“What are we doing here?”… Gooddd question.

August 4, 2007 at 10:36 am (feminism) ()

From this excellent link farm, I read this interesting post about what “we” (feminist bloggers) are doing “here” (in the feminist blogosphere). Now, I don’t think I post about feminist issues enough to be a feminist blogger, but I am a feminist and a blogger, and I do read a ton of feminist blogs, and do read all those spiraling 300-comment blogwar threads. So this post made a lot of sense to me.

Any discussions about radical feminism and one of its historic bugaboos (trans* issues, SexWars stuff, race relations, hierarchies of oppression) promises to get ugly pretty fast. Radfems and their supporters will say that this is because they are being willfully mischaracterized by their opposition; people on the other side will say that they are only reacting to the things that have been hurled at them. Inevitably, someone new to the discussion or tired of fighting will make some comment about ‘just wanting to talk’ or ask why people are still mulling over fights that should have ended months ago.

That’s not exclusive to feminism by any means, but it does characterize these conversations pretty aptly.

The thing I find myself focusing on is that these criticisms (that we’re overinvested emotionally, or that the other person ‘just doesn’t get it’, or that ‘no real so-and-so would have said such-and-thus) have a lot to do with our perception of who “we” are and what we are supposed to be doing here. Are we activists engaged in consciousness-building or other work? Are we ambassadors trying to change minds? Are we theorists trying to hash out Truth and Theory? Are we a group of friends trying to think together? Are we allies?

She (used here as a general pronoun; I don’t much about this person, except that I’m subscribing to his/her feed) goes on to talk some about the tone and purpose of different blogs — blogs that are written to educate and change minds, blogs that are written for the blogger and her friends, etc. — and about debate and expectations in a way that is very relevant to the recent clarification we’ve had to make here about the purpose of our very own little blog. And she talks about activism and activist communities and the interaction of feelings and politics and it’s all just enormously relevant to the struggles I’ve been having, almost exclusively offline, since I started trying to be serious about activism a couple of years ago. I think it’ll strike a chord with anyone who does political work of any variety. Really. It’s that smart.

Read the whole thing. Seriously. Even if you’re worried it will fly over your head.

This whole question about debates and expectations and hurt feelings has been an enormous thematic question in my life for the last year or so. I wish it would go the fuck away. But I know it’s not going to.

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6 Comments

  1. magniloquence said,

    *grins* Thanks for the link and recommendation!

    I am, indeed, female. I’m rather sporadic with the updating though, so my feed is likely to be kind of sparse most of the time. There’s a fair bit of stuff in the archives though, which should provide decent reading if you’ve got some extra time on your hands.

  2. Daisy said,

    Hey, no problem — they are well deserved. And I do have extra time. Students in summertime and all that.

  3. Daisy said,

    And if you don’t mind my asking, what’s the image in your icon? It looks a little like the tattoo I just got.

  4. Emily said,

    I thought that too, Daisy, about the icon.

  5. magniloquence said,

    Oh! My icon. *grins* That’s my family crest.

    Well, my dad’s mother’s family back in Japan. They initially disowned this side of the family over her marriage to my grandfather (Japanese woman marrying a black American occupying soldier in the 50s? Not the most socially acceptable choice ever.), but then they got over it, mostly.

  6. Daisy said,

    Oh, cool. It does remind me of my tattoo of a symbol called the mystic rose.

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