Saturday, June 30, 2007

White feminism?

Ok. I am really, really confused here. As you, my imaginary audience, can ascertain, I am an avid reader of IBtP, Pandagon, Feministe, and the like. I too, am a radical feminist.

Radical feminism is all about overthrowing patriarchy. Patriarchy is the system which is keeping women, all women (which OF COURSE includes transwomen), along with gay men and transmen, subject to the dominant class of heterosexual males. Patriarchy is not only overt and violent, like FGM and "honor killings", but insidious and inherent to every culture in the world. Here in the West, it includes mandated femininity and sexism. Patriarchal domination has spawned a lot of nasty things. Right now, racism is inherent to the patriarchal system. Pretty much everywhere you go, the Aryan-er, the better.

Now what I just don't get. Brownfemipower. I remember a post of hers a while back accusing Twisty of being transphobic because in the hundreds of hundreds of comments each post of hers generates, she didn't read every single one and delete those that were transphobic. Besides the total lack of reason in that, what struck me was the label she had for that post. White feminism.

Normally, I'd say that was derisive and rude, but I know all too well about white privilege to complain about that. But I just do not understand the ideas expressed on brownfemipower's blog about radical feminism being a tool of racism, of radical feminists being the ones excluding and subjugating women of color. And I'm going to reveal a little bit of my youth here and say

HELLO?! Are you not GETTING IT?! If a white woman (or ANY woman) is racist, if she is classist, if she is homophobic, transphobic, then she is not a radical feminist. Ok?
She is against everything radical feminism stands for.

Another thing. I get the feeling that some of the transphobia attributed to radical feminism was due in part to those women-only space-thingies. Well, though I could not disagree more with the implication that transwomen aren't women, the idea behind those is (I presume) that women should be able to share their life experiences as women, including childhood experience. Most transwomen are brought up as men, and until they "come out", or start living as women, they have been (albeit unwilling) participants of a system that granted them privilege over their fellows. That gives them a significantly different life experience.

The oppressed is uncomfortable with sharing around the still/former opressor, and wants a "safe space" in which to do said sharing (I have issues with the exclusion of transwomen, but that's besides the point).

How is that any different with some internet community's racial policies? To wit, (and straight off Brownfemipower): "The voices of women of color will always be prioritized on this site both through the content of my posts as well as within the comments section."

How is it any different with any [insert ethnicity here]-only group's policies? Once again, any one person who embraces misogyny, racism, heteronormativity, trans and homophobia, xenophobia; is NOT a feminist.

This has been bugging me for quite some time. Because if patriarchy is ever going to be gutted, it's not going to be done by white women. Or women of color. Or transwomen. Or gay men. It has to be done by everyone, in conjunction. I mean, I'm not one for the whole touchy-feely unity thing. And I know that there are some resentments that go way back, not to mention the misogynistic women, self-hating gays, racist everybodies, and all that.

But hey, women? Yeah, we're all women. We're all oppressed Hey, gays? We're all oppressed too, look at that. And you know, most of us hate that oppression. So why the hate directed at each other?

I'd like to envision, if not a world rid of patriarchy, a world where all the oppressed can refuse/resist together.

And to continue on with my subversive little blurring of lines, what makes a woman of color? Because genetically, I'm probably a lot more "pure latina" than most women of color in the U.S. I speak Spanish fluently, better then most latinas in the U.S. But my skin is dead white. My mouth and nose are Caucasically nondescript. My cheeks are, to my dismay, rosy. And most people believe red is my natural hair color (now that it's more ginger). A good friend of mine would probably be rejected by Brownfemipower's standards. Despite her facial features and hair texture being Afro-Caribbean, her lineage 100% Afro-Hispanic, all that I'm guessing would be seen are her white skin, blue eyes, and blonde hair.

I don't want to stir the scheisse. When not irked by these matters, I really enjoy reading Brownfemipower. But damn. I guess I just had to get this off my chest.


brownfemipower said...

hi there. i appreciate your thoughtful critique. i hear where you're coming from--but i think you missunderstood what i was saying. i never said twisty was transphobic or whatever--i just said that i didn't understand why she was so popular when so much hateful shit (in the form of comments) comes from her site.
also, i never had a problem with women only spaces--i have certianly talked through misgivings that i have about it, but i have never critqued anybody online ever for having X only space. i had a problem with trans people being compared to silence of the lamb killers and the such, and certianly, even most radfem's have a problem with that.
and the whole thing about "what is a woman of color"--i'm sorry you think that i would ever think any woman of color was not "colored" enough--esp. seeing as i have spent considerable time on my blog talking about being light skinned and not speaking spanish. if light skinned not speaking spanish ME is making women of color feel like they aren't "colored" enough, i'm certianly doing something wrong.

anyway, thanks again for your critique....

brownfemipower said...

btw. i just wanted to say that i also recognize that twisty has changed her comment policy--and that my former comments about not understanding why she is so popular are probably no longer valid.

brownfemipower said...

one last comment--:-)

just wanted to clarify that what i meant by the second comment--twisty had a different moderation policy when i made my comment--she's changed the policy--i recognize that and respect her decision.

so i don't want anybody to read my comments and think i'm out looking for a fight-i'm not. the orginial comment you are talking about was made at a very specific time when comments comparing trans people to silence of the lamb killers and nutjobs and other horrible names were being made.


Composite Creature said...

I'm glad if it was any help, and thanks for clearing some things up. :) I really did mean it when I said I liked your blog a lot. It was kind of a turning point in my blogular experience, lol. In a good way, I mean.

Composite Creature said...

Eh, I forgot to say, thanks for replying like you did. I did it in a kind of seventeen-year-old-queer-identity-confused-rantish mode, and I can see how a lot of people might take it personally, but you didn't. Oh, and BROWNFEMIPOWER ACTUALLY READ MY BLOG YAY!

That's all. :D

Rocker said...

Composite Creature

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From a reliable source that knew Composite Creature reports that she was killed in a car accident outside of a popular night club near her home. She was killed instantly along with a friend of hers. Thus the reason for no further activity by Composite Creature on her blog page.

R.I.P. Composite Creature - We will never forget you!