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Sep 05 2011

Spinster aunt slowly emerges from stupor

It’s 69 degrees! It’s 69 degrees! My dendrites are free from waxy yellow build-up!

So I thought I might as well enlarge on a point that seems to have sprouted some ambiguity of late, regarding my views on intersectionality.

Here’s what Bushfire said:

Twisty does focus on women’s oppression but she also makes it clear that other oppressions are at work and she doesn’t use broad generalizations about women.

And here’s what AlienNumber said:

Really? Funny, we’re reading the same thing and I don’t get this.

AlienNumber went on:

Twisty, the way I’ve been reading/understanding her – and maybe I am projecting, which is entirely plausible – connects ‘other oppressions’ to the one underlying, fundamental oppression of women. I’m putting ‘other oppressions’ in quotation marks because there are no such things. Racism/classism/colonialism/homophobia etc ARE sexism.

Apparently I have not been entirely clear. What else is new.

1. While I do perceive a connection between the “other oppressions” to which AlienNumber alludes, in my view the connective tissue is not Women’s Oppression, but rather the megatheocorporatocratic ideology of domination to which it is my somewhat lazy habit to refer as patriarchy. Domination ideology is predicated on the notion that social hierarchies are rooted in and validated by Divine Truth. All oppression — such as “women are whores” and “let’s enslave some Africans”– proceeds from this idea.

In other words, a universal oppression paradigm makes the world go round. As a result, all non-white, non-straight, non-abled, non-affluent, non-dude, non-godbag, non-Western [etc] persons are forced into subclasses in order that they may enjoy their own customized versions of tyranny. Women — the sex class — are but one of these many subclasses. It’s a pretty big and significant one, to be sure, hence the whole women’s liberation movement dealio (and this blog), but it’s not the whole bollawax.

Obviously, membership in one subclass does not preclude membership in others, hence the whole intersectionality dealio. Racism, classism, colonialism, homophobia — these are not equivalent to sexism. These isms share common components (see “domination ideology,” above), yes, and I speculate that a feminist revolt would go a long way toward fixing all that shit, on accounta most (not all) oppressed subclasses have women in’em, too — meaning that, for instance, racism cannot be eliminated without women’s liberation because you can’t say “racism is over!” if you’re still oppressing women of color — but the experiences and narratives and motives of all these subclasses, though similar in that they proceed from the same primary ideology, are demonstrably not identical.

To recap: women’s oppression is not the armature upon which all other oppression is hung. However, because sexism has been so comprehensively assimilated across the board, the elimination of racism, classism, ableism, homophobia et al cannot obtain without the simultaneous liberation of women from patriarchal tyranny.

2. This blog focuses primarily on the gruesome effects of patriarchy on the sex class because it particularly pleases me that it should. This focus should not be construed as an endorsement of the view that white feminists know what’s best for everybody or some shit.

635 comments

2 pings

  1. Bushfire

    That’s exactly what I thought that you thought. I think you were clear enough.

  2. Ruby Lou

    69 degrees, dang, awesome, superb, yeah. Pretty soon it will be our turn over here in the Sonora desert, maybe.

    I was also gratified to see the excellent elucidation of your views about the underlying connective tissue of women’s oppression, namely the megatheocorporatocratic substructure of our so-called civilization. You’ve posted them before, but it’s good to have a concise roundup of the whole concept in one place. It’s especially useful to consider that the oppression of women is one subset of the effects of patriarchal culture, one that coexists with others forms of patriarchal oppression. In fact, reading this blog sometimes inspires me to examine those other branches of patriarchal oppression, insane consumerism for example, and the unjust labor practices and environmental ruin that come with it. Of course I’m already interested in these issues, but being able to frame them as corollary to a larger context is extremely helpful. It’s very encouraging for me to participate in an online community with a world overview I can share and relate to, something sane and workable amongst the status quotient. And it sure doesn’t hurt that the Blametariat includes some exceptionally talented writers.

  3. Notorious Ph.D.

    I think I got that. Also (and correct me if I’m wrong) that by talking almost exclusively about patriarchy, rather than other oppression systems, you weren’t saying that those others weren’t important; merely, it appears that this is the blog for patriarchy-blaming, and others should definitely set up equivalent blogs for the blaming of heteronormativity, racism, first-world-ism, and classism (inter alia), and we will all do the butt-dance together.

    Also, the new masthead font brought a smile to my face.

  4. ivyleaves

    That is exactly the conclusion I came to while reading this blog. I believe that there is one evil on earth, domination.

  5. AlienNumber

    Thank you, Jill, for making it clear. [I'm personally stuck on the 'first: women's liberation' thing, so maybe I have a little bit of tunnel vision].

    (I’m going to make a really nerdy philosophy reference here, sorry!, but) sounds like you, Jill, are like Leibniz: monads, to my Spinoza: “one substance, its attributes and modes.”

    The one substance, I think, is hatred of women. It’s the one thing at play, distorted and magnified however many times (if men can hate their own mothers/women they will surely have no problem hating other men). You obviously differ. But maybe not quite, because you think the Substance at Play here is Domination, except every domination is a little different.

    Anyway, I’m getting myself confused now and bringing dead white men into the mix too (blah).

    Glad the temperature there became a more life-supporting one. Because we missed you.

  6. yttik

    Okay, but women are not a subclass, a subset, a little branch tucked off to the side of our oppression diagram, we’re actually half the human race.

    Patriarchy is also not some gender neutral concept like the megatheocorporatocratic ideology of domination, it is flat out a social system in which the role of male as the primary authority figure is central to social organization. Central to social organization, is the key phrase here.

  7. lawbitch

    The common denominator is the oppressor. Don’t forget who dominates. Focus on who is responsible for the -isms.

  8. Melinda

    Is the concept of hierarchy a part of our “wiring” that requires constant vigilance to combat, or is it a fluke or accident of early human civilization that took hold (like a meme) and could be eradicated?
    I haven’t taken the time to choose my words carefully, but I hope my question is clear. My guess is that establishing hierarchies is part of human behavior, and only “civilizing” can keep it under control.

  9. laxsoppa

    Melinda, I would say it’s part of our wiring as in social conditioning, because hierarchies actually work pretty damn hard to enforce themselves.

  10. Saurs

    My guess is that establishing hierarchies is part of human behavior, and only “civilizing” can keep it under control.

    The extent to which a society is judged civilized, by “first” world standards, is the extent to which it reproduces itself through complex hierarchies, the more minute and ornamental, the better. Which is generally why the first mission of any land- and resource-grabbing imperial project begins with studying the local caste system and working to make it more rigidly defined and imbalanced. Doing so breaks down the resistance of the plebs who make up the greatest part of the whole and weakens what legal and common rights they previously possessed.

  11. Hattie

    Now that temperatures are down, the great Twisty brain is obviously at its optimum functional level again.

  12. Jill

    the great Twisty brain is obviously at its optimum functional level again.

    Ha, if only. I haven’t seen the Great Twisty Brain since about 1987.

  13. Jill

    Quoth yttik:

    Okay, but women are not a subclass, a subset, a little branch tucked off to the side of our oppression diagram, we’re actually half the human race.

    Agreed. It is not I who deem women a subclass. I merely observe and report that our social order deemeth us thus.

    I call the whole thing “patriarchy” because it’s shorter and usually suffices in most patriarchy-blaming situations, but, as I meant to write in the post, it is not entirely accurate to define patriarchy as the mothership of oppression. I agree that patriarchy is the male-dominated practice of asserting the dominion of a few white dudes over everyone else. White dudes, however, are not the only people who exercise privilege in this delightful world.

  14. Blind Horse

    It’s a bit of the chicken/egg paradigm, isn’t it? Which came first, oppressed women or entire races/classes? I blame the patriarchy and its right arm, religion.

  15. Squiggy

    Oh, Twisty! Tell us stories circa 1987! Will our lobes have the ability to absorb such brainitude?! Let us all gather by the fire, now, soft blanket swathed.

  16. cin17

    @ Alien Number, dead white men (Leibniz, Hume, Kant!) and the seemingly endless quest for the single law of one, are the perfect collaborative icon for patriarchy. The final solution. The answer to the riddle they can never solve. Because, of course, they are always, forever, asking the wrong question(s).

    @ Melinda, patriarchy’s lasting accomplishment is that it keeps the men from killing themselves. In order to do this, they have created the game, and rules, of the Patriarchy: the only place where weak, meek, and physically unfit men could survive. And a necessary element is the sex classification and commodification of women. Natural selection be damned. Women must be controlled and parceled out to breed, and those women who resist are punished, outcast, and erased. Men are the players. We are the tender. And the reason isn’t some need for hierarchy, it’s because men must compete to reproduce, women don’t. Oh, yes, the patriarchy would like us to believe we do, which is why the girl fight is everyman’s wet dream, but it’s completely unnecessary for the survival of the species. In actuality, it’s the opposite.

    If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: Patriarchy will be the death of us. And that’s not some cutesy chicken little cliche. It’a a “there’s a Mac truck full speed in your path, you might want to change lanes” warning. Jill, you have my undying gratitude and respect for turning words into action. Savage Death Island isn’t just a nice place to visit. It’s a force to be reckoned with.

    (Apologies for any typos. I’ve been enjoying a divine concoction my host has created, a chocolate cherry martini and typing is rather hit or miss at this point.)

  17. MPMR

    cin17: Indeed, patriarchy will be the death of us. Especially if you let a dude prong you (http://www.inforum.com/event/article/id/332470/), or if you don’t let a dude prong you (http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/essex_house_sicko_pleads_guilty_vwIx2eba9Ixaq5yzZU6iHJ), or you know, whatever else you do that some dude doesn’t like.

  18. Melinda

    Saurs, by “civilizing” I didn’t mean the imperialistic imposition of “civilization” on other cultures, I meant the process of raising children, sort of. Teaching them to cooperate and use their indoor voices. Do people naturally form or create hierarchies, so we have to guard against that behavior–i.e., is a non-hierarchical culture an achievement? It’s an anthropological question.
    And cin17, I’m not sure I agree with you about patriarchy as a way for “lesser” men to survive and breed. Warrior states that weeded out physically unfit men were certainly patriarchal. And I question whether men must compete to reproduce, and women needn’t. That also seems like a patriarchal notion, and I know many women who wanted families but never attracted a suitable mate.
    Maybe I didn’t understand your argument?

  19. Treefinger

    “Okay, but women are not a subclass, a subset, a little branch tucked off to the side of our oppression diagram, we’re actually half the human race.”

    While this is true, nor are POC, the poor, queer people et al subclasses or minority branches of oppressed people. In fact, at least with the first two there, they make up half, if not far more, of the human race as well. I think Jill is right to make a post that states the oppression of women is not the foundation of all other oppressions, though it indeed is a very significant part of patriarchy as it’s defined by this blog.

    I’m not sure if I articulated that well. But what I mean is I don’t think there is any grounds for fear that women’s oppression will be sidelined or handwaved if the above framework is accepted- at least, never on a blog written and maintained by Jill/Twisty.

  20. cin17

    Melinda, exactly: our current “warrior” states are almost entirely run by the most ruthless, not the most physically fit, or even the most competent. Is Kim Jong-il an example of superior physical strength? The (supreme) rulers of the world don’t need strength, or even sanity, they just need other men to play their game. The aiding and abetting by betas is essential; the banality of evil is foundational in the game of Patriarchy.

    How many women do you know “who wanted families but never attracted a suitable mate” who live outside of a patriarchy? Women do not need to attract suitable mates outside of patriarchy. That’s one of the main reasons patriarchy exists: to create a “need” (for the “suitable mate” aka “the prince”) that doesn’t actually exist. Perhaps the misunderstanding is that I’m not referring to marriage or cohabitation. I’m referring to reproductive success. A woman who can conceive and carry a child to term is guaranteed reproductive success. Men are never guaranteed reproductive success, unless there is a domination system in place in which women are chattel and children are given the name of their mother’s master. Yes, this is not the entire reason patriarchy was established and continues to this day, but it’s a very sizable chunk of it.

  21. allhellsloose

    Exactly cin17.

    That light at the end of the tunnel is the patriarchial express train charging towards us.

  22. Saurs

    Melinda, I do understand. But your original question suggested that the act of “civilizing” — which, unless it is defined carefully, simply means making strange folk act the way you think they ought to for their own damn good (and for yours!), generally by force, intimidation, guilt, shame, envy, and aspirations of class — is independent from and can be used as a safeguard against social hierarchy. But history’s great “civilizing” forces — its empires and its armies — would have never existed without a veddy veddy polite and prim and proper social hierarchy back home. They’re interdependent on one another. The guardians of our culture can afford their efforts to civilize and thereby exploit the wild and unruly dark folk far, far away only because they benefit from an unequal distribution of wealth, privilege, and education, buttressed by a social hierarchy created from entirely arbitrary rules of birth, race, gender, whathaveyou.

    I don’t count anthropology among the more helpful sciences in tracing the origins of hierarchy (if there is one single origin) given that as both a social science and a hard science it is tainted heavily with white chauvinism (wherein white folk feel obliged to believe that they can objectively scrutinize an alien culture, rank it, assign it a label, and characterize the ways in which it is wanting, that is, the ways in which it differs from what the observer is accustomed). I intended the example of imperialistic jingo to suggest that with the so-called progress of so-called civilization, we fashion old, retrogressive, and barbaric practices, like a class system, as benchmarks by which “lesser” cultures are judged and to which they must aspire if they are to earn approval and their autonomy, free from the dubious assistance (plundering, exploitation of cheap labor, made legitimate by co-opting the power, prestige, and status of a local aristocracy plied with free gifts and cheap arms) of outside “intervention.”

    The concept of TAMING humans by teaching us to exude a stoic RESISTANCE and SELF-CONTROL against our WILD and PRIMITIVE INSTINCTS has deeply racist undertones, and can’t readily be divorced from racialist theory, from creepy religious fundamentalism, from that very special brand of misogyny that assumes women need to be taken in hand and enlightened and refined and refashioned into what men would like us to be. So long as being polite (a middle class virtue if there ever was one) is perceived as the road to our salvation we’ll continue on much the same path as a “civilization,” I expect.

  23. Saurs

    Tl;dr version of the above, which is tedious even to look at, is that efforts to “civilize” and conquer abroad are preceded by internal colonization which is at its most effective when a social and class hierarchy can be established. Civilization and hierarchy are twin concepts, emanate from the same dank and foul philosophy.

  24. tsisageya

    intersectionality

    The fuck?

    Way to make up a motherfucking word.

    Yes, I’m still here.

    Goodie.

  25. humanbein

    Patriarchy and domination come from natural world and big animals preying on smaller ones. The Savage Death Island culture is the only civilized culture I recognize. Everything else is a little too primitive for me.

    Calling this patriarchal world order a civilization is absurd. How civilized can a culture based on death and domination be?

  26. quixote

    It’s not just white dudes doing the domination thing. As far as I can tell, the non-white dudes didn’t wait for a how-to manual before setting up their very own patriarchies.

    There’s also some historical (well, prehistorical) correlations between social structure, survival, and levels of domination or equality. Elinor Ostrom is a legal scholar who has some interesting things to say about how social structures affect a society’s ability to solve environmental problems. Which may not sound like it, but does directly relate to domineering societies and going down in flames.

    She makes the point that the anthro literature shows that hunter-gatherers are notably egalitarian. Probably because they live so near the edge that any less workable form of organization doesn’t last long enough to be studied by anthropologists. Agrarian (and industrial) societies are so wealthy that they can afford hierarchical claptrap without dying out immediately. But at this point, we’re getting environmentally close to the edge again, and had better find more productive ways of organizing or, as people said, patriarchy is going to kill us.

    To me, the correlations also say that social conditions promote or punish dominators. So either way domination or equality is an ongoing process fed by current conditions. History is only part of the picture.

  27. Comrade Svilova

    Luce Irigaray argues that Domination and singularity and unity and hierarchies are inherently phallogocentric symbolic systems. If she’s correct, that doesn’t mean that oppression of women is all that matters, it just means that intersecting oppressions are even more closely interrelated. It’s great to have a radical feminist space in which racism, classism, and other isms can be blamed along with sexism. Thanks, Twisty.

  28. AlienNumber

    If she’s correct, that doesn’t mean that oppression of women is all that matters, it just means that intersecting oppressions are even more closely interrelated.

    Would you mind expanding this further?

    Also, cin17, that part about patriarchy as a means to deal with natural selection pressures on the males of our species blew my mind. Amazing.

  29. AlienNumber

    [that blockquote function hates me]

  30. Comrade Svilova

    AlienNumber, even if dominance is inherently phallogocentric, that doesn’t make sexism more important than racism, it just means that the ties between sexism and racism (for example) go beyond the identity of the oppressed (women or color experience both sexism and racism) to the logic of the oppression itself. But by no means does that mean that racism (say) is less important to address than sexism. When the Oppression Olympics arise on IBTP, there often seem to be those who would insist that sexism is objectively more “important” than other forms of oppression, and I simply wanted to differentiate my point from that interpretation.

  31. Rice

    Besides, “I blame the megatheocorporatocratic ideology of domination, referred here as the patriarchy” doesn’t have the same ring to it.

  32. stacey

    Way upthread:

    Okay, but women are not a subclass, a subset, a little branch tucked off to the side of our oppression diagram, we’re actually half the human race.

    Alas, more women support the megatheo-whatsit patriarchy than don’t support it, out of brainwashing, fear, etc. I wish there was something, a chemical substance, that we could put in makeup and feminine hygiene products that would make every woman on the planet wake up one morning and say “What the shit is going on here?” and then we could all whip things into shape.

  33. TwissB

    Of all the classes and their subclasses to be found, only one consists entirely of women and that class is WOMEN and that is why all other classes are eventually accepted in the great fellowship of MEN. The fact that women in these classes are never qui-i-ite equal to the men in them only demonstrates the specific application of the general rule that men are the only ones who really count.

    “Intersectionality” just appears to be the latest gotcha distraction, succeeding multiple “feminisms,” which multiply, subdivide, and eventually splinter categories and set them squabbling over priorities to the point where activism is rendered impossible. Good going, guys, you got ‘em to do it to themselves again!

    (Now where did I file that early riff on this phenomenon by NOW’s Georgina Whatsername titled “Real Lesbians”?)

  34. Zrusilla

    Is Spinster Aunt at a safe distance from wildfire?

  35. Nimravid

    Delurking after years of reading because I’m a geneticist.

    The idea that men must compete to spread their genes and women don’t is evo-psych bunk. Women are guaranteed reproductive fitness only if they mate and their offspring are reproductively successful. A woman who produces extremely unhealthy or non-fertile offspring is not reproductively successful. Yes, if she can carry a child to term she gets a newborn. That child has to live to reproduce, and the more offspring they produce the better in evolutionary terms. Her choice of mate determines at least some of her reproductive success.

    Patriarchy where women are owned and “children get the name of their mother’s master” is not at all the only way a male could increase his reproductive success. It’s actually a resource intensive and still not guaranteed way of trying to ensure a particular woman’s children have his genes too. There are many other frequently observed ways for a male to have reproductive success. A common one is to help his sisters and their children, who are guaranteed to be related to him, whereas children of a woman he once mated with just have a chance of being related to him.

    So I’ll make an evo-psych just-so story of my own: considering reproductive fitness, it seems really plausible that men should naturally be women’s helpers, primary child raisers, and sex objects.

  36. Lovepug

    Wondered that myself. But then again, Texas is one big ass state.

    And let’s hear it for 69 degrees! Here on the coast, we had our first sunny day in two months. Our bizarro weather pattern has manifested as a thicker and more relentless than usual marine layer.

    Let’s hope some rain comes as well so those poor deer can get a square meal at some point.

  37. TwissB

    Regarding my reference to an essay titled “Real Lesbians,” I hasten to caution that it was in no way related to what Google brings up under that phrase today.

  38. Mujerylegs

    Ignorant of html, I quoth Saurs: “efforts to ‘civilize’ and conquer abroad are preceded by internal colonization which is at its most effective when a social and class hierarchy can be established. Civilization and hierarchy are twin concepts, emanate from the same dank and foul philosophy.”

    Snaps.

    Internal colonization is funfeminism, and hating one’s own mujerylegs, and the queasy quickening of the pulse when a cat goes bump in the night.

  39. AlienNumber

    Was it Julie Bindel who said that whenever men like a feminism, it’s a sure sign that it isn’t working.

    I had the pleasure (by which I mean agonizing pain) to see Crenshaw – the coiner of the term “intersectionality” – at Hahvard less than a year ago, and oh boi do the Big Boys LOVE her (by which of course I mean, respectfully – as much as boys can – tolerate her) and keep bringing her around to talk about this intersectionality thing. They were especially squirming with pleasure when she pointed out that rich white men also fit on the intersectionality thingamajing. Look, just opposite from the poor Black women. EQUAL SIGN. [From my limited observation, they are also blocking her from talking about anything else.] Intersectionality Pony Show! All invited! All at Intersections!

    (TwissB, link to that essay, please?)

  40. magriff

    Intersectionality as a construct was really well explored in “Black Feminist Thought” by Patricia Hill Collins- I highly recommend it. Just in case it’s not already on the reading lists of all you blamers out there!

  41. tinfoil hattie

    AGGGHHHH. Texas is burning up, and here in VA, it’s pouring so loudly I can’t sleep (I have a membrane roof, vaulted ceilings, and no attic). Rain is expected here through next Monday, at least.

    Wishing I could send the rain to the drought-stricken areas.

  42. minervaK

    A woman who can conceive and carry a child to term is guaranteed reproductive success. Men are never guaranteed reproductive success, unless there is a domination system in place in which women are chattel and children are given the name of their mother’s master.

    Ye gods. I think cin17 just nailed the question of where Patriarchy comes from, at least in my lobes. Nice blaming! A toast!

    I think it also explains why MRAs are so obsessed with The Children and being “victimized” by women ‘taking’ said Children ‘away from them.’

  43. blah

    ‘Which came first, oppressed women or entire races/classes?’ (BlindHorse)
    Women. All you need is for the dudebros of the tribe to form some kind of mystic brotherhood that justifies dominating the women with some BS about ancestral spirits or whatever.
    For classes, races etc. you need rather more civilization.

  44. blah

    ‘I meant the process of raising children’ (Melinda)
    Socialization might be the word you’re looking for.

  45. allhellsloose

    Is that 69F? Please say it isn’t so.

  46. allhellsloose

    69C I meant. If 69F then that’s good.

  47. Denise

    Oh, I hope you haven’t emerged from heat-induced stupor only to be faced with wildfires.

  48. Jill

    Civilization doesn’t really have anything to do with etiquette (“making people act the way you think they should”), as has been suggested above. It merely alludes to a post-nomadic social structure, wherein the invention of division-of-labor enables permanent cities to be built and surpluses to be stockpiled. The moral imperatives part of post-nomadic society — what has been referred to as “civilizing forces”– belongs to the godbags.

  49. Jill

    Is Spinster Aunt at a safe distance from wildfire?

    Not really! I can see the smoke from this very chair. It’s extremely disconcerting. I’ve got the F-250 packed with survival supplies and the horse trailer hooked up and ready to roll at a moment’s notice. That I still haven’t confirmed an emergency crash pad for the horses is extra disconcerting. It’s a fucking nightmare.

  50. banjofeminist

    Regarding humanbein’s comment about calling the patriarchal world order a civilization: See Saurs’ excellent discussion of civilization above. As products of imperialist culture we are brainwashed to think that civilization = good, primitive = bad/inferior which, as Saurs explains, smacks of racism, eurocentrism and misogyny. Not to mention is consistent with the ‘dominion over nature’ mentality of the patriarchs that lends itself to the destruction of the planet. I don’t wanna be civilized. Fuck that shit.

  51. Lovepug

    Fingers crossed that you and the critters will be safe and not have to evacuate. It is a fucking nightmare. Not one to wish upon anyone.

  52. Sarah

    “My heart is yearning, but Texas is burning, Texas is burning all night long.”

    Apparently, I can no longer hear the word “burning” without thinking of that song and switching the location as appropriate.

  53. yttik

    “I don’t think there is any grounds for fear that women’s oppression will be sidelined or handwaved if the above framework is accepted-”

    Probably not here on this blog, but women have a long history of being erased, sidelined, rendered invisible. We’ve done the work for many revolutions, men’s revolutions, thinking they somehow include us, but in the end they never do.

    I do fear that women’s oppression will be sidelined because historically it always has been. Before you know it you’re working 24 hours a day for liberal men’s rights, gay men’s rights, black men’s rights, and my personal favorite, poor men’s rights.

  54. squiggy

    I don’t even know what to say, Jill! I’m wishing your nightmare away.

  55. pheenobarbidoll

    h ttp://ticc.tamu.edu/Response/FireActivity/default.aspx

    This is the fire activity map for Texas.

  56. cin17

    The idea that men must compete to spread their genes and women don’t is evo-psych bunk.

    I apologize if this comes off harshly but I get so damn tired of that evo-psych bogeyman. My point may be bunk in your opinion but it is not evo-psych. It is a simple fact that every woman who carries a child to term knows it is hers (unless she was unknowingly impregnated with another woman’s ovum). Only until recently, with the advent of DNA testing, could paternity be verified. Controlling women, through restrictions on their mobility, independence, and access to birth control, is one of the foundational tenets of patriarchy, as is claiming the children women give birth to (whether the child actually has the patriarch’s genes or not) by stamping their name on the infant for good ol’ posterity’s sake.

    This point is not presented as a defense of patriarchy. Quite the opposite. It is presented as a condemnation of it as a destructive, dehumanizing, and oppressive social system that was born out of weakness not strength. The idea that men rule the world because they’re stronger (and bigger, and smarter, and braver, ad nauseam) is a false myth. It is simply not true.

    … considering reproductive fitness, it seems really plausible that men should naturally be women’s helpers, primary child raisers, and sex objects.

    Exactly! Patriarchy is probably one of the most unnatural social systems homo sapiens could come up with. And, it will eventually (most likely sooner rather than later) be the death of us.

  57. cin17

    Keeping you and your critters in my thoughts, Jill. May the nightmare end both well and soon.

  58. Zrusilla

    Spinster Aunt, I was afraid of that. Please stay alert and safe.

  59. Bushfire

    AlienNumber said:
    I had the pleasure (by which I mean agonizing pain) to see Crenshaw – the coiner of the term “intersectionality” – at Hahvard less than a year ago, and oh boi do the Big Boys LOVE her (by which of course I mean, respectfully – as much as boys can – tolerate her) and keep bringing her around to talk about this intersectionality thing. They were especially squirming with pleasure when she pointed out that rich white men also fit on the intersectionality thingamajing. Look, just opposite from the poor Black women. EQUAL SIGN.

    I completely reject the idea that intersectionality is some devious plot to separate feminists into subgroups (or a “gotcha distraction” as TwissB said.) Feminists were already separated into subgroups before anyone used the term “intersectionality”. Upper class white feminists deliberately made themselves a group, leaving out others, and the term “intersectionality” allows us to discuss this phenomenon. As for the black women equally white men comment, if anyone truly said something that stupid, then they don’t understand intersectionality at all. The only way a rich white man can be “oppressed” is if he is gay or disabled. These are real disabilities. Anyone who knows anything about intersectionality knows that a black women has more oppressions weighing against her than even a gay white man. This is what we call white privilege, male privilege, heterosexual privilege, etc.

    In conclusion: feminists have always been divided into groups because of their different lived experiences and different oppressions: intersectionality did not create this phenomenon. Also, intersectionality actually proves that the black women is more oppressed that the white man, not the other way around.

  60. Bushfire

    Sorry didn’t edit: gay is not a disability, I should have written “these are real oppressions”.

  61. AlienNumber

    “Feminists have always been divided into groups because of” THE PATRIARCHY, which makes lots of women self-identify with their oppressor, which makes them not put women first.

    [Anyway, time to take a break before my head explodes. Will be back in a few weeks.]
    Best of luck to the Spinster Aunt! (You and your horses are always welcome to Boston, you know that, right?).

  62. Hane

    Re the quotation upthread re reproductive fitness and the plausibility of men as women’s helpers, primary child raisers, and sex objects: I just read Ursula LeGuin’s story “The Matter of Seggri” (from her collection “The Birthday of the World”) in which men were commodified as breeding stock and sex objects, and kept separate from the women. Sounds like a swell idea to me.

  63. allhellsloose

    Good luck indeed. Take care now.

  64. tinfoil hattie

    Jill, I could maybe hook you up with some fabulous horse folk (women, even!) but you’d have to drive to VA, or maybe CT. Here’s hoping for the best for you. Seriously e-mail me if you want to tow horses for days and days. (Yeah, I know. But it’s all I got)

  65. pheenobarbidoll

    If you need safe pasture for your horses due to wildfires in Texas, call Mr. Matt Daniel at 832-769-1879 . He can has pasture to shelter 60 horses and has trucks and trailers ready to go. He Can move 10 horses at a time.

  66. squiggy

    Pheenobarbidoll! Your help to Jill makes my heart leap.

