A freedom fighter in the comments section of “A Dandy’s Guide to Girl Watching.” Pointed there by Marisa, who wrote, “A lot of opportunities for real movement work happening in this comments section.”
I am going to say this “out loud,” if you don’t mind.
Actually, I am going to say this “out loud” even if you *do* mind, as that actually goes to my point.
There are some things, most especially in a *free* society in a *free* country, that some people will do that others do not like or want. They don’t have to like or want it - that is the nature of *freedom*. One of the things all might consider people do, in point of fact in less free countries as well, is look upon one another as they pass by on the streets, in the office, wherever. For those who throw around words like “humanity” - apparently meaning it in another sense entirely - know that “humanity” fully encompasses and indeed requires “sexuality” in order to work, which is to say in order to actually survive and remain “human.”
So. If we are in this instance going to narrow things down to men vs. women, then this: Not everything “men” do will be approved of by “women” (quotes because this need *not* be applied simply to a “men vs women” scenario, indeed fits in many places, once again, in a *free* country).
We do not *ask for* nor do we *need* your approval to look at you in public places. If someone is “leering” at you you may have cause, and of course that means the craziest of the bunch (are you a woman, damian orkla? - tho you need not be) may well call us out for the simple act of our eyes having crossed paths just because they *can* rather than because they have any right to do so, but otherwise who do you think you are kidding here? Men should not look at women? Maybe you think they should be as “human” as they must but shouldn’t talk about it with one another?
I do not need your approval to look at you if you are walking by me in the street. Full stop.
Maybe comment organizing is the new community organizing! One could visit streetharassment.org or the street harassment project or other various places on the google for educational purposes, if one wanted. One would be a man, since women kind of already know what street harassment is. USian women might benefit by noting it’s not a US-only prob, of course—here’s a blog post about it happening in Egypt. Gross.
“My life, which seems so simple and monotonous, is really a complicated affair of cafés where they like me and cafés where they don’t, streets that are friendly, streets that aren’t, rooms where I might be happy, rooms where I never shall be, looking-glasses I look nice in, looking-glasses I don’t, dresses that will be lucky, dresses that won’t, and so on.”
One of several amazing photos by Mary Ellen Mark from a story about the women’s movement in Life, 1969.
The caption reads, “Members of NOW picket the headquarters of New York mayoralty candidates before recent election for not taking a stand on women’s rights. They urged female volunteers to stop licking stamps and boots.”
The entire piece, “An Oppressed Majority Demands Its Rights,” is on Ms. Mark’s site and it is amazing. Written by Sara Davidson (her bio says she “combines a career in journalism with marriage.”), it covers NOW, the splinter groups WITCH and The Feminists, Redstockings, consciousness raising groups, communes, single parenting, anti-marriage protests and of course the key issue: men.
Jane feels women’s liberation is not anti-male.”Because you believe women are human beings, not objects, doesn’t mean you don’t like men.”
Glad that’s settled! The piece doesn’t address any race or class issues, of course—it merely documents the efforts of these middle class white women. But I want to celebrate the hopefulness and energy of these women even as we work to acknowledge where they went wrong and to stop doing wrong ourselves.
“As a queer, femme, sometimes female trans* person, as a disabled person, as a mentally ill person, as a poor person, I can state with utter certainty that feminism as a movement has done fucking nothing to help me. Has in fact harmed me directly and personally. I have seen how feminism treats women like me and non-white women and various women whose lives do not fit a very narrow definition of woman and oppression. Non-white women are expected to be grateful — and to display appropriate gratitude — for a movement that failed to consider their lives and experiences and needs and did nothing much for them. Trans* feminine folk are ejected from women’s spaces because we make real women uncomfortable; trans* masculine folk are welcomed into those spaces because their genders aren’t considered real either and there’s a wildly objectivising fetishism of their identities and bodies in certain circles. Sex workers and illegal substance users are, ah, strongly discouraged from participating in feminist events (You can support us from over there. In the dark. Where no one can see you. Where there will be no expectation of reciprocal support.). Disabled people find community meetings and events inaccessible and are shamed for not participating as currently non-disabled folk do — going to meetings and street protests is real activism; writing blogs and being present on-line is not. We have very different needs. We tend to need things rather low on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: food, water, shelter, security of body and family and health. The fraction of women in the population of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies is of very low importance to me. I need help to stay alive — as does everyone else I’m just more obvious about it — and the feminist movement isn’t going to get me that. The disability rights movement is and a good portion of feminism doesn’t give a shit about disability rights. Nice words maybe but not to the point of, y’know, doing shit. We’re still bitter about the disability tent at the Beijing women’s conference being inaccessible. So yeah. If y’all still haven’t worked out the connections here, we say “fuck feminism” because feminism has been saying “fuck you” to us for a long, long time. You want to flounce? Flounce. Take your wounded privilege and good riddance.”
I’ve been reading a lot of critiques of feminism. This one is from a thread on feministe that is necessary.