August 31st, 2012
One of the earliest theoretical works associated with the contemporary feminist movement that dealt with the subject of rape and race was Shulamith Firestone’s “The Dialectic of Sex: The Case For Feminist Revolution.” Racism in general, so Firestone claims, is actually an extension of sexism. Invoking the biblical notion that “… the races are no more than the various parents and siblings of the Family of Man,” she develops a construct defining the white man as father, the white woman as wife and mother, and Black people as the children. Transposing Freud’s theory of the Oedipus Complex into racial terms, Firestone implies that Black men harbor an uncontrollable desire for sexual relations with white women. They want to kill the father and sleep with the mother. Moreover, in order to “be a man,” the Black man must
… untie himself from his bond with the white female,
relating to her if at all only in a degrading way. In
addition, due to his virulent hatred and jealousy of
her Possessor, the white man, he may lust after her as
a thing to be conquered in order to revenge himself on
the white man.25
Like Brownmiller, MacKellar and Russell, Firestone succumbs to the old racist sophistry of blaming the victim. Whether innocently or consciously, their pronouncements have facilitated the resurrection of the timeworn myth of the Black rapist. Their historical myopia further prevents them from comprehending that the portrayal of Black men as rapists reinforces racism’s open invitation to white men to avail themselves sexually of Black women’s bodies. The fictional image of the Black man as rapist has always strengthened its inseparable companion: the image of the Black woman as chronically promiscuous. For once the notion is accepted that Black men harbor irresistible and animal-like sexual urges, the entire race is invested with bestiality. If Black men have their eyes on white women as sexual objects, then Black women must certainly welcome the sexual attentions of white men. Viewed as “loose women” and whores, Black women’s cries of rape would necessarily lack legitimacy.
(From Women, Race, and Class)
June 6th, 2012
FUCK//KILL//DEVOUR: more on period blood and "feminism"
i mean part of why i’m so into menstruating/menstrual menacing/whatever, personally, isn’t so much the “you should love your body bc REAL WOMEN LOVE THEIR BODIES” shit, bc fuck all that shit. it’s more the “YEAH MENSTRUAL BLOOD FUCKIN’ IS GROSS, but also it’s amazing and not gross at all, but also let’s confront this horrible gross feeling in ourselves and terrorize men with feelings and/or blood”
though I gotta say I’ve been feeling kind of uncomfortable with the way that people (myself obviously included) have been menstruating on the internet lately? which is the most ridiculous thing I have ever said. bc like. MENSTRUATE (OR DON’T MENSTRUATE) HOWEVER THE FUCK YOU WANT TO. and like. i’m excited about making “bleed on everything they love” shirts! i’m excited about rgr’s group menstrual calendar! i genuinely care about whether my menstrual cycle is in phase with the moon! and when I started thinking about this and realizing that menstruating could be this AMAZING PERFECT FEMINIST TERROR body thing instead of this “inconvenient thing that I sort of like, but that I try not to think about too much, and that dudes are grossed out by” it was great. it was totally great and felt very affirming and nurturing and good. but.
is this a white lady thing? is this a cis lady thing? is this a gross horrible radscummy thing? should we all be side-eyeing the fuck out of this thing? like WHAT EVEN IS this thing that we are participating in, is my question? what exactly is happening when we are all like “i’m menstruating! i’m menstruating too! ~*internet menstruating bffs*~!”?
like maybe actually the thing that is happening is fine and good and necessary! but maybe it isn’t. and sometimes it does feel kind of bad/weird/wrong. and I don’t quite know where the bad/weird/wrong feeling is coming from - it could be coming from the usual gross misogynist place or it could be coming from somewhere different/better/more uncomfortable though.
but also it doesn’t really matter WHY we do a thing or what we MEANT by it? like i don’t really ever care about intention. I only wanna talk about things/being/doing. so basically my entire point is:
when non-white folks are like “HEY WHITE FEMINISTS THIS THING THAT YOU DO IS GROSS AND REALLY ALIENATING” that is a thing you (we) gotta take seriously and pay attention to
Mona, Rose, Jordan, Cassie, Katina, Alina, Gretchen, Sarah, and I—and, seriously, so many other womyn in our feminist circles—are super fucking into periods and do not identify as “white.” some of us identify as WOC, some of us remain in the liminal space of what I’ll refer to as “half-breed-dom,” some of us are Middle Eastern Americans, some of us are Mestizas, some of us are queer and gender-nonconforming, some of us are trans*, some of us are Two-Spirit.
while I agree that it is absolutely imperative to check our “passing” privilege and critically interrogate the ways in which we perform our feminisms, I also want to magnify the fact that menstrual menacers are not always solely white, cis radscum.
I wanna say more, but I really love yr post and think you’ve got shit covered. xo
This and the blood magic thread are some good work, friends.
I’m mostly in it for the puns and the tags.
April 10th, 2012
“..But when you say “relief,” there is no relief from racism. At the Modern Languages Association meeting in December there was a workshop on my work. A brilliant woman kept referring to my work as [Adrienne] Rich’s. Another woman talked about my work from This Bridge
and then talked of how happy she was to see the writing of Third World lesbian feminists in This Bridge
. One of the reasons she was so happy was because it, quote, “softened the blackness.” She said this in a room of 250 people, most of whom were women. I was sitting there thinking: “no, she can’t be saying this. I must be hallucinating.” But I wasn’t. What she was saying was that she’d always really been frightened by black anger, black women’s anger, and now she could think of racism not having to deal with blackness; she could think of racism as dealing with Chicana women, Latina women, right? “Soften the BLACKNESS’.” Now, do you want to talk about racism in the women’s movement?”
Audre Lorde (1982) ‘Audre Lorde: Lit From Within’ interviewed by Fran Moira and Lorraine Sorrel, Off Our Backs: A Women’s Newsjournal, p. 3. (via james-bliss)