You’re not supposed to say you’re a “victim” because most people hate victims and rush to align themselves with those they perceive as powerful: the victimizers. Then they imitate the bullying behavior of those victimizers. Then they blame victims, so that they don’t have to feel any guilt over what they’ve done, or any empathy with those less fortunate than themselves.
“Being a feminist for me didn’t come from reading academic theory. It also didn’t come from a hatred of men. It just came about from being a woman in this society and not understanding the way I was treated on a day to day basis; from the casual sexism of school playgrounds to being ignored in meetings as an adult, talked over, patronised and put down. It may sound simplistic, even trivial, but living in a world where women are constantly undermined and under-represented, makes those everyday ‘soft sexisms’ really hard to bear. Often too difficult to prove, often too vague to explain, often too complex to tackle, but always extremely difficult to bear.”
This is brilliant and so similar to my own story.
“Saying someone ‘chose’ prostitution is like saying someone chose to jump off a roof, but no one mentioned the building was on fire.”
– Jacqueline S. Homan
Another good quote from this article by Zane Kotker:
Those labelled subordinate… too often believe what the dominants say about them. Being subordinate means that you learn to study the smallest nuance of mood in the master. If you actually accept the master’s definition of yourself, you’ll worry constantly that you aren’t giving enough to others. Women will serve their husbands and then their children – and there is no more demanding, if only temporary, master than the being Freud called “His Majesty the Baby”. Yes, you will come to enjoy seeing children and others prosper and may not even resent the fact that your own needs and desires aren’t part of the daily thrust. Alas, splendidly serving people brings few rewards. As Miller points out: Dominants don’t develop the sensitivity of subordinates and people do not really know or care for their servants, even Super Mom. Or Super Worker, we might add. Of course, you may retain and even develop a sense of a better self but you do best to keep it hidden. You become Br’er Rabbit – you outwit the fox so cleverly that the fox he don’t even know it sometimes. Whence “feminine intuition”, Miller says: whence “feminine wiles”. They’re no gift, but the product of years a studyin’ Massa. How to please the King? How to make Pharaoh smile? Wait ’till after you serve him the blueberry tart, dear.
What was a feminist? I’d heard folk tales of them hiding in the woods ready to attack men but I was worried I might actually have been thinking about the witch from Hansel and Gretel and not an actual feminist. Couldn’t chance it though, what if feminists were extensions of witches? Did she secretly dislike me? Was I automatically bad because I was a man?
Mike Reynolds, “What I’ve Learned as the Husband of (Gasp!) A Feminist”
A rare moment when the Huffington Post gets it right.
People don’t want to hear about how women think and feel. They don’t want to picture women as people whom others might actually have to negotiate with. They want “equality” insofar as they want the erasure of all measurable signs of women’s oppression (because let’s face it, these get a bit embarrassing). They do not, however, want this to come at the expense of being allowed to see women as whatever they want them to be at any given moment. We just don’t have space to accommodate the humanity of women as well as that of men. Sisterhood might be powerful, equality might be a fun badge to wear, but casual, unacknowledged misogyny is a hell of a lot more practical.
If anyone were to ask me which, feminism or misogyny, would be the most practical choice, I’d answer in a heartbeat: misogyny, stupid. Of course it bloody is, and that would hold true whether the person asking was male or female. It’s a total no-brainer, especially if you’re female. This isn’t a criticism of most men and women; it’s just the truth. Being a feminist – believing that women matter and trying to persuade others of this fact – does not have the magic effect of suddenly making women matter. Indeed, you will find in the short term that pointing this out really pisses people off.
While doing research for another post on beauty, I ran across this old review, written by Karen Lehrman, of a book called Survival of the Prettiest by Nancy Ercoff. The cover features a headless female torso wearing a painful-looking corset.
Lehrman points out that Ercoff has won awards for her research on sex differences and the brain. Which doesn’t mean her book isn’t full of shit.
We are participants in a society that conditions male people to feel entitled to the bodies of female people. This is what we mean when we talk about “rape culture.” We are not referring to some generalised culture of entitlement; we are talking about a gendered phenomenon, rooted in a structure which positions female people beneath male people. This does not mean that other forms of rape do not occur – indeed, they can be said to occur as a replication of the same dynamic, diminishing other bodies by treating them “as if female,” that is, penetrable – but it does mean that we are not dealing with utter chaos. There is something tangible. It does not have to be this way. There is a cultural belief system that can be challenged, on behalf of all survivors, if only we dare to speak.
–Glosswitch, Do All Feminists Think Like Rapists?
I expected radical feminists to be hateful bigoted people. They are not. Almost every radical feminist I have met cares deeply and wants the world to be better for everyone, but first and foremost for women. They do not silence women from speaking our own experiences.
No longer am I a lone individual woman in a world whose rules do not make sense. I am learning ways to understand the world that offer explanations on a larger scale.
Kate Leigh, Leaving Liberal Feminism
My blog welcomes all women, whether they are feminists or not. But you all need to know that I oppose the demonization of radical feminists. Most of the people who call them “extremists,” “bigots” or denounce them as “hairy legged lesbians“, (as if there’s something wrong with being a lesbian or a mammal with body hair), have never read any radical feminist literature or listened to any speeches given by radical feminists. They have passively accepted the hateful attitude of society towards radical feminism. Society hates radical feminism because radical feminists believe that the social system is oppressive to women and needs to be changed from the ground up to create a society where no one has power over any other. That’s a scary thought to people who have it pretty good and don’t want to rock the boat. It’s a scary thought even to people who think the system is flawed, but that reform can change it enough to make it fair. And it’s a very scary thought to people who prefer to retreat into “individuality” where all their choices are “empowering” and immune to any critical analysis. Critical analysis of how we got here and what we’re doing about it is crucial to creating a better world.
Don’t accept what society tells you. Investigate for yourself and make an educated decision.