I’m on a high from a meeting of rad ladies/queers tonight, so I felt it was important to share my own personal notes/observations.
-We are tired of people blaming the specter of identity politics that haunts “the insurrection.” Dismissing “identity politics” is a way to cop out of any responsibility for upholding structures of power that you benefit from. Like white supremacy and hetero-patriarchy. Why not approach these the same way you approach capitalism?
-To say that race, gender and sexuality are simply constructs of capitalism IS TOTALLY IGNORANT of the reality that we cannot ignore what we are hailed as in society, and that these positions affect our very ability to function. We understand these structures of power are partially facilitated by capitalism, but some of them preceded capitalism itself, ie patriarchy. If ya don’t know that, then you need to go read a fucking book (Silvia Federici’s Caliban and the Witch is one suggestion).
-To say that race, gender and sexuality detract from class struggle is a grave misunderstanding of class. (As in, some of us belong to our respective class as a result of our race/gender/sexuality. Check it.)
-Before OWS, too many of us have only been given access to “the scene” by way of sexual relations with cismale members. This is a highly common phenomenon that didn’t really end in the ’60s, and it makes us feel as shitty as the women of SDS who were summoned to bend over and make sandwiches.
-We also feel the burden of adhering to white cismale-set standards of what constitutes radical actions. When people advocate for a “diversity of tactics,” it means that people need to respect what work others are able and willing to contribute, in any form. Smashing property is cool and symbolic and whatever, but supporting one another is legit (emotional) labor, and because female-identified folks are most often called upon to deliver such labor, we often feel de-legitimized for it on the basis of gender. People who also cannot afford to risk arrest feel de-legitimized as “lazy” anti-authoritarians. Being able to risk arrest is a privilege.
-Why is it that vulnerability is such a bad thing in this millieu? The idea of the “strong, bad-ass, no-mercy-shown” feminist should not be antithetical to an expressive, emotional one. We feel that in stifling our emotional needs, we buy into the repressed masculinity that we know already harms many cismen. Being told to “suppress” our concerns by cismen does not divert from the status-quo. If I’m so “hysterical,” then what are you afraid of? My feelings? Deal with it.
-We find it aggravating that some not-men, especially newbies, read political credibility as conforming to the norms set by most cismen in the scene. Snap out of it. Don’t believe you have rights means don’t believe these fuckers are gonna grant you respect in exchange for emulating them.
-We’ve tried meeting cismen on their level many times. We been there, done that and we still can’t get no satisfaction. But we do still get shouted down by them on occasion! (And we also exclude other not-men in the process of meeting their standards.)
-We often get frustrated and feel forced into having to convince anarchist cismen that race and gender are relevant. The problem is, we shouldn’t HAVE to convince them; it should be inherent in class analysis.
-Another problem is that anarchist dudes loooove bad-ass babes who call people out, until that analysis is turned on them.
-Another problem is, that when discussing gendered oppression, cismen often feel angry or hurt that their needs are not centered in the discussion. But the problem is, that they have BEEN the focal point for thousands of years— all the Western philosophy they love so much centers a white male identity as a point of departure for their theories. Like Plato, Nietzsche, Marx, Hegel, and Rousseau, to name a few. (This problem is also common among feminists with white privilege.) IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU, so cool your fucking jets and stop perpetuating the status-quo by requiring that I accommodate your needs already. We’ve accommodated you enough.
-“Men get raped too” is not a sufficient argument against feminism. When not-men make up the majority of those who are raped/at risk for rape, that points to a larger systemic inequality. And of men who are raped, they are most likely vulnerable populations (ie queer men, the incarcerated, children). Yes, rape is about power, but when power runs in favor of rich white men, the rest of us are fucked, son.
-I wish a broken heart or a call-out was the worst thing I’ve ever suffered from a man. Truly. But in this scene, systemic violence just ain’t enough to make a convincing tearjerker for some cisdudes. They think girls are just plain mean and that’s reverse-sexism :’(
-That said, the battle is not just simply about challenging structure, structure, structure. Think about how YOU bring in fucked-up structural power dynamics into your culture/friendships/intimate relationships. And know when to kill it.
