Stop Looking For The Next Head To Step On

White Women Sold Out the Sisterhood and the World by Voting for Trump

A few weeks ago I went to visit a cousin of mine at his maritime academy. Everyone wore uniforms, spoke in military time.

One of the things that struck me pretty hard was what my cousin said about hazing. The freshmen had to wear super short haircuts and run everywhere. He was hating it.

The upperclassmen are allowed to treat the frosh like crap until the frosh move up by proving they can treat someone else like crap.

Much the same way that the last wave of immigrants to America (Irish?) who were once shat upon can now point to Somali immigrants to prove their American-ness, their ability to shit on new guys.

This is the most American, most patriarchal system we have. It is defining. It is sickening.

Friendship, Gender, Kyriarchy

Closet Feminists

Recently I’ve become quite close to someone who I’ve started calling a closet feminist. He’s like a young pop star in that he spouts feminist ideals and then in the next breath shuns the F-word. He prefers the dinky ‘humanist’ and says that he doesn’t like the stereotype the label would reflect on him. Apparently he’s afraid that if he uses the word then people will think he’s a dumpy female elementary school teacher. Clearly I disagree. I think he could own the title and be an example of how the word doesn’t imply that stereotype. But I digress.

He doesn’t like the word feminist because apparently it isn’t inclusive enough. Or he doesn’t feel like he owes anyone anything because he doesn’t think being male has been an advantage in his life. Something like that. Digressing. Digressing.

…But what the word “feminist” does do is acknowledge the very long history of the women’s rights movement. I agree with what [Joss Whedon is] saying: It should just be assumed men and women are equally important and equally capable—but it’s not, and it hasn’t been for thousands of years. So, “feminism” and being a “feminist” is an acknowledgement of that history and the culture we’ve lived in for a long time. It’s a reaction to that, but for me, that’s an important acknowledgement to make.

JOSEPH GORDON LEVITT (via carolineeand)

Something I love about the word feminism is that it can encompass so much kyriarchy. It can be a catch all in acknowledging so much privilege.

Having privilege doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t mean you should feel guilty or that you owe anyone anything.

No, let me amend that, it means you owe the world a little bit of attention. Being a citizen of the world means you owe it consideration. You owe it to yourself and the people around you to be aware and sometimes grateful to those who have set you on your journey. It’s not a big debt, it doesn’t reflect poorly, I just think it’s a small thing we can all do.


No Thanks, I’ll Catch The Next One

I saw this on the subway the other day.


And I got really excited about it. I love feminist graffiti! Who doesn’t, right?

And of course I checked out the hashtag and this is where it got me.

Which has a manifesto.

Which I found a little disheartening.

We are modern women. We reject the shackles of social puritanism and we reject the concept that being attractive is somehow wrong. We reject being shamed by those who resent us for caring about our bodies. We accept our femininity and embrace it whole-heartedly. We are women, we are proud to be women, and no one can dictate nor can they be allowed to control our femininity.

Erm, you’re making a lot of statements on my behalf which I go back and forth on almost every day. I totally reject the shackles of social puritanism, you’ve got me there and I also guess I reject the concept that being attractive is wrong but I don’t really think that was an issue and don’t think it deserves a place in my manifesto. I’m getting nervous you’re gonna derail here in a minute.

Also, femininity, that’s what you’re concerned with? Is this going to be a “wave of feminism” that’s really just you telling boys that while you do indeed shave your legs?

As modern women, we hold in our hands and possess in our bodies the power to affect change for the entirety of womankind. We have the tools and we must utilize them in order to be truly free of the oppression and inequality that we face every day, from not only the male sex but from our fellow women as well. For we are the fourth wave of feminist thought, and we will not stand idly by while factors beyond our control limit us from achieving our true potential. We are women; we must embrace our womanhood in its wholeness.

Embrace my womanhood in it’s wholeness? What if I’m a woman who doesn’t like feeling so womanly? What if I like to sport cargo pants and a buzzcut?

Femininity is our battle cry and the banner to which we rally is our sex, and we must accept it without fear

Femininity is not my battle cry and the reason for that isn’t fear.

from the society that has taught us to be afraid of our bodies. It has told us, lied to us, that our bodies are things to be despised and hated.

Ok, ok, this can be salvaged, yes.