  67. Owly

    Jill, I’d offer you a place to crash but I’m afraid it’s too close to the fire out at Hamilton Pool. We might have to evacuate ourselves. We have a truck and trailer packed too, ready to go. To be honest, I’m surprised that it took this long for fires to start in central Texas. It was 112 degrees last week, after all.

    My friend’s family has 2 dogs, 2 cats, and 4 chickens, all of which are living in their truck after the mandatory evacuation while the humans camp out at the high school. It’s sad but they have no other choice at this point in time. I’m not sure how they’re keeping the dogs and cats off the chickens. All of the people I know with horses have friends far enough away to take them in.

    Good luck to you and your animals.

  68. Mujerylegs

    Re civilization not having anything to do with etiquette – what?

    Social norms make agriculture work, always have (except in Jamestown, case in point). Maybe I misunderstood.

    Safe, smoke-free thoughts. Sorry I can’t think of anything to offer/do to help.

  69. Jezebella

    There’s a fella in Houston offering sanctuary for animals as well:

    message from Houston: An ABC13 viewer called to say if there is anyone in need for a place to keep their animals, he has 45 acres fenced for cows, horses, etc. off Nichols Sawmill Road in Magnolia and is willing to help for no charge. Call Bob at 713-857-6772.

  70. Rain

    If you can organize a flight out, I have a place for you and all your critters in Japan…(not at all helpful, I know, but all the damage just pains my heart, especially after all we’ve been through here in Japan and all the love and help we got from the world, I had to come out of lurking and comment)

  71. TwissB

    @Bushfire (great nom de plume for the times) said “I completely reject the idea that intersectionality is some devious plot to separate feminists into subgroups (or a “gotcha distraction” as TwissB said.)”

    In contrast to that overstatement, I think that I indicated the intersectionality fad was merely the latest in a very long line of “let’s you and her fight” distractions that have exacerbated natural divisions among women reflecting differences in their life experiences. As a number of contributers to this thread have reminded us, keep your eye on the beneficiaries and enforcers of dominance. alien number’s observation on Crenshaw’s function in a male dominated academic environment rings true.

  72. GMM

    I know the patriarchy likes infighting among women, but that doesn’t change the fact that we need to seriously acknowledge and discuss white privilege and racism in the feminist movement. So many women of color have complained about feeling alienated from feminism, both funfem and radical, that it obviously is still a major problem that needs to be addressed.

  73. DaisyDeadhead

    megatheocorporatocratic

    Spelling would be an issue, I think. For me, anyway.

  74. Saurs

    Civilization doesn’t really have anything to do with etiquette (“making people act the way you think they should”)

    Of course civilization is perpetuated through etiquette, which is just a euphemism for a particular kind of coercion. Civilization is not some neutral or arbitrary designator; it belongs to a larger racist, classist set of terminology and its use to describe a social and political order has a very specific, well-documented history rooted in modern European colonialism. No coincidence, fr’instance, your well-read, high brow, and lowland Scots were bandying about the word to describe themselves (ho ho ho) ’round about the time Smith was espousing the very positive merits and advantages of cultivating homosocial bromances with the English.

    Just as a particular breed of misogynist is partial to applying Science! to his bigotry to prove the untenable theory of female inferiority, so the “invention” of a human taxonomy and, by extension, the classification of cultures from advanced to primitive (guess which was which!) coincided with and was informed by France and Greater Britain’s imperial projects, with their kinder, gentler faces of “humanitarianism.” That same guiding principle of putting the humanity back in oppression was applied at home, hence the birth in France at precisely the same time of the “reformed” criminal, the rehabilitative prison, the “free” hospital system, public welfare, all measures by which the dominant social order sought to control and, yes, civilize, the lower orders, establish in them a proper respect for their masters. The thinking being a cleaner, healthier group’a chavs, with a firmer understanding of the law (making the myth of private property a reality since Draco, or whatever), would be more pliable and ripe for further exploitation. And, if not? They could always be sent abroad to those shiny new colonies in darkest northern Africa.

    How else does “civilization” propagate itself but by both direct violence and socialization (indirect violence)? Etiquette, rules governing propriety, mannerisms, a code of behavior, call it what you will. The passing fads and impermanent sensibilities, particular to a ranking, guarded closely and carefully instilled in the young, “protecting the old ways and preserving the new.” What used to be the means by which one could instantly guess the “origins” of her interlocutor’s birth, although the demarcations are happily softening now in a lot of cultures.

    How the fuck d’ya reinforce class barriers, constructs and performances of gender, racial “classes” but through mindfucking folk with shit like etiquette? The whole basis of a civilization (the multiplication of hierarchies) is a top-down order, a statist bureaucracy that obfuscates the real source of political power and oppression, and a guarantee that the plebs and proles who make up the majority will quietly accept their lot.

    It merely alludes to a post-nomadic social structure, wherein the invention of division-of-labor enables permanent cities to be built and surpluses to be stockpiled.

    Who owns the surpluses? Wherefore the fuckin’ surpluses? How did a division of labor get “invented”? And, I’m sorry, but a hearty LOL in the direction of “post-nomadic” which implies a misguided faith that the beat marches on, that USA USA USA is the pinnacle of human history, and that those funny modern travelers, by virtue of occupying an environment decidedly hostile to agriculture, are livin’ in the past. Those white dudes who claim there are four stages, or whatever, in the history of human development? Blinkered and biased.

  75. comrade svilova

    As GMM said, it’s possible to talk about how WOC, for example, have been alienated by white feminists’ racism without fighting among ourselves. And it’s an important conversation.

  76. Jill

    Saurs, I do not argue that patriarchal forces don’t, at present, control societies that have divided labor, built cities, and stockpiled surpluses.

    I imagine that cities could still work even if the patriarchal order was brought down, though. If not I guess we’d all die, because seriously, what’s the likelihood of a global return to hunter-gathering? I think that ship sailed a few thousand years ago.

    I am sort of surprised that you infer an implication of “Go USA!” from my remarks. Nowhere do I suggest that societies that do not exhibit the three aforementioned civilization criteria are inferior to those that do. Cheeses.

  77. Lovepug

    Seems like the wind has died down and the fire fighters might be able to get a handle on things today. Hope things turn around for you – and for you too Owly.

    Geez if we could just get a break already from all these disasters. At a minimum it would make my coworkers stop speculating on the impending end-times 800 times a day.

    I’m also pretty cheesed off at how idiots on various news site comment areas are using the Texas fires as a platform for bipartisan bickering. As if that has any relevence at all to the fact that people are losing their homes. IBTP.

  78. Jill

    Hey, thanks to everyone who offered to take me in. I’ve still got those Texas phone numbers handy, but at the moment it looks like I’m not in the path of any major flames. And holy shit, good luck, Owly! That Hamilton Pool fire is a bitch.

  79. Bushfire

    TwissB said:
    In contrast to that overstatement, I think that I indicated the intersectionality fad was merely the latest in a very long line of “let’s you and her fight” distractions that have exacerbated natural divisions among women reflecting differences in their life experiences.

    This sounds to me like a repetition of what you said before. I do not buy into the intersectionality as ‘fad’ idea. It’s not a fad, it’s the truth. People, in fact, ARE oppressed by a variety of factors, and those factors have been around long before the term ‘intersectionality’.

    We agree that the people at the top of the hierarchy are the rich white hetero males, but it’s not an either/or scenario. A rich, able-bodied hetero white woman is not very oppressed. She has plenty of resources she can use to run her own life, control her own body, escape abuse, etc. She is still oppressed by a woman-hating society, but the poor women, disabled women, lesbians, etc, are more oppressed. This is not a trick to divide people-it’s just the truth.

    I’m a low-income lesbian, and I don’t need my own group of low-income lesbians to hang out with- I’m happy here, with a variety of women, to talk about issues affecting all women. Within that group, we all experience different oppressions, but that doesn’t prevent us from coming together.

  80. yttik

    “A rich, able-bodied hetero white woman is not very oppressed..”

    She is when she’s being raped, beaten and murdered, Bushfire, or so filled with self loathing she’s either starving or cutting herself. We talk about white women syndrome, the way the media always has to focus on the missing white woman. We seem to forget that she had to get herself killed to enjoy all that “privilege.” Then we start viewing oppression as a hierarchy, arguing over who is “more” oppressed, like it’s a competition or something. It becomes even sillier, because at some point those of us at the bottom turn into pecking chickens, fighting over scraps. We get into endless debates over which is worse, to be completely ignored by the media or to have your rape and murder become the object of some pornographic non stop media feeding frenzy.

    The moment oppression becomes a hierarchy and we start talking about who has “more” or declaring some woman have “none,” we have prevented ourselves from coming together.

  81. Bushfire

    No, rich, white women don’t have to get murdured to enjoy their privilege. They have the privilege to live in gated communities where they are safe walking around outside. They have the resources to leave a husband if he is abusive. They have the resources to get therapy if they are depressed. They will have an easy time getting hired for jobs. They have the resources to stay healthy (good food, gym memberships, health care, etc). They are more likely to be believed in a sexual assault case than poor women, prostituted women, etc. They have more money for lawyers.

    Yttik, I never said, and I would never say, that there are women who are not oppressed. Even rich women live in a patriarchal society. However, there are others who experience multiple layers of oppression.

    I’m not trying to play oppression olympics with you. I’m only trying to express the fact that intersectionality is a reality, not a fad.

  82. AlienNumber

    I very much disagree, Bushfire. Jill articulated this better somewhere, but we lesbians benefit from not having to deal with men in our daily lives and straight women benefit from straight privilege (although I personally do not envy them for the “privilege” of having to intimately deal with male privilege 24/7).

    As for low-income vs high-income, a study recently came out that showed that lesbians make, on average, 6% more, on the same job, than straight women. We all still make way less than (pretty much all) men in the same jobs though.

    I’m suspicious of why we even need to focus (instead of acknowledging, making a note and moving on) on what are minor differences between women, when the big issue is the difference between women and men. It’s a major waste of time to focus on the difference between what white lesbians and white hetero females make (a 6% difference, let’s say $3/hour), when both (white) lesbians and hetero women still make about 21% less than men (white or Black). I guess it’s easy to focus on that Privilege Straight White Woman (is there anyone more hated in the public eye actually, now that I think about it) but, I’m going to suggest kindly, that you’re missing the point and also, that it’s misogynistic/self-hating to focus on minor differences and on the Evil White Hetero Woman, from all people.

  83. allhellsloose

    Bushfire I have to disagree.

    I work in a sector that helps those who are disadvantged regardless of what background they come from (though we don’t help those who are in businesses). Of those who ring even women who are earning way more than the partner (always male), are robbed of their money; tricked into signing their houses into co ownership for example; paying the weekly food bill on a constant basis: even then they will always, always say that he bought the odd food shop, they drop that in to somehow mitgate the situation.

    Women who are in a relationship where the male earns way more than them, and have stayed at home, often at his bequest, to look after the family, are equally vulnerable because he will want to keep his money; he’ll have his cake and eat it. This is most distressing because she is up against a legal system that favours those with money. They are very distressed when they call. These women have put themselves wholeheartedly into the patriarchial system only to be cast aside as chattel no longer functioning. I feel for them and their offspring; they are often treated as a package. I often thought I’d smile inwardly at their hardship but this is not the case. Every woman who is shafted needs our support.

  84. allhellsloose

    Post in haste, repent at leisure.

    “Of those women who ring regarding relationship breakdown, even women who are earning way more than the partner (always male – though this is anecdotal), are robbed of their hard earned money;”

    But I know I’m on a forum where such mistakes won’t be pointed out. I feel so safe posting here. It’s great.

  85. yttik

    It’s not you, Bushfire, it’s the nature of the argument. You just can’t take down the master’s house with the master’s tools. When we start talking about intersectionality it always comes framed as a hierarchy, with these divisions that ultimately separate women and prevent us from empathizing with each other as a collective group. Your description of wealthy white women for instance, fails to take into consideration that no, they can’t just leave their abusive husbands, because much of the time they have no access to the money at all. And those gated communities might keep them safe from the stranger in the bushes but not safe from their fathers, brothers, uncles, neighbors. To much of a focus on intersectionality also fails to take individual circumstances into account. A couple of lesbians running their own business may have more autonomy then a wealthy white women whose name is not even on the bank account, who has no job experience, who is actually more likely to be murdered in her own home by someone who allegedly loves her.

    Of course women experience multiple layers of oppression, but always when we start talking about intersectionality, we start talking about divisions, about what separates us as women, about how much better somebody else has it. In the end we actually wind up reinforcing that hierarchy, promoting these patriarchal myths about each other. At that point we’re not focusing on our commonality as women, we’re not trying to build solidarity, we’re actually right back where we were, viewing other women as the enemy, envious of each other, denying each other’s reality.

    Who benefits from all this focus on white women and their privilege? It’s not WOC. It’s not white women either. It’s the patriarchy. WOC don’t want to build solidarity with white women who they perceive as racist and those white women are terrified to leave their abusive husbands and the safety of their gated communities because they fear being treated as WOC! Mission accomplished.

  86. Bushfire

    From the way y’all are talking, it sounds like lesbians have it pretty good! But they don’t, I assure you.

    I’m gonna quit talking about intersectionality now, because even I don’t think it’s worth fighting over.

    Twisty clearly focuses on women’s oppression, not intersectionality, and I love her blog. Nothing to fight over here.

  87. cin17

    A rich, able-bodied hetero white woman is not very oppressed.

    Tell that to Yeardley Love’s family and friends. Perhaps we’re not supposed to feel compassion for an able-bodied hetero white woman (and rich and blonde to boot, the nerve!) when her able-bodied rich white hetero boyfriend beats her to death, but I’m a soft touch and the case intrigues me precisely because it illustrates the fact that no woman gets a pass. We’re all chattel, some women simply have nicer cages. It will be very interesting to see whether the boyfriend is eventually convicted of murder and/or does any real prison time. (He was indicted on first degree murder this past April and his trial is scheduled to begin in February 2012.)

    To take a tangent, as a crime junkie, I’ve noticed that intra-racial crimes, especially rapes and domestic violence, are often viewed as more acceptable by society. White women belong to white men and black women belong to black men, brown women belong to brown men, and as long as the men keep the abuse within race then our social equilibrium is maintained. But once the crime becomes inter-racial, then the proverbial shit hits the fan.

    I think that’s why intersectionality falls short for me: it compartmentalizes in a similar way. It puts people into little boxes and then proceeds to look at the box structure and not the person(s) stuck inside it. And perhaps, as an ethnically ambiguous person, I’m just annoyed that folks are forever tossing me into the wrong box.

  88. Bushfire

    Intersectionality doesn’t compartmentalize people. The dominant culture compartmentalizes people.

  89. pheenobarbidoll

    “that it’s misogynistic/self-hating to focus on minor differences and on the Evil White Hetero Woman, from all people.”

    Not if you’re under the boot heel of a racist. I don’t think anyone would, as they were being lynched, exclaim ” well at least I’m being hung by a woman!”

    Sadly, I’ve read some mighty racist comments from radical feminists on this very blog. Not all were straight, not all were able bodied but they all were, in fact, white.

    And in this country at least, white and male go hand in hand on the Domination ladder. White male is the tippy top, but all those top rungs include white for a good ways.

    You can ignore that, but I can’t.

  90. Kali

    A rich, able-bodied hetero white woman is not very oppressed..

    Yes, she is – by sexism and misogyny. The above statement doesn’t make any sense unless one thinks that sexism and misogyny are not very oppressive. The above statement implies that class-based, ability-based, sexual-orientation-based, race-based oppressions are very oppressive, but sex-based oppression isn’t. This is the problem with the whole discourse surrounding intersectionality. It co-opts feminism and attempts to convert it into a women’s auxiliary of the anti-racist, anti-homophobic, anti-classist, anti-ablist movement, which is why the liberal dudes love intersectionality so much.

  91. Bushfire

    Jesus fucking Christ. Yes, Kali, I frequent this blog and sing Twisty’s praises all the time because I think that sexism and misogyny are not very oppressive.

    I need a margarita.

  92. No Sugarcoating

    “A rich, able-bodied hetero white woman is not very oppressed.”

    I was with you until this part, Bushfire. It sounds like you’re saying oppression based solely on the fact that you are female is not very oppressive. I don’t know how else this statement can be read.

    “They have the resources to leave a husband if he is abusive. They have the resources to get therapy if they are depressed. They will have an easy time getting hired for jobs. They have the resources to stay healthy (good food, gym memberships, health care, etc). They are more likely to be believed in a sexual assault case than poor women, prostituted women, etc. They have more money for lawyers.”

    They will have an easy time getting hired for jobs? Really? I agree, as a general rule, WOC have it harder than white women, but it’s not a walk in the park for anyone. Those abused white women live in the same society that says a woman is only worth the man she married. Before amassing resources to leave him, one needs to actually want to. White women are not immune to Stockholm Syndrome or poverty or prostitution or sexual expectations. When they are raped, it’s still very damn unlikely that they will be believed. The idea of these women being treated like queens is just not reality.

  93. Kali

    A relevant quote from Catherine MacKinnon:

    Unlike other women, the white woman who is not poor or working class or lesbian or Jewish or disabled or old or young does not share her oppression with any man. That does not make her condition any more definitive of the meaning of “women” than the condition of any other woman is. But trivializing her oppression, because it is not even potentially racist or class-biased or heterosexist or anti-Semitic, does define the meaning of being “anti-woman” with a special clarity. How the white woman is imagined and constructed and treated becomes a particularly sensitive indicator of the degree to which women, as such, are despised.

  94. AlienNumber

    From the way y’all are talking, it sounds like lesbians have it pretty good! But they don’t, I assure you.

    And who voted you Queen of the Lesbians who can now tout on behalf of all of us?

    As a lesbian, I have it pretty good (because of the lesbian part) and I don’t envy straight women.
    [I personally love being a lesbian and would not change it for anything.]

  95. Cimarron

    Bushfire, I’ll drink a margarita with you. I’ve lurked for years and posted exactly once before. It’s no accident that black feminist and womanist scholars are the ones with the most to say about the nuances this thread is trying to talk about re the intersection of gender, race, class, etc. I get what your sayin’. I guess its hard to cop to even the obvious differences between women, without everyone having to defend their turf. No one on this thread seems to be trying to diminish the experiences of the composite rich, white, hetero, gated-community-but-with-no-access-to the checkbook woman. But, how can anyone work towards smashing the patriarchy if we can’t even acknowledge the distinctly different, unpleasant taste of patriarchy as experienced say, by a woman of color? Intersectionality is just one way of applying some academic rigor to trying to describe these myriad experiences, rather than the token, off-the-cuff “and we know different women are also victims of misogyny”, and then moving right along. You can understand, that sometimes, sometimes, the lack of real analysis of this can be quite frustrating.

  96. AlienNumber

    “Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender” -Alice Walker.

  97. Kali

    Cimmaron, I think it is a good idea to look at how sex-based oppression works against women of different backgrounds (races, classes, etc.). The keyword here is “sex-based”. However, whenever I have been in a discussion about intersectionality, 99 times out of 100, it has a distinct flavor of “what’s that white privileged bitch complaining about?”. And behind that attitude is the thinking that sex-based oppression is not as bad as race-based, class-based etc. oppression.

  98. Bushfire

    And who voted you Queen of the Lesbians who can now tout on behalf of all of us?

    As a lesbian, I have it pretty good (because of the lesbian part) and I don’t envy straight women.
    [I personally love being a lesbian and would not change it for anything.]

    So I’m not Queen of the Lesbians, but you are?

    Nobody here is queen. I’ve seen how my partner was harassed out of her job just for being a lesbian and is now dealing with PTSD. But sure, she has it great!

    Fuck.

  99. AlienNumber

    “So I’m not Queen of the Lesbians, but you are?”

    No. Jill is.

    I know self-pity can feel great, but there are some advantages to being a lesbian and some big disadvantages to being a straight woman and viceversa. It’s not a simple hetero female > lesbian equation, as tempting as it may be to think so.
    Also, straight women also get harassed on the job, all the time. Take off the blinders, please. Straight women are not the enemy.

  100. BlackLurker

    “Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender” – Alice Walker.

    And your point, AlienNumber?

    phennobarbidoll, cimarron: I hear ya/feel ya. Thanks, Bushfire for hanging in there, but thankfully Jill made your point eloquently and that is why I continue to read her blog. I learn a lot from this blog and its comments, but as pheeno said, I have read some pretty racist stuff on here and that’s pretty disheartening. At the same time, it underscores why intersectionality has its merits.

  101. pheenobarbidoll

    “But trivializing her oppression, because it is not even potentially racist or class-biased or heterosexist ”

    Ah…so when WOC speak up about their own oppression and don’t feel quite as bad for wealthy, white women (who engage in oppressing too) then we’re trivializing white women’s oppression.

    As opposed to, yanno, having heard it because it’s dominated the damn discussion since oh…suffrage.

    I know what white women feel, think, like, dislike and how they get treated, who treats them that way, where it happens, what they were doing when it happened, how the felt when it happened, who they told or didn’t tell when it happened and I know all this because there are a million blogs on the subject, feminism is dominated by white women, most public feminists are white, most feminist authors are white and the white perspective is not unfamiliar to any POC on the face of the planet. I even know what white feminists think WOC motives are, because that white feminist perspective gets quoted every other damn post.

    So yes, how white women are treated is the indicator of how all women are despised because god knows the white woman is the center of the Universe. The default. The standard by which all other women should measure themselves. And so long as we do not DARE point out that we might get a bigger slice o shit pie, it’s all good. Because then we’d be playing the oppression olympics (because it’s a fucking game right? and race is the trump card we are soooo unfairly advantaged to have) and white women would feel trivialized.

    *head desk*

  102. pheenobarbidoll

    Oh and before I hear any ” white women aren’t the enemy” comments, allow me to pre-address it:

    No, they aren’t. But they haven’t been very good friends, either. I learned this lesson recently even though I should have known better.

  103. yttik

    The problem is that the grass is always greener on the other side of the septic tank. Somebody’s always going to be worse off than you and somebody is always going to have it better. Comparing ourselves to other people always leads to misery.

    Within just a few comments we’ve already set up an oppression hierarchy which serves to dismiss real women’s actual experiences. We’re already accusing each other of being “Queen of the lesbians” or accusing each other of whitesplaining. That’s what always happens, that’s how it works, that’s the problem with the way we frame intersectionality. It’s framed as a hierarchy, a dominant/submissive paradigm, that will always lead to the inevitable accusations of somebody being uppity or somebody being dismissive. Separate, divide, control, works every time.

    For a break from all this heavy stuff, I had a good laugh watching Billy the Exterminator learn how to humanely get rid of geese from the NC Goosebusters. Not sure if the Goosebusters are a lesbian couple, but the rainbow colored umbrellas they handed out for goose self defense seemed like a good clue. I have no idea where those two women fall on the oppression scale, but I sure hope they’re having as good a time as they appeared to be. I enjoyed watching them in action.

  104. Linda

    Actually,it’s not the time for distractions, when racism is pointed out. It’s the time to step back, shutup and listen.

    Where did the idea come from, that lesbians don’t have to deal with men in their daily lives?? I wish! Just because we don’t partner with them all the time doesn’t mean we’re not still surrounded by them and their constant stream of abuse/harassment/violence/discrimination. We also deal with abusive fathers, brothers, sons, teachers and neighbours. Not all lesbians are rich and white btw.

  105. yttik

    “It’s the time to step back, shutup and listen.”

    Hello! Woman of color here being told to sit down, shut up and listen, while the ways of the world are explained to her. Now people will proceed to remind me of my place in this hierarchy and to make sure I never forget it.

    Peace people. Other women are not the enemy.

  106. pheenobarbidoll

    It’s only “framed” like that if you’re afraid someone might get an extra trophy or some shit for having more layers of oppression.

    WOC deal with sexism AND racism. That’s not a hierarchy of anything. It’s just a fact.

    I don’t feel threatened or trivialized by listening when my het privilege is pointed out. I can manage to grasp that, sympathize and not tell the person that she’s trying to win the oppression Olympics. I can manage to not tell her that it’s not reaaaally homophobia, it’s just sexism with a different name. (speaking of trivializing) And I certainly don’t tell her ” well, I’m just focusing on WOMEN right now” because hello? Lesbians ARE WOMEN.

    Just like WOC are also women.

    Racism IS a woman’s “issue”. So no, it’s not the women reacting to being told it’s not that are making it a hierarchy. It’s my refusal to compartmentalized part of my identity and pretend I’m only a woman and not a WOC. I don’t have an identity exacto knife. Sorry.

  107. pheenobarbidoll

    yttik, just to let you know because I left it out- I’m not accusing you of feeling threatened or trivialized.

    I am, however, pointing out that what you described is exactly what privilege looks like when it’s called out. Suddenly, it’s being divisive, or turning it into a hierarchy.

    But ignoring it doesn’t?

  108. Linda

    yttik, I should have made it clearer, that I am addressing the racism and white privilege denialism that occurs on this space. My apologies for making a mess of it.

  109. pheenobarbidoll

    It reminds me of so called progressive men saying ” I’m a humanist, and bringing up women’s oppression is just divisive, can’t we just focus on human oppression?”.

    The implication is that women aren’t human and don’t have different oppressions, unique to them.

    When I read ” we should all focus on women and their oppression, racism is just a branch of sexism” I hear the same thing. WOC aren’t WOC, they’re just Of Color and that doesn’t mean as much as the Woman part. It’s almost the Color Blind argument.

    It’s not divisive to include the Of Color part, or even demand it not get left out for later. It’s a desire to be included, and have ALL of the WOC included. Not just the W.

    I hope that makes more sense.

  110. MezzoPiana

    “Actually,it’s not the time for distractions, when racism is pointed out. It’s the time to step back, shutup and listen.”

    Hear fucking hear.

    I see these discussions about racism vs. feminism and when the white women are yacking like this I can’t hear anything but the refrain of the MRAs insisting women aren’t more oppressed than men at all. I’m half expecting someone to suggest it’s actually black women’s fault they aren’t more prominent in feminism.

    There’s intersectionality alright. Oh yes there is.

  111. Saurs

    (Jill, in the cold and sober light of day, I fear I was tone-trolling you there. My previous comment was terse and snippy. Actually, it was super-long, self-righteous, not particularly clever or kind, confusing, and snippy. You’re correct that you didn’t imply inferior cultures and ways-o’livin’ that don’t resemble our own, but I suppose I got unnecessarily riled by the post-nomadic riff, which I object to on grounds previously discussed. My apologies. I didn’t mean to characterize you as being pro-American. Lard and dog fucking forbid.)

  112. Kristine

    Fuck it. I was going to say something enlightening about how racism is an oppression in its own right, and because it exists WOC will be affected by sexism in different ways than white women; and how I feel I’ve actually benefited from this discussion of the racism within the feminist movement because it’s made me more aware of my own privilege, but no. There’s nothing I can say here that won’t just add fuel to the fire. So instead, I’m gonna quote from Twisty’s Guidelines for Commenters:

    “Kindly note that when feminists of whiteness exercise white feminist privilege, even when unintended, it is experienced by feminists of color as racism.

    One thing I have learned from doing this blog lo these past 5 years is that when a reasonable person tells you you’re oppressin’em, you’re oppressin’em. The only rational course of action is a) to stop being defensive and b) to cop to it, already. Because if you’re white, it is a foregone conclusion that your whiteness accrues benefits not offered to anyone else, and that these benefits will often be invisible to you. A foregone conclusion, I tell you.”

    Yeah. What she said.

  113. Ex-Advertising

    The patriarchy, by default, devises a caste system to group people into hierarchies. Race, sexual orientation, income, class, country of origin, and so many more factors determine where the patriarchy “ranks” you. Part of the fight against the patriarchy MUST include fighting its unspoken but painfully obvious caste system.

    Events like tonight’s GOP debate really illustrate this wonderfully for me, because all of the nutjobs flock like flies to honey to comment on the newswire stories, and the various media outlets with their stupid biased commentary come out with battle axes a-swinging. People will call Michelle Bachmann a “bitch” tonight, and will certainly comment on her appearance while ignoring what her male rivals look like, but she’s excused from the more vicious comments levied at Michelle Obama, likening her to wild animals and so on because of her skin color.

    Why is it 2011 and we can recoil in horror at the way the media and the America people treat (white) female Presidential candidates, but we can’t acknowledge what’s being said about Michelle (and Barack) Obama? Or, when we do, we’re accused of playing “the race card” even when the cruelty stares us right in the face? That speaks volumes to me.

  114. Barn Owl

    Wish the fire danger would disappear for all of us Texas blamers, but the weather situation doesn’t look hopeful for the next week at least. This is a very bad drought year, and I don’t care what my ornery colleagues mutter about the 1950s – we have messed up the planet, perhaps irreversibly.

    Jill, I can arrange an equine crash pad in the Castroville area, especially if yours are all happy together in the same paddock. Electrobraid, no barbed wire. Can help with transport too if necessary, with a six-horse stock trailer and an F-250.

