyer, mother, sister, leader, Democrat. Most of the time we don’t question those. But we also don’t expect that people we (sometimes violently) disagree with, to whom these labels also apply, make them not apply to us. Why is feminism — which basically means women are equal — so easy to cast off?

    I’d disagree that people – many who call themselves feminists – don’t question gender labels. Just ask any transwoman who’s tried to fully assert her womanhood in “woman only space” and been told she’s just a man with a problem. Some labels seem unquestionable because they’ve been used for so long for a single thing, but that doesn’t mean that they are correct.

  57. The Flash
    The Flash July 3, 2008 at 3:39 pm |

    Renee- I did respond to your point about Esmin Green. I should have mentioned her by name, but the second-to-last paragraph of my last post was responding to your point about her. Basically, I said that the tragedy that took palce with her was much more influenced by class, race and ability than by sex/gender, and that if she had been a man, it’s easy to imagine the same thing happening. And that I care deeply about what happened from a justice perspective, but my specifically feminist radar isn’t pinging.

    I confess that I’m exhausted. It’s true. I want to tackle issues discretely and not all at once. And so yes, while I’m focusing on my developing my feminist goals, and my feminist lens, my focus is more on issues affecting women qua women and not women qua members of communities of color or members of different economic classes. Call that naive.

    And that’s why I have trouble taking on the feminist label. Because there are so many people who want to shout me down as not being a feminist because I am trying to focus on issues specifically related to sexism. Because when I prioritize an end to honor killing and FGM over anti-colonialism, other people calling themselves feminists don’t seem to be on my side. Because there don’t seem to be many spaces left where feminists discuss issues of sexism and misogyny as central and primary motivators of their political agenda and outlook.

    So I care about racism. and I care about classism. I care about all these things. but they aren’t my feminism, and I don’t want that to mean that I’m not allowed to use the feminist label.

  58. Radfem
    Radfem July 3, 2008 at 3:57 pm |

    Basically, I said that the tragedy that took palce with her was much more influenced by class, race and ability than by sex/gender, and that if she had been a man, it’s easy to imagine the same thing happening. And that I care deeply about what happened from a justice perspective, but my specifically feminist radar isn’t pinging.

    The reminents of my feminist radar was ringing like a gong at the story about Green. Maybe it’s just not working right. But Green’s a woman and if feminists can’t see what happened to her as anti-feminist (and that’s ironic considering how feminists fight against how women are condescended to and underrserved by the medical profession), then what kind of movement is it?

  59. QLH
    QLH July 3, 2008 at 4:40 pm |

    I think that it’s important to claim your feminism, to announce it, to “take it back.” It’s important for the general public to hear people say, either casually or proudly or matter-of-factly, “I’m a feminist.” Increased visibility aids any movement.

  60. Cara
    Cara July 3, 2008 at 5:05 pm |

    Why does feminism need to encompass anti-racism and anti-colonialism and anti-ableism and all these other anti-isms?

    Here’s why: because if you don’t, you’re only catering to white women and able-bodied women. To exclude things like racism and ableism from feminist conversations is to pretend like race and disability don’t affect women who are of color and/or disabled, and like making their lives better doesn’t count. Because by your theory, the anti-racist movement and the disability rights movement don’t have to include gender analysis — and so who the hell are these women to turn to? They’ve got one group of people pretending like their race/disability doesn’t matter, and another group pretending like their gender doesn’t matter. Yeah, those are some great fucking options.

    To ask everyone with any privilege to abandon all their privilege before they can make any advances is to cut out most feminists. It’s worse, because it’s self-negating; asking whtie privileged women to abandon what they have is not womanist, because it hurts those women. If you focus on things like class and race, you’re turning other women into the problem, because the problem has stopped being about gender or sex, and has started being about whatever that other issue is for you. THAT’S OKAY, but don’t call it feminist. It’s something else.

    Whoa. So it’s wrong to make white women feel bad about their racism, but not wrong to make women of color feel like white women don’t give a shit about racism? This is just ludicrous. Calling out privilege does not “hurt women.” At least, not in any real sense. It might hurt their feelings, and yeah, it has hurt my feelings when I’ve been called out on my privilege. But instead of trying to silence those people, I instead try to think “maybe if you don’t want to get called out on being a privileged ass, you should STOP BEING A PRIVILEGED ASS.” This didn’t “hurt” me, it helped me to become a better person and feminist, and it still does. All of the time. I’m absolutely fucking grateful for those who have called me out when I was unknowingly being a racist/classist/ableist/etc. ass.

    Sometimes other women ARE the problem. And that includes issues all feminist issues. Women apologize for rape, women oppose abortion rights, women say that other women who aren’t SAHMs are bad parents, etc. Other women will always be part of the problem, and to deny as much and not examine why doesn’t help us get anywhere. To say that only CERTAIN women can be a part of the problem is bullshit, and it’s making me really angry. You’re essentially arguing that including women who experience other oppressions besides gender oppression is excluding those who don’t. And you’re wrong. I’m not excluded at all, I don’t feel excluded, and I’m not threatened by feminists talking about *gasp* what X woman experienced was not only because she is female but ALSO because of X other oppression. That doesn’t threaten feminism, but arguing that say, women of color are only allowed to be feminists if they act like the “of color” part doesn’t affect their lives as women, that does.

    And you know what? You want to talk privilege? As a woman of privilege, I can safely say that yours is showing.

  61. octogalore
    octogalore July 3, 2008 at 9:39 pm |

    Emily — that’s why I said “most of the time.” I am hoping the larger point wasn’t entirely lost because of a quibble that actually was addressed in the section you quoted.

    I’m not sure, actually, that a transwoman WOULD question her identity as a woman. So I’m not sure what you mean by that. It’s ignorant others who would. Just like many feminists are told by others (including feminists) they aren’t really feminists. But what I was addressing is the way one thinks of and identifies oneself.

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  63. Cara
    Cara July 3, 2008 at 10:26 pm |

    I’m not sure, actually, that a transwoman WOULD question her identity as a woman. So I’m not sure what you mean by that.

    I think that Emily was saying that some (cis) FEMINISTS question transwomen’s identity as women. And if that is what she was saying, she’s right; some unfortunately do.

    And no problem, Ashley.

  64. octogalore
    octogalore July 4, 2008 at 1:48 am |

    Cara – right, agree, but my point was which labels we consider OURSELVES to belong to. eg, whether we’d still say we are a teacher because of others with whom we share little in common. So if she was indeed discussing how other people view transwomen, it wasn’t an appropriate analogy. An appropriate analogy would be whether someone would consider herself a woman (whether trans or cis) if another woman (whether trans or cis) behaves in a way that woman #1 doesn’t want to be associated with. And the answer, I believe, would be yes. And just in case it isn’t all the time, is why I put “most of the time.” Clear?

  65. Cara
    Cara July 4, 2008 at 10:17 am |

    Oh okay. Got it.

  66. Emily
    Emily July 4, 2008 at 2:20 pm |

    Octogalore – I do understand your point. Cara described my point precisely. I was thinking more in terms of a different analogy, which has also come up in this discussion which, vis feminism specifically, behaves in a way that leads other people to claim that she is not what she calls herself – i.e. woman, feminist, and many of the other labels you mentioned for that matter.

    I don’t think we are ultimately disagreeing or that your ultimate point is lost. I didn’t directly address the issue of self identification because other people, yourself included, have pretty much said here and I’ve recently addressed the exact same question in my own writing.

  67. octogalore
    octogalore July 4, 2008 at 11:37 pm |

    Thanks, Emily. I like your Beauty Myth post BTW.

  68. camille paglia
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