Modern society has fed us blatant double-think that an ugly woman is repulsive and a beautiful woman even more so.

Um, “double-think”? Is this 1984? And yeah you could make that argument but this is getting kind of thin-privilege-apologist don’t you think?

Society forces propaganda down our throats that our beauty and sexuality makes us whores. This oppressive double standard perpetuates itself; a beautiful man is a thing of beauty, idolized and sung of in poems. A beautiful woman is a slut to be shamed.

I mean, yes, this is a problematic side effect of patriarchy, but it isn’t the battle cry of my feminist manifesto.

This is our stand. Today we end the double standard. Today we end society’s repressive puritanism. No more will we allow ourselves to be “slut shamed”. We are women and it is our right to be beautiful, it is our right to embrace our womanhood, our sexual prowess, and our femininity. We will apply make-up, wear flowers in our hair, and let our beauty shine. We shall be desired, envied, and cherished for that is our ultimate right.

Oh god. Are you aware that there are women outside of your sorority? Envied? Really?

We are the 4th Wave of Feminism, and this is our manifesto. No man or woman can tell us that being attractive is wrong, that striving for a beautiful body is oppressive, or that embracing our sexuality turns us into whores. We are who we are, so let us unite and stand proud as we have nothing to lose but our chains. Today we make a lasting mark in the annals of history. Today, we are woman. Hear us roar.

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Get More Critical

Recently I’ve been looking at some of my really early posts and having some pretty major facepalms.

“We were not born critical of existing society. There was a moment in our lives (or a month, or a year) when certain facts appeared before us, startled us, and then caused us to question beliefs that were strongly fixed in our consciousness-embedded there by years of family prejudices, orthodox schooling, imbibing of newspapers, radio, and television. This would seem to lead to a simple conclusion: that we all have an enormous responsibility to bring to the attention of others information they do not have, which has the potential of causing them to rethink long-held ideas.”

– Howard Zinn (via swintons)

If I’ve learned anything in the last 500 posts (yep, this is number 500!) it is the importance of intersectionality

I try to be aware of my privilege every day though it’s not always easy.

“The force that allows white feminist authors to make no reference to racial identity in their books about ‘women’ that are in actuality about white women is the same one that would compel any author writing exclusively on black women to refer explicitly to their racial identity. That force is racism. In a racially imperialist nation such as ours, it is the dominant race that reserves for itself the luxury of dismissing racial identity while the oppressed race is made daily aware of their racial identity. It is the dominant race that can make it seem that their experience is Representative.”

– bell hooks, Ain’t I A Woman, pg 138 (via ohdidikillthequeen)

Kyriarchy, Media

Sex And The City And Kyriarchy

A comment on Hotel Transylvania:

I have not seen Hotel Transylvania, so I cannot comment. But I want to address Sex and the City.

I saw Sex and the City as well and was happy to see Jennifer Hudson in the film. When I go to a film, I don’t count how many people of color I see. I question people who claim to not be racist, yet are the first to throw down the race card. I don’t get it. When I watch Sex and City, I don’t think about race; I think about four friends who have ridiculously unrealistic and fabulous lives. The only people I see who keep racism alive, are those consistently making it an issue. People are more than their skin color.

On another note, why not complain that none of the women on Sex in the City are from lower incomes? Or are gay? Or heavy-set? Or Hispanic? But instead, color is the issue that is focused on. Would it have made you feel better if Jennifer Hudson were not cast at all?

Lastly, the show is NOT REAL. I don’t think anyone watches Sex and the City because of it’s gripping realism. It’s escapist entertainment. It’s fantasy.

Personally, I would rather focus on uniting people rather finding ways to divide them through race or any other element. I don’t know why we can’t see people for their intellect, personality, sense of humor, talent etc. Instead, what is it that matters? Race. Apparently, I guess diversity is only skin deep.

We all know how I feel about letting good comments languish in comment-land so let’s talk about this one shall we.

Oh, the good old claim that racism (or [insert hegemony here]) doesn’t exist anymore outside of the people who point it out (just to make privileged people squirm).

I think you’re missing the point that Harris-Perry was making.  She wasn’t saying she was upset to see JHud in the film.  She was upset to see JHud being given such a shitty part in the film.  She was sad to see that instead of finally including an interesting character of color (now that the franchise is a decade and a half old) or an interesting heavy character or an interesting lesbian character they gave her a cliché stock character.

