Stuff for Sale and the Intertwixtion of All Oppressions
Given my unemployment and the fact that the real moving frenzy hasn’t started yet, I haven’t been posting much. Since I don’t have quite enough crap to support a proper yard sale, I’ve been devoting my creative energies to describing it all on craigslist.
Also, loyal readers from the feminist side of blogland may have noticed the very teapotty tempest ongoing about the Daily Kos and blah blah blah sexist advertising. I’m shocked – shocked! – that people who call themselves liberals could be so eager to distance themselves from feminist arguments. I mean, no, wait, what the hell did you expect? That people would magically acknowledge the legitimacy of an argument that attacks the ethics of their income stream, even as they disagree with it? Pfft.
In an effort to be less teapotty about this, people are using it as a launching pad for discussions of the place of feminism in liberal/progressive politics generally. Which is all well and good, but some arguments in those discussions make me cringe:
We need to reclaim the body. If we claim the body, then we are able to say categorically that torture, capital punishment, sexual repression, gender inequality, are not part of the progressive agenda.
Look, if we can’t credibly oppose torture without taking a hardline stance on bodily autonomy, we’re totally fucked.
I’m a little bit weirded out by what I see as a general tendency among feminist Democrats to attribute all the problems of the Democratic Party (or liberal/progressive politics generally) to a failure to adequately embrace (“frame”) a feminist viewpoint, and to use The Patriarchy™ as the superior paradigmatic systematic oppression. Yes, it’s funny to point out the machismo of conservative rhetoric, and it gives us another excuse to mock that picture of Bush showing off his package in a flight suit. But I’m wary of nodding and smiling when someone tells me that the particular sort of social problem most visible in my pasty-ass bourgeois life is the single magic key to progress.
A number of people have drawn an analogy to race, insisting that if the brouhaha had started over an ad that invoked stereotypes about black people, or Hispanics, or insert your favorite ethnic group here, it would have been taken more seriously. Which, um, I dunno. When was the last time you saw a cantankerous political community sit down and listen respectfully to an argument against Aunt Jemima? Perhaps I’m just cynical – I can’t even remember the last time I’ve encountered an argument about racial stereotypes in advertising that wasn’t using them to make a point about sexism – but it seems overoptimistic to assume that such a discussion would have a less dismissive tone.