  115. Fede

    It should not have to be divisive to acknowledge that women’s fates are not interchangeable. All women don’t suffer identical oppressions; some are targeted by more oppressions than sexism, and that is no footnote. Especially if they are being sidelined even within the supposedly safe feminist spaces.

    How is it Olympics to acknowledge the hugeness of racism? No one is saying that white women have nothing to complain about. They are saying white privilege is real.

    Denying the uniqueness of other oppressions than sexism is disrespectful to the blamers who live those oppressions every day and cannot just parenthesise them or put them aside. This is why, when we insist on focussing only on what we all have in common, it never brings us closer together. Instead it makes life harder still for those who are already feeling and being marginalised.

    We need sister solidarity, and working to abolish racism is part of creating that solidarity between feminists of colour and white feminists.

    There’s plenty of righteous rage to go around. Why not get mad about all the injustices that our sisters suffer.

  116. cin17

    Intersectionality doesn’t compartmentalize people. The dominant culture compartmentalizes people.

    (Not directed at Bushfire, just taking this quote as a jumping point.)

    Well, that explains why intersectionality falls short for me. It perpetuates the compartmentalization established by the dominant culture. Having lived life as either the permanent outsider or the unintentional guest, my perspective (and abhorrence of relegation) reveals that intersectionality gets some things right, and some things wrong. It is an imperfect concept informed by a disastrous social system. And there’s as good a chance as not that those who point out intersectionality’s flaws may be trying to undo the knots that tether it to the dominant culture. Don’t shoot the messenger, and don’t assume the messenger fits in any of its predetermined boxes.

  117. Nimravid

    I also hope you’re safe, Jill.

    cin17, sorry to be a little late to respond, but that was an educational and depressing answer about the patriarchy being a means to control reproduction. Sorry for jumping to the defensive. I have heard so many arguments about how women are supposedly exempt from evolution; that men’s competition is what matters and voila, if you rationalize backwards from the system we have, then isn’t it obvious that patriarchy is just natural and somehow passed on genetically?

    There are so many systems that do work in nature. Males being helpers to their female relatives is one of them – his sisters’ genes are his genes too, so helping her and her children out is even in his self-interest. Nothing else in nature has this elaborate system of cruelty and control and rationalization of it. It didn’t just evolve, people are putting a lot of energy into making it work. It just never makes sense to me why. Maybe I should have studied anthropology instead of genetics.

  118. GMM

    I’ve heard many white middle-class men dismiss feminism on the grounds that it’s just a white middle-class movement. But they bring this up not to open up an honest dialogue between women about race or heal any divide between women, they use it to silence the issue of women’s rights completely. So maybe that’s part of where the defensiveness is coming from, I don’t know. It’s obviously completely different when women of color say they feel alienated by the feminist movement. I’m not sure why I shouldn’t believe that or why discussing it would, in any way, take away from what all women are fighting for. We’re all grown ups, I think we can handle it.

    “It reminds me of so called progressive men saying ‘I’m a humanist, and bringing up women’s oppression is just divisive, can’t we just focus on human oppression?’.”

    That’s a great analogy, pheenobarbidoll.

  119. Phledge

    I bet we could make a fuckton if we invented an oppression calculator. Just put in your qualifications and it’ll generate a score! The one with the highest score is the WINNER!

    The prize is still a shit sandwich.

  120. TwissB

    @Bushfire: “I do not buy into the intersectionality as ‘fad’ idea. It’s not a fad, it’s the truth. People, in fact, ARE oppressed by a variety of factors, and those factors have been around long before the term ‘intersectionality’”

    It’s not this or any other fad term that is the truth. The truth is the fact you cite that “people are oppressed by a variety of factors, and those factors have been around long before the term ‘intersectionality.’” Right, so why focus on the term instead of on the truth that, among this blog’s advanced blamers at least, is a truth universally acknowledged, if I may borrow a phrase.

  121. AlienNumber

    “Not if you’re under the boot heel of a racist. I don’t think anyone would, as they were being lynched, exclaim ‘well at least I’m being hung by a woman!’”

    Well, of course not, but I’ll venture to say that it’s because there were no and are no female executioners (or female hangmen, to use dated language).

    [But I guess the sex is irrelevant to you, pheenobarbidoll, as long as it's somebody white doing the lynching. Except the moment that the sex of the perpetrator becomes invisible that's when we have a huge feminist, or lack thereof, problem.]

  122. shopstewardess

    It’s difficult to solve a problem (e.g. patriarchy) without first identifying it and then understanding it. But if we stop at identifying and understanding, we have stopped before we’ve got to the solution to the problem, unless of course it is purely an academic problem with no application in the real world. Sadly, patriarchy is all too real, even for those of us who suffer only one, or some, of all its manifestations.

    As far as I can see, intersectionality provides a more detailed identification of the many problems arising from patriarchy than was previously available. It may also provide a more detailed understanding of the problems arising from patriarchy. As far as I am aware, intersectionality does not provide any solutions to the problems of patriarchy. After a certain point, concentrating on intersectionality is therefore a distraction from moving on to the solution. It is in the interests of the patriarchy to provide and foster that distraction. I acknowledge (personal anecdote warning) that I first learned about oppression-industry concepts of multiple oppressions and intersectionality from a white man, which has coloured my attitude to their further intellectual discussion. So I’d be interested to hear whether any solutions to patriarchy have come out of the discussion of intersectionality.

    The solution to patriarcy, as I have learned here, is revolution.

    And reading this over, I hope no-one is offended by my reference to the “oppression industry”. I’ve had 25 years worth of what started out being known as “equality training”, and the patriarchy is still as racist and sexist as it ever was: the only minor difference is that some of the non-privileged have been better able to learn to adapt themselves to it. The privileged haven’t changed at all: they haven’t had to.

  123. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Yes, yttik, I got a kick outta the NC Goosebusters too. Flocks of them roam our campus at will, terrorizing pedestrians during gosling season. Not that I blame them. And seeing traffic halted for a parade of goose parents and offspring warms my cockles.

    But piles of goosepoop decorate the sidewalks. I could write a paper on the viscosity of gooseshit, having wiped out in it a couple of times.

  124. Jill

    I would urge anyone who has a problem with the concept of “intersectionality” to just stop using that word. What it describes are the effects of patriarchal oppression. The Patriarchy. Which we all, presumably, blame.

    Mang, I’m weirded out by this “what about the white feminists?!!” theme.

    Look, when white ladies say they feel attacked whenever someone tries to shine the spotlight of blame on an aspect of oppression that the white ladies don’t themselves experience, I have this to say: suck it up, white lady. You’re white, you wield privilege; it’s as simple as that. You wish you didn’t, but at the same time you’re glad you do. Admit it.

    Is that where the defensiveness comes from? From the shame of hypocrisy? Or is it that, with your accustomed privilege, you feel entitled to all the oppression-generated righteous indignation?

    If one is engaged in the fight against oppression, it is not a “distraction” to study the effects of oppression. There is a distraction though, it comes from white ladies trying to maintain the untenable position that discourse on racism et al is a distraction.

    Don’t worry, white feminists! After the revolution, you won’t have any unseemly privilege to jealously guard anymore, and you will be free.

  125. Kali

    Intersectionality (or whatever you want to call it) gets in the way of female solidarity. It sets up divisions and competition and mistrust and jealousy among women (white against black, poor against rich, straight against lesbian, young against old). We need female solidarity to fight the patriarchy and these kinds of discussions get in the way of that by pitting women against each other. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t look at and fight against racism, classism, homophobia, etc. But when we feminize these issues, that’s when we drive a wedge between women. Some people seem to believe that feminizing the issues of racism, classism and all the other “isms” is a feminist thing to do. In my experience, it is very anti-feminist.

  126. pheenobarbidoll

    “But I guess the sex is irrelevant to you, pheenobarbidoll, as long as it’s somebody white doing the lynching.”

    Given that they’re the ones with the history of doing the lynching, that’s not unreasonable.

    The reverse racism implication is cute though. Thanks.

  127. pheenobarbidoll

    ” We need female solidarity to fight the patriarchy and these kinds of discussions get in the way of that by pitting women against each other.”

    These kinds of discussions only arise when privileged defend their privilege.

    It’s hard to have female solidarity when you also have to worry that the woman standing next to you will throw you under the race bus.

  128. Kali

    Look, when white ladies say they feel attacked whenever someone tries to shine the spotlight of blame on an aspect of oppression that the white ladies don’t themselves experience, I have this to say: suck it up, white lady. You’re white, you wield privilege; it’s as simple as that. You wish you didn’t, but at the same time you’re glad you do. Admit it.

    I’m not white. I’m of Indian origin, very brown-skinned. I still hate “intersectionality”.

  129. AlienNumber

    The reverse racism implication is cute though. Thanks.

    No, I was actually accusing you of sexism.

  130. Kali

    These kinds of discussions only arise when privileged defend their privilege.

    Are you accusing me, a WOC, of defending my white privilege?

  131. buttercup

    Jill said

    “Is that where the defensiveness comes from? From the shame of hypocrisy? Or is it that, with your accustomed privilege, you feel entitled to all the oppression-generated righteous indignation?”

    I think it’s more that white privilege is something we can’t get rid of. Shame that we have it. Fear that we’ll lose it. Something that sets us apart from our sisters of color that we can’t cast off and we’re guilty about it. It gives us advantages we can’t convey to our sisters, no matter how much we want to. It’s confusing and difficult to deal with. Many push back hard when privilege is pointed out because they know it but they don’t know how to change it. They don’t know that the only thing you CAN do is use your privilege to help others who don’t have it, any way you can. It’s hard. Especially when the patriarchy is content, even happy, to have us at each other’s throats.

  132. Bushfire

    Jill, everything you say is right on, and fucking fabulous. Come to Canada and marry me!

  133. sjaustin

    Kali, are you suggesting that we ignore the fact that women are affected by racism, classism, and other -isms? We should ignore that women tend to be affected by racism, classism, ableism, etc. differently than men are, and that white middle-class women tend to experience misogyny in different ways than WOC, poor women, disabled women?

  134. pheenobarbidoll

    “No, I was actually accusing you of sexism.”

    Even cuter.

  135. pheenobarbidoll

    “Are you accusing me, a WOC, of defending my white privilege?”

    No, I’m accusing the privileged (and you’ll notice the post I was responding to listed off numerous privileges) of defending their privilege.

    Simple, innit?

  136. amrit

    Jill: “Is that where the defensiveness comes from? From the shame of hypocrisy? Or is it that, with your accustomed privilege, you feel entitled to all the oppression-generated righteous indignation?”

    Likely the latter for me. With a goodly dose of shame thrown in, as well. I grew up in a town with violent race wars, busing, and overt unmediated racism. I thought of myself as a peacemaker, but when it got really dangerous, I hid out. For a long time I thought being poor (as a child) and female entitled me to assume that I actually knew anything about the experiences of women of color. Many painful friendships, confrontations, and much work on my part. I’m still learning every day. I do not think a cold hard look at our racism and our privilege is a distraction from any larger work. It is the work.

  137. Cimarron

    Two comments in two days! Posting on this blog is like the sweet, creamy crack. Pheeno, I second every last one of your comments. Shopstewardess, the “term which shall not be named” is not a solution in and of itself, I agree. But,to make it a little more real world, try this. Say you’re a well-meaning local official and you’re designing, oh, I don’t know, a domestic violence program or a child-care program, or an emergency evacuation program. Using the term that rhymes with schminterschmectionality to be certain you understand how your well-intentioned actions will impact your intended beneficiaries can be the difference between success, failure, or a damaging clusterfuck. If there is some other framework, then by all means, use that instead. But ignoring it or just relying on our own experience means that we’re all left at the mercy of our own hidden biases.

  138. pheenobarbidoll

    And you SHOULD notice, since you listed off more than 1.

    “white against black, poor against rich, straight against lesbian, young against old”

    White is privileged, rich is privileged, straight is privileged, youth is privileged etc.

    But point that out and you’re sexist and divisive. That’s so backwards it’s ridiculous. WOC wanting to be included, but not subjected to racism isn’t being divisive.

    Poor women wanting to be included but not treated as unwashed morons isn’t divisive.

    And so on.

    I’d like to be included in the feminist revolution. I’m a pretty damn good soldier in that particular arena. But I am sick to death of white feminists running me down with their privilege. And it never, ever ever fails to happen.

    It happens on other blogs. It happened on a board I helped start. It even happened on a damn Facebook Feminist group with women I considered friends for years. The hot second I get comfortable, I get kicked in the teeth. So you’ll just have to excuse my ass if I flinch.

    I’m not going to protect myself from racism in a manner subject to your or anyone else’s approval.

  139. nails

    What pheeno is saying is totally true and it is bullshit. How do we purge our ranks of people who are willfully ignorant of racism and classism as matters of equal urgency? If we don’t condemn the behavior then we are giving approval through silence. We can speak out about it but it doesn’t seem like it deters anyone in a real sense because WOC are so under-represented, so there are few real consequences for acting shitty. We need to get as angry about having racist people on our spaces as we do about having dudes show up.

  140. pheenobarbidoll

    Oh and AlienNumber, don’t think I haven’t noticed that in your zeal for Women First, you’ve flat out ignored the fact that other women are the ones sticking their knife of ignorant racism in my back in favor of telling ME (the one NOT sticking knives in fellow women’s backs) to stop complaining and excuse them because they’re fellow women. They aren’t the enemy. Tell that to the knife. Feels like something an enemy would do, yet here I am still. Still on the feminist blog, still fighting the P.

    I’m sexist for reacting to *their* racism? Well what they fuck are they for being racist to a fellow woman in the first place?

    My list of people I hope to help by fighting the P is more inclusive than yours, so..what? I’m not welcome in the fight?

    Just say the word honey.

  141. AlienNumber

    Maybe it’s cute to you, but it’s really not cute to state as fact that white WOMEN murdered your people when it was in fact white MEN. Small details I guess.

  142. pheenobarbidoll

    Yeah, guess I’ll have to go tell family members and their neighbors that when they were being beaten by white women teachers (one neighbors son was killed…but that wasn’t murder I suppose since a woman did it) at Indian schools that it wasn’t violence and it wasn’t murder.

    And the white lady leaning out the side of her boyfriends redneck truck with a baseball bat who put my 2nd cousin in the ER, well that was just an accident because she’s a woman after all and white women don’t kill brown people and never, ever have.

    Sarah Palin didn’t try to starve Native Indians in Alaska in favor of sports fishing industries. Women don’t do that.

    You’re right AN. No white woman has ever done anything to anyone in my culture, and those incidences I either witnessed personally or saw the aftermath of, well they’re just a result of my sexism and not real.

  143. Cimarron

    AlienNumber, I didn’t want to go here but in light of your above comment, I have to. Please read more history. Specifically about the lynchings that occurred in the South up through 1960. You might want to start with a book called “Southern Horrors: Women and the Politics of Rape and Lynching”.

    Here is an excerpt: “White women allegedly raped by black men were often allowed to choose their attackers’ punishments and frequently helped mutilate, burn, and shoot the newly hung bodies. Instead of being called unwomanly for their public role in the bloodshed, female lynchers were praised as exemplary protectors of the race. As late as 1934, white women and children still attended lynchings as enthralled spectators (this is documented in numerous photographs of the era). White women’s groups didn’t formally acknowledge that most lynchings had nothing to do with rape until after women won the vote, for which they had long felt in competition with black men.”

  144. yttik

    “You’re white, you wield privilege; it’s as simple as that. You wish you didn’t, but at the same time you’re glad you do. Admit it.”

    It’s not white women I’m concerned about, it’s WOC. A statement like this holds up white as the ideal and declares that privilege is desirable. That’s certainly what the patriarchy does, so many WOC drag out the bleach, the hair straighteners, the chemicals, and try to emulate this cultural ideal. Everyone wants more “privilege” right? But what is this great white woman ideal, really? It’s being a pornulated distortion of femininity, a sexual commodity, it’s eating disorders, self loathing, domestic violence, and rape. It’s putting your half naked 10 yr old daughter in some French fashion mag. It’s that teen addict chic Twisty wrote about recently. It’s Tots in Tiaras and Dance Moms. White privilege, you’re glad you have it, right? Oh hell no. You couldn’t pay me to have it. If this is the ideal, count me out.

    As a WOC, I don’t benefit one bit from focusing on white privilege or from having white women “cop to it.” In fact, once I finally let go of the myth of the great white woman and her alleged privilege, I threw off a few layers of oppression I didn’t even realize I was carrying around. I certainly don’t want to be a blond supermodel anymore nor do I find myself lacking for being so far at the other end of the scale.

    This is not to say that racism isn’t real or that it shouldn’t be discussed. I’m not saying that WOC shouldn’t confront white feminists. I just think intersectionality reduces the whole discussion to labels and patriarchal stereotypes and attempts to define women’s experiences academically, rather than allowing individual women to do it themselves. If you want to know how a black lesbian feminist experiences the world, you should ask her, not start checking boxes off on an intersectionality chart. She’s not a collection of stereotypes, she’s a person with her own individual experiences in the world.

  145. pheenobarbidoll

    “If you want to know how a black lesbian feminist experiences the world, you should ask her”

    Can’t speak for her, but I get tired of answering the same question over and over and over. From the same people. On the same blog.

  146. Kali

    Kali, are you suggesting that we ignore the fact that women are affected by racism, classism, and other -isms?

    No, I did not say that.

    We should ignore that women tend to be affected by racism, classism, ableism, etc. differently than men are,

    No, I did not say that.

    and that white middle-class women tend to experience misogyny in different ways than WOC, poor women, disabled women?

    No, I did not say that.

    None of the above is problematic. What is problematic is focusing on women as racist, classist, heterosexist oppressors. This is what intersectionality does and this is why white men love it so much and this is why some of us, even those of us who do not have the privilege being attacked, but are women, do not like it.

    Just as an example, I have a friend and the two most common phrases out of her mouth are “he’s such a cutie” and “she’s such a bitch”. When a man is being sexist, that is explained away as “that’s how Italians are”, or that’s “their culture”. When a man is being racist, classist, that barely registers. When a woman is just existing while white, not saying anything, not doing anything, she’s “a racist bitch”. What about her close friends who are white? Her closest friend is Irish with snow white skin, green eyes, red hair. But she’s not “white white”. I swear, that is what she said. I guess because her friend is not hateable. White women not supporting Obama are “racist bitches”. But she repeatedly claimed that “just because Hillary is a woman doesn’t mean she is good for women”. She doesn’t hate white people, rich people. She hates white women, rich women.

  147. buttercup

    Yttik, I don’t think white is the ideal, by any means, but in this world that we actually live in and seek to change, being white confers privilege. My hope is someday that will no longer be the case, but until it is, white women (and men) need to use their privilege to help those who don’t have it. It may be pollyannaish of me to hope that this change can be facilitated from within.

  148. AlienNumber

    “You’re right AN. No white woman has ever done anything to anyone in my culture, and those incidences I either witnessed personally or saw the aftermath of, well they’re just a result of my sexism and not real.”

    They are real. They are also not a majority of what happens. Women, white or not, do not inflict the majority of the violence, at least not against men and definitely not against other women.

    I am very suspicious however of you privileging whatever violence women do do, over what the men do. It’s like you’re missing the forest because you’re stuck looking at 3 trees.
    This, to me, feels like sexism. I don’t know how else to explain it.

  149. pheenobarbidoll

    Ok I just had an idea. Bear with me:

    I am fortunate to have a white Lesbian Feminist woman as a very close friend. She and I often discuss our experiences, and there’s no tension or misunderstandings because we trust each other. She trusts me even though I have straight privilege out the ass. I trust her even though she has white privilege out the ass.

    What if a board was started that paired people off as Mentor Friends, where everyone found a friend of the opposite privilege so to speak? Or simply acted as a large social group of women with different backgrounds, cultures and life experiences where the sole purpose of the board was to serve as an exchange of experiences? Questions could be asked and answered, and the format would be ” this is where you can ask sincere questions that you were hesitant (for whatever reason) to ask”.

    Would anyone be interested in that?

  150. pheenobarbidoll

    “They are also not a majority of what happens”

    No fucking shit.

    “over what the men do.”

    It’s. Not. Over. What. Men. Do.

    I’m already fighting the P which is basically MEN. What I’m saying is that I’m tired of having to ALSO look over my shoulder to make sure that white woman fighting on my side isn’t aiming a kick at my head. Either intentionally or not.

    I’m already being attacked by men simply because I’m a woman. Can I for fucking once not be blindsided by the women I’m fighting along side too?

    Is that really too much to fucking ask or so damn complicated you can’t GET what I’m saying?

  151. Cootie Twoshoes

    I like your Mentor Friends idea, pheeno.

  152. AlienNumber

    pheenobarbidoll, your assumptions that all white women are the same and that we (women, white or not) don’t already have “diverse” friends are extremely mind-boggling (to me at least).

    Oh, and congrats on your White Lesbian Feminist friend! A “but I have a Black friend” moment, if I’ve ever heard one.

    Peace.

  153. Twilljot

    I’m still new to the concepts here, but yttik, AlienNumber, and Kali:

    I thought the whole point of radfem thought was that it dispensed with liberal individualism and focused on institutions and political systems. So, in the same way that “But not MY Nigel!” is no defense against criticism of heteronormative activity, “But I’M a WOC!” is no defense against criticism of racially biased activity. If there are institutional patterns of oppression, any particular counter example (e.g. lesbian business owners vs straight housewife) is an anecdote, not an argument.

  154. pheenobarbidoll

    I’m not assuming anything AN. I’m offering a space for WOMEN (you know, those people you accuse me of not giving a shit about) who DO NOT have diversity of friends (and no, not all women have that luxury, many that post on this very blog have even, over the years, talked about having NO friends AT ALL, no social circles of any kind and feel isolated) or who would LIKE to participate a place to gather together and get questions answered, forge friendships (and therefore build solidarity) and do so in a safe manner.

    My example of my friend was to explain how our friendship led to trust, which led to open discussions about our experiences that did not take the form of ” I’m ignorant, please teach me or how else will I know and it won’t be my fault!” that DOES take that form often, in many feminist circles.

    It wasn’t a ” I have a Lesbian friend so I am an authority on all things Lesbian” which is what the ” I have a X friend” IS, you fucking moron.

  155. yttik

    I like the Mentor/Friends idea, Pheeno. That’s kind of the model I hope to see on blogs like this one. The internet in some ways has opened up new possibilities because rather than seeing someone in person and jumping to preconceived notions about them, we’re invisible, anonymous behind a keyboard. Stereotypes don’t instantly apply (unless you start typing from the Dude’s Dummie Manual and out yourself.)

    Stereotypes really bother me. In real life last night I got out of my car and a woman said, “oh, is this your car?” Nice woman, but as she looked me up and down she was clicking off stereotypes, crappy car, poverty, WOC, must mean lack of education..who knows what other quick judgements she was making but I was already diminished in her eyes and I hadn’t even got out of the f-ing car yet. She knows all about white privilege and racism and is oh so aware, but to tell the truth, I think I’d prefer to just encounter and out and out racist.

    “…white women (and men) need to use their privilege to help those who don’t have it..’

    This scares me, Buttercup. It conjurs up images of do-gooders, of pity, of having somebody of privilege decide what’s best for me. White people have a long history of delivering some atrocious forms of “help.” Not everyone will agree with me, but I’d prefer white women just focus on their own oppression rather than on their privilege.

  156. pheenobarbidoll

    http://theangryblackwoman.com/2011/08/07/of-activists-feminism-mammy-issues/

    A Quote to sum it the hell up (replace Black with Indian for me personally)

    “1. If your biggest complaint about American black women & their activism is that they are so focused on their fight that they aren’t willing to fight your battles? It might be time to examine your internalized Mammy issues.

    2. If you think we owe you admission to our spaces & silence while you’re in them? It might be time to examine your internalized Mammy issues.

    3. If you think we owe you our time, energy, & passion and you owe us nothing? It is time to examine your Mammy issues.

    I’m not here to clean up your mess, carry your spear, hold your hand, or cheer you own while I suffer in silence. I’m not here to raise your children, assuage your guilt, build your platforms, or fight your battles. If you don’t like the spaces that we’ve carved out for ourselves, or the way we run them? That’s fine. BUILD YOUR OWN SPACES! DO YOUR OWN WORK! You want a partner? I’m down. You want a Mammy? Get away from me before I really hurt your feelings.

    Newsflash: That Mammy thing? That claptrap about the happy servant overjoyed to leave her family to serve someone else’s? That was just that a convenient myth for racists. Those same racists are still exporting the ideal that we are too loud, too angry, too ugly, & too beastly to be treated as human. We heard it when we were slaves & we heard it through Jim Crow, & we are still hearing it now as we sit at the intersection of racism & misogyny in our own culture.That’s why we’re fighting back on our own terms.

    We are fighting a war on so many sides that it isn’t even funny & we already know that many of our so called allies will stab us in the back if it benefits their cause. We have had this fight with black men, white women, the LGBT community, & so many others that I could write three lists. So, if all you have to say to us is more whining about how we’re not making activism easier for you? We don’t care. We’re not going to care. Pick up the tools we’ve already created & use them or go wallow in your misery somewhere else.

    Now, please go tell it on the mountain about how I’ve silenced you & let me know if that accomplishes anything for your cause. I’ll tell you a secret…it won’t do anything, but keep you wasting your energy on supporting the same oppressors you claim to be fighting. Address those Mammy issues, address your own issues, do something about some issue somewhere except look at us to fix it for you.”

  157. AlienNumber

    It wasn’t a ” I have a Lesbian friend so I am an authority on all things Lesbian” which is what the ” I have a X friend” IS, you fucking moron.

    Fascinating.

    “I thought the whole point of radfem thought was that it dispensed with liberal individualism and focused on institutions and political systems. So, in the same way that “But not MY Nigel!” is no defense against criticism of heteronormative activity, “But I’M a WOC!” is no defense against criticism of racially biased activity. If there are institutional patterns of oppression, any particular counter example (e.g. lesbian business owners vs straight housewife) is an anecdote, not an argument.”

    Saying that all women as a class are situated under all men as a class is political analysis. You personally don’t seem to like that (because maybe intersectionality turns you on more), but don’t pretend it wasn’t said.

  158. AlienNumber

    Oh and pheeno: “A Quote to sum it the hell up (replace Black with Indian for me personally)”

    FUNNY, replace you say? Replace?
    I’m sure you are aware of that latest piece of news: “Oklahoma’s Cherokee Indians Kick Blacks Out Of Tribe.” Apparently there was no replacing. I thought you were trying to be sensitive to differences here.

  159. roseh

    pheenobarbidoll, it is true that Native Americans and Alaska Natives were almost wiped out from genocide attempts and have been incredibly oppressed. However, I am a rural Alaskan and I have never heard that Palin took away Alaska Natives’ subsistence rights or starved them. Believe me, fish and moose are hugely political here and rural subsistence hunting/fishing is untouchable. There were issues in 08-09 when some Interior villages had a lack of supplies because the river iced over unseasonably early and they couldn’t receive their normal barge shipments. Life in rural AK is already ridiculously, RIDICULOUSLY expensive, and flying freight to places like Emmonak is prohibitively expensive. I heard that Emmonak’s gas was normally $9 per gallon but it went up to like $50/gallon during the crisis because it had to be airlifted in. You cannot afford to take 2 snowmachines to the next village for supplies with those kind of fuel prices. The government stepped in and did emergency airlifts of food and fuel to the villages. They did not starve.

  160. pheenobarbidoll

    I’m sure you are aware of that latest piece of news: “Oklahoma’s Cherokee Indians Kick Blacks Out Of Tribe.”

    Yeah, I guess that explains why I voted for Stacey Leeds in 07.

    Google her. I’ll wait.

  161. pheenobarbidoll

    roseh-

    State of Alaska v. Norton

    She filed a lawsuit intended to invalidate all the subsistence fishing regulations the federal government issued to protect Native fishing. She also opposed subsistence fishing protections on Alaska Native federal allotments that were deeded to individuals purposely to foster Native subsistence activities.

    She did the same with subsistence hunting.

  162. yttik

    “But I’M a WOC!” is no defense against criticism of racially biased activity.”

    Ha! This is actually a pretty good definition of liberal individualism. You’re a WOC, so sit down, shut up, and we’ll tell you what your experiences are. And shut up about the feminism thing, we have half a dozen men that do feminism better than you, too.

    “Individualism” in a patriarchal paradigm in which the male is considered the dominant authority on all things, isn’t really individualism. We just call it that.

  163. pheenobarbidoll

    Roseh- Fortunately, the federal court rejected it.

    (forgot to add that)

  164. LadyDay

    Regarding your new header photo: Wow, it’s been a while since I’d seen Karl Rove, the “turd blossom.” His appearance has certainly changed for the better!

  165. Kali

    “But I’M a WOC!” is no defense against criticism of racially biased activity.