And I don’t think Harris-Perry is under the impression that the lack of interesting roles for people of color is more important than the lack of interesting roles for heavier people or trans people or women.  I think she’s probably just as annoyed as I was that every single joke the brilliant Melissa McCarthy was allowed to make in the Bridesmaids movie everyone raved about is about her being overweight.

This example about Sex and the City is just that.  An example.  Because this shit happens all the time.  To anyone who isn’t a white guy.

I think you, me and Harris-Perry can all agree that we’d rather focus on uniting people rather than finding ways to divide them through race or any other element.  But if your idea of uniting people is to cast a film entirely of able-bodied, straight, white, cisgendered people who love each other, then I don’t see how you’re going to do that.

And as for Sex and the City being purely fantasy.  Sure.  It is fantasy.  A fantasy that anyone could afford those clothes without a legit theatrical budget.  Fantasy that anyone could walk in those shoes.  Fantasy that anyone would magically have a hot, hung, perpetually horny doorman handed to them on a silver platter.  The whole thing is fantasy.  But if I’m a closeted, bullied trans kid watching that movie then it’s not fantasy for me.  It’s proof that even in my wildest dreams I can’t have that.  Even in wild fantasy that beautiful woman could never be me.

The best way to dehumanize someone while claiming you’re not is to believe you are just the same. You erase their experiences and perspective, their struggles and obstacles, their unique way of having to deal with those things in a world that also erases them. With the words, ‘but humans are humans’ or the bullshit dramatics of ‘we all bleed red’ normal people can simply pretend that if we all did things the way they did, then everything would work out okay.
Basically I can’t understand how anyone could understand the Bechdel test (and be upset by the abounding failure at it) and not also be equally upset by this.  It’s just a different facet of the same Kyriarchy.

Kyriarchy, Sisterhood

Is Caitlin Moran A Bad Feminist?

I just read this quote and while I completely agree with it

A racist woman is not a feminist; she doesn’t care about helping women, just the women who look like her and can buy the same things she can. A transphobic woman is not a feminist; she is overly concerned with policing the bodies and expressions of others. A woman against reproductive rights — to use bell hook’s own example, and an issue close to your heart — is not a feminist; she prioritizes her dogma or her disgust over the bodies of others. An ableist woman is not a feminist; she holds some Platonic ideal of what a physically or mentally “whole” person should be and tries to force the world to fit inside it.

– An Open Letter to Caitlin Moran by Nyux (via redefiningbodyimage) [x]

I had the following thought.

The quote is out of context for me but I’m assuming that Nyux is someone who got excited about Moran’s book and then was disappointed when Moran’s perspective was skewed by white/cis/able/etc privileges she didn’t always recognize.

And this is a very valid argument.  Like I said, I wholeheartedly agree that a person can’t really be against one form of oppression without acknowledging that it’s no better or worse than any other.  However:

Just because writers write does not mean we have all the right answers.  Just because feminists are feminists (or humanists or whatever we identify as), doesn’t mean we’ve taken stock of all our privileges.  Recognizing all your privileges is a life-long journey.  And I don’t want to wait until I’m on my death bed to start writing.

I know that while I am a woman I enjoy the privileges that come with being white and able-bodied and middle-class and cisgendered and thin and surely dozens of other things which I take for granted on a daily basis.  I write because I want to learn.  I want to stop taking those privileges for granted and writing my thoughts helps me do that.  I’m not perfect.  Moran isn’t perfect.  We have privileges which make it easy for us to say stupid ignorant things.  I’m sorry.  Please point them out to me when I’m wrong but also please stand next to me when I’m right.  I’d rather be corrected than written off as a bad feminist.

When I started doing my solo show one of my good friends, Martha, said to me, she’s like, ‘Kamau, you can’t end racism and make sexism worse.’ And I was like, ‘What do you mean by that?’ And she went through my solo show and pointed out all the different parts of it that she felt were sexist. And that’s a good friend, a friend who will tell you that in a way that you can hear. And that was a real revelation for me is that you can’t sort of pick your issue over other people’s issue — that if you want to end the ignorance of something, you have to end all the ignorances or at least not make some of the ignorances worse.

– W. Kamau Bell on being called out on prejudices he didn’t realize he had [x]