I clocked 72 hours last week, and they were real hours, none of this namby-pamby half-working half-blogging crap in which I am sometimes able to indulge. In one way, it was nice, because I was worried about having grown soft on a steady diet of simple tasks and 40-hour weeks and now I am reassured that I can still maintain focus for thinking and research and writing. In all other ways, it sucked.

One of the things I wanted to write about last week was Andrea Dworkin’s death, the discussion hos Hugo where a few men’s rights folk argued that we ought to have kicked her out of the feminist tent, and Dr. Bitch’s call to describe our feminisms. These were originally separate things (you can still see the seams) but time has smooshed them into a single meandering exercise in ideological boundarymaking.

People describing their definitions of feminism eventually start to sound like Paul writing to the Corinthians:

Feminism is patient and kind. Feminism is not jealous or boastful, it is not extremist or angry (unless anger is called for). Feminism does not insist that all women live in one way; it is not intolerant or resentful; it does not rejoice at inequality, but rejoices in equality. Feminism bears all arguments, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, is all things.

Balderdash. Feminism is not the all-consuming Devourer of Ideologies, there’s no need to frame it as something which determines one’s every thought and attitude. There are just two pieces of dogma in my feminist tent:

  1. Society deals with gender in a way that, on balance, harms women.
  2. This is a problem that must be corrected.

You’ll notice that they have nothing to do with: men, race, class, liberty, religion, teleology, biology, consumerism, violence, sex, or shoes. This is deliberate. Obviously these things interact with feminism; obviously I have opinions about them; but I try to keep dogma to a minimum. Those two statements are my feminist core: I’m not willing to argue about the truth of them, and anyone who rejects either half of the credo gets army-booted the fuck out of the hairy-legged conclave.

Feminists can be (and some have been and are) racist, classist, oppressive, bilious, homophobic, misandrist, even flat-out sexist. You’d think that fighting against one form of oppression would lead one to recognize others, but for some people it just doesn’t work out that way.

Feminists can get distracted in the middle of their posts and publish them half-written because they forgot what they were going to say next.

Trackbacks & Pings

  1. FAQ: What is feminism? « Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog on 25 Aug 2007 at 9:05 pm

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  1. R Mutt wrote:

    The Guardian published Dworkin’s last essay at the weekend.
    Not directly about feminism though: just a sad but witty account of her illness.

  2. yami wrote:

    Yes – I think most of what she wrote falls under “sad but witty”.

  3. Harrison wrote:

    Glad you survived the deathmarch week, and good to see you back.

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