This is a Tumblr Cloud I generated from my past 90 days of blog posts containing my top 35 used words.
- Brooklyn 11211
Charm City Art Space advertises itself as socially conscientious. Today, it issued a draft statement with the goal of ending debate over claims of sexual misconduct on the part of one of its members. Five women accused one guy of sexually harassing them in separate incidents, including one woman who accused him of having sex with her against her will. Unfortunately for the women, members publicly vetted the question of what happened to them for over six months with several members essentially calling the women liars. As a result, friends of the victims and the victims left the space. The remaining members agreed that, in essence, nothing should happen to the guy. A few people did talk to him about boundary issues.
I don’t feel comfortable calling Charm City Art Space a “safe space.” I am concerned that if one of its popular members sexually assaulted me, that I would be more stigmatized for bringing it up than he would be for violating me. Plus, I don’t want to be a double victim - once as an individual being sexually harassed and then again as a person being alienated by those who fail to listen or, even worse, try to discredit me for refusing to silently be abused.
The above from Ghost Finger. This whole thing makes me sick. It’s notable that on the Charm City Flickr there is not one photo of a woman playing on stage—the only woman pictured at all is someone with an anniversary cake. Their booking page lists sixteen promoters—only two are women.
You’ve got a long way to go, baby.
Why Misogynists Make Great Informants: How Gender Violence on the Left Enables State Violence in Radical Movements
Reflecting on the radical organizations and social movements of the 1960s and 1970s provides an important historical context for this discussion. Memoirs by women who were actively involved in these struggles reveal the pervasiveness of tolerance (and in some cases advocacy) of gender violence. Angela Davis, Assata Shakur, and Elaine Brown, each at different points in their experiences organizing with the Black Panther Party (BPP), cited sexism and the exploitation of women (and their organizing labor) in the BPP as one of their primary reasons for either leaving the group (in the cases of Brown and Shakur) or refusing to ever formally join (in Davis’s case). Although women were often expected to make significant personal sacrifices to support the movement, when women found themselves victimized by male comrades there was no support for them or channels to seek redress. Whether it was BPP organizers ignoring the fact that Eldridge Cleaver beat his wife, noted activist Kathleen Cleaver, men coercing women into sex, or just men treating women organizers as subordinated sexual playthings, the BPP and similar organizations tended not to take seriously the corrosive effects of gender violence on liberation struggle. In many ways, Elaine Brown’s autobiography, A Taste of Power: A Black Woman’s Story, has gone the furthest in laying bare the ugly realities of misogyny in the movement and the various ways in which both men and women reproduced and reinforced male privilege and gender violence in these organizations. Her experience as the only woman to ever lead the BPP did not exempt her from the brutal misogyny of the organization. She recounts being assaulted by various male comrades (including Huey Newton) as well as being beaten and terrorized by Eldridge Cleaver, who threatened to “bury her in Algeria” during a delegation to China. Her biography demonstrates more explicitly than either Davis’s or Shakur’s how the masculinist posturing of the BPP (and by extension many radical organizations at the time) created a culture of violence and misogyny that ultimately proved to be the organization’s undoing.
These narratives demystify the legacy of gender violence of the very organizations that many of us look up to. They demonstrate how misogyny was normalized in these spaces, dismissed as “personal” or not as important as the more serious struggles against racism or class inequality. Gender violence has historically been deeply entrenched in the political practices of the Left and constituted one of the greatest (if largely unacknowledged) threats to the survival of these organizations. However, if we pay attention to the work of Davis, Shakur, Brown, and others, we can avoid the mistakes of the past and create different kinds of political community.
There are more examples—Betty Friedan was an abused woman, something that was either ignored or concealed by her fellow feminists at the time; Mark Rudd, leader of SDS and a later member of the Weather Underground, was known to be, at the very least, a sexual opportunist who used his position in the movement to extract sexual favors from women—until he was called out in Ms. by Jane Alpert. (BTW, why don’t we do more of that?? Seriously, Taylor Swift writing songs about Joe Jonas can’t be the Alpert legacy. Of course, I realize that there are many many reasons women don’t report assaults and abuse, but once something is fairly well known within a community, there should be more shouting than whispering.)
I’m not trying to shift discussion away from the examples cited in the Morris piece but since hers are all PoC, I figured it would be good to point out our fine white misogynists as well. Plus I am obsessed with Mark Rudd. (Morris does talk about white men assaulting women in the context of of social justice work in other parts of the essay—and points out how their privilege makes it even easier for them to get away with it.)
Contemporary progressive politics have been known to turn a blind eye when it comes to gender violence as well—a punk collective in the DC area recently decided to ignore the complaints of several women who had been sexually assaulted by the same guy, and to keep him as a member in good standing.
The only issue I have with Morris’ piece is the emphasis on how these misogynists might be informants. Isn’t it enough that they’re misogynists?
If you read much about culture, especially music, you will see a lot of this type of thing — where’s the underground? what is avant-garde? what’s really bohemian now? what’s the real counterculture? where is the DIY insurgency? where’s the radical new youth movement that will make us obsolete? where is the new thing that will carry the new flag against the new establishment? what’s subversive now? what’s cutting-edge? is punk dead? is hip-hop?
For instance: anyone saying the notion of an underground is “over” is generally seen as delivering some kind of bad news, right?
So let’s just note that this is the mental map lots of people seem to carry around and use to figure out where they’re standing, culture-wise. There’s a big gray row of buildings representing the establishment, and then there’s some district of basements, warehouses, lofts, and garages where the vibrant and challenging and revolutionary thing is.
Go read the rest here
"‘Christine died of a broken heart,’ Diana says. ‘She wasn’t confused about whether she was meant to…"
The emphasis on being accepted by other women is important, I think. I was reading the transcript of an interview with a trans woman at work and she repeatedly noted that the most important thing to her were her straight, cis-gendered, female friends. I could speculate why that is but I think it would be disrespectful—however, if anyone would like to respond or comment, that would be very welcome. This will go from Tumble to my regular blog within the house, and that has commenting function.
It does reinforce, to me, why transphobia in feminism might be particularly hurtful to transwomen, and how important it is for us to be better allies to trans folks in general. I don’t want to read any more stories like this, so sad.
I see feminists who don’t think trans women are real women and use the wrong pronouns all the time. I see someone totally disregarding the feelings of pwd by constantly saying things like crazy . When they get called out on it all the other feminists hold their hand and try to convince they are good people but they ignore the feelings of pwd. The same argument over hijabs happen without any input from Muslim women.
Feminist isn’t about empowering already privileged women. But that is what it seems like. Actions speak louder than words, being a feminist doesn’t mean you get a pass when saying something oppressive. Part of being a feminist actually means owning up to your mistakes, apologizing and never doing it again. It also means actually trying to learn about other oppressions.
Basically what I’m saying is, feminism isn’t Reganomics. Trying to focus on white cisgender middle to upper class heterosexual women won’t trickle down to marginalized groups. Looking at it from the outside I can understand why someone wouldn’t call themselves a feminist because why would anyone want to be included in a group where they actively try to deny your existence?
You can have feminist values without actually calling yourself a feminist.
So yeah there goes my rant.
It’s frustrating when a movement that I see as trying to end inequalities often perpetuates other ones.
I still call myself a feminist, because I do believe in feminism at it’s core (and I think these values fit in perfectly with being against racism, transphobia, ableism, etc.) I think that feminism is about ending oppression in regards to gender, but to be successful you need to end others as well. —femonster:
I’m happy, in love with life and even more in love with plaid!