    My argument is simple and straightforward – I am saying that dismissing my criticism of intersectionality as “defending white privilege” is kind of silly, since I don’t have any white privilege to defend. You need to twist that simple argument out of shape, and falsely label it as “defense against criticism of racially biased activity” in order to accuse a WOC of defending white privilege.

  166. pheenobarbidoll

    How is it different from any woman defending male privilege? IE- “I’m a woman and I don’t think that’s sexist.” Women don’t have male privilege, but can be found defending it. I’ve read women saying they believe women *should* stay home, should submit to their husbands (there’s an awful Christian “spanking” site full of women giving this glowing praise) and defending men and male privilege even at their own expense.

    Here, this behavior is frequently labeled ” Tool of the Patriarchy”.

    Note, I am not saying you Kali, are personally doing this. I only saying

    “one does not need to have the privilege to defend it”

  167. Kali

    Here, this behavior is frequently labeled ” Tool of the Patriarchy”.

    Note, I am not saying you Kali, are personally doing this. I only saying

    “one does not need to have the privilege to defend it”

    That leaves only two options: Either I’m a tool of the racists, or I am not defending white privilege. In the latter case, you still need to grapple with my criticism of intersectionality, instead of dismissing it as defending white privilege.

  168. pheenobarbidoll

    I already did. Your offered solution was just to ask, and I responded that for me, I’m tired of answering the same questions.

    That’s my problem with just asking the individual about her own personal experiences. Eventually, all she’s going to have time for is answering questions. In other words, she has to stop what she’s doing and teach everyone else.

    Well, that’s not my job. If people would like to PAY me to tutor them in what it’s like to be a Native Indian Woman in the US, great. But I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

  169. pheenobarbidoll

    Oh and in an attempt to meet you in the middle with the ” why not just ask the individual” I was then accused of assuming all white women were the same, no one had any diversity and again, of being sexist.

    I was perfectly willing to set up a place where women could, in fact, safely ask sincere questions, form friendships with others who had different experiences, share those experiences under the banner of friendship and not turn intersectionality into an academic distraction.

    I was slapped in the face for it, and won’t be making that mistake again.

  170. Kali

    It’s. Not. Over. What. Men. Do.

    Yes, it is. A lot of sexist attacks against Hillary Clinton by Obama supporters flourished in the fertile soil of intersectionality. I’ve even had some black women tell me that rape should not be prosecuted because the justice system is biased against black men.

  171. Kali

    Your offered solution was just to ask

    You’re confusing me with someone else.

  172. yttik

    This is a predictable pattern of all intersectionality debates. Not racism discussions, I specifically mean intersectionality debates within feminism. Every woman always comes out the other end feeling slapped in the face. You will be slapped down for being a WOC who’s allegedly doing it wrong, you will be slapped down for being a white woman with privilege, you will be slapped down for trying to reach out to others. In fact, I’m so cynical, I’ve concluded intersectionality is simply code word for, “time for your slap down!”

    I responded to your mentor/friends idea Pheeno, but I used the dreaded ellipsis and am now in moderation. Sorry, it will pop up at some point.

  173. pheenobarbidoll

    “You’re confusing me with someone else.”

    You’re right, I did. I’m sorry.

  174. pheenobarbidoll

    “Yes, it is. A lot of sexist attacks against Hillary Clinton by Obama supporters flourished in the fertile soil of intersectionality. ”

    Not by me they didn’t. And I was speaking about myself specifically, because I was specifically accused of putting the violence white women commit over the violence men commit.

  175. stacey

    I’m down with the Mentor board. I throw my card on the table: indo-canadian het-seeming woman raised in a “multicultural” society in an upper-middle class. First-world university-educated privilege coming out of my ears.

  176. Fede

    Saying that all women as a class are situated under all men as a class is political analysis

    AN, it makes sense to talk about ‘women as a class’ and ‘men as a class’, but what does ‘all women as a class’ mean? Looks to me like you’re trying to tweak that particular piece of political analysis into meaning that all women are situated beneath all men, which is incorrect.

    Twisty’s horse-whisperer pal has gender privilege over me, sure, but he’s clearly situated lowlier than I anyway, on account of my colossal privileges over him, of which skin privilege is a huge one.

    My point is not “let men of colour off the hook” but that white privilege does exist and so of course it also matters in this space, between us.

    Many WOC as well as white feminists in here assert that they get nothing out of discussing intersectionality in feminist spaces. Okay. But why the outright aversion to it?

    Quoth pheeno:

    WOC wanting to be included, but not subjected to racism isn’t being divisive.

    Poor women wanting to be included but not treated as unwashed morons isn’t divisive.

    And so on.

  177. Darragh Murphy

    @fede, “white privilege does exist and so of course it also matters in this space, between us.”

    It’s not really the focus of this blog, though.

    “women’s oppression is not the armature upon which all other oppression is hung. However, because sexism has been so comprehensively assimilated across the board, the elimination of racism, classism, ableism, homophobia et al cannot obtain without the simultaneous liberation of women from patriarchal tyranny.

    2. This blog focuses primarily on the gruesome effects of patriarchy on the sex class because it particularly pleases me that it should. This focus should not be construed as an endorsement of the view that white feminists know what’s best for everybody or some shit.”

    According to Jill’s post, this space focuses on one (major) aspect of the borg, aka the “megatheocorporatocratic ideology of domination”, aka the Patriarchy from which all oppression emanates, and that is the Global Accords Regarding the Fair Use of Women, aka the sex class.

    The focus here, according to the blog owner above, is on sexism/misogyny et al, not any of the other zillions of oppressions that Patriarchy has brought to bear on all humans.

  178. pheenobarbidoll

    “The focus here, according to the blog owner above, is on sexism/misogyny et al, not any of the other zillions of oppressions that Patriarchy has brought to bear on all humans.”

    But that doesn’t mean when WP is brought here, it gets overlooked.

  179. Kali

    I don’t think the mentor thing is going to help much. It’s nice for helping individual women build friendships with other individual women. But that is not the major problem for women, in general. Women have always had close friendships with each other. The idea of solidarity is different. It comes from a feeling of “we’re all in it together”. It comes from having a team spirit. It is this team spirit that gets broken by intersectionality debates (as opposed to general discussions about racism, classism). Then there is no “team women”.

    I have a comment in moderation where I give the example of my friend who has a lot of class and race-based resentment, directed specifically at women. Her best friend is a white woman. She explains away the seeming contradiction by calling her friend “not really white white”.

  180. laxsoppa

    Phledge:

    I bet we could make a fuckton if we invented an oppression calculator. Just put in your qualifications and it’ll generate a score! The one with the highest score is the WINNER!

    It seems like a pretty straightforward multiply calculation, and I’m sure a blamer with a rudimentary grasp of configuring php scripts could come up with an online version that works. For free. It probably wouldn’t end oppression olympics here or anywhere else, though.

    Feminists who decry the use of the word “feminism” as in just feminism in favour of more specific feminisms, plus this intersectionality debate, make me die a little inside. Personal anecdote, yes, but I think it is relevant to my participation of feminism and blaming that I’m a member of an indigenous people that has suffered colonialism, genocide and the near-complete eradication of our language (300 speakers alive today), plus the eradication of most of our traditional culture.

    Yeah, fuck culture and it was oppressive to women anyway, but the thing is that the Western world brought next to nothing in place of that culture that would have had even half the support systems for women the old order used to have. That is why feminism is important. We need it to work for us on our own conditions, too.

    We already know about the oppression all women face, but without a concept like intersectionality, connecting that with the other oppressions that come with being non-white/non-affluent/non-able/non-het/non-cis or any combination thereof is fucking hard to do, nevermind getting our plurally oppressed voices heard in the feminist banquet. It’s a tool. Its value depends on how it is used, and by whom.

  181. Kea

    I may be an idiot, but as a non Humanities person I find lengthy discussions of specific terminology to be a little patriarchally academic. Surely the point of Intersectionality is just to remind people, who often need reminding, to hold the complexity of the world in mind at all times.

  182. Linda

    AlienNumber: “Women, white or not, do not inflict the majority of the violence, at least not against men and definitely not against other women.”

    We still benefit from it though, and we’ve colluded with white men in order to perpetuate it, particularly in the context of nation-building and colonisation.We were there helping to police Aboriginal women, helping to “reform” them, stealing their children, using them as slaves and turning a blind eye to the abuse and violence.Even white convict women colluded in this way. We’re still colluding.

  183. tinfoil hattie

    Whatever we call it, doesn’t “the i-word” simply boil down to this: All women do not experience sexism, misogyny, and oppression in the same way. Furthermore, WOC do not experience racism the same way MOC do. WOC get an extra shit-helping of sexism AND racism.

    To deny that is to miss the point entirely, I think.

    pheeno, I’ve “known” you for years on this blog and the other twisty message board of yore, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for you. Even though we’ve exchanged angry words on more than one occasion!

    As a white, het, privileged, well-off, middle-aged fat woman, I hope you WILL call me on my white privilege when I display it. Because I freaking deserve it.

  184. tinfoil hattie

    Also, Kali: Is “not ‘white-white’” any relation to “not ‘rape-rape’”?

    BTW I adore and respect you also, and I see your point. I am speaking as a white privileged woman, and speaking only for myself, not as a rebuke to you or to anyone else.

  185. No Sugarcoating

    What is white-white? Until now, I’ve only heard open white supremacists use it. When is someone not really white?

  186. Phledge

    Pheenobarbidoll, I think the “mentorship” idea is a fantastic one. If you want a fat atheist bisexual white woman of moderate means on the list, I’m in.

  187. Bushfire

    There are still people insisting that talking about intersectionality is dividing us. It is so infuriating that no matter how many times it’s explained that WE WERE ALREADY DIVIDED BEFORE WE STARTED TO TALK ABOUT THE DIVISION people just don’t see it.

    Women were always divided into subgroups. If we stop talking about it, it doesn’t go away, for goddess’ sake!

    As for this idea that we can’t be all be one unit if we talk about intersectionality- why the fuck not? We will never all agree with each other about anything- we each have our own brains. But tell me this- even if we bicker amongst ourselves, don’t we always come back for more, and agree with each other on the large, important issues? If we all met in person, wouldn’t we exchange margaritas and have a great time together? That’s a solid group. A solid group doesn’t mean a group that always agrees on everything all the time and never acknowleges a difference.

    A group that never acknowleges the differences among its members is a group that’s not talking.

  188. buttercup

    Kea said “Surely the point of Intersectionality is just to remind people, who often need reminding, to hold the complexity of the world in mind at all times.”

    Word, Kea. You can’t come up with an equation. All oppression is fucked up. When it gets layered on, it’s fucked up with complexity. Everyone wants to be the bigger monkey, to use an allusion from that misogynist, Heinlein. (he was right about a few things.)

    Fat, lower middle class, disabled, white, atheist, cis, in-a-longterm-hetero-relationship privilege signing in for the consortium.

  189. random_anomaly

    Is anyone else troubled by the use of the word “cute” to describe another’s opinion, or am I just feeling oversensitive today?

  190. Saurs

    I have a comment in moderation where I give the example of my friend who has a lot of class and race-based resentment, directed specifically at women. Her best friend is a white woman. She explains away the seeming contradiction by calling her friend “not really white white”.

    How is there a contradiction in resenting your own oppression, accurately identifying your oppressors and the folk what benefit from your oppression, while also resisting the (perfectly reasonable) impulse towards a blind, generalized contempt, fear, and loathing for all members of said group by cultivating a healthy, fulfilling relationship with one of their cohorts? How is that anything but a good thing? Or is it just that you wanted to mention how a black woman you know one time did not express herself politely and demurely towards/about a white person?

  191. Jill

    This fight don’t make no sense. All oppression must be overcome more or less simultaneously. You know that old hippie saw, “no one is free when others are oppressed”? It’s not an old saw for nothin. How, I ask again, does feminist revolt end women’s oppression if (for example) women of color remain oppressed?

    It doesn’t, that’s how. Either revolution has to liberate all women, or it’s a pretty crummy revolution. It can’t liberate all women if it doesn’t address the so-called “other oppressions” that afflict all women. Talking about racism and classism et. al does not dilute feminist “energy.” Ignoring their impact on women, as a matter of radfem policy or something, guarantees a COYNTSYF* situation. As Bushfire points out, “we were already divided before we started to talk about the division.”

    Whenever someone with privilege finds herself about to utter the phrase, “you’re just playing oppression olympics,” it might behoove her not to utter that phrase, and instead to consider that “other oppressions” actually do make life suck for women. Just because she hasn’t experienced it herself doesn’t mean it should be dismissed as irrelevant to the feminist cause.

    ___________________
    * COYNTSYF: cutting off your nose to spite your face.

  192. amrit

    Jill : “This fight don’t make no sense.”

    It didn’t make no sense in the seventies and early eighties, when women of color were trying desperately to be heard by white radical feminists. It is astounding that we are still even having this conversation. Have we learned nothing?

  193. Kali

    Whatever we call it, doesn’t “the i-word” simply boil down to this: All women do not experience sexism, misogyny, and oppression in the same way. Furthermore, WOC do not experience racism the same way MOC do. WOC get an extra shit-helping of sexism AND racism.

    In theory, maybe. In practice, my experience has been that these debates mostly boil down to how women oppress each other.

  194. Kali

    Jill, if what you got out of this discussion is that we (those who don’t like intersectionality) don’t want to talk about racism or classism or how they impact women, then you’re not really listening.

  195. Kali

    How is there a contradiction in resenting your own oppression, accurately identifying your oppressors and the folk what benefit from your oppression, while also resisting the (perfectly reasonable) impulse towards a blind, generalized contempt, fear, and loathing for all members of said group by cultivating a healthy, fulfilling relationship with one of their cohorts?

    It is giving in to a blind, generalized contempt, fear and loathing for a class of people, while trying to reconcile that generalized loathing with a liking for individual members of the class, who do not meet the negative stereotype of the nameless and faceless members of that class.

  196. pheenobarbidoll

    “In practice, my experience has been that these debates mostly boil down to how women oppress each other.”

    We do. And we have to stop oppressing each other or else we will never get anywhere.

    And that’s not the same as ” we have to stop fighting with each other” or ” we have to stop talking about things”. The fighting and arguing will end when the oppression ends.

    The oppression is divisive, not the reactions to oppression.

  197. Former Blamer

    I am no good with that blockquote thing, but I would like to respond to this comment.

    “Bushfire
    September 8, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    We will never all agree with each other about anything- we each have our own brains. But tell me this- even if we bicker amongst ourselves, don’t we always come back for more, and agree with each other on the large, important issues? If we all met in person, wouldn’t we exchange margaritas and have a great time together?”

    Bushfire, I am not sure I could agree. I wish I could, but I can’t.

    I was writing a journal entry just this morning about the last few days and how unfortunate it is that the people whose ideology I largely share are also the same kind of people I wouldn’t want in my house. People around me, whose views on most everything couldn’t be more backward if they tried, have treated me with far more respect and kindness than fellow radical feminists have.

    It is a bitter irony that a blog like this, which exists to oppose the culture of dominance, follows the dominance playbook so closely. At least in the comments section.
    There transpires the same shit that happens on so many other blogs: endless sucking-up to the leader (Queen of the Lesbians? Really?), “veteran blamers” who bully other commenters and get away with it because they’ve sucked up to the blog owner long enough, commenters tearing each other down to build up their own status, commenters blaming each other for the lack of revolution, and so on. There’s gold in them thar comments, sometimes, but it takes a lot of wading through shit to get to it. I don’t know if all radical feminists are like this in person, but if they are, I don’t want to meet them. Yeah, I know I’m going to get shit on again for saying so, and for not greasing my post with enough flattery. But I have to say it. It’s not because I disagree with the principles of radical feminism at all. It’s because I literally don’t have the energy to deal with this shit.

    The whole reason I became a radical feminist is because I hate domination. I hate it online. I hate it in person. I hate it when people who are supposed to be on the same side seem perfectly happy with the idea of domination as long as THEY are the ones who get to do it. It is soul-killing, and I don’t want to be around it.

    Like Global Thermonuclear War, the only way to win the dominance game is not to play.

  198. AlienNumber

    Is anyone else troubled by the use of the word “cute” to describe another’s opinion, or am I just feeling oversensitive today?

    Well, cute is somewhat cute. You know what was Really Charming though? When she called me “fucking moron.” That definitely made me even more receptive to her points (or lack thereof).

    If anyone’s listening: the only way women have ever gotten anything (i.e. (Black) women getting the vote) is when women put women – any women, ever – first. Yes, yes, you can speculate that Black women may have never gotten the vote if white women had gotten the vote before Black men, but it’s at best speculation. History shows that women just don’t get ahead unless women get ahead (and not the men they are somehow associated with). Look at the glass ceiling Phyllis Schafly hit because she refuses to put women first. Her Republican men will just not let her go any further.

    Men just won’t put women first and it seems that most women also won’t put women first, so it’s really up to the small group of women who put women first to get us women anywhere. And that’s that.

    Sometimes I get my heart broken when I put women first and they still puts men first, but what the hell, I can’t force them to work on their male-identification and self-hatred. I guess I’ll just keep getting my heart broken.

    Action before words! Women before men!
    (although nice words are nice too sometimes.)

  199. humanbein

    Regarding yourself as white creates a mindset of privilege that exerts an invisible influence over your attitudes toward people of color, just as insisting that you are heterosexual creates an attitude of disbelief and privilege toward those who have realized that their sexual preferences can be fluid.

    The concept of whiteness is a patriarchal construction that makes no sense to me whatever, unless you choose it as an identity to hold yourself above most of the planet’s inhabitants. Having light skin means that the oppressed people you meet in real life will know instantly that you enjoy this artificial privilege, but if you reject that privilege completely, your actions will soften somewhat the feelings of oppression they feel toward you, but never completely heal the scars.

    If you hear someone calling you on your assumption of white privilege, the best thing to do is acknowledge the privilege while seeking to distance yourself from the idiotic idea that you are somehow white. It’s easier to avoid unconscious privilege if you stop identifying yourself as one of the white folks!

    You are not white. There is no such thing, except in the minds of the oppressed and those who enjoy oppressing others. Nobody on Savage Death Island desires their whiteness, so reject it with vehemence and out of love for yourself and others.

  200. humanbein

    P.S. This goes for every other racial construction men have invented. Much of that bullshit is as superficial as skin color, though the important medical differences exist and are incredibly ignored.

    When I look at my “black” friends, I see their faces. One is lighter skinned than the other, one’s nose is like this or that, and my only categorization is wondering which part of Africa most of their genes came from, and how much euro blood they have. When I look over my own family tree, I spot the african bloodlines, and am happy to say found myself undeniably native american in part, thanks to my great-grandmother Winnie Bird. How are they “black?” How am I “white?” It’s so stupid, the whole concept of race!

  201. pheenobarbidoll

    “You know what was Really Charming though? ”

    When you called me sexist, implied reverse racism and assumed (constantly) that I’m putting men first and women last because I refuse to be subjected to racism by anyone. And then proceeded to tell me who did what to my own people, what my life experiences are and how I should be responding to them.

    And it’s wonderful that Black women and White women got to vote. It truly is. Meanwhile, Indian women weren’t even citizens of the US until 1924 and it was even longer before we could vote. So how did that get US ahead? It didn’t. We were still left behind.

    Did you even know that? Do you even care that when you talk about how white women putting women first allowed Black women to vote you are utterly and completely disappearing Indian women in that scenario?

  202. AlienNumber

    humanbein, before one publicly rejects whiteness though, one has to accept that there is such a thing as white culture and that they may be “acting white.”

    From my experience, nothing annoys non-white people more than an obviously white person saying “I’m not white.” It’s like a dude saying to a bunch of women, “but I’m a human” (go tell that to the other dudes, dude).
    It’s terrible and oppressive!

  203. AlienNumber

    Yes, of course I care, pheeno. As a lesbian immigrant, I can attest to the fact that gaining citizenship in this country is a complete nightmare (and I know it’s not the same thing – being an immigrant and being an Indian American – but gaining citizenship is a pain. Making something that should be a right almost impossible is perfectly aligned with the Patriarchy’s general philosophy though. As is stealing land from people through genocide and other means.)
    I’ll have to do some research into what the suffragists had to say about Indian women’s voting rights because I have no idea about it, to be honest. Thanks for sharing that by the way.

    (and if you are not too exasperated with me by now, what’s your analysis about the whole Blacks kicked out of OK Indian nations? I know you pointed to Stacey Leeds above, but I won’t assume your views are perfectly aligned with hers yet).

  204. ivyleaves

    Knowing that there is no such scientific, objective thing as “race” does not mean that I am not “white” as that designation functions in the world, and denying that I am “white” would be incredibly annoying. My son is sometimes perceived as “hispanic” when he is completely not in any way other than appearance. That doesn’t stop him from experiencing being treated as such, not does it prevent him from being treated as “black” by those who perceive him as “black,” nor as “white” by those who see him that way. “Race” is something that other people can choose for you, actually, it’s not really your own personal choice.

  205. pheenobarbidoll

    It enrages me, frankly. And embarrasses me. There are, I am sad to say, 2 members of my own family who I no longer speak to over it. I can see where some are terrified of losing what Native Indian is, because there’s a long history of “white” Indians taking benefits without having to prove their Indian status, but for fuck’s sake. Freedmen
    aren’t trying to steal benefits, they’re simply demanding the right to be who they are. Which is something Indians, of all people, should damn well understand. I also know many who voted to kick them out simply because the Federal government threatened to take away sovereign status as a punishment for discriminating. So it was, for lack of a better word, petty spite.

    You won’t find much mention of it, but the Suffragettes owe a lot to Indians. They saw that Seneca women (and only women at that) voted and were actively involved in Indian government.In 1893, when Matilda Joslyn Gage was arrested for trying to vote in a school board election, the Iroquois supported her. She was adopted into the Wolf Clan of the Mohawk Nation.

  206. AlienNumber

    Re: ‘The Queen of the Lesbians’ thing: it was a joke! I knee-jerk response to Bushfire’s “lesbians are like omg so oppressed and straight women have it so easy.” Not the wisest reply, but as a lesbian, I think she’s wrong about that and I didn’t want to hear her tell straight women that lesbians envy you (because we don’t. n.b.: lesbians don’t envy straight women, unless they have a pretty high degree of internalized homophobia. We just want equal rights to being with who we want to be with).

    Finally, what kind of embittered person calls themselves a Former Blamer? You’re a former blamer yet still blame here, you say you’re sick of dealing with “this shit” and yet you’re still here! Contradiction -in-terms.

  207. yttik

    “This fight don’t make no sense.”

    It does when you realize that all we’re really doing is taking the master’s tools out of the master’s shed and using them to smack other women upside the head with.

    A smart woman recently said that what we need to do is simply create a solidarity of interest, come together, and work towards a common goal. Instead we tend to devote 90% of our time and energy into creating and pursing identities. Women have been so colonized, that we have no identity of our own except that which is spoon fed us by the hierarchy. Then we try to fight the power by dragging all those identities out, validating them, reinforcing them, and whacking each other around with them.

  208. Bushfire

    @ Former Blamer
    Bushfire, I am not sure I could agree. I wish I could, but I can’t.

    I was writing a journal entry just this morning about the last few days and how unfortunate it is that the people whose ideology I largely share are also the same kind of people I wouldn’t want in my house.

    I’m sorry you feel that way. I would like everyone here in my house. Even though some of you are getting on my nerves right now, I still think that you’re wonderful, intelligent people who I am glad to interact with on the internet, and would also be glad to meet.

    Alien Number, I think you’re really misunderstanding me. I’m gonna try my best not to engage.

  209. Kali

    “In practice, my experience has been that these debates mostly boil down to how women oppress each other.”

    We do. And we have to stop oppressing each other or else we will never get anywhere.

    No disagreement there. The problem comes when we get so focused on women oppressing each other that we forget that the vast majority of the oppression comes from men. Losing this perspective, we use this focus on women oppressing each other as justification for supporting “our” men over women in general. That may not happen on this blog, but it happens a lot in other places. In practice, the sentiments behind intersectionality give support to things like the 2008 Democratic primary, the “bros before hos” attitude, the complaints about feminists pursuing greater prosecution for rape while the justice system is still biased against black men, poor men, the “who are you calling your sister, I’m not your sister” animosity between women.

    I personally find it jarring to see these “see how women oppress each other” discussions on feminist sites. I would not have any problem with discussions of white-on-black oppression (including discussion of white women on black women oppression) on racial justice sites, or discussion of straight-women-on-lesbian oppression on GBLT rights sites. Otherwise, it is like walking into a 9/11 memorial service and hearing a discussion on how the mostly rich, white men who died were oppressors and privilege holders. I come to feminist sites with a mindset of women as victims of the patriarchy, not women as oppressors.
    There’s the whole remaining world for that, very happy to oblige.

  210. TwissB

    @AlienNumber: “Men just won’t put women first and it seems that most women also won’t put women first, so it’s really up to the small group of women who put women first to get us women anywhere. And that’s that.”

    While the intersectionality discussion raged, I was observing out here far from Savage Death Island the determined push by the men of the Urban League of Madison, Wisconsin to establish an elite boys’ academy within the public school system to remedy low academic performance by BOC and develop “leaders and role models.” Only after these Black community leaderst were reminded that their plan could trigger Title IX sanctions against sex-segregation in education did the men float a vague promise to get a similar school established for girls. (Any one interested in documents and press reports can contact me through my web site.) Is this an example of intrasectionality?

  211. Jezebella

    Humanbein, I can deny my whiteness all I want, in my own head, and on totally rational and philosophical grounds. But everybody around me sees me as White, and the attendant privilege follows it. I can reject white privilege when the opportunity arises, but in reality, my white privilege infiltrates every interaction I have with another human being, whether zie and I recognize it or not. No, I’m not “white,” but I am, in US culture, White. It’s easy to ask me to reject the label, but in rejecting it, I would be denying the lifetime of privilege I have been afforded due to an accident of birth. And denying privilege is not exactly on my list of feminist things to do today, or in this lifetime.

    Also, whoever said this blog “was not about WP” and implied there’s no place here for this conversation, go back to Feminism 101, review the definitions of Patriarchy, write an essay on How To Be a Decent Human Being, and then hopefully you will realize that conversations about WP are entirely appropriate on any blog, in any discourse, any time the WP rears its ugly head.

  212. Ex-Advertising

    Do you think youth is privileged? I’m not sure it is. Children and teens seem so vulnerable, particularly female children and teens. They have no agency.

    In arenas where money and power exchange hands, as well, “youth” (if we define it as “under 25″) is definitely not privileged. I can’t recall how many tirades I read against Generation X in the workforce in the 90s and Generation Y in the workforce now. This stuff is taken as gospel in business circles – and with good reason, it works. Accusing young people of being “brash and arrogant” allows the ruling class to work them hard for little money and no benefits, or in the case of the current American economy, deny them employment altogether while simultaneously faulting them for their own problems.

    I suppose sexually, youth is privileged, but in terms of being taken seriously, being protected, having access to money and power, I’d say adults are considerably more privileged, until you get to the elderly set. Americans loathe old people.

  213. humanbein

    humanbein, before one publicly rejects whiteness though, one has to accept that there is such a thing as white culture and that they may be “acting white.”

    I agree completely. Oppression doesn’t end just because you reject it personally. Privilege doesn’t stop just because you don’t want it anymore.

    It’s just a way to avoid assuming your own privilege yourself. After many years of practice, you’ll find it a lot harder to assume white privilege if you refuse to associate yourself in your own mind with the white fictional construction. My family is not white, my daughter is not white, attack white people all you want, and you aren’t attacking me, though you might think you are. The whitest white people are people who think they are white, just like the most misogynistic men are the men who think they are masculine.

    You can’t have absolution, but you can change yourself slightly.

  214. yttik

    “Privilege” is perhaps the wrong word, but nobody has ever come up with a better one. In terms of youth, yes youth is definitely worshiped in our culture, and yet we have a horrendous problem with child sexual abuse, with that teen addict chic, with underage prostitution, with homelessness and abuse. So that “privilege” of youth is kind of like the privilege of being stamped “USDA choice” in a meat market.

    When you start to examine what “privilege” really is, it becomes something with questionable benefits, that most of us really wouldn’t want. You could not pay me to be 20 again, to be a white woman, to be the desired commodity of the day. Now more money, that’s a privilege I haven’t yet let go of. I’d still take the cold hard cash, but those other “privileges” that the culture hands out, I’ll pass.

  215. Cimarron

    Twiss B, that is an interesting example, and sadly, visible in a bunch of places. But, I would say that’s a the misuse of intersectionality in the same way that Sarah Palin taking up the mantle of feminism is. You can use a hammer to build something useful, or to bludgeon someone over the head.

  216. Kali

    I suppose sexually, youth is privileged,

    Young women and girls are not sexually privileged at all. Sexually most exploited, sexually most abused, yes.

  217. sjaustin

    Jill, if what you got out of this discussion is that we (those who don’t like intersectionality) don’t want to talk about racism or classism or how they impact women, then you’re not really listening.

