Stop trying to play the “Doin’ it Wrong” card.
Stop it. Stop telling Feminists you know that just because we’re third wave or intersectional or not even labeling ourselves Feminist at all because we feel betrayed by shit like TERFs and White Feminism that we are doing it wrong. Stop writing your litany of how the Second Wave fought for things like women in the work place and child care and the ability to not shave your legs they were serious, and everyone whose come since isn’t.
I made the mistake of reading the comments to an article about Amanda Palmer, you see.
And there are a ton of disparaging comments about feminists with iPads posting cat pictures while the patriarchy passes laws to oppress women. First of all, what the fuck? The “Patriarchy” is not an entity. It doesn’t pass laws. Fighting kyriarchy (and let’s use a word that’s inclusive of more struggle than just a Freudian struggle against our societal Platonic concept of Father, shall we?) isn’t about fighting a single person or group of people. It’s about fighting structural oppression.
Now, don’t get me wrong. The world of Social Justice Activism, including the online Social Justice blogging and facebooking, has some problems. It really does. I’m not going to deny that. For example let’s talk about how the only articles focusing on the strength and badassery of women suffering online harassment are written by the survivors in general. Let’s talk about how the mainstream media wants to position blogging and thoughtwork as “slacktivism” taken up by those too lazy to march in the streets.
And let’s talk about how setting up false dichotomies between “meaningful” activism (always positioned as the Second Wave style bra burning, in these conversations) and “slacktivism” (those girls who facebook or blog but really just want to post cat pictures…) is playing exactly into the structure set up to enforce kyriarchical norms.
A quote from the comments, because I think this gets at the heart of the issue: So fuck twitter and facebook feminists who don’t get off their ass and hold a placard in the rain and stand with other women for the sole purpose of getting a modicum of control over our own bodies or trying to get that 20 cent raise so we can at least make 60% less than the male co-worker doing the same job instead of 58%.
I wrote about this before, about how there’s this disconnect between online activism and thoughtwork, and “boots on the ground” work. And they’re both valuable and important. But I know plenty of feminists with major obstacles to doing “boots on the ground” work who are doing some of the heaviest lifting. Feminists who can’t go stand and hold a sign in the rain who are contributing hundreds or thousands of dollars to those same clinics and causes. Feminists who are using online platforms to make other feminists aware of the laws and policies coming down the pike so they can act. Feminists who use their jobs to make their workplaces better for women who could be fired for being seen holding a sign in the rain.
Sure. “Internet feminists” can get into some silly fights, but so do people holding signs. Sure, “internet feminists” post pictures of cats. We do it because we don’t engage in an arena we can leave. There’s no going inside from the rain when you’re practicing feminism on the internet. There’s no “safe space” where you can let your guard down because when you do, comments like the one above come to tell you you’re doing it wrong.
And sure, maybe I’m even a little guilty because I’m writing this entry instead of letting it roll off my back. But I’m exhausted with feminism that says I’m not doing enough because I am not doing what that feminism says I should be. I’m tired of being told self-care (cat pictures) isn’t feminist, that self-expression (selfies and livejournal and tumblr) is just narcissism, and that not following in the mold of my bra burning ancesstresses is laziness.
But somehow, I think those ladies actually burning their bras? Might dig my selfies, cat pictures, and facebook.
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