Saturday, July 09, 2005

Feminism is Not A Moral Position--The Remix

Sorry to have to come back to this, but I think it's one of the most important points I've ever made, and Red, over at the Redneck Feminist keeps proving to me over and over again how this is still something feminists don't get. The Ingredients: 1 rant in which I explain that feminism is not a moral position and that this argument that both feminists and anti-feminists love about women being more moral than men is bullshit. Most important point:

And this is the tougher work, to see each other, fully human, flaws and all, because it means rejecting the parts of "womanliness" that put us automatically above all men, that makes us more moral--that little refuge of the oppressed, saying "we're better than you, even though and because you've done us wrong." [emphasis added]

1 Funny Post in which Red holds an anti-feminist to the standards she proposes for all women.

1 Thought Provoking Post that ends in Red being chided for being immoral.

Some comments from this post that also end up circling around, again, people's discomfort with Red not being nice.

And, for a little variety, check out how often the comments on Amanda's posts at Pandagon take her to task for being so "angry."

What happens when you put them all together:

This is not a defense of Red. Red is a grown-ass person and doesn't need me or anyone else to defend her.

Instead, what I want to look at is this stuff:

"I just think [Red's post] is more insidious than funny."

"It's a little trite and I feel almost guilty for finding it funny."

"I think you were justified, Redneck, because you weren't doing the usual judging women by their looks thing."

"There's already enough mean spiritedness and shitiness in the world. Why add to it."

What the fuck is underlying comments like this except the notion that there's some "acceptable" standard of behavior for feminists? I read all this nonsense and it seems to me that the recurring thee is whether or not Red is acting "properly."

Feminists, WHAT THE FUCK?!?! We're really going to sit around and self-police our behavior to make sure that it's acceptable? How is that advancing the cause of equality, again?

Red can say whatever the fuck she wants and you can like it or not. She is under no obligation to advance anyone's cause, except her own, whatever that might be.

We, as feminists, are not inherently more moral than those dumbass anti-feminists. Such concepts of morality are just another means of making sure women behave themselves.

Ugh. I feel like I'm being disjointed, which is pissing me off, because this is so very important and I'm not doing it justice. Let's try again.

Feminism is about equality for women, not just equal access to jobs and school and health services, but also the ability be recognized as equally capable of being giant assholes and flaming fucktards and offensive jerks. If feminism is worth a damn, it's got to be because it insists on women being wholly human--good and bad.

Feminism is not a political movement. Someone can be a feminist without being a member of NOW or NARAL or the Democratic party. There are no meetings, no manifestos, no talking points. You just believe that women are wholly human and insist that we be treated as such.

Political movements, on the other hand, do have a set agenda of beliefs and people can be included and excluded from those movements based on whether their beliefs and behaviors match up to the larger expectations of the group.

Some feminists forget that feminism is not a political movement. They also forget that one way women have not been allowed to participate in the world as wholly human is by making their thoughts and behavior open to public scrutiny and public policing in ways that other humans aren't subjected to. And so, these feminists don't see how their public policing of women's behavior--in this case, Red's behavior--reinforces that notion that the whole community must come to a consensus on whether a woman's actions are appropriate before those actions are condoned.

Well, fellow feminists, let me ask you this: who the fuck are you to condone anything?

Red's behavior is up for public scrutiny because it's in a public space, fair enough. But this added level of scrutiny, as if there's some feminist club, with a code of conduct, and everyone must meet it or explain why they can't is bullshit.

We have real problems and yet so many of us are sitting around worried that we're not all being "nice" as if we have some extra special obligation to be nice. And that's what bugs me in all the discussion around this, that there's this unspoken assumption that feminists have an extra special obligation to be nice, because, I think that, underlying that assumption is the smug, unexamined belief that we're better than men and so our behavior should always reflect that.

Well, feminists, I call bullshit.

6 Comments:

Blogger Taketoshi said...

yeah, I think women suck too

oh wait, that's not what you were getting at.

is it?

hahaha so mean

7/09/2005 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger the Professor said...

I think the other interesting component in all this is that feminist are more likely to spend time criticizing other feminists for not doing good enough, for not doing it right, for not talking to or about the right people. And, that takes the tone of a moral position when really what it is is a fear of actually going after the real wrongdoers and just talking to each other instead. It takes lots more courage to explain to men what they are doing wrong and to demand that they stop mistreating us. It doesn't take nearly the same courage or pose the same threat to just talk in circles about what we should say to men and expect of men.

7/09/2005 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger Cindy St. Onge said...

"If feminism is worth a damn, it's got to be because it insists on women being wholly human--good and bad."

This quote shoule be engraved or embossed or tattooed or all of the above.

With all of our gains, women still are made to feel like we must ask for permission to be human, or to just be. The most serious impediment to advancing the idea that we are human? Women. We won't stop mothering each other--and not in the nurturing, coddling way boys are mothered, but in the strict, judgemental way girls are raised.
Can you imagine where we'd be if every woman on this planet actually believed we have a right to take up space in this world?

7/09/2005 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger Taketoshi said...

even though you hated Crash, Professor, you're still using lines from it! not that it wasn't a position you didn't already have, but it's funny to hear almost exactly the same words come from you.

7/09/2005 06:16:00 PM  
Blogger the Professor said...

that's exactly why I cried when he started beating Ludacris!! And, that's not why I hated Crash. I don't think I hated the movie; I just couldn't handle the experience of watching it. I just can't take that much hatred and violence.

7/09/2005 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger melusina said...

Great post Aunt B., I wholeheartedly agree.

7/10/2005 09:11:00 AM  

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