    If you’re talking about how racism or classism affect the way women experience misogyny, you’re talking about intersectionality, regardless of what you choose to call it. If you’re trying to talk about how those other oppressions affect women without talking about how they intersect with misogyny, then your discussion is incomplete and sort of pointless. Those things do intersect in very real ways that affect a lot of women in their everyday lives.

  218. pheenobarbidoll

    ” I come to feminist sites with a mindset of women as victims of the patriarchy, not women as oppressors.”

    So do I, which is why when racism occurs, it’s blind siding because I wasn’t in the ” watch out” mode.

    And it does piss me off, because I’m getting tackled by one of my own team members when I’m focused on the opposite team’s cheating, dirty tactics and the referee’s are helping them.

    And it really sounds like some women here are telling me to ignore the fact I just got tackled by a team member, because standing back up and yelling ” what the hell are you doing” is too divisive and distracting. As if being tackled in the first place isn’t.

    So that’s where I’m at. I’m dusting myself off and checking for bruises, while my other team mates are telling me to walk it off.

  219. Kali

    If you’re talking about how racism or classism affect the way women experience misogyny, you’re talking about intersectionality

    In theory, not in practice. In practice, most of the intersectionality debates I’ve experienced can be summed up as “bros before hos”.

  220. Kali

    So do I, which is why when racism occurs, it’s blind siding because I wasn’t in the ” watch out” mode.

    Please tell me where racism occured. Are you saying I’m being racist because I’m against intersectionality as it is practiced?

  221. sjaustin

    Kali, what are you saying? That we should talk about intersectionality but not call it that? Or that the actual issues shouldn’t be discussed?

  222. Bushfire

    In theory, not in practice. In practice, most of the intersectionality debates I’ve experienced can be summed up as “bros before hos”.

    Zero conversations I’ve had about intersectionality have been “bros before hos”. I think you were just talking to a bunch of patriarchy enthusiasts.

    Intersectionality means describing how oppression works in different ways, which is something we do here all the time. I have observed that the people who are against intersectionality tend to be doing a lot of “distracting” around here.

  223. Ex-Advertising

    I suppose sexually, youth is privileged,

    Young women and girls are not sexually privileged at all. Sexually most exploited, sexually most abused, yes.

    Sorry, to be clear, I meant legal adults, i.e. over 18, being privileged in terms of attraction, desire, etc., and I was chiefly describing males, which I omitted in haste. I mucked it up because I started by contrasting under-18s with over-18s and finished by contrasting 18-25s with over-25s. It would help if I were specific and clear though, eh?

    My writing’s been quite mucky today, though, and I’ve reached my posting limit for this blog, so I’ll bow out.

  224. yttik

    “So that’s where I’m at. I’m dusting myself off and checking for bruises, while my other team mates are telling me to walk it off.”

    Well, this particular team mate is telling you to walk it off, not because you aren’t hurt, not to erase your injury, but because walking on the darn thing can stretch it out, increase circulation, and lead to faster healing.

    Disagreeing with an academic theory of intersectionality and not liking the focus on Identity politics and how it all applies to feminism, is not the same thing as denying that there is racism, classism, homophobia, that harms people.

  225. Jill

    I don’t know if all radical feminists are like this in person, but if they are, I don’t want to meet them. Yeah, I know I’m going to get shit on again for saying so, and for not greasing my post with enough flattery.

    I can’t believe you had the gall to post a comment ungreased with the acknowledgement that I am Queen of the Lesbians.

  226. cin17

    What is white-white? Until now, I’ve only heard open white supremacists use it. When is someone not really white?

    I didn’t make the comment you’re responding to but it could mean that the “white” person in question is dark-complected and/or ethnically ambiguous. We are, as you noted, described by white supremacists and eugenicists as “mud people” (personally, I refer to myself as “kinda white”), and we receive much of the same discrimination as people of color, with the added privilege of getting it from all sides. But it does have its upside, when you see a stranger’s eyes light up in recognition, to have someone who doesn’t share your ethnic background see themselves in you. When I was younger I was too busy being angry to appreciate it. But now I just enjoy being the accidental guest. Hey, at least there’s an upside. I’ll take it over an unrestricted WP card any day.

  227. TwissB

    @Cimarron: “But, I would say that’s a the misuse of intersectionality in the same way that Sarah Palin taking up the mantle of feminism is.”

    So I can understand your comment, did you by any chance misread the word intrasectionality in my post as intersectionality?

  228. Natalia

    I can’t believe you had the gall to post a comment ungreased with the acknowledgement that I am Queen of the Lesbians.

    I came here for the lesbian royalty. I stayed for the dung.

  229. pheenobarbidoll

    “Please tell me where racism occured.”

    I’m not going to scroll up and find the WP splattered posts for you, nor am I going to search the whole blog for the many, many examples that exist.

    “Are you saying I’m being racist because I’m against intersectionality as it is practiced?”

    No.

    And just to clear up ANY further attempt by you to purposely misunderstand and think I’m calling you a racist

    I do not believe POC in this country can be racist. Ever.

    Racism = power + prejudice is the equation I believe.

    POC do not have power in this country, anymore than women have power in this country.

  230. ivyleaves

    yttik – I am stunned by your post. It seems that you insist that we value some object called “woman” and ignore every other possible characteristic, hurt, etc. caused by PATRIARCHY and not due to the object being “woman” and somehow because of that, patriarchy will fall? You are basically stating that racist women are OK and we don’t need to fight them one little bit until after “woman” is no longer disadvantaged. So, basically, only rich, white, women will win for now, and patriarchy isn’t involved in any other oppressions, so all of the rest of us and our family members, friends, acquaintences, most of the rest of humanity will be on the back burner for the duration?

    Count me out.

  231. AlienNumber

    Natalia, for this comment: “I came here for the lesbian royalty. I stayed for the dung” (Hilarious!) I have a feeling that maybe we can be friends after all.

    ex-Soviet Bloc pride all the way.

  232. Kali

    I do not believe POC in this country can be racist. Ever.

    Yeah, we can’t be racist but we can be “tools of the racists”. I don’t know which is worse.

  233. Cimarron

    Twiss B-Whoops! Apologies, yes, I did misread ‘intra’ as ‘inter’. So, I’m not familiar with the term intrasectionality. A quick google told me nothing useful. Got a definition handy?

  234. yttik

    No, Ivyleaves, that’s not what I’ve said at all, but thanks for pointing out that “woman” is just an object. Pardon me for suggesting that we value “it.”

    Talking about freeing more than half the human race and you’re worried that, “most of the rest of humanity will be on the back burner?” Who? You mean the parts of humanity that have value?

    I feel every bit of that dominance Pheeno keeps talking about, right here on this blog, from our discussions on everything from Peta to veganism, and from science to rape. It happens when people start preaching about ethical food choices or saying it’s squishy brained to trust nature over science, as if the two were totally separate. Over and over again complex issues are narrowed down to one politically correct, white dominant view of the world.

    I still chose women first.

  235. Kali

    It seems that you insist that we value some object called “woman” and ignore every other possible characteristic, hurt, etc. caused by PATRIARCHY and not due to the object being “woman” and somehow because of that, patriarchy will fall?

    Not speaking for yttik but my take on this is that we all have multiple identities (gender, race, nationality, class, religion, sexual orientation, and others). In life there will invariably be times when these identities are in conflict and we will have to choose which one to prioritize. In general, my observation has been that the gender identity is quite high on the priority list for men but near the bottom for women. That is one reason why the patriarchy is so hard to fight. I think women need to push gender identity higher on the priority list in order to effectively fight the patriarchy. Whenever women have done this we have made progress.

  236. Kali

    thanks for pointing out that “woman” is just an object. Pardon me for suggesting that we value “it.”

    Yes, I found that phrasing weird too.

  237. TwissB

    Cimarron – I just coined it to fit the situation which you fully understood.

  238. ivyleaves

    It was weird, on purpose. Because the use of it by yttik and others talking about how we need to shut up about intersectionality strikes me as being very dehumanizing and reductionist.

  239. tinfoil hattie

    I think there’s a difference between saying, “As a white woman, I have experienced misogyny in this way (example)” and “As a Native American, I have experienced it differently (example)” and “As a black woman, I have experienced it thusly (example)”

    and

    “I am (insert race/sexuality/gender) first and woman second.” Because I’m just not sure things can be separated that neatly.

  240. Cimarron

    Okay, I’ma try one more time, and then I’ll shut up because the horse ain’t dead, but we sure are flogging it. Even though the sexism v. racism choice is presented as a dichotomy and I DO understand what Kali and AN and others are saying about keeping our eyes on the prize,for myself and many women there are many instances when its not (two different things). It’s not just ‘two great tastes that taste great together’. There is often an ugly confluence (intersection?!). For one real-life example: Remember that dude Don Imus? He went on air to call the Rutger’s, mostly black, women’s basketball team “nappy-headed ho’s”. Now, all of us can relate to the ho’s part of his comment–that’s misogyny pure and unsimple. But, the nappy-headed qualifier was specific to black women. Since my highly scientific study reveals that ‘nappy’is applied to black women to men at a ratio of 50 to 1. The comment was illuminating as a damn near perfect meshing of rasexism, or sexacism if you like. Now, if any of y’all were counselor to those young women,how would you talk through it with them? How would you properly place the ENTIRE insult in context? That, my friends, is intersectionality. The Latina, Lesbian, Native American, Disabled, etc. women can add their own examples of this.

    PS. Those young women were more than hip to the jive. They and their coach handled the incident with a lot of strength.

    PPS. If you’re reading this comment and don’t understand the cultural significance of ‘nappy headed’ as it applies African American women, than this here example is not going to illuminate things for you at all. In that case, you should just ignore this comment and gone about your business.

  241. Ashley

    The designation of Queen of the Lesbians aside, Former Blamer does have a point in that “trashing” (http://www.jofreeman.com/joreen/trashing.htm)) happens in this here space too much.

    For those commenters explaining intersectionality and white privilege for the 2,989,384th time with what can only be described as saintly patience: thank you. It shouldn’t have to be done, but I’m certain that some people (often, the quiet ones who are listening instead of fighting with you) are hearing you.

  242. Ashley

    Oops. Link shoulda read: http://www.jofreeman.com/joreen/trashing.htm

  243. tinfoil hattie

    I remember that, Cimarron, and I also remember that “nappy-headed” received much more shocked and horrified response than did “hos.” I don’t recall anywhere but feminist blogs remarking on the misogyny of the comment.

    To me, it was one HUGE example of rexism/sacism. Those young women got it with both barrels. Yet their experience of racism AND sexism (different kind of sexism than white women experience) was wiped out, and sexists decided for them which insult was the more important one. I’d hazard they were both bad, if one was on the receiving end – which included all African American women and girls, frankly.

  244. Linda

    I also agree with Former Blamer as far as the trashing thing, Ashley. But it wouldn’t stop me meeting up with people in real time. In my experience, people are nowhere near as intense in person as they are online, and away from the uninhibiting conditions of the keyboard, are much more willing to socially engage in a non-adversarial way. We’d focus on the things we are agreed and united on, and that would be enough. We’d laugh it up at men and patriarchy’s expense. Being feminist in a patriarchy is so fucking isolating, so fucking lonely, I’d welcome any opportunity to drink margs with anyone from here.

  245. alamo

    Kali, I know exactly what you’re talking about. I think what Catherine MacKinnon said here is relevant, and it speaks to how white women are specifically denigrated:

    This creature [white woman] is not poor, not battered, not raped (not really), not molested as a child, not pregnant as a teenager, not prostituted, not coerced into pornography, not a welfare mother, and not economically exploited. She doesn’t work. She is either the white man’s image of her–effete, pampered, privileged, protected, flighty, and self-indulgent–or the Black man’s image of her–all that, plus the “pretty white girl” (meaning ugly as sin but regarded as the ultimate in beauty because she is white). She is Miss Anne of the kitchen, she puts Frederick Douglass to the lash, she cries rape when Emmet Till looks at her sideways, she manipulates white men’s very real power with the lifting of her very well-manicured little finger. She makes an appearance in Baraka’s “rape the white girl,”(14) as Cleaver’s real thing after target practice on Black women (15), as Helmut Newton’s glossy upscale hard-edged, distanced vamp (1976), and as the Central Park Jogger, the classy white madonna who got herself raped and beaten nearly to death. She flings her hair, feels beautiful all the time, complains about the colored help, tips badly, can’t do anything, doesn’t do anything, doesn’t know anything, and alternates fantasizing about fucking Black men with accusing them of raping her. As Ntozake Shange points out, all Western civilization depends on her (1981, p. 48). On top of all this, out of impudence, imitativeness, pique, and a simple lack of anything meaningful to do, she thinks she needs to be liberated. Her feminist incarnation is all of the above, and guilty about every single bit of it, having by dint of repetition refined saying “I’m sorry” to a high form of art . . . this “woman, modified,” this woman discounted by white, meaning she would be oppressed but for her privilege.”

    http://www.feminist-reprise.org/docs/from%20practice%20to%20theory.htm

  246. alamo

    Another author on the subject of feminist trashing:

    “The “racism” accusation that hounds Daly’s reputation to this day all began with Audre Lorde’s influential “Open Letter to Mary Daly . . . Lorde prefaced the published letter with a claim that Daly did not respond to her letter. In Outercourse, Daly claimed that she initiated a meeting with Lorde several months after receiving the letter to discuss it.8 De Veaux’s biography of Lorde confirmed Daly’s claim, and includes an excerpt from a letter written by Daly to Lorde in which she acknowledges the rightness of some of Lorde’s criticism.9

    The implications of Lorde’s published claim that Daly didn’t respond at all to the letter are extremely troubling. Did she aim to destroy the standing of Daly among feminists? Was she making a public objection to racism as a way to get personal revenge, or to take down a “rival”? If so, why did she feel entitled to use the vehicle of anti-racism in such a destructive way?”
    http://www.saidit.org/archives/jun06/Remembrance.html

  247. ew_nc

    Pheeno – I’m interested in your take on the recent news story on the Oklahoma Cherokee band denouncing its slave descendants.

    http://news.yahoo.com/cherokees-expel-descendants-slaves-tribe-221550348.html

  248. nails

    “They are real. They are also not a majority of what happens. Women, white or not, do not inflict the majority of the violence, at least not against men and definitely not against other women. ”

    Are you saying that people who are hurt should really care about that? Why are you telling POC what to pay attention to when their communities are victimized by violence? Shouldn’t you be LISTENING to them about their concerns?

  249. nails

    re: the mentor board

    Maybe select conversations could be posted on a blog/site with the author’s permission? Many people could learn from watching who may be too nervous to participate, and it seems likely that the same issues are going to come up over and over again otherwise.

    It is just a suggestion, I am sure pheeno and the rest of the volunteers will do an awesome job.

  250. buttercup

    Why does this always happen here? I am frustrated.

  251. AlienNumber

    Anecdote: got into an argument with a WOC (soon to be ex-) friend of mine who prioritizes race over sex (and you know me, I prioritize sex over race). She was stressed and she started taking this stress out on me, not white, but not Black either: “white people this white people that,” yells a little, vents some more. I think she’s completely missing the point (because the white “people” who are making her life miserable, according to her story, are all Dudes). I was being patient. Then at some point she starts talking about this dude of color she worked under last summer who was just “the smartest person in the office.”

    I was feeling a little annoyed with the whole dumping of toxic waste on me and I told her that it’s very typical sexist speech to always have some dude assigned as “the smartest person in the room” (the office where she worked only had WOCs and some dudes, including a few white dudes). She retorted with saying that the smartest person in the room was a dude and that’s a fact. And that I should be more sensitive, and happy for him, because he’s a dude of color who hadn’t even finished high-school. I retorted asking if they had any women in the office who hadn’t finished high-school, because if you’re a woman, especially a woman of color who hasn’t finished high school, lard help you, because no one else will. Answer: no. (Bonus point: all the women in that office have at least a BA degree, quite a few have MAs too). But that still didn’t stop her from blowing a lobe, she yelled some more, this time at me, and then I made my exit. I’m still feeling slightly traumatized after the incident.

    In MY experience, much like white women, WOCs also refuse to look at sexism straight-on and spend their time fellating dudes as much as they can, thinking of themselves extra-sanctimonious if they fellate the dudes of color (because, oh, the dudes of color, how they suffer!).

    Basically, I’m listening to WOCs about their concerns, but a lot – if not most – of the time it sounds just like the usual sexist drivel, with an added heap of hatred/envy directed towards (white) women, I mean witches.

    Filed under: Heart Broken.

  252. Bushfire

    In MY experience, much like white women, WOCs also refuse to look at sexism straight-on and spend their time fellating dudes as much as they can, thinking of themselves extra-sanctimonious if they fellate the dudes of color (because, oh, the dudes of color, how they suffer!).

    This is offensive.

  253. nails

    AN-

    Insisting upon telling POC that what they care about most doesn’t matter compared to what matters most to you is a pretty shit job of listening. You can hear without listening. Have you ever had a dude tell you that class is the *real* issue? You are doing the same thing to WOC and it isn’t cool. They can decide for themselves what they want to prioritize. The whole story you told never ended in your friend saying that sexism didn’t matter or didn’t happen, but that she had different priorities than you. Maybe racism has caused her more problems in her day to day life, and guess what? YOU don’t get to judge what caused her the most trouble in her life, because you don’t live it. There are people who mainly do their activism in other countries, and could tell all of us how stupid we are for focusing on issues that affect women in western countries. I have never actually heard that from activists who operate internationally; most can recognize that their reasons for focusing on their issue of choice are personal and that all activism towards justice is important. Expecting everyone to share your specific priorities is egotistical in the extreme and alienates WOC who may want to join feminists. Perhaps a lot of WOC are prioritizing racial injustice BECAUSE of the way that feminists like you insist that they ignore it; that is certainly what I have heard around the internet when I talk to informed WOC who do not consider themselves feminists. When you try to tell someone their own business you display a huge lack of respect for them. It is really fucked up to insultingly say that women who focus on race are “fellating dudes” as a result- that was really fucked up. Stop it.

  254. AlienNumber

    Of course they can decide for themselves! And they do. And here we are, in a world in which women are commodities, where despite our educational achievements we still make 75-81 cents to their man-dollar, and the nuclear family is about as hard to split as the atom. etc

    Anyway, to summarize my offensive stance: a dude is a dude is a dude, a bratwurst is a bratwurst, putting a dude first is putting a dude first etc.

    I do apologize for being offensive, but it was hard to come up with a good metaphor for the Metaphor.

    *It was a metaphor btw, I didn’t mean a literal actual fellatio, more like a general dedication to the P and its phallus, above all.
    Also, I don’t blame the women for their “choices,” I blame the P, and I’m just pointing out what I perceive to be general patterns.
    Sometime though, when it comes to inter-personal relations, it gets quite difficult.

  255. yttik

    Women of all races have certainly invested a great deal of time and energy into lifting men up, on fellating dudes, as some people put it.

    If we took half that energy and put it into lifting women up, we’d probably have our revolution by now.

  256. pheenobarbidoll

    “Women of all races have certainly invested a great deal of time and energy into lifting men up, on fellating dudes, as some people put it.”

    Yes. However, focusing on race does not automatically do this.

  257. tinfoil hattie

    Bushfire, are you saying that only white women suck up to men? I don’t think that’s true at all. Of course women of color comply with patriarchy by allying with men. Certainly it’s one thing all races and colors of women have in common.

  258. Comrade PhysioProf

    After many years of practice, you’ll find it a lot harder to assume white privilege if you refuse to associate yourself in your own mind with the white fictional construction.

    My understanding is that privilege is not something one “assumes” nor does it have anything to do with what occurs in one’s mind, but rather is something that is conferred upon one by social systems due to perceived membership in a particular category of people. Privilege occurs whether the recipient desires it or not, and it is nearly impossible to reject privilege’s appurtenances. There is an Eddy Murray skit from Saturday Night Live in which he gets made-up, dresses, and talks like a white person that depicts the involuntary nature of privilege very vividly (and hilariously).

    Jill, I’m glad to hear that you, your home, and your horses are likely to escape the fires.

  259. Bushfire

    Bushfire, are you saying that only white women suck up to men?

    No.

    If for some reason you’re not sure why “WOC just like to fellate men” is offensive, read Nails.

  260. AlienNumber

    Bushfire, you’re not very sensitive to either details, or big picture, when reading, are you?

  261. yttik

    “Yes. However, focusing on race does not automatically do this.”

    The thing is, just like “women” seems to equal “white women” in many people’s minds, “race” often really just means men. Neither of these things is true, but that’s what happens in this hierarchy we live in. “Women” simply get erased.

    When women make themselves a priority, and invest in themselves, they can lift up their entire race, their whole community. We see it all over the world.

    Or we can leave things the way they are in my neck of the woods, where the men pretty much drink and beat women and the women who suffer spend all their time trying to fix these men. My never ending mantra is, save yourselves first. Nothing is ever going to change until you learn to put yourself first.

  262. No Sugarcoating

    There is some very unnecessary mud flinging going on in here, and it’s verging on personal attacks. What hurts an individual the most is a personal determination…but Bushfire didn’t even say she prioritizes race over sex. I get AlienNumber’s point about prioritizing race over sex in cases such as rape trials, but that seems to happen mostly with women who aren’t feminist/womanist minded in the first place. Most women make these decisions depending on the situation and context. WOC don’t suck up to men anymore than white women do. Hell, white women are characterized as the “submissive” ones, aren’t they? Intersectionality is very useful, because some oppressions merge in particular nasty ways. Take this, for example: http://newsone.com/nation/newsonestaff4/jiggaboos-vs-wannabeescontroversial-columbus-party-makes-national-news/

  263. yttik

    Okay NoSugarcoating, but while women passionately and intelligently debate the merits of intersectionality, I think a comment from that article pretty much sums up the patriarchal view on the whole matter,

    “I’ve dated light skinned, and dark skinned, women,it’s all the same,that complexion sh*t is all in the mind. You’re going to get the samething with one that you get with other one,your rocks off.”

  264. Someone Else

    Holy fucking shit, we are STILL fucking around about how butthurt we are around race? I mean, it is fucking important, but a week long malingering thread does Jack and Shit to fix the damn problem.

    Jayzus. I figured a 3-day holiday would clear it up (it usually does).

    I order emergency margarita rations for all parties. Clearly, people need to mellow a bit. (Those who prefer a weedier version of same shall also be given necessary rations)

  265. Someone Else

    Oh, btw, since I assume the title is up for grabs, I am claiming “Queen of the Heteros”. This is only fair.

  266. minervaK

    Hey, for those who have expressed an interest, I started an experimental community over at Patriarchy central (reddit):

    http://www.reddit.com/r/weblamethepatriarchy/

    Obv, it’s set to private, so you’ll have to msg me to join. Threaded discussion. Advanced blaming, right there in the belly of the beast. Let’s see what we can make of it.

  267. pheenobarbidoll

    Sorry to say yttik, but women are not going to lift Native Indians out of anything, even if we all smashed the P to pieces.

    Women cannot un-colonize us. The end of the P won’t un-colonize us.

    https://unsettlingamerica.wordpress.com/2011/09/06/understanding-colonizer-status/

    “In the context of the United States, everyone is part of this colonial society. By definition, however, Indigenous Peoples are the only people identifiable as colonized. Because every bit of land and every natural resource claimed by the United States was taken at Indigenous expense, anyone who occupies that land and benefits from our resources is experiencing colonial privilege. Every non-Indigenous person in the country continues to benefit from Indigenous loss.”

    My entire race, my whole community will not ever lose that colonized status.

  268. laxsoppa

    Thatnks, pheeno, for spelling out the distinction between racism and colonialism.

    Participation in colonialism includes expecting automatically the colonialists’ economical and political interests (regarding for example land use) to take priority over the colonized natives’, expecting automatically the colonized natives to speak the colonialists’ language, and expecting colonized natives to participate in colonialist culture without question. I could go on.

    yttik makes a good point about women lifting up their communities when given the chance, which I’ve seen firsthand on my own native community. A lot of groundbreaking work with getting our voices heard and advancing our culture and interests is being done by women. The heavy lifting – grassroots everyday work like passing the language on to children – is almost exclusively done by women.

    A few words on the preservation of non-white, native cultures: Fuck culture, yeah right, but colonialism only served to further disenfranchise native women, even when the native culture in question was already patriarchal and oppressive to women. No one needs that additional layer of oppression.

    Anyway, I do not think white women’s liberation from the P will have to be mutually exclusive with the liberation of other oppressed groups. What the privileged white ladies of the West win does factually resonate with what the less privileged sisters can hope to aspire to, both in the West and outside. You can’t be what you can’t see. It doesn’t mean that the liberation of one group should take priority over another; what it really means is that liberty compounds liberty, just as oppression compounds oppression.

    This has been said about a million time already in this thread, but here goes: Doing the freedom fight like it’s some knobby zero-sum game will only help the Pand the K and nobody else.

    White women’s continued participation in the oppression of WOC and colonized native women is because as subjugated members of the sex class, they too lack any relevant agency to change the racist and colonialist power dynamic. It is only when they realize the extent of their own white privilege and how it affects the non-white woman population that they can hope to do something at least about it. In this sense, white feminists denying their own white privilege are liable to do more harm to non-white women’s enfranchisement.

    Privilege-deniers are tools of the oppressor.

  269. tinfoil hattie

    I get AlienNumber’s point about prioritizing race over sex in cases such as rape trials, but that seems to happen mostly with women who aren’t feminist/womanist minded in the first place.

    I don’t understand this comment. Do you mean that only women who are not feminist/womanist are treated unfairly in rape trials? Huh? That if a feminist or womanist were raped, and the case went to trial, her name and “reputation” and sexual history and lifestyle would be treated with respect, somehow?

  270. eb

    “If you find yourself commenting more than 2 or 3 times on a given post, please consider shutting the old piehole.”

    This rule always cracks me up.

  271. tinfoil hattie

    Yeah, ok, eb. Point well taken.

  272. Fictional Queen

    @tinfoil hattie
    I think she means most of the women who put race before sex in rape trials are women who are not feminist minded in the first place?I dunno.

  273. peggy

    This intersectionality stuff is third wave feminism. Women have only lost rights since third wave came around – oh, except we can feel proud to be prostitutes and pole dancers. Intersectionality only divides us, and keeps us from gaining women’s rights.

    Women are ALL women. All women should be fighting for laws which benefit ALL women.

    Can you tell me, what gay male groups are fighting for women’s rights? What environmental groups are fighting for women’s rights? What black groups are fighting for women’s rights? What hispanic groups are fighting for women’s rights? What religious groups are fighting for women’s rights?

    But the movement for women’s rights has to (since 3rd wave) solve every ism in the world, EXCEPT for the advancement of ALL women?

    Sure, worship third wave intersectionality, and keep talking talking talking about the other isms. Meanwhile, women’s rights are getting nowhere, are even going backwards.

    No wonder they stole Hillary’s primary win, because electing a black MAN (all presidents have been men, only 5% of the population are black men) would be HISTORIC. But electing a woman (representing 52% of the population – yes, she stands for ALL women, she has worked for ALL women) – nah, that wouldn’t be HISTORIC. You know how many third wave women were obama bots???? A LOT. Go feminism! /s

    Women need to start focusing again on our similarities, and stop being distracted by our differences. If we fight for ALL WOMEN to get rights – guess what, ALL women get rights! We’re not accomplishing the passing of any laws with all this diversion.

  274. Johanna G

    Sorry Twisty, I disagree with you vehemently

    All “isms” flow from Gender Apartheid.

    Women’s oppression definitely is: “… the armature upon which all other oppression is hung”.

  275. No Sugarcoating

    Yes, what Fictional Queen said.

  276. Kali

    Women cannot un-colonize us. The end of the P won’t un-colonize us.

    What has been been done cannot be undone. However, the less heirarchy there is, the less opportunity there is for further oppression. And heirarchy is built, first and foremost, on the backs of women with their unpaid labor. The nuclear family supplies the bricks for the palace of heirarchy. Imagine if all those men who sailed around the world colonizing people had to stay home and take care of their children instead.

  277. pheenobarbidoll

    It can be undone, but those who enjoy the privilege of living in a colonized land won’t do what it would take. The only options are trade places with those living on Reservations or leave altogether. Those 2 options are the only 2 that will end the colonization of the Indigenous peoples here. Ending oppression would help those living on Reservations, but they’re still on Reservations. And ending oppression won’t return what we’ve lost.

    This is why I find the ” let’s put women first” idea a bit offensive. It ignores our colonization and ignores the fact that it will not end our colonization. I can be an unoppressed woman, but I will never be an uncolonized woman.

  278. squiggy

    Kali said, “The nuclear family supplies the bricks for the palace of hierarchy. Imagine if all those men who sailed around the world colonizing people had to stay home and take care of their children instead.”

    Beautiful word-smithing.

  279. shopstewardess

    Colonialism could be undone in a generation by colonizers not having children.