-Challenging structural oppression as it manifests in your intimate relationships IS NOT JUST PERSONAL, but political. Carol Hanisch said “the personal is political” for a reason. Because time and time again the same coercion we experience in “cleaning/shutting ourselves up” for the public is the same coercion we experience in the private realm, like in our friendships or in the bedroom.
-Is celibacy really an effective method of gender-strike? We like sex too much, we feel it’s bad enough being told we only have to enjoy it on cismens’ terms. (And for queers, hetero/cis terms.)
-Sexy sex— can it be sexy without the master-slave dialectic? We didn’t go into it too much but in the present this power dynamic is hard to escape. Some people even get off on that power dynamic, and that’s cool as long as it’s consensual. More to ~come~ later.
This is what a feminist intervention looks like
At the New School occupation.
Related: What up, LA? How is the most violent police force in the country not getting airtime?
OMG THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER EVER EVER. EVER.
"i guess sometimes it is just sad when the people who are trying to tell you that you are not alone…"
Felice Schragenheim & Lilly Wust
[image description: a series of three black-and-white photos of two people, presumably Aimee and Jaguar. In the first they are wearing old-fashioned one piece bathing suits, one with her arm around the other, and both smiling and looking into each other’s eyes. The next two have them in the same outfits, but they are kissing, one with her arms around the other. End description.]
They fell in love at the worst possible time: World War Two. Lilly was a 29 year old German, and a married mother of four boys. Felice was a 20 year old Jewish Resistance fighter & had so far managed to evade the Nazis. They had two happy years together before the Nazis finally caught up with Felice & had her arrested. She died aged 22 on 31 December 1944 whilst on a march from Gross-Rosen camp to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Lilly never forgot her & went on loving her until her own death in 2006.
Their love was dramatised in the 1999 movie Aimee & Jaguar.
[image description: a screencap from the movie Aimee and Jaguar. Two people, presumably Aimee and Jaguar, are lying down together. The blonde woman is behind the dark-haired woman with her head on the other’s shoulder. The blonde woman is looking at the dark-haired woman, who is staring ahead. End description.]
IT’S JUST SO SAD.
It really is. I think I will watch it tonight.
A student piece by Natasha Mendonca, who was awarded the Sarah Jacobson Film Grant in 2009.
Here’s her bio from her website:
Natasha Mendonca is a visual artist and filmmaker from Bombay, India. She holds a B.A from St. Xavier’s College, Bombay in Sociology and Anthropology and a Masters in Film and Video from the California Institute of the Arts.
In 2003, she overcame India’s tough censorship laws around homosexuality and co-founded Larzish, the nation’s first international film and video film festival on sexuality and gender based in Bombay, India. Larzish’s success opened the floodgates for other Indian cities to hold their own queer film festivals. Since then she has also programmed for other festivals including the Berlin Lesbian Film festival and Queer Zagreb, Croatia. She was a jury member of the Teddy Jury, Berlin International Film Festival in 2004.
Her recent work Jan Villa won the Tiger award at The International Film Festival Rotterdam 2011, the Ken Burns award for best film at the Ann Arbor Film Festival 2011 and an award at the International Contemporary Art Festival, SESC_VideoBrazil 2011.
She is currently developing her first feature film, Ajeeb Aashiq // Strange Love about a transgender sex worker, Rani who meets a gender ambiguous rickshaw driver, Amal, on a muggy night in Bombay. The intimate space of the rickshaw paints a portrait of a city hanging in the balance, skewed by poverty and a class divide, uniting both characters in their pursuit of a new utopia.
Ajeeb Aashiq was awarded the Hubert Bals Fund 2011 and was selected to be part of Open Doors at the Locarno International Film Festival 2011.
- I was thinking about “work life balance” last night and realized that one problem I have with this is I hate my job and my life. (It’s a good job! With great people! Just — many issues for me surrounding it)