Paradox on the Liberation’s Front

Forget the hooks, the bait… hell, forget the corny fishing metaphor… I’ll be blunt and go ahead and admit, all fancy lead-ins and intros aside, that I’m here to woe and bitch about the paradoxical nature of today’s feminist movement via modernity’s social media phenomenon. And who better? I am that very paradox itself! I myself represent the main problem I personally have with the online feminist community- the tactics of ignorance-shaming and finger-wagging in order to correct other sisters’ yet misogyny-tinctured rebel cries that still harm “the cause” in as many ways as they may help. Allow me to demonstrate with an example of me getting my own feathers ruffled at a fellow already ruffle-y chick:

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I found this image captioned by a reposter: “Modern foot-binding- NO”

And I agree. I’m glad someone else said finally said it simply. NO- heels are not modern foot binding, and everyone deserves respect, including women, regardless if they wear heels or boots or sneakers or whatever! It goes along with the Slut Walk principals. Also, people tend to think feminists declare heels to be foot trappings of the patriarchy or some crazy talk, which I find an offensive accusation. But of course, when I want to share my own feelings and elaborate, it comes out all wrong.

This recent article in the Guardian by Hadley Freeman, a response to a Letter to the Editor inquiry “Is it ‘unfeminist’ to wear high heels?” is a well, pleasantly explained, and obvious, no.

When I decided to share the X-Rayed high-heeled foot, I found myself having typed:

well everyONE deserves respect… so why not a girl in heels? Why would another woman find this SO offensive? And perhaps judge me, who would be an ally, in one second to be a poor ignorant slave to the patriarchy, a sad cog in the oppressive system, because I’m wearing heels? Really? Back asswards, really.

Damn. Why was I raving defensively, contrarily projecting an opposition rather than showing the support I initially felt so excitable about? And especially about what I would otherwise find to be another cute little meme thing? I think I may have felt like I had to try to keep up with the saucier feminist PSA announcements I actually don’t agree with.

Such as:

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I really think someone read way too far and deep into this pop song. I mean, the lyrics say it all- she kissed a girl. And she liked it. It’s as simple as that, really- she kissed a girl and liked it along with all the trappings that can come along with girl-kissing. Like the taste of cherry Chapstick. I really don’t see what’s so wrong with that in particular, considering some of the other things going on in pop music right now. I get the point being made, but hell, if you really want to read into the song deeper than need be, you could perhaps consider the fact that the song even briefly addresses adolescent curiosity and confusion in an upbeat and even encouraging manner that combats youth prejudices to a degree. But no, disenfranchised feminists and queers are lurking around every corner of the internet ready to bust out another’s harmlessly rose colored glasses. It’s the same with any other group that has hard feelings toward some other group- the members are ready to protect their advancements at the cost of feuding and fending off prospective allies for the slightest of idealogical incohesion. Look at our bipartisan government itself, for crying out loud. This is a human problem everywhere, and so it exists here in the online feminist community, too. What am I to do? I fight back and become not only the angry feminist bitch portrayed in our society since the 1960s but also the traitor to the cause with the overly privileged circumstance of having been born with my own vagina? The online feminist community really can feel that brutal a dichotomy within certain threads. I have no idea what it’s like to be a shy, lanky gay high school teen, because it’s not in my personal experience, but damn if I’m not feeling very apprehensive to express myself and be who I am around people I thought would or even could be my friends in some way, and I’ve often read young, bullied, gay teens describe their own experiences in very similar ways. But then I’m told I have no references. Check my privilege.

notreallybisexual

I could go on moping about feeling alienated from the LGBT community, but being historically more on the hetero side of the “B” therein, I am ever at risk of being told to “check my privilege” as I’ve seen being passed out like parking tickets on threads everywhere. And I can’t stand that I’ve felt driven to defend a damned Katy Perry song.

It’s a good thing I discovered Social Justice Sally…

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…so that I can just resort to others’ saucy memes to report my own positions without the guilt of having typed out my own poisonous cynicism. If only I had a better sense of humor when it could really come in handy.

I’ve had fleeting considerations that maybe I should opt out of identifying as feminist outside of the material world. Here in the cyber-ether my Gay Day parades and SlutWalk speeches mean absolutely nothing to  a rightfully pissed stranger on their own mission towards a similar but different self liberation. Like I said in the first place… I’ve been caught up in the game. I played it solitaire style just now- didn’t you see? – with the call and response, back in forth examples glowing above in shoddily shopped pictures. I’m not here as much to blame, but explain, if not also confess sins.