  280. laxsoppa

    No, it couldn’t, but that’d be a start.

  281. Comrade Svilova

    The oppression is divisive, not the reactions to oppression.

    Hear, hear.

    Analyzing how various oppression affect women is an important step in consciousness-raising. And thus, an important step towards the revolution.

    I don’t want to be part of any revolution that says, “X oppression doesn’t matter because dudes experience that oppression too.”

  282. Citizen Taqueau

    nails and others have done a good thing in their comments, and I am also going to open the old pie-hole on the subject.

    When anti-racist activism is viewed in its default setting as antifeminist, we have a problem. It’s horizontal hostility, and it does no woman any good. It’s also a pretty nasty act of strawpersonning (dare I say trashing) to discredit a feminist woman’s rage over the genocidal theft of her humanity and that of her fellow POC, female and male, by colonialist brutality (by my people, I should add, female ancestors as well as male, who “settled” the American Midwest), as merely sucking up to men for survival or comfort. White feminism does share primary concerns with the feminism of women of color, and that would be institutionalized misogyny. However I don’t see pheenobarbidoll saying she throws the concerns of misogyny and dehumanization against First Nations women under the bus in favor of the humanity of First Nations men, when she makes antiracist, anticolonialist work a priority for her along with her feminist work.

    Separation from (all) men and solidarity with (White) women is a little different for women who are not White, because of White racism and colonialism. As pheenobarbidoll has very well stated, these ingrained attitudes on the part of many (most??) White feminists manifest in the constant wear of aggression and bullying by White women, who have pretty much dominated the feminist conversation and seem to have no problem with keeping it that way. Purposeful or clueless as those expressions of dominance may be, the pain is still experienced as pain and betrayal by WOC.

    The humanity and dignity of White men is not called into question under the P the way it is for MOC. Even when we get into class, it is not the same. Defending the humanity of MOC who are crushed by White supremacist patriarchy is not at all the same as saying “The P hurts (White) dudes toooo.” It’s not my place to tell a woman suffering from racism that she should demonstrate unquestioning solidarity with White women, when White women are still perpetrating racist privilege and telling WOC what they “should” be doing or thinking about the P, when the White supremacist P tortures WOC differently and harms their entire race by defining and treating the entire race as subhuman. Girls and boys of color are essentially divided from birth (or previously) into two groups — nonthreatening, grateful assimilators or useless eaters&breeders/prison fodder (or else the no-win middle ground of Taking White Men’s Jobs).

    The misogyny of MOC harms WOC more than it harms White women. That’s pretty obvious. WOC are in a better position (or at least a closer one) to critique the misogyny of MOC than I am. I don’t always know that they will do that, of course, but I’m not going to tell them how they should do that when I don’t even have my own dealings with White Nigels fully under my belt as a White blamer of the Patriarchy. What I can and must do is to call it out when *feminists* are being given the side-eye by other feminists for opposing racism. What the hell, people.

  283. tinfoil hattie

    @Citizen Tacqueau, I don’t see where ANYONE equated pheeno’s rage with merely sucking up to men! I think that’s a leap.

    And that said: None of us, not one woman ANYWHERE, has ever been able to avoid “sucking up” to men. Our survival depends upon our sucking up to men, and we can only hope the whim of patriarchy, on any given day, deems said sucking up to be sufficient in the given moment.

    pheeno’s anger at the egregious genocide of native people in the Americas does not diminish my oppression at the hands of men, nor our neighbor’s oppression, nor Kali’s oppression. There are so many bitter flavors of oppression to choose from, that we will never run out.

    I wonder if some of this anguish I hear from my fellow blamers comes from our collective lifetimes of just not fucking being heard. It is so exhausting.

    I hear you, my sisters. I hear you. You are real to me and your pain is real and your experiences are real. I honor them, and you, from the place of experiencing much of the same kinds of trauma myself.

  284. blah

    ‘The nuclear family supplies the bricks for the palace of hierarchy. Imagine if all those men who sailed around the world colonizing people had to stay home and take care of their children instead.’
    One early Portuguese colony in West Africa was settled by 2000 Jewish children aged 2 to 10 stolen from their families and left to fend for themselves. No disagreement, just keep getting impressed by the sheer inventiveness of Megatheowhatsit.

  285. Kali

    I can be an unoppressed woman.

    When did rape and domestic violence get eradicated? When did we get equal representation in the government, in business, academia, media? When did we stop getting pornified? Nobody can be an unoppressed woman until this, and more, is a reality across the globe.

    I’m from a country still barely recovering from the devastating effects of colonisation, the starvation and poverty of millions of people. I hate the colonialists for what they did to India. However, I believe that what men have done to women over millenia is even worse and more difficult to overcome. I cannot put equal energy (including emotional energy) into every cause. I put more energy into anti-sexism than into anti-colonialism. If there is a conflict between the two, I will go with women. (For example: Many Indians were very offended that an Italian-born Sonia Gandhi won the election and was going to become the Prime Minister. There was also a somewhat sexist undertone to the criticism. Someone who was very offended about her being Italian-born may not even notice the sexist undertone, or may deny it. It was much more subtle than what happened to Hillary Clinton and Palin. I was happy that a woman won the election, and I did notice the sexist undertone. These are the kinds of things I am talking about.) Some other women may put more energy into anti-racism than into anti-sexism, and choose the former in case of a conflict. That is fine, but don’t call this prioritization of anti-racism *over* (not “along with”) anti-sexism feminism.

  286. TwissB

    Kali: Your analysis throughout this thread is welcome for staying with the basic purpose (as I see it) of this blog.
    Every class but one includes men who get the payoff from sexism and are not at all shy about pressuring “their” women to put their shared class first.

  287. Citizen Taqueau

    Gosh, I must have hallucinated the part about “fellating dudes.”

  288. pheenobarbidoll

    When did rape and domestic violence get eradicated? When did we get equal representation in the government, in business, academia, media? When did we stop getting pornified? Nobody can be an unoppressed woman until this, and more, is a reality across the globe.”

    Jesus fucking christ, I was pretty damn clear with my words. Do I REALLY need to spell it the fuck out?

    It was a goddamn hypothetical. *If* the P is smashed and sexism and woman hating ALL END, I can be an unoppressed woman.

    Is that clear enough because if it isn’t I’m going to assume you half ass read what I write and do so on purpose.

  289. Kali

    *If* the P is smashed and sexism and woman hating ALL END, I can be an unoppressed woman.

    In that particular comment, it was not clear that you were talking about a hypothetical unoppressed woman. Also, I don’t see the point of comparing a hypothetical for A with the reality for B. I could just as easily argue that if the white people all leave North America or die off, you can be an uncolonized woman, but you can never be an unoppressed woman as long as there are men oppressing women.

  290. tinfoil hattie

    Citizen Tacqueau, there was a comment about “fellating dudes.” But nobody said, “Hey, pheeno! Your rage is bogus because you fellate dudes!” Right?

    Kali, you are excellent at staying on point, and I want to be you when I grow up, because when I argue, I get scattered and pissed. Do you give lessons?

  291. Kali

    tinfoil hattie, you’re much better at getting consensus and mutual understanding than I am. So, we could give each other lessons!

  292. pheenobarbidoll

    “In that particular comment, it was not clear that you were talking about a hypothetical unoppressed woman.”

    Right, it’s just what the *entire post* was about.

    “I could just as easily argue that if the white people all leave North America or die off, you can be an uncolonized woman, but you can never be an unoppressed woman as long as there are men oppressing women.”

    You mean all uncolonized people, which includes more than white people.

    Frankly, I’d rather start with that. Undoing the crap colonizers brought over (like much of the sexist beliefs in this country)would take less time. Native Women might actually achieve an unoppressed state. At least we’d be able to get back our less oppressive cultural practices.

  293. cin17

    TwissB, a belated thank you for coining “intrasectionality.” So damn much of the P’s misogyny and sexism is cultivated, nurtured, and enforced via racial, ethnic, and religious communities.

    Throw a rock and you’ll hit some mansplaining dude who will tell you that we have to be culturally sensitive to (the misogynistic religion of your choice) because we can’t impose our cultural ethics on others. This attitude comes from the basic P tenet: Women are not human, therefore human rights do not need to encompass women’s rights. Never mind that our mansplainers can, loud and proud, condemn cultures that are racially, ethnically, or religiously oppressive. But when it comes to how those cultures treat women? Oh no! That’s off topic. That’s untouchable. What goes on between those men and their women is not up for debate. And, besides, the women like it (and here the mansplainer will include a list of the “benefits” of said oppression). Who are we to tell (the misogynistic religion of your choice) how to indoctrinate/subjugate/oppress their women? Intersectionality we can move to the top of the discussion list. But intrasectionality? Shut your mouth and mind your place, women; and stay in your boxes and don’t even think about getting out. (Oh, and by the way, that woman over there has a nicer box than you.)

    It’s divide and conquer, baby. That’s one of the essential engines that make the P go ’round (and ’round and ’round and ’round and ’round).

  294. tinfoil hattie

    pheeno, while Native Women were achieving their unoppressed state (I can only dream), what would be happening to all the other women who live in the U.S.? They’ve been tossed out with everyone else, so now what?

  295. tinfoil hattie

    Actually, in all the Americas. Not just the U.S.

  296. pheenobarbidoll

    “pheeno, while Native Women were achieving their unoppressed state (I can only dream), what would be happening to all the other women who live in the U.S.? They’ve been tossed out with everyone else, so now what?”

    This is what I’ve been asking about Native Women during all the women first accomplishments. We’ve reaped not 1 benefit, even the paltry rape laws don’t extend to us because non Natives (white and black men) make up our rapists.

    The laws that have been created with women in mind were created using the hostile occupying government responsible for our genocide. But we get told it helps us too.

    But it doesn’t. Nothing that comes from occupiers will ever really help.

    So now you might understand where I’m coming from. I’ve been told her by many that MY people’s issues are secondary to feminist and woman solidarity, and I’m asking what’s to become of US?

    How much should we sacrifice for other women who don’t take our unique position into account and end up leaving us in the dirt?

  297. pheenobarbidoll

    “because we can’t impose our cultural ethics on others.”

    Your cultural ethics all but destroyed mine. You can keep them.

  298. Sarah

    Not to detract from the ongoing discussion here, but I thought I’d post this blog post regarding an incident which has actually made the news:

    http://shebshi.wordpress.com/2011/09/12/some-real-shock-and-awe-racially-profiled-and-cuffed-in-detroit/

    Most of the comments on this post have been supportive, but a few commenters complained about the blogger’s having a sudden hatred of stereotypical “white culture,” and stating things to the effect that this is the reason why she was profiled. That made me think of what Twisty/Jill said several posts back, about how oppressing people is not wrong when the oppressed don’t conform to high standards of behavior and positive attitudes. IBTP.

  299. cin17

    pheeno, the “cultural” ethics I specifically referred to is that women’s rights are human rights. You are free to rebuke this ethical viewpoint and/or defend the P tenet that women are not human. And I am free to disagree with you.

    “Cultural” is in scare quotes because there isn’t really any P culture that embodies this ethic. For that reason it is a personal, not cultural, viewpoint. But I am often told, mostly by men but sometimes women, that I can’t “impose” this idea on anyone.

  300. Kali

    We’ve reaped not 1 benefit, even the paltry rape laws don’t extend to us because non Natives (white and black men) make up our rapists.

    The laws that have been created with women in mind were created using the hostile occupying government responsible for our genocide. But we get told it helps us too.

    The rape of native women by non-native men is a huge, huge problem. I thought of it a couple of times during this discussion as the kind of intersectionality I can get behind. I disagree though, that these laws were created with women in mind. How can rape laws be made better for native women? Suggestions?

  301. pheenobarbidoll

    For one, the Fed. government needs to get the hell out of Tribal Law so Native Women can report a rapist and actually have him arrested and tried. As it stands, if we are raped by a non Native, we can’t arrest or prosecute. Tribal police cannot charge non-Indians with a crime on tribal land. The US Attorney’s Office is supposed to do that. But they don’t. When a non Native commits a crime on Native land, Tribal police must let him go and forward a report. A rapist can be standing in front of the police and they cannot arrest him. And all men, every last one, that live near Reservations know this. They also know that a Native woman raped off Indian land can’t report it to her Tribal authorities and local authorities do not care.

    We’re an occupied country, just like Iraq. The only difference is the length of time our occupiers have been here.

  302. Kali

    As it stands, if we are raped by a non Native, we can’t arrest or prosecute.

    How does it work with other crimes (murder, theft, assault, etc.) You can’t arrest or prosecute in those cases as well, or does this apply to rape only? Also, what will happen if the Native Americans take matters in their own hands and deal with the non Native criminal themselves (street justice). If you can’t arrest and prosecute them, they shouldn’t be able to arrest and prosecute you.

  303. cin17

    @ Kali’s question above. I may be wrong (pheeno, correct me if I am) but I think it goes back over a hundred years to the “Major Crimes Act.” And, yes, murder, theft, and assault are treated the same way.

    pheeno’s right. The federal government needs to get the hell out. The only thing the feds should be doing is helping Tribal authorities enforce Tribal Law (e.g., extraditing non-Indian perpetrators who flee Indian land).

  304. pheenobarbidoll

    “You can’t arrest or prosecute in those cases as well, or does this apply to rape only? ”

    We can’t arrest or prosecute any non Native who commits any crime on Indian land. And U.S. attorneys take fewer cases from our Tribal agencies than any federal law-enforcement agency. Meaning, they flat out refuse to take the cases. We *can’t* prosecute, and they *won’t*.

  305. pheenobarbidoll

    “what will happen if the Native Americans take matters in their own hands and deal with the non Native criminal themselves ”

    We get arrested, imprisoned and if it’s a death penalty state, killed.

    We also lose federal monies.

    In short, we are punished swiftly and harshly.

  306. yttik

    It’s slightly better on the West coast, Pheeno, until you start to get up to rural Alaska. We do prosecute rape and domestic violence, probably somewhere around 5 out of a hundred reports. Tribal police do arrest non native perps and detain them for numerous offenses.

    It is always a law enforcement nightmare. If you call the police in a domestic violence case for example, you will get half a dozen branches of law enforcement, sometimes even including border patrol, fish and game, and Homeland security. They will spend most of their time arguing about who has jurisdiction.

    This is why women aligning with other women and coming up with women centered solutions is so important. Women have to think outside the box, outside the system, to solve problems. Yes, more sovereignty, more tribal authority would go a long way towards solving the problem, but women focusing on helping each other, right here, right now, can bring immediate results.

    Like it or not (not), rape is a property crime. It’s a crime against the state. That means it is also a crime against a nation. The thing is, men will spend decades, centuries, arguing over jurisdiction, territory, who owns the women. Over and over again women will be passed by, bartered away, ignored, or treated like a commodity.

    Putting women and their immediate needs first is not in conflict with other work that goes on, it’s about not being so dependent on a whole system that doesn’t work for you.

  307. pheenobarbidoll

    “. If you call the police in a domestic violence case for example, you will get half a dozen branches of law enforcement, sometimes even including border patrol, fish and game, and Homeland security. They will spend most of their time arguing about who has jurisdiction. ”

    I’ve read about that happening in the victims front yard while her rapist was still hiding in her closet.

    Tribal Police are only allowed to detain *if* they have the cooperation with the local police. In Oklahoma (the most concentrated number of us are) a sheriff is on record telling the Tribal Police that even if the Indian deputies are dying on the side of the road, don’t call them for help. And our land is so chopped up that you have US fed streets running through Indian land, and you can have a building parking lot that’s US land, in the middle of Indian land. So a non Native can literally cross the road, rape a Native woman and cross back across the road to remain untouched.

    “, but women focusing on helping each other, right here, right now, can bring immediate results.”

    For? It doesn’t matter how many policies or laws are on the books. If you can’t get anyone to prosecute them, they might as well not exist. And that system being worked with, around or what have you is still a system that was brought over by colonizers, and working around it is still working within a colonized country, with colonized people.

    “more sovereignty, more tribal authority would go a long way towards solving the problem”

    I don’t want more, I want total. Complete. All of it.

  308. Kali

    And that system being worked with, around or what have you is still a system that was brought over by colonizers, and working around it is still working within a colonized country, with colonized people.

    The last time that law was challenged was when? Based on cin17′s reference, it looks like it was a long time ago. Will the Supreme Court rule similarly today?

  309. pheenobarbidoll

    Honestly, Kali, what do YOU think?

  310. AlienNumber

    Once again, pheeno: you’re blaming the wrong white people here. White women, even American white women, even after the Feminist Revolution part second, still don’t have a say in what kind of laws are passed. Luckily we had one Andrea Dworkin and one Catharine MacKinnon and a few other amazing women, trying and succeeding to pass some more woman-friendly laws, but other than that, we’re stuck in legalistic anti-woman nightmare, just as you are. Just like any woman, anywhere, everywhere is. Legalistic nightmare, especially when it comes to rape, and battery, and children, and sexual harassment at work, and unequal pay for more work. etc.

    If you have a few minutes, please read this chapter by MacKinnon, in Feminism Unmodified, titled: “Whose Culture? A Case Note on Martinez v. Santa Clara Pueblo (1983).” It’s available in Google Books, here:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=rxE8FQzjpYMC&pg=PA63&lpg=PA63&dq=catharine+mackinnon+the+martinez+case&source=bl&ots=wfvL2blX9V&sig=RBMF_XdJ_qh3gS2_lImYTRATYso&hl=en&ei=cgNxTsr_LqHz0gH5uoSTCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&sqi=2&ved=0CBwQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Also, in CPP’s example way above, he brought up Eddie Murphy “dressed up as a white person.” What does that even mean? Was Eddie dressed up as a white dude, or as a white woman, in drag? Don’t you think those are different? What kind of feminism is this in which we erase sex for questionable purposes? Is this what intersectionality brings us?

  311. AlienNumber

    Just curious: do you think that if you had total and complete sovereignty, there will be no more rape of Native women? No more white men rapists and no more Native men rapists of Native women?

    (Also, I have a post in moderation, because of a link to something.)

  312. cin17

    Kali, as best I understand it (and legalese is a foreign language for me), the original law was modified at least several times in attempts to “fix” it but the U.S. legislators just kept making more of a mess. The whole jurisdiction issue is a nightmare. Obama signed a Tribal Law act last year that was supposed to deal with this, but pheeno or yttik would be better able to address whether this has had a significant and positive impact on their communities. FWIW, it took Amnesty International’s help to get the 2010 Tribal Law Act passed.

  313. pheenobarbidoll

    “Just curious: do you think that if you had total and complete sovereignty, there will be no more rape of Native women? ”

    Nope. But we can arrest and prosecute them. And we’d have the power to close our borders to colonizers. And access to the resources the US still steals from us. And the ability to enact laws, even if the Fed. government didn’t like it. And the option to collect on debt, maybe the government would kiss our asses like they do China since the US owes so much money to China.

    The Tribal Law Act is meh. Until we have the funds for enforcement it’s just more words on paper. And since millions of dollars supposed to be allotted to Native Indians “disappear” before we ever see a dime, I don’t expect to see much by way of funding. There are around 3,000 officers who have to patrol roughly 50 million acres of Indian Land.

  314. pheenobarbidoll

    h ttp://www.law.suffolk.edu/highlights/stuorgs/lawreview/docs/Deer.pdf

    Link with info on the rape of Native Women.

    “When examining rape involving American Indian women, however,
    we see that over 70% of the assailants are white. The 1999 Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics concluded that about nine in ten American Indian victims of rape or sexual assault had white or black assailants”

    “The NCVS results indicate that 11% of all reported rapes involve the use of a weapon. The numbers, however, are over three times as high, 34%, for female Native American victims”

    “For example,when asked whether aggressors physically hit them during the assault, over 90% of female Native American victims responded affirmatively as compared to 74% of the general population”

    “When asked if they suffered physical injuries in addition to the rape, 50% of female Native American victims reported such injuries, as compared to 30% of the general population, indicating a different level of violence.”

    “Much change has been attempted in the Anglo-American approach to sexual assault in the last thirty years, but things have not really changed for Native American woman in about 500 years. ”

    “In fact, when speaking with
    Native American women who have survived rape, it is often difficult for them to separate the more immediate experience of their assault from the larger experience that their people have experienced through forced removal,displacement, and destruction. Both experiences are attacks on the human soul;
    both the destruction of indigenous culture and the rape of a woman connote a kind of spiritual death that is difficult to describe to those who have not experienced it.”

  315. pheenobarbidoll

    And very important-

    “In many tribal oral traditions, there are some interesting stories and
    dialogues describing the strength of women, the autonomy of women, and the right of women to sexual choice. These stories and traditions can be incorporated into contemporary tribal court systems. In fact, some tribal courts have requested elders to come in and testify as to traditional beliefs.
    Therefore, even if the tribe does not have a codified rape law, it may be possible to address illegal behavior through the introduction of these traditional laws.
    Many of these traditional laws contain beliefs about individual autonomyand describe sexuality as being something very prized and very respected.
    Historically, many Europeans were horrified that the Native people actually allowed women to make autonomous sexual choices. Reviewing some historical letters and documents reveals that many tribal cultures allowed women to be leaders, to have multiple sex partners if they so chose and their sexuality was respected. If women did report a rape, they were believed.
    Moreover, there were significant punishments for rape and sexual assault including banishment and death”

  316. yttik

    “It doesn’t matter how many policies or laws are on the books.”

    Exactly. That’s why I advocate that women align with each other, focus on their needs, and work outside of the system. Outside of legislation. When women put their own needs first they can help victims of domestic violence learn about the cycle of violence, come up with a safety plan, and a place to go in an emergency. Rape survivors can come together to heal, but also to name rapists, to alert other women. When women come together they build strength, they gain power.

    Putting women first is not in conflict with tribal sovereignty. It doesn’t take anything away from that goal, in fact, it can enhance it. This is not utopia around here, but women coming together about sexual abuse is part of the reason why tribal cops have more authority than they do in some other places. Women coming together and demanding sovereignty over their bodies can lead to more sovereignty for the whole community.

  317. pheenobarbidoll

    “That’s why I advocate that women align with each other, focus on their needs, and work outside of the system.”

    I don’t advocate women NOT doing this. What I have a problem with is historically, it still leaves Native women forgotten.

    “Rape survivors can come together to heal, but also to name rapists, to alert other women. ”

    Beware of the white guy in a truck. Yeah, I think Native women know this.

  318. yttik

    Pheeno, if native women align themselves with each other, it does not lead to native women being forgotten. “Women” does not mean white.

    “Beware of the white guy in a truck. Yeah, I think Native women know this.”

    Really? Because where I live women are so fragmented and alienated from each other, they’ll marry that guy in the white truck.

  319. pheenobarbidoll

    ““Women” does not mean white.”

    No, but in the stark reality, it means uncolonized. Our conditions haven’t improved much in 500 years. That isn’t true for white women here, nor most uncolonized women. We didn’t get to vote because white women and black women were allowed. We as Nations had to fight to become citizens first and recognized as both citizens of our Nation AND this country first.

    The VAWA hasn’t come to our aid like it has uncolonized women. No one knows who’s jurisdiction it falls under. If you can’t prosecute someone for violence against a woman, having extra time added to the sentence doesn’t amount to squat.

    “Because where I live women are so fragmented and alienated from each other, they’ll marry that guy in the white truck.”

    Where my family lives, women run from him.

  320. AlienNumber

    ““Women” does not mean white.”

    No, but in the stark reality, it means uncolonized.

    That’s hilarious. And patently untrue. Only to sexists “woman” means “uncolonized.” We are colonized. By men. Hello!

  321. pheenobarbidoll

    “That’s hilarious. And patently untrue. Only to sexists “woman” means “uncolonized.” We are colonized. By men. Hello!”

    Only to anti Indigenous colonizers does sexism = colonization.

    Appropriate someone elses oppression.

  322. AlienNumber

    Well, and you keep denying white women’s oppression.

    There are no words for women’s oppression, don’t you see? It’s always someone going to deny that, because *more important* things are at stake.

  323. pheenobarbidoll

    I have yet to deny white women’s oppression. Pointing out they also oppress ME isn’t denying that they’re oppressed. It’s not even in the same zip code.

    Are those white women living on stolen land? Yes. They are MY colonizers.

    Are YOU sitting on stolen land? Yes. You are also MY colonizer.

    Do you drive down roads and highways built over unmarked Indian graves? Yes, you do.

    Is your grocery store built over our hunting lands and where we made our homes? Yes. It is.

    Your woman first signs are staked into the land that we were murdered for. The very least you can do is stop pretending it isn’t and that it matters less.

  324. AlienNumber

    Okay, so the descendants of Black slaves are your colonizers too. Even though, really, they didn’t *choose* to come here. Kind of like the wives of the Founding Fathers. OOOh, evil colonizers that they were, except they were also chattel, who also has no legal rights to speak of.

    You know, in the United States, only 1% of all property is owned by women (female humans).
    Do you care about what that means? About what that does to your theories?

  325. Bushfire

    AlienNumber, you really need to shut your pie-hole. You are being oppressive toward pheeno and her people.

  326. AlienNumber

    What about your shut your piehole, Bushfire? You general state of being (on this blog) oppresses me.

  327. AlienNumber

    The fact that so many “Blamers” are out to get the white women for some crimes these white women obviously didn’t commit, really reminds me of the Witch Trials of the Dark Ages.

    Can’t prove they did it, can’t prove they didn’t do it, but if they float they’re witches, and if they drown, they aren’t! The best kind of white woman is a dead one, apparently, even Here.

    The hairs on the back of my neck are standing.

  328. pheenobarbidoll

    “Okay, so the descendants of Black slaves are your colonizers too. ”

    Yes.

    Indigenous people’s are the colonized. Everything, good and bad, that exists in this country only exists because Indians were slaughtered. Indian women and children were being sold off as slaves for about 80 years prior to those Puritans ever stepping a toe onto a ship.

    Slave owners only had those plantations that they forced slaves to work because Indians were killed.

    The government that freed those slaves only existed because Indians were killed.

    You Are Here Because We Were Killed.

    “About what that does to your theories?”

    Nothing. Rented, owned it’s still stolen.

    Like it or not, women were only able to fight to vote because they were on stolen land. That government they fought to gain voting rights only exists because Indians were killed. Those women themselves were born in this country ONLY BECAUSE INDIANS WERE KILLED.

    Do you know the percentage of land owned by Indian women (female humans) before colonizers came?

  329. pheenobarbidoll

    Also in regards to Black slavery-

    Does the idea that evil begets evil really surprise anyone?

    People who actively chose genocide aren’t going to blink an eye at slavery.

    By the way, Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a legal holiday on the same day he was ordering troops to march against the Sioux in Minnesota.

    Funny how that never gets mentioned when people talk about him.

  330. AlienNumber

    One essay that really spoke to me: Andrea Dworkin’s “Israel: Whose Country Is It Anyway?”

    Especially the way it ends.
    [spoiler alert!]

    “In Israel, there are the occupied and the occupied: Palestinians and women. In the Israel I saw, Palestinians will be freer sooner.”

    Also, the case Martinez v. Santa Clara Pueblo, in which the Native woman, once again, was caught between a rock and a hard place. She lost the case.

    And this is why I put women first.
    But apparently this is the wrong blog to come to with that kind of message (except for Kali, TwissB, yttik, cin17 and a few others, in no particular order. I think the few of us could start something really big actually. tbc).

  331. AlienNumber

    (I wonder what the forbidden word was in that one.)

  332. Bushfire

    The fact that so many “Blamers” are out to get the white women for some crimes these white women obviously didn’t commit, really reminds me of the Witch Trials of the Dark Ages.

    Can’t prove they did it, can’t prove they didn’t do it, but if they float they’re witches, and if they drown, they aren’t! The best kind of white woman is a dead one, apparently, even Here.

    Absolutely none of this is true. Pointing out white privilege or white supremacy or colonization or what have you, is not oppressive, it’s talking about oppression. What you’re doing is whitesplaining.

    By the way, my general state of being does not oppress you. What a load of horseshit. I’m going to have to amend my statement from days ago- I’d like to meet most blamers in real life, but not you, AlienNumber. You’re not even against oppression, unless its oppression of the exact group you’re in. Some of us are against ALL OPPRESSION, including Twisty.

  333. Kali

    I think it is odd to call people who had no agency in the matter colonizers, i.e blacks who were enslaved, women who were chattel. It is important to differentiate between people who were active, willing colonizers (white men) and people who may or may not have benefited after the fact. The blacks certainly did not benefit, unless you call being enslaved a benefit.

  334. nails

    “The fact that so many “Blamers” are out to get the white women for some crimes these white women obviously didn’t commit, really reminds me of the Witch Trials of the Dark Ages. ”

    No we weren’t there, but we still benefit from it. Do you deny the truth of that?

  335. Laurie

    AN, I don’t see oppression as an either/or checkbox.

