Thursday, September 11, 2008

Things I Like on the Internet: The Bead Shop

Check out this post at The Bead Shop, which brings feminism into perspective better than anything I've read in the blogosphere lately.
It’s almost like feminism is some kind of oracle, and we’re frantically waiting for it to tell us more about ourselves. Are we good feminists? Should we wear lipstick? What kind of person are we? A bit like those tests in the teenage girl magazines we read growing up. This especially comes across in my second-favourite argument in feminist discussions, the ‘but my experience was different to what you describe, so that invalidates your whole point’. Yeah, but I wasn’t talking about you, dipshit. Sometimes it’s necessary to generalise in order to make a point, and statistics such as ‘99.9999999999999999999999%’, especially when surrounded by a lot of frustrated expletives and exclamation marks, are not meant to be exact. But anyway, back to the point - what’s so special about feminism that it has to be defended tooth and nail? It’s a tool for us to use, not a spiritual state, and not a wonderful deity that turns us into Pure Light. Feminism isn’t important for its own sake. It’s important because people are oppressed for being women, as well as for certain other things.
I can't agree more with this perspective and it reflects a realization I've been coming to time and again lately. My commitment to feminism isn't about Feminism The Movement or Feminism The Theory. My commitment to feminism begins and ends with an overall goal of recognizing injustice and striving to correct it.

It's true that I identify my politics primarily through my feminism, but I'm beginning to think that's more and more because feminism was the initial lens through which I began to think about social justice, and not necessarily because I think feminism is the most important tool through which I should be examining the world. I'm a feminist, but I'm many other things, and in fact it's sometimes difficult to even separate the feminist from the anti-racist and the anti-capitalist. After all, what would be the point of fragmenting the pursuit of social justice, whether in practice or in theory?


Gwen said...

Great blog - I came here through The Bead Shop, and I will be adding you to my blog roll.


Anonymous said...

This thought about Feminism, reminds me of something that Terry Eagleton once said about Marxism:

"No doubt, we shall soon see Marxist criticism as yet one more stimulating academic 'approach', one more well-tilled field of inquiry for students to tramp. Before this happens, it is worth reminding ourselves of a simple fact. Marxism is a theory of human societies and of the practice of transforming them; and what this means, rather more concretely, is that the narrative Marxism has to deliver is the story of the struggles of women and men to free themselves from certain forms of exploitation and oppression. There is nothing academic about those struggles, and we forget this at our cost."