then again, maybe not
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January 26, 2006

while I wasn't paying attention

Craziness all over. That Bitch (swoon) is in the middle of quite a big to do over at Alas and Pandagon.

I was trying to wade through all of it this morning, but honestly, it exhausted me. What's going on? Can't we all just get along? Not in the "be nice girls" sense of it, but in the respectful disagreement and open conversation sense of it.

Now, I understand that the internt is a strange medium for debate. Talking to people you don't know and can't see certainly lends itself to a harsher tone and freer words.

I'm as judgemental and pig-headed as the next person. My first instinct is to think people who disagree with me are morons. But, that's just the first one. After that I let what they actually say help me decide if they're a moron.

I know I keep yammering about this, but I think there's room for all of us. Susie Bright and Andrea Dworkin. If I may quote myself (shameful):

What I don't understand is this. Smart women on both sides of this debate are
treating each other like they're stupid. But they're not. I know Ariel Levy
isn't trying to shove me back into the kitchen and steal my shoes. But she needs
to understand that I'm not trying to reduce myself to a walking vagina either.


The great thing about feminism, overall, is that it means women deciding for ourselves who we are and what we want. Not just letting history and the social structures around us define us. That is so amazing. And it's hard. It's really, really hard figure out how to make the lives of half the population of the world better. Hell, it's hard to figure out how to make the life of one woman better. But that's what we're trying to do. So there's room for all of us. That's the only way this works. But we really need to stop screaming "bad feminist" at everyone who disagrees. Christina Hoff Summers is not anti-feminist. Katherine MacKinnon is not a bad feminist. Susan Faludi is not a bad feminist. Susie Bright is not a bad feminist. Their feminismS are just different. And I think we need all of them to get the job done.

Over at Alas, one commenter said:

I always thought that feminism was supposed to be about learning how to
understand society so you could then analyse your actions and desires,
understand why you want certain things and not others, and then, to the best of
your ability, do the thing that you honestly believe is RIGHT…whether or not you
necessarily "want" to.


Whew, that's a tough one. Any maybe that's the problem. We haven't even agreed what feminism is. Sure, we have a bunch of things we call feminist issues. But that doesn't really provide a good mission statement. There was a lot of conversation a few months back about different kind of feminists (tired to find a link, can't right now). What's that one slogan? "Feminism is the radical idea that women are people too." I'm a fan of that, but I think it reveals the problem. People are complicated, and what we "honestly believe is RIGHT" is going to vary. So who decides?




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