    As a woman, I’m oppressed by the patriarchy. But I have immense privilege from being white — a privilege that obtains with every breath I take. Through this, I get not only material benefits, but the perks of membership in the dominant culture– — and these benefits are the direct result of the robbery and genocide my people perpetrated on the Native peoples who originally owned this land.

    I’m not “out to get” white women — hell, I am one, and some of my best friends… well, you know. And though we didn’t commit the crimes personally, they resonate to the present day: every day, we continue to benefit from the repercussions of their commission — and the descendants of the Natives we pillaged continue to suffer from it.

  336. pheenobarbidoll

    “I think it is odd to call people who had no agency in the matter colonizers, i.e blacks who were enslaved, women who were chattel.”

    The term does not simply apply to the past. The Indigenous here are not extinct, colonization is still ongoing, and everyone who is not Indigenous is a colonizer. It’s still happening, it’s still in process, it’s still colonization today, this hour, this very second.

    And everyone but the colonized benefit from it, present day.

    Just like people today still benefit from slavery of the past.

    If slavery was still legal today, would you find it odd to say people today were reaping it’s benefits? Even other POC who are not enslaved? If only those in the Black community were slaves, would those in the Latino community not be benefiting? If their clothes were made from cotton that used slave labor, if their food was grown by slaves and harvested with slave labor would you say they did not benefit from slavery?

    The term colonizer doesn’t mean “person to blame”.

  337. TwissB

    Random information. “Movie Night” at Radcliffe’s Schlesinger Library alerted me to the PBS documentary “Playing for the World” about the 1904 Fort Shaw Indian School (yes I know…)champion girls’ basketball team. For more about this team, see http://157.166.255.30/index.php?title=Fort_Shaw_Indian_School and for more about Rezball, see http://157.166.255.30/index.php?title=Rezball

  338. TwissB

    Message now in Moderation Limbo with links, but anybody interested can probably find the best ones on Google:
    Random information. “Movie Night” at Radcliffe’s Schlesinger Library alerted me to the PBS documentary “PLAYING FOR THE WORLD” about the 1904 Fort Shaw Indian School (yes I know…) champion girls’ basketball team. For more about this team, see (link) and for more about Rezball see (link) Hoopedia.

  339. redpeachmoon

    Yes, what Laurie said. Let’s all acknowledge our privilege. But don’t we ALL as a species, connect historically to some oppression of others?

  340. Josquin

    Redpeachmoon: Yes, we do, and thus it has been from the beginning our our trek out of Africa as a species. Apparently we used to share the planet with Neanderthal individuals. We moved into their territory, mated with them, and then wiped them off the face of the earth. We, the descendants of those early humans, benefitted quite thoroughly from that case of colonization.
    It didn’t start with white Europeans taking over North America and killing the inhabitants. It stretches way back. We are a species of colonizers, and NONE of us can historically claim exemption. It’s just that some groups have suffered it more recently. My guess is that we, all of us humans, will be colonized in the near future by very virulent viruses who will make our lives miserable and kill most of us. It’s the way of life. Doesn’t make it good though.

  341. GMM

    Now I know why WOC feel alienated from feminism. This is just sad. AlienNumber, no one’s out to get you, jesus. I don’t feel anything pheenobarbidoll is saying takes away from feminism, it adds to it and it’s important to talk about and as a white woman I don’t feel threatened by it in the least. I have some female relatives who are pretty racist. They may not be feminists but they are women and they do act like assholes to POC, male and female. Acknowledging that doesn’t hurt feminism.

    “The best kind of white woman is a dead one, apparently, even Here.” Really? Who the hell said this?

  342. Comrade Svilova

    I have immense privilege from being white — a privilege that obtains with every breath I take. Through this, I get not only material benefits, but the perks of membership in the dominant culture– — and these benefits are the direct result of the robbery and genocide my people perpetrated on the Native peoples who originally owned this land.

    Exactly. Because I’m white there are things I don’t have to think about that my sisters of color do. There are worries I don’t have, experiences of oppression I don’t have, and other such benefits from being white. Even though I’m never intentionally racist, I benefit from my skin color all the time, in ways that are usually invisible to me.

  343. pheenobarbidoll

    Thank you GMM

  344. pheenobarbidoll

    And thank you to everyone else who gets it

  345. TwissB

    Then why is it so hard to get women in general (WIG?) to get the simple fact that sexism is a comprehensive system that privileges all men and that MIG don’t have to think about or, much less, acknowledge their privilege?

  346. AlienNumber

    TwissB, you’re in Cambridge, Mass? I’d really love to meet you, in real life, if possible, can we arrange that? By Radcliffe or something.

    And to everybody else, read some Andrea Dworkin books, goddamit! She explains this “put women first” business so eloquently, so beautifully, so powerfully.

    Bushfire, I don’t trust you for a second, so don’t even worry about lunch.
    And Twisty, any way you look at it really is a lesbian(+horse) separatist, which you know, is kind of a putting women first, whether you like it or not (or more likely, intellectually-get-it or not).

  347. AlienNumber

    TwissB, you’re in Cambridge, Mass? I’d love to meet you in real life.

  348. AlienNumber

    Then why is it so hard to get women in general (WIG?) to get the simple fact that sexism is a comprehensive system that privileges all men and that MIG don’t have to think about or, much less, acknowledge their privilege?

    Stupidity, willful ignorance, fear, arrogance, their Nigels (and or male progeny), and the P, in no particular order.

  349. awhirlinlondon

    In direct contravention of the “Guidelines for Commenters” which are otherwise being so scrupulously respected: What Laurie said.

    And pheno: Thank you for your patience.

  350. awhirlinlondon

    (pheeno! not pheno. Sorry. Also “that” are otherwise… etc.) Comment escaped. Bastard comment.

    From CPP several thousand posts up: “My understanding is that privilege is not something one “assumes” nor does it have anything to do with what occurs in one’s mind, but rather is something that is conferred upon one by social systems due to perceived membership in a particular category of people. Privilege occurs whether the recipient desires it or not, and it is nearly impossible to reject privilege’s appurtenances.”

    Certainly it is something that is conferred on one by social systems due to perceived membership in a particular category of people. No argument. As to whether one can reject privilege’s appurtenances? Sometimes one can – though certainly if one is unaware that one has the privilege to begin with, one won’t.

    But it also has *everything* to do with what occurs in one’s mind in that one’s thoughts and behaviors are thoroughly colored by what one believes one has the right to do, to say, where one has the right to go, etc. Yes, one can be barred from entry, for example (whether a building or a professional field, or whatever else), but more probably one knows (or less frequently, decides) whether one has the right to even try it to begin with. And let’s say one thinks – “ok, probably shouldn’t be here, am likely to be unwelcome here, but I’m going to try it anyway.” One enters. And then looks around very, very carefully once in to find out if one is going to be tossed out on one’s ass. Or attacked, or shunned, or insulted, or humiliated. At the very least, that is one shitload of emotional energy being burned.

    Women know that this is true of male privilege. Pheeno and others are reminding some of us that this is true of white privilege. Others have mentioned class privilege. All of these things shape what we think we have the right to do and to be. I saw so much of this as a teacher (what student thought s/he had the right to “x” or “y” – which ones would demand it and which wouldn’t dream of asking for it) that I started playing with it myself (which in itself a result of race and class privilege). It’s shaped my understanding of the world and, weirdly, has become part of what I do for a living.

  351. Bushfire

    I’m going to have to amend my statement from days ago- I’d like to meet most blamers in real life, but not you, AlienNumber. You’re not even against oppression, unless its oppression of the exact group you’re in.

    This was unecessary and cruel. I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me.

  352. buttercup

    Say, has anyone heard from our dear Spinster Aunt? It’s been some days and those fires are still burning.

  353. TwissB

    Thanks to AlienNumber and awhirlinlondon for providing the desired responses to my rhetorical question above. That’s the short and the long of it where the function of privilege is concerned.

    Alien Number: Schlesinger broadcasts its announcements widely by email.

  354. pheenobarbidoll

    ““The best kind of white woman is a dead one, apparently, even Here.” Really? Who the hell said this?”

    Injuns. Of course. We’re all savage heathens out to scalp poor white folks, and we especially love to kidnap white women.

  355. AlienNumber

    Pheenobarbidoll, two words for you: male supremacy. Of which you are, wittingly it seems, a tool.

    I’m not buying for a second that the males of your culture are not as woman-hating as any other males around. But I guess, believe what you need to believe to get yourself through another day.

  356. IrishUp

    “The best kind of white woman is a dead one, apparently, even Here.”

    WOW! That is some EGREGIOUS FUCKING SHIT, AlienNumber, PARTICULARLY in the current conversation. Your invoking General Sheridan’s words – words he uttered as he was actually in the process of carrying out US genocidal policy, I’ll add – is absofuckenlutely reprehensible.

    pheenobarbidoll, I’m so goddam sorry. I can’t even frame a sentence that is adequate to the situation. I’ve been following your posts with keen interest and appreciate that you’ve stayed in the conversation. I can’t even imagine the cost to you.

  357. AlienNumber

    How do you call it when a bunch of white women (like Bushfire and IrishUp, just to give two examples) tell a bunch of non-white women -i.e. Kali – about how horrible racism is and what horrible racists they are?

    I am horrified at the sexism displayed here. Horrified. There is a gynocide going on right now, does anybody give a damn about it? Really.

    (I have no idea who General Sheridan is, nor do I have any interest to catch up on more man-history. Thanks.)

  358. IrishUp

    “I have no idea who General Sheridan is, nor do I have any interest to catch up on more man-history. ”

    Nice that you have the privilege to remain ignorant on General Sherman and the quote you used so horrifically. Pheeno and others do not.

    I pointed out a racist asshole ACTION that was a pointed piece of verbal violence against First Nation /American indigenous peoples generally, and another woman in particular. Nothing more, and nothing less.

    What’s really nice is that your rejoinder is to conflate “what you did” with “who you are” (I don’t know you; I have no idea who you are), and make it perfectly clear that you have no interest in educating yourself or apologizing. Oh, and to question whether we are all True Scotswomen. Swell.

  359. AlienNumber

    IrishUp, seems like we fundamentally disagree about what’s important for women’s liberation. It’s alright.

    Also, I bet you don’t know a lot of things that are important to many other women’s history. If you really had an interest in educating yourself on that, you probably would.

    And if my words of what I hear happening here sounded like an oppressor’s words from the past, well, I guess that just goes to show us that oppression is a constant. Especially oppression against women.

  360. pheenobarbidoll

    tell a bunch of non-white women -i.e. Kali – about how horrible racism is and what horrible racists they are? ”

    They aren’t calling Kali a racist. They’re calling YOU a racist.

    “Of which you are, wittingly it seems, a tool. ”

    Of course. We Injuns stick together, and we need white people like you to save us from our own stupidity (after all, that IS what you called women, isn’t it? Stupid, ignorant yadda yadda. If that’s your Pro Woman, you can keep it)

    I’m talking about colonizers oppression of the colonized, and you are so desperate to pretend you are NOT a colonizer that you keep bringing men up. Not me. You.

    I’m discussing the rape of Native Women (by men) and YOU keep accusing me of defending men. All because you’re a damned racist who won’t admit that yes, even white women can be and are racists. And WOC should over look your racism.

    Not gonna happen. Being a woman does not give you a free pass to be a racist asshole.

    And the quote you’re so sure you didn’t use is ” The only good Indian is a dead Indian” and it doesn’t take “catching up on man history” to know this.

    It just takes dropping that racist WP you have and being aware of what was done to several millions of people here. Women got the worst of it, but you’re so wrapped up in your hatred of Native Americans and ignorance of our culture that you can’t be bothered to fucking learn.

    “I’m not buying for a second that the males of your culture are not as woman-hating as any other males around.”

    Given your utter lack of knowledge on MY culture or the other 500 different Native cultures that exist in this country, I don’t give a rats ass what you buy or not.

  361. IrishUp

    AN, your racist statment is NOT alright with me. I don’t think it’s fair that the victim of it should have to shoulder the burden of defending hirself from it all alone, so I spoke up.

    The universe of what I don’t know is INFINITE; no matter how much I learn, thatzafact. What I do have control over, is when *I* show ass, I apologize & try to educate myself so I can keep my pants on next time. It’s FAR less work, and better for me and everyone else involved, than trying to convince the world that it was not my ass they saw.

    Echoing buttercup: Jill I hope you all are safe and sound and that you are doing something much more fun than the interwebs!

  362. AlienNumber

    Do you care about my culture, pheeno? Why should I care about yours? Because you say so? Fuck culture.

    And fuck sexism, especially sexism in the interest of “protecting culture.”

  363. pheenobarbidoll

    Why should I care about yours? ”

    Because you’re living off the death of it for one.

    “sexism in the interest of “protecting culture.”

    Yeah, my culture had women voting as a default standard, in control of their bodies, women had bodily autonomy and owned all the property.

    But fuck that, you obviously don’t want it. It’s tainted by our non white skin, so it’s not a culture worthy of YOU.

  364. pheenobarbidoll

    “I don’t think it’s fair that the victim of it should have to shoulder the burden of defending hirself from it all alone, so I spoke up.”

    Thank you for that.

  365. AlienNumber

    Yes, I guess I should just go away! Because I’m on own personal land.

    While you’re at it, you should oppose all immigration, because everywhere you go, there you are, on somebody else’s land. You know how those immigrants are, stealing jobs from hard-working Amerikans and land from the Native Americans. Hey I heard Janet Napolitano was hiring in the deportation section. They are just so busy lately!

  366. blah

    ‘I’m not buying for a second that the males of your culture are not as woman-hating as any other males around. But I guess, believe what you need to believe to get yourself through another day.’ (Alien Number)
    The minute males of pheenobarbidoll’s culture have the kind of power over her that white American men already have, you’ll have a point.

  367. pheenobarbidoll

    White Privilege Bingo

    http://blackfolk.livejournal.com/2290819.html

    http://www.racialicious.com/2010/04/22/some-basic-racist-ideas-and-some-rebuttals-why-we-exist/

    The bottom line is, if you are white, you benefit from white privilege, and if you live on native land, you benefit from the native genocide.

  368. pheenobarbidoll

    White Privilege Bingo

    h ttp://blackfolk.livejournal.com/2290819.html

    h ttp://www.racialicious.com/2010/04/22/some-basic-racist-ideas-and-some-rebuttals-why-we-exist/

    The bottom line is, if you are white, you benefit from white privilege, and if you live on native land, you benefit from the native genocide.

  369. pheenobarbidoll

    “While you’re at it, you should oppose all immigration, because everywhere you go, there you are, on somebody else’s land. ”

    And that makes it all OK!! After all, YOU didn’t kill any Indians, right?

  370. TotallyDorkin

    Here’s what’s confusing me Pheeno. You keep talking about the things your culture allowed women to do, but how is it your culture? It is undoubtedly the culture of your ancestors, just like the culture of my ancestors is a form of Judaism that does not exist anymore, but which modern orthodoxy is a direct descendant. But that does not mean that i ever lived in the culture of my ancestors or would take ownership over it. I might feel a kinship with them, like feeling more personally connected to the atrocities of the holocaust, but I myself am privileged to not be living during the holocaust which has ended and is no longer occurring. The effects of it continue, and some people benefited from it while the Jewish population definitely suffered. But I don’t claim the exact identity of a Jew in a concentration camp because I’m not one.

    All the blather above is really just to explain my thought process, rather than provide a counterargument to you. I’m hoping you can understand my confusion and help me understand your point of view. I don’t see how you can classify what is going on right now as colonization when it is compared to actual colonization in the past. It seems like an appropriation of you ancestors suffering.

  371. AlienNumber

    And since you’re an American, you benefit from American Empire privilege. ! Bonus points: you can join the American military and go slaughter brown people somewhere else at leisure.

    And where does this bring us, pheeno??

    I’m a feminist. I care about women. Women don’t have countries. We don’t even have our own names. The only reason you’d think it’s otherwise for women, it’s because you’re male-identified.

  372. Jezebella

    Wow, I go away for a while and suddenly it’s turned into a free-for-all, let’s-hassle-Pheeno smackdown. What the hell, y’all? Seriously, take a deep breath and then cut it out. I learned a while back to shut up and listen when Pheeno, or any other woman of color who has something to say about culture, race, and privilege, talks. It’s hard sometimes, but when I manage to do it, I usually learn something.

  373. pheenobarbidoll

    “It is undoubtedly the culture of your ancestors”

    No, it’s not just theirs. Native Indian cultures are still alive, despite all the attempts to eradicate them. (which hasn’t ended either)

  374. pheenobarbidoll

    “We don’t even have our own names.”

    You might not. WE do. Stop projecting your shit onto us.

  375. AlienNumber

    Only a focus on gender will make your analysis Feminist.

  376. AlienNumber

    But even if you do end up focusing on gender (which perhaps you will, at some point. I can only hope, it’s a feminist space after all), a gender-focused analysis is feminist only when its analyst is consciously oppositional, when the analyst seeks to change the impact of gender categories either to improve the position of women or to liberate both sexes from gender constraints.

    This was a paraphrase of this legal scholar named Mary Frug. She was on to something, that one.

  377. Bushfire

    How do you call it when a bunch of white women (like Bushfire and IrishUp, just to give two examples) tell a bunch of non-white women -i.e. Kali – about how horrible racism is and what horrible racists they are?

    I am horrified at the sexism displayed here. Horrified. There is a gynocide going on right now, does anybody give a damn about it? Really.

    (I have no idea who General Sheridan is, nor do I have any interest to catch up on more man-history. Thanks.)

    1. I have not called Kali a racist.

    2. There is no sexism here. This is a goddam radical feminist blog. There is, however, a lot of denial of white privilege, and whitesplaining, from you, Alien Number.

    3. You’re right, nobody here cares about gynocide! That’s why we’re all here on this radfem blog so we can laugh at gynocide HA HA HA!

    You really sound like you are making stuff up, and what I’m wondering is why?

    Women don’t have countries.
    Yes, women definitely have countries, and this is really ignorant. It sounds exactly like “I don’t see colour”.

    Here’s some quotes directly from Twisty that seem to need repeating:

    Mang, I’m weirded out by this “what about the white feminists?!!” theme.

    Look, when white ladies say they feel attacked whenever someone tries to shine the spotlight of blame on an aspect of oppression that the white ladies don’t themselves experience, I have this to say: suck it up, white lady. You’re white, you wield privilege; it’s as simple as that


    This fight don’t make no sense. All oppression must be overcome more or less simultaneously. You know that old hippie saw, “no one is free when others are oppressed”? It’s not an old saw for nothin. How, I ask again, does feminist revolt end women’s oppression if (for example) women of color remain oppressed?

    It doesn’t, that’s how. Either revolution has to liberate all women, or it’s a pretty crummy revolution. It can’t liberate all women if it doesn’t address the so-called “other oppressions” that afflict all women. Talking about racism and classism et. al does not dilute feminist “energy.” Ignoring their impact on women, as a matter of radfem policy or something, guarantees a COYNTSYF* situation.

    *cutting off your nose to spite your face

  378. Josquin

    Twisty? New post please? I keep coming here hoping that this vituperative thread will have been closed by a new post. My ears hurt from all this shouting.

  379. pheenobarbidoll

    Then perhaps you should speak to the racist, instead of acting as if WOC defending themselves is just a part of the problem.

  380. yttik

    “If you insist upon fighting to protect me, or ‘our’ country, let it be understood, soberly and rationally between us, that you are fighting to gratify a sex Instinct which I cannot share; to procure benefits which I have not shared and probably will not share. For, the outsider will say, in fact, as a woman, I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.”
    -Virginia Wolf

  381. IrishUp

    Dang! If being a True Feminist means shitting all over Not True Feminists, whitesplaini, and sly implications that *some people* are getting *uppity* (not the least by tacitly allowing fucked up racism to go uncommneted upon while one complains about the TONE UP IN HERE), I’m keeping my Heretic Card.

  382. GMM

    “It is undoubtedly the culture of your ancestors”

    TotallyDorkin, this isn’t some one time event that happened decades or centuries ago, Native Americans still have to deal with horrible treatment from the U.S. Government in the here and now.

  383. Darragh Murphy

    Women own 1% of the land worldwide. Which country do we as a class own?

    Yttik, Kali, and AlienNumber have self-identified as women of color. Why is one woman of color’s voice, pheenobarbidoll’s, being privileged above others’? And why the hell is it the white women taking on the role of arbiters?

  384. Darragh Murphy

    Sorry, Forgot link:

    http://www.unifem.org/gender_issues/women_poverty_economics/facts_figures.php

  385. pheenobarbidoll

    “Yttik, Kali, and AlienNumber have self-identified as women of color.”

    AN has not self identified as a WOC. Immigrant, yes. But the two are not always the same.

    Yttik, Kali and I have disagreed over parts of the intersectionality thing. That’s it. Neither yttik nor Kali have, in their disagreement with me, used racially loaded words, dismissed my entire race/culture, pulled the ” But I Didn’t Kill and Indians and Hey, Everyone is On Someone’s Land” colonizer bullshit.

    AN has. And has also dismissed her appropriation of ” The only good Indian” quote, doesn’t care that it’s offensive and further, refuses to even find out WHY it was offensive. She refuses to acknowledge that living on this soil gives her benefits that came directly from genocide.

    And in the face of all this, 2 or 3 people have stood up and objected.

    But MY voice is the privileged voice?

    Because I refuse to allow offensive statements to go unchecked.

    If my voice is so goddamned privileged, then you explain to me why I get subjected to ” the only white woman is a dead white women” crap that was directly pulled from ” The only good Indian is a dead Indian” and why I was subjected to ” I’m on my OWN property” and “no matter where you go, you’re on someone else’s land”?

  386. Darragh Murphy

    You are not privileged pheenobarbidoll, your voice, disembodied, has been privileged by white women here in this thread.

    Other women of color’s voices have stood solo, unsupported.

    AN claims she is unaware of the “dead Indian” parallel and did not intend an offensive connection.

    If only 1% of land on this earth is owned by women then you, as a woman, most likely are on someone else’s land. Most likely some husband/father man’s, or some man-government’s if you are living on a reservation. If you happen to own outright the land you live on, as a woman you are very very privileged. On half the continents on earth women produce > 90% of the food and own less than 1% of the land or assets.

    Welcome to the privilege club if you, a woman, own land. Blame the patriarchy if you don’t.

  387. Ashley

    AlienNumber– On multiple threads now I’ve seen you accuse a lot of feminists here (myself included), of being tools of the patriarchy whenever they disagree with you. And now, you’re just being really racist. It’s divisive, and it’s distracting from discussions about how to fight oppression.

    Most others: what I’m curious about is how those of us who recognize that intersectionality is very important might approach creating a radical feminist discussion space that still feels productive for women of color. As a radical feminist space, it will for various reasons attract a certain percentage of white women who are racist, and then what? How do we make the space not suck for women of color? As a collective (rather than relying on a moderator only), how can we address racism within our community productively? Is it possible to do that in an essentially anarchist space, where a few racists can seem really loud and take a huge emotional toll on women of color?

  388. pheenobarbidoll

    “Welcome to the privilege club if you, a woman, own land. Blame the patriarchy if you don’t.”

    I do blame the P.

    I also blame colonizers.

    Much of this land was once owned by women. Then it was stolen and everyone else now claims it and excuses it with ” everyone is on someone else’s land”. Even the 1% of women here who own land own stolen land.

  389. pheenobarbidoll

    “Other women of color’s voices have stood solo, unsupported.”

    Scroll up farther.

  390. IrishUp

    Merciful Minerva! I will apologize if it can be shown how pointing out that something was racist with a genocidal history = privileging one person.

    Reading that “No good woman/ dead woman” thing made *me* feel slapped, and I don’t have to live that shit. As a nice white lady, my complicity (silence) has far different implications from a WOC in the same situation. Not part of the solution, part of the problem and all that. Frankly I find the “can’t we all just get along” flavored comments appalling for the same reason. Also, failing to do the right thing for X because I failed to do it for Y is some piss-poor reasoning.

    Nothing that pheenobarbidoll has said about how non-indigenous peoples are beneficiaries of USian colonialism & genocidal policies is inaccurate – not even for those of us who are simultaneously in the sex class. The fact that there’s more pushback against her for that and her stated feelings of national and cultural unity than there was against the stuff she outlined @6:01 is really really disappointing.

  391. redpeachmoon

    This is awful. And personal. And no longer embiggening the discourse. Where are you Jill?

  392. ElizaN

    I’ve been told her by many that MY people’s issues are secondary to feminist and woman solidarity

    Hey, that sounds familiar. What could it possibly remind me of? Oh, I know. It’s what liberal dudes say whenever women point out that we’d like to be treated like humans.

  393. pheenobarbidoll

    Yeah, because WOC sick of having racism tabled is exactly like liberal dudes but what about the men-ing.

    Because WOC are the Dominant group, now. And aren’t human either, so expecting to be included is just fucking ridiculous unless we all go color blind.

  394. pheenobarbidoll

    “AN claims she is unaware of the “dead Indian” parallel and did not intend an offensive connection. ”

    Ah so long as she didn’t MEAN to be offensive! That makes my offense at it unreasonable. How dare I be offended at a racially loaded parallel! She didn’t know! Why would she? It’s not like Native peoples still exist or anything or are worthy of doing any homework on. We don’t matter and our feelings certainly don’t. So now I’ll just be a good WOC and hold her hand through why it’s offensive. That’s my fucking duty isn’t it.

  395. Linda

    For any whites who are actually trying to learn from this thread, it would help you to educate yourself about colonisation and what it actually means. It’s not referring to a single event in history that somehow has no relevance to this discussion. It’s a process, an ongoing process.

  396. nails

    “I’m not buying for a second that the males of your culture are not as woman-hating as any other males around. But I guess, believe what you need to believe to get yourself through another day.”

    Is this because you’ve actually looked into it, or because you don’t want to believe what pheeno has to say? Why don’t you want to listen to what she has to say or go read up on things when she alerts you of them? If you don’t have the decency to listen, really listen, then at least attack her arguments on their merit rather than her personally. I don’t understand what your personal opinion of her has to do with anything. Why do you think it is relevant?

    The discussion about *what could be done to improve rape laws for NA women* was really interesting before all this shit, but I don’t know how that conversation could reasonably take place right now. Oh, how I yearn for the not too distant past.

  397. ElizaN

    Yeah, because WOC sick of having racism tabled is exactly like liberal dudes but what about the men-ing.

    What I meant was that “Sorry, Native concerns will have to wait until feminist concerns have been addressed” sounds a whole lot like “Sorry, ladies, we need to pass this health care bill, so forget about birth control.”

    I was trying to agree with you. I apologize, I didn’t make myself clear.

  398. Ginjoint

    Buttercup, I’ve been wondering the same thing for some days now. I wouldn’t really be concerned, except FIRE. And many animals.

  399. pheenobarbidoll

    “I was trying to agree with you. I apologize, I didn’t make myself clear.”

    It’s ok, it’s the internet and it happens. Thank you.

  400. pheenobarbidoll

    From what I’ve last heard on the news, the fire is 80% contained.

  401. pheenobarbidoll

    ht tp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5V1lKncrsY&feature=share

    Pay attention to the poster at the beginning of the video.

  402. lizor

    I don’t know much about first nations communities in the U.S., but here in Canada native women get no justice whatsoever from police or the courts. It is as if they exist for the random abuse of anyone who cares to use them, including murder. Besides, or perhaps foundational to that, sexual assault within aboriginal communities is beyond rampant. A young woman of high school age (who has managed to make it through school without having to leave for trauma or to care for needy family members) who has not been assaulted by members of her community or even her own family may as well be riding a unicorn, she is so rare.

    Colonization, as Linda says, is an ongoing process and it is alive and thriving here in Canaduh. But don’t tell anyone, as we don’t really like to talk about such unpleasantness. (that last line is sarcastic in case anyone is unsure)

    I don’t just blame the P, I am consumed with loathing for it.

  403. pheenobarbidoll

    lizor- I lived in Canada for 2 years and went on the Stolen Sisters Awareness Walk in Edmonton. Prior to that I was aware the conditions were basically the same for Native women here and in Canada, but I had not heard of Highway 16.

    It ran through the little town we lived in and after that, I made sure that I gave rides to every single woman I saw out on that highway. It chilled me to the bone when I would see a lone woman hitching.

  404. tinfoil hattie

    Statistics for assault of Native American and First Nations women are hard to come by – because in the U.S., assault by non-native men is not prosecuted (one thing that’s similar for other U.S. women, though not for the same reasons). Assault on “tribal lands” (aka “crappy reservations”) isn’t kept track of officially.

    So, yeah – Native/First Nations women: not just the sex class, but the garbage class, the dirt class, the forgotten class.

  405. Bushfire

    Pheeno, I’m buying you a margarita.

  406. AlienNumber

    The is misogyny here, in the Blametariat. I as a woman am saying this. Thanks for (not) listening. And yes, while I know more American history than a lot of Americans I’ve met here, I’m a little shaky on some of the details and some of the names and believe it or not, I don’t memorize quotes by dead white men Generals. Shoot me! Or even better, deport me!
    I will not apologize for something I did not do (but perhaps I will be destroyed for it).