Screen shot 2013-03-27 at 4.37.22 PM

And whereas our beloved Feminist Corgi tells me it’s just fine to keep my feminist flag to myself online, the sentiment comes with a friendly little stipulative explanation:

A decent feminist understands when other choose to not identify as a feminist” – this is in reference to people that have been erased and continue to be erased by the movement. we [feminists] need to understand why some people choose to not call themselves feminists- because it still caters to white, middle class, able bodied ciswomen -AND WE NEED TO RESPECT THEIR WISHES.” #feminism#equality#criticalfeministcorgi

Well… I’m only lower middle class, so I suppose it’s not so respectable for me to “opt out”. I suppose it would be disgraceful, perhaps insulting even to my own beliefs, to ever hide let alone deny the feminist ideas I’m told have been tailored just for my kind. Besides, I shouldn’t even consider redefining my own nor continuing the sectionalization of a movement I do believe in… as Feminist Corgi, a cute furry face any online user can speak behind, demonstrates:

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And all sarcasm aside, I certainly agree with the statements pasted upon our canine friend, but these explanations and attitudes with which these ideas are passed around can be disheartening. However, my heart’s still in feminism, and I can’t let myself believe I’m not good enough to have my own beliefs just because someone else made a convoluted announcement of their own clauses on those same beliefs. Likewise, I mustn’t continue keeping myself from elaborating my beliefs in the fear that some one else, too may be irked. But we certainly can all address each other a bit more civilly and certainly much less pretentiously. Hey, I’m down to be nice to my sisters, because, as another popular saying in feminism goes, when you’re dissin’ the sisters, you ain’t fightin’ the man. But others see it as their right to express themselves as they want, even at the pissiest of levels, because politeness is another level of patriarchal control somehow?? …. insert heavy sigh please… And so it goes, round and round.

I certainly don’t look forward to similar resulting comment threads as happened here:

meangirlsclub

Fortunately, I’m not that popular. Also, I actively restrain myself as much as possible from playing into the game I’ve spent this entire blog post explaining and exemplifying, at least to a greater degree of restraint than the author of the “Mean Girls” article who resorts to the exact labeling (and all-out name-calling) about which she dissentingly writes. (That was a critique, not a personal character judgement, by the way.) While I agree with the overall grievances within the article recently released by New Statesman, I disagree with some of the details and nuances of some specific points. I share the screen cap from the Facebook share by Guerilla Feminism and the link to the article not to make comparisons or to pick out those aforementioned differences of exact opinion, but  rather just to show that whether or not her point was actually well-made, it is yet readily (and ironically) supported through active example, if one can read the comments in the picture above. I would even perhaps be less inclined to actually agree with other details of other points within the “Mean Girls” article if their proof weren’t readily laid out so simply, clearly, in these often sarcastic and nit-picky passive-agressive comments.

Also, I feel I must disclose that this post hasn’t been a lead-up to a response to or comment about the aforementioned article by Sadie Smith released last week and being shared and debated widely enough already. It merely compelled me to share these thoughts- the rest of which have been just sitting, composed as they are, for several weeks now. Compelled by coincidence, perhaps I will not as often hesitate that cursed little glove about the “Publish” button because of the unpopular opinions herein. Besides, I’m not that popular, I must remember, and so I may enjoy more freedom with less scrutiny. For now at least, let that be considered my greatest privilege here in the online world- please, for the love of corgis everywhere!

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2 thoughts on “Paradox on the Liberation’s Front

  1. I think you have to resort to the same defense tactics advised in highschool in response to the childish antics of allies wasting their time fighting each other. Just carry on about your business, ignore them, and don’t worry about what other people think. Just as we must come to terms with things in a certain way to fight the injustices we were originally faced with that led to the beginning of movements like feminism, we must come to terms with how to deal with hatred within the community we’ve ascribed ourselves to. Some activists, such as myself, become so overwhelmed with anger and sadness over the state of things that we eventually stop -fighting- so to speak and instead try to focus our energies on every positive thing we can do to build the society we wish to have. You can spend every moment fighting against those who disagree and most of that time will be wasted on people who will never change their minds. Or you can spend that same amount of time building positive examples of how it can be, put out there for people to leave or to take, and I bet the change will be greater. The same goes with hatred amongst our feminist sisters, as you demonstrated in your example….the more you try to point it out, it somehow just keeps getting reinforced. So instead, just carry on being the happy, loving, accepting feminist (or not feminist) you wish everyone could be and don’t feed into the negativity. Be the change you wish to see. 🙂

  2. That is just the conclusion I always come back to! I guess I feel like I finally had to craft my own thoughts and reflections on the arguments that ensue in the struggle towards feminist intersectionality- to see them before me, out of me, so I don’t have to contend with them internally anymore. There’s a therapy to throwing a mess of opinionated recountances out to be spied by strangers… although I would have never quite left my adolescent diary on a park bench. 😛 And I suppose that’s just one reason why the internet is so flooded with “information”.

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