    It sounds like there’s a lot of uncritical hatred of white females here (and some white women who enjoy wallowing in guilt and telling us about it. Well, aren’t you a wonderful white “person,” with all your white guilt? Gah!).

    Also, pheeno, I’m glad you’re just as anti-immigrant as any other (dumb and hateful) American. Maybe you didn’t *mean* to, but sure as hell it sounds like you condone mass-deportation. Obviously you’re too busy being angry about your own people to even notice that immigrants, especially immigrants of color, are the new Scapegoats. Definitely, thanks for the love.

    Ashley, as I’ve said before, what about You work with the men on the feminist issues and I continue to work with women? Strikes me as a fair deal and we get to stay out of each other’s way. And Bushfire, you can regurgitate what Twisty says until the cows come home, but I, personally, from you, am going to need a little more evidence of actual comprehension.

    At this point I’m very upset at myself for wasting so much time arguing with Feminists less sensitive to sex-based discrimination issues than I had expected from being on this blog.

  407. AlienNumber

    p.s. nails, check out Martinez v. Santa Clara Pueblo (1983) for some of the reasons why I don’t believe (at least some) Native men are any less sexist than any other men. I could go on with a few more recs. but that should suffice for now.

  408. yttik

    There’s a tiny tribe perched on the edge of the world, living in a tsunami zone that has been trying for something like 40+ years to get permission to move inland so they don’t get swept out to sea. Recently there’s been this really interesting convergence of female energy, these unlikely allies, that have all come together. First and foremost is all the female leadership the tribe now has, along with an odd Mormon woman who wrote the Twilight series, and a couple of white women who are US senators. It’s an odd and unintentional collaboration, but for the first time in half a century, there is a real possibility that the tribe will finally get their land. Women have real power when they come together, even when they come together unintentionally, which is something we haven’t even begun to understand. I see this over and over again, half a century of banging your head on a brick wall, but bring women into the picture and within a few short years, the whole dynamic changes.

    When you’re trying to talk feminism with WOC, with native women, it’s a tough sell because basically you are asking women to collaborate with their colonizers. Many women also don’t want to be incorporated into the dominant culture, absorbed, erased, and it’s a legit concern, there is a huge precedent, lots of evidence that validates that fear. Huge. I hear that loud and clear. But for me feminism is not a white women’s political group, it’s about balance, it’s about restoring the natural order of things.

    If that tribe does get their land, I’m almost certain some man will take credit for it, he’ll be celebrated. No doubt a white man. But I’ve been watching and the real story is something quite different and much more interesting.

  409. stacey

    Omg AN, your arrogance is astounding. I’ll fill out one of those bingo cards for you.

    My view on stolen lands: Land claims are a huge issue in Canada (well, in British Columbia) right now. I am a first generation Canadian (i.e. my parents were immigrants) living on lands which were once the traditional territories of Coast Salish tribes. Am I worried that land claims are going to get me kicked out of my three-bedroom townhouse in a desirable part of the city? Absolutely not. Am I excited that First Nations people may be on the brink of getting compensated (by property tax dollars, long-term leases, etc.) for hundreds of years of genocide and oppression? Hellz yeah.

    Look at that: as a feminist of upper-middle-class-but-not-white privilege, I can support the ongoing improvement of the First Nations condition without diminishing my own needs. If by “support” I mean moral and not monetary, and occasionally having to call out others engaging in racist statements or sexism against native women, I’m happy to do so. It does not take away from my own fight.

    Is this really so hard to do? I’m baffled.

    pheeno, I give you thanks and respect for standing up for your people. I’m ashamed at the inability of some here, who have yet to widen their perspectives.

    Missing Women Inquiry: There is a provincial commission visiting BC communities right now to gather public input on how to stop the apparent decimation of BC’s native women. It’s dealing specifically with the Downtown Eastside missing women, and the Highway [16] of Tears missing women and girls. There are some great and valuable ideas coming out of this; whether or not they can be implemented is anyone’s guess. Until the fundamentals of racism and sexism are addressed, however, nothing’s going to change.

  410. stacey

    Just re-reading that, I’m ending on such a bummer. That’s not how I really feel, and that’s not how I make it through the day.

    Things DO change. Things ARE changing. The inquiry (however many problems that there are with it) is long overdue, but at least it’s happening. Vancouver printed media regularly report on missing women cases, and will even mention past cases in order to suggest or imply a continuum of abuse. The younger urban generation is increasingly aware of issues of colour and gender, and will perform activism to demonstrate their awareness. It may not happen in my lifetime, but things will change.

  411. Fede

    It’s political correctness gone mad!! These days you can’t even call someone a sexist for not shutting up about her oppression as a Native Indian without some white “person” with white guilt taking the Indian’s side! That is misogyny right there!

    Jeebus, your argumentation has gone really far out on this one, AN.

  412. Bushfire

    It sounds like there’s a lot of uncritical hatred of white females here (and some white women who enjoy wallowing in guilt and telling us about it. Well, aren’t you a wonderful white “person,” with all your white guilt? Gah!).

    No, there is not. You do not understand white privilege 101. You are wallowing in privilege, and it’s really upsetting to listen to.

    And Bushfire, you can regurgitate what Twisty says until the cows come home, but I, personally, from you, am going to need a little more evidence of actual comprehension.

    I understand it well, thanks, and I will keep ‘regurgitating’ it until YOU understand it.

  413. Ashley

    Ashley, as I’ve said before, what about You work with the men on the feminist issues and I continue to work with women?

    If by “work with,” you mean, “alienate from one of the only spaces in this wasteland of misogyny where we can discuss building a feminist movement without constant attack by patriarchy enthusiasts,” I reject your proposal. It is not okay to push women of color and colonized women from this space by refusing to recognize their oppression.

    And for the love of the Combahee River Collective, I started a national organization that has organized thousands of woman (and men) against sexual violence. If I’m not enough of a real feminist for you, I don’t know which women you are left to work with.

  414. Laurie

    Yeah, awhirl,

    I-me-mine — arrgh!

    Sorry ’bout that.

  415. Saurs

    Alien Number, if the existence of women who fundamentally disagree with you is this troubling, then your skin is too thin. If you think you know what’s best for them, think your hypothetical knowledge outweighs their lived experiences, think you can play infantile Gotcha! games with them by quizzing them about how they choose to fight oppression, and then, like a superior schoolmaster, find all their choices wanting, then you are part of the problem. You’ve tried bullying and insulting pheeno, condescending to her, calling her a collaborator (both conscious and unwitting), acting alternately sarcastic and wounded, and occasionally playing the fool. Your work is done now. You have no credibility in this area. And, for the record: it’s not all about you and your hurt feelings. Your concern about the way WoC choose to fight racism (and choose to discuss racism) is noted, and is found wholly irrelevant.

  416. iorarua

    I’ve often found discussions on whether to ban or not ban the burqa/niqab* in Western countries full of bizarre, topsy-turvy clashes of oppressions.

    Moves to ban the burqa in Europe – which I understand has majority support in most European countries – is viewed by many as being all about oppressing women by telling them what they can or can’t wear. In other words, using one patriarchal oppression to fight another patriarchal oppression.

    So, by that same logic, defending a woman’s right to wear the burqa/niqab slots into some weird liberation-of-women category. (Similar to arguments that defend pornography.)

    Ditto … arguments that link the buraq/niqab topic to racism/islamphobia/freedom of expression. According to these arguments, a woman’s right to choose to wear a garment in public – a garment that strips her of her identity and severely restricts her movement and social mobility – is an expression of her personality, her religious beliefs and democratic freedoms. Bizarre.

    * I’m not referring here to the hijab (headscarf) and full-length Muslim pinafore – which, in my view, is reasonable attire by anyone’s standards. I’m only referring to the garments that require full facial covering.

  417. tinfoil hattie

    uncritical hatred of white females here

    Critique of white privilege is not the same as “hatred of white females.”

    You know, AN, it’s “privilege,” not “right.” I’d give up a helluva lot of white privilege to right some wrongs for WOC. I wish it were that simple. It’s easy for me to wring my hands and say that, you know? When our sisters on reservations and in dire predicaments around the world are barely scraping by.

    You sound like an MRA, blathering on about how men’s “rights” are being eroded by the very idea of women’s bodily sovreignty.

    Feminist issues are WOC issues, since, you know, women of color are WOMEN.

    For crying out loud.

  418. pheenobarbidoll

    “When you’re trying to talk feminism with WOC, with native women, it’s a tough sell because basically you are asking women to collaborate with their colonizers. Many women also don’t want to be incorporated into the dominant culture, absorbed, erased, and it’s a legit concern, there is a huge precedent, lots of evidence that validates that fear. Huge. I hear that loud and clear. But for me feminism is not a white women’s political group, it’s about balance, it’s about restoring the natural order of things. ”

    Feminism wasn’t a white women’s political group for me until many white feminists made it clear that WOC perspectives and issues were not welcome and any introduction would be viewed as divisive.

    I didn’t used to have that fear, but I’m being shown almost daily that I’ve been foolish for not fearing it.

  419. awhirlinlondon

    Laurie – Noooooooo!

    I made a feeble joke about Egregious Guidelines for Commenters’ Violations because 1. they’d been pretty much violated to hell by that point and 2., I was about to ignore the one that advises explicitly against leaving a comment that says no more than “What picklenose said.” But your comment was so beautifully put that all I wanted to say was “hear hear!” As such, all I had to say was “Yeah! What Laurie said!” Thanks so much for your wonderful articulation of what was making me fizz with distress. Beautifully done. I’m terribly sorry to have made you think otherwise for a nanosecond.

  420. MonoHomo36706

    All women are people under occupation. Denying that is denying women’s oppression.

  421. nails

    “I will not apologize for something I did not do (but perhaps I will be destroyed for it). ”

    Scoff.

  422. Comrade Svilova

    Thanks to all blamers who are demonstrating that feminism does not have to mean denial of all oppression beyond sex-based oppression.

  423. hayduke

    A big thanks to pheenobarbidoll, who has dragged this long-time lurker out of hiding. Freaking excellent points but, better yet, none of the timid “well, might I just point out that your comments could, potentially, be viewed as…”

    Fuck that noise. I can get that anywhere on the internet. Or anywhere in daily real-life interactions. When somebody exercises their privelege, of whatever type, it is experienced by the non-priveleged as hatred (danke, Twisty: so brilliant, so clear; sorry my attempt to paraphrase is so poor). How you meant it doesn’t matter, and the harmed group/individuals are under no obligation to coddle you and your feelings when pointing it out.

    Should they choose to use their valuable time doing so, of course.

  424. alamo

    Katherine MacKinnon says: It has recently come to my attention that the white woman is the issue here, so I decided I better find out what one is. This creature is not poor, not battered, not raped (not really), not molested as a child, not pregnant as a teenager, not prostituted, not coerced into pornography, not a welfare mother, and not economically exploited. She doesn’t work. She is either the white man’s image of her–effete, pampered, privileged, protected, flighty, and self-indulgent–or the Black man’s image of her–all that, plus the “pretty white girl” (meaning ugly as sin but regarded as the ultimate in beauty because she is white). She is Miss Anne of the kitchen, she puts Frederick Douglass to the lash, she cries rape when Emmet Till looks at her sideways, she manipulates white men’s very real power with the lifting of her very well-manicured little finger. She makes an appearance in Baraka’s “rape the white girl,”(14) as Cleaver’s real thing after target practice on Black women (15), as Helmut Newton’s glossy upscale hard-edged, distanced vamp (1976), and as the Central Park Jogger, the classy white madonna who got herself raped and beaten nearly to death. She flings her hair, feels beautiful all the time, complains about the colored help, tips badly, can’t do anything, doesn’t do anything, doesn’t know anything, and alternates fantasizing about fucking Black men with accusing them of raping her. As Ntozake Shange points out, all Western civilization depends on her (1981, p. 48). On top of all this, out of impudence, imitativeness, pique, and a simple lack of anything meaningful to do, she thinks she needs to be liberated. Her feminist incarnation is all of the above, and guilty about every single bit of it, having by dint of repetition refined saying “I’m sorry” to a high form of art. She can’t even make up her own songs.

    There is, of course, much to much of this, this “woman, modified,” this woman discounted by white, meaning she would be oppressed but for her privilege. But this image seldom comes face to face with the rest of her reality: the fact that the majority of the poor are white women and their children (at least half of whom are female); that white women are systematically battered in their homes, murdered by intimates and serial killers alike, molested as children, actually raped (mostly by white men), and that even Black men, on average, make more than they do. (16) If one did not know this, one could be taken in by white men’s image of white women: that the pedestal is real, rather than a cage in which to confine and trivialize them and segregate them from the rest of life, a vehicle for sexualized infantilization, a virginal set-up for rape by men who enjoy violating the pure, and a myth with which to try to control Black women. (See, if you would lie down and be quiet and not move, we would revere you, too.) One would think that the white men’s myth that they protect white women was real, rather than a racist cover to guarantee their exclusive and unimpeded sexual access–meaning they can rape her at will, and do, a posture made good in the marital rape exclusion and the largely useless rape law generally. One would think that the only white women in brothels in the South during the Civil War were in Gone with the Wind. (17) This is not to say that there is no such thing as skin privilege, but rather that it has never insulated white women from the brutality and misogyny of men, mostly but not exclusively white men, or from its effective legalization. In other words, the “white girls” of this theory miss quite a lot of the reality of white women in the practice of male supremacy.

    Beneath the trivialization of the white woman’s subordination implicit in the dismissive sneer “straight white economically privileged women” (a phrase which has become one word, the accuracy of some of its terms being rarely documented even in law journals) lies the notion that there is no such thing as the oppression of women as such. If white women’s oppression is an illusion of privilege and a rip-off and reduction of the civil rights movement, we are being told that there is no such thing as a woman, that our practice produces no theory, and that there is no such thing as discrimination on the basis of sex. What I am saying is, to argue that oppression “as a woman” negates rather than encompasses recognition of the oppression of women on other bases, is to say that there is no such thing as the practice of sex inequality.

  425. buttercup

    From the posting guidelines-

    “Kindly note that when feminists of whiteness exercise white feminist privilege, even when unintended, it is experienced by feminists of color as racism.”

    “One thing I have learned from doing this blog lo these past 5 years is that when a reasonable person tells you you’re oppressin’em, you’re oppressin’em. The only rational course of action is a) to stop being defensive and b) to cop to it, already.”

    AN, why is this so difficult for you? Many of us were resistant at first to the idea of privilege and what it does to WOC even when we don’t want or mean it to. Why can’t you cop to it and stop being so defensive and argumentative about what you’re doing? You are letting your anger at being called out poison your words, and you’re lashing out at people who you could be working with against the P and all kinds of oppression. This makes me sad.

  426. blah

    ‘According to these arguments, a woman’s right to choose to wear a garment in public – a garment that strips her of her identity and severely restricts her movement and social mobility – is an expression of her personality, her religious beliefs and democratic freedoms. Bizarre.’ (iorarua)
    In the 50′s the British colonial regime took time off from suppressing Kenyan resistance to its rule to outlaw female genital mutilation. In response, a non-negligible number of young Kenyan women mutilated themselves. (Or tried to. Medical records suggest their attempts were not up to the standards of professional mutilators.)
    Maybe the state should just fuck off and leave these issues to women?

  427. geogeek

    @blah, iorarua,

    I’ve just been reading a little about Turkey, and forbidding the veil there resulted in what I would call the “Romeo and Juliet Effect;” namely, as soon as something is forbidden, it becomes more likely to occur as people resist control. I’m still trying to think my way through this, but it also seems that the specific part of the patriarchal culture which was resistant to Ataturk applied pressure to women to self-identify with them and therefore wear the headscarf as a combination “We resist the control of the new state” and “We affirm our oppression under traditional culture.”

    Since my background is still pretty basic on history of the area and the many different arguments about veil/niqab/other variations, I’m just putting this out as a first thought.

  428. lizor

    @ Pheeno,

    You may well have saved some lives on that highway. The racism is so profound in our so-called law enforcement that the real numbers of disappeared women is difficult to determine. There is an enquiry into police misconduct regarding the missing (almost exclusively native) women, but it is pretty much sewn up before it starts. Aboriginal and women’s groups are allowed to make legal presentations, but cannot access any funding to hire legal representation, cause, ya know, the government is already paying out “enough” to cover the enquiry – i.e. taxpayers pay to continue the coverup of police racism and sexism and classism. I know this from a friend who is working as an advocate on the case. You’ll never hear it though the media.

    Sorry to be the delivery system for yet more unbearable outrage, but it just makes me want to give up altogether or go postal or something.

  429. Linda

    Accusations of “white guilt” have usually come from conservative right wing males, in order to shut down discussions of social justice. I’m surprised to read it here.

    As for misogyny, I have a pretty finely-tuned radar for picking up misogyny, as I’m sure many of us here do. Rarely do I even go for one hour without detecting misogyny in my atmosphere. Yet I’m not getting any blips at all right now. That should be a clue for you, AN.

  430. AlienNumber

    This is a very American-centric Blametariat. Maybe that’s why we’re butting heads so much.

    White guilt is useless without actual Reparations, actual movement of resources from-to. Otherwise, it’s just a big waste of time, a “with all deliberate speed” type of fiasco, from my extensive experience with the Topic/Thing/Practice, dear Linda. Furthermore, there is no social justice without a focus on the liberation of women, which is unfortunately and historically always at the bottom of any social justice-y group list of priorities.

    I do apologize for verging on feminist trolldom with my misguided and deeply offensive obsession with putting the liberation of women first and foremost.

  431. nails

    “I do apologize for verging on feminist trolldom with my misguided and deeply offensive obsession with putting the liberation of women first and foremost.”

    That is totally why people were upset. Very perceptive.

  432. yttik

    Said to Alien, “Your concern about the way WoC choose to fight racism (and choose to discuss racism) is noted, and is found wholly irrelevant.”

    Uh, no. I don’t find her points irrelevant at all.

  433. pheenobarbidoll

    What points? We’re all just fellating MOC if we don’t do feminism her way? Or “you must be opposed to all immigration” or ” it’s always someone else’s land, oh well” or “your culture must suck as much as mine,so it’s ok to eradicate it”.

    Maybe you’ve seen other points, but I don’t see any other than racist points being made.

    Woman first is fine, as long as it’s 100%. I won’t help feminists who forget that many efforts made to put women first only put certain women first and the vast majority of the time, it’s Native women who get forgotten.

    I’m not down with that. It either includes us or it won’t get help from me.

  434. pheenobarbidoll

    @yttik-

    You wrote

    ““When you’re trying to talk feminism with WOC, with native women, it’s a tough sell because basically you are asking women to collaborate with their colonizers. Many women also don’t want to be incorporated into the dominant culture, absorbed, erased, and it’s a legit concern, there is a huge precedent, lots of evidence that validates that fear.”

    And I agree. So far, I’ve yet to see AN address any of those fears with anything but dismissal. So while you see the legitimacy of those concerns, and I see them, she’s rendered them invalid every time she responds to me.

    So why should I buy what she’s selling? She’s made it clear that I should run like hell if I don’t want all those concerns coming to pass.

  435. Bushfire

    This is a very American-centric Blametariat. Maybe that’s why we’re butting heads so much.

    It doesn’t matter what anyone says, you’re just not going to get it, are you? You’re butting heads with people because you’re refusing to acknowlege the way you are erasing women of colour.

    I do apologize for verging on feminist trolldom with my misguided and deeply offensive obsession with putting the liberation of women first and foremost.

    You’re putting the liberation of white women first and foremost, and brushing aside the concerns of women of colour. This is, obviously, an offensive obsession.

  436. yttik

    “What points? We’re all just fellating MOC if we don’t do feminism her way?”

    Yes, I did agree with her because I do think women of all races have wasted entirely too much time fallating men. I also agree with her about “putting the liberation of women first and foremost.”

    I’m not trying to dismiss Pheeno’s many valid points, I just hate it when half a dozen white women point fingers at somebody else, declare her a racist, and then proceed to speak for ALL WOC, including me. Talk about erasing WOC. I’m starting to get the impression that all WOC are expected to act, think, and believe a certain way.

    I’d like to hear more about Pheeno’s experiences, as well as some of the other WOC from all over the world, but it seems like most of the (white) blamatariat is more interested in trying to find out who the racist is and throwing stones at her. Wouldn’t it be better to actually listen to what all the different WOC are posting, perhaps learn something?

    Besides wasting too much time fellating men, I also believe women waste too much time trying to call each other out, trying to make sure every single women is held accountable for every damn thing they say and do.

  437. Josquin

    Okay, I think it can be safely assumed that the stand-off between A.N. and various others will not be resolved. Anyways, someone else commented on the unintended consequences of making female genital mutilation illegal. I’m not really buying the argument that making offensive acts against women (genital mutilation, forced burqua-wearing) illegal will just backfire and create worse cases of these egregious offenses. If we extend that argument to all crimes, then we as a society will experience an awful free-fall into cruelty and chaos. I simply cannot accept that the physical discomfort, heat, lack of mobility and vision of the burqua would be “chosen” by women except to avoid censure. If it were illegal, then it’s a damned good excuse not to wear the stupid things. I for one wish it was illegal to wear high-heeled shoes.

  438. pheenobarbidoll

    “I just hate it when half a dozen white women point fingers at somebody else, declare her a racist, and then proceed to speak for ALL WOC”

    Actually, what they’ve been doing is speaking up so I don’t have to fight AN’s racism (directed at me) by myself.

    Which I appreciate, because I’m damn sick of doing it by myself.

    *I’M* calling her a racist. I have, in fact, experienced her shit as racism. No ifs ands or buts. Not sorta kinda. Full on hateful racism directed at me.

    And her points have been peppered with racism, so no, I’m not going to agree until she can cut it the hell out. You can ignore the racism all you want, but I can’t and I sure can’t when it’s directed at me. I really hope you’re not expecting me to ignore it and I really hope you see that the white women here are not just sitting silently by as it happens, letting me bear the brunt of it alone.

    “I also believe women waste too much time trying to call each other out, trying to make sure every single women is held accountable for every damn thing they say and do.”

    If we can’t manage to stop being oppressive to each other, how the hell can we get the P and men to stop? We can’t even walk our own walk for fuck’s sake. Not when there are WOC being alienated from the entire Women First concept. Even 1 is too many. And honestly, if the other white feminists hadn’t called out AN, I’d be pretty damn convinced the feminist movement wasn’t worth it and I’d also be among the WOC who left.

  439. Amos

    I don’t think European countries banning burqas within their own limits is really analogous to Britain passing laws for Kenya, or the revolutionary Turkish republic’s attempts to totally reorder their society. But France’s moral position banning the burqa is rather undermined in that their Muslim immigrants mostly come from their former colonies. Watching racism fight religious patriarchy always makes me feel squirmy and confused.

    In the US, a number southern and midwestern states actually have anti-masking laws, but I’m not aware of them ever being used against anybody besides the KKK.

  440. nails

    ^^That (last paragraph) is a really good counterpoint to the “it’s divide and conquer!” type of comments that come up during internal conflicts. It is totally true- we should expect people to try, if nothing else. This defending willful ignorance shit isn’t okay.

  441. nails

    My last comment was aimed at pheeno, sorry.

  442. pheenobarbidoll

    I just, I’m really, really tired of it. On a personal level, tired of it. No matter where I go, ignorance and racism against Native Indians, it’s left me drained. The past few days here truly had me questioning and coming up short. If I don’t exist, how can I be part of your movement? If I don’t exist, how I can be a woman in your woman first liberation? If I don’t count, why should I help? If I’m simply going to be assimilated into *your* culture, why shouldn’t I resist as much as I resist being assimilated into any other Dominant culture? As much as some would like to deny, womanhood holds it’s own hierarchy. And some women are on the bottom rung of *that* too. I feel like AN kicked me down to that rung, and a few women here held their hands out and pulled me back up.

  443. yttik

    “If we can’t manage to stop being oppressive to each other, how the hell can we get the P and men to stop?”

    Actually Pheeno, calling each other names and making the entire debate personal is how we oppress each other as women.

    The next step is to decide some woman is doing it wrong and gang up on her and make sure she’s properly shunned and shamed. I get tired of this dance.

  444. josquin

    Amos, you make good points, but it bothers me to have the “racism” card thrown at the French government, if by that you mean the act of denying women the privilege (sic) of wearing a burqa. If all offenses against women and girls are allowed (on grounds of “religious sensitivity”) because France is a former colonizer of that part of the world, then, once again, the door is opened to all kinds of trouble. I feel that if France, or Denmark, or whomever, allows these practices to take place, they are essentially a pawn of the vicious practices of misogyny masquerading as religious cultural traditions. (I know my view is not popular, by the way, and I keep getting challenged for it by intelligent and well educated women. But nonetheless I keep coming back to it. I was very influenced on this topic by the Ms Hirsi Ali, the author of Infidel. She completely convinced me, and I haven’t been able to shake her arguments.)

  445. Kea

    It seems to me that AN has been driven away from IBTP. Mission accomplished, then. Did any of the stone throwers bother to ask AN where she was from? No, because you don’t think it matters. Perhaps this was the only haven AN had, and now she has none. It never matters where the scapegoat is from, or who she is, does it. Sure, the words ‘fuck culture’ sound offensive, but this is the internet, and a crowd of anonymous, faceless people are incredibly hopeless at communicating. I interpreted ‘fuck culture’ to mean that when we all finally get behind women 100% (which Pheeno said she was fine with) we can finally begin to create new, inclusive cultures. I did not interpret it to mean that AN’s culture was the important one. AN sounds far more intelligent than that. In the 21st century, we do not exist in isolation from other people.

  446. Saurs

    I’m not trying to dismiss Pheeno’s many valid points, I just hate it when half a dozen white women point fingers at somebody else, declare her a racist, and then proceed to speak for ALL WOC, including me. Talk about erasing WOC. I’m starting to get the impression that all WOC are expected to act, think, and believe a certain way.

    No one’s said or implied any of that. Frankly, there are too few women of color on this board, and in general there is a disquieting absence of discussion about intersectionality and womanism beneath the post. And if the white women who are normally quite chatty were to remain conspicuously quiet when somebody goes on a racist tirade, then they might appear, in their silence, to be lending credence to that bigotry while simultaneously allowing a comrade — pheeno — to shoulder the burden of defending her very existence. And that shit is wrong. And it was equally wrong the last time this happened, when a few very loud, angry, ignorant, and bellicose transphobes tried to hijack IBTP comment threads and bully transfolk and their allies and go on a pants-inspecting raid, surmising that anyone who disagreed was secretly a man.

    The folk who are defending pheeno’s right to conceptualize the oppression of native American people in the prevailing context of colonialism — while correctly pointing out the historical failings of feminism to do just that — have not argued that Alien Number, also a woman of color, is obligated to join pheeno’s club, that she must conform to pheeno’s particular viewpoint, otherwise she is being a racist. What has been suggested is that Alien Number educate herself before trying to contradict pheeno about pheeno’s lived fucking experiences, that she refrain from shitting all over pheeno when she’s feeling frustrated, and that she stops dismissing racism as an important, sometimes primary, concern in the complicated pursuit towards universal social justice.

    So, while your suggestion that white commenters shaddup and listen to WoC discuss issues specific to WoC, I truly fail to see how silently standing by while Alien Number plays no true Scotswoman-of-color (namely, “I’m a WoC and I don’t care, so pheeno and others shouldn’t either”) at all embiggens any discourse or gets us anyfeckinwhere.

    Apart from that, Alien Number has revealed that she cares about issues of race when it suits her argument. Thus, she can swiftly shift from claiming that the fight to eradicate race-based oppressions sabotages the women’s movement to (laughable, if it wasn’t so offensive) accuse pheeno of discrimination because Alien Number herself is an immigrant.

  447. Saurs

    The next step is to decide some woman is doing it wrong and gang up on her and make sure she’s properly shunned and shamed.

    Yeah. Alien Number’s entire contribution to this thread has been: hay pheeno, yur doin yer little “culture” thing wrong, or whatever.

    That’s really the whole of her point. pheeno isn’t acting the way she’s supposed to, she’s actually treating white women like they’ve got white privilege (gasp!), she’s not swallowed some ahistorical perspective wherein women’s hands re the theft of American land and the whole of colonialism are completely bloodless, then and now, and this offends Alien Number. pheeno’s feminism bothers Alien Number, and Alien Number won’t let it go, won’t offer much of an alternative apart from asinine banalities, just wants to make sure we all know how inadequate we all are as feminists. That games gets tiresome, too, and when mansplainers or whitesplainers try it on, we’re normally all very united in our peeve.

  448. pheenobarbidoll

    “Actually Pheeno, calling each other names and making the entire debate personal is how we oppress each other as women. ”

    You mean like saying they want all white women dead? Because I’ve been saying (repeatedly)

    “You’re oppressing me AN, and other white women have oppressed me (and my race) too”

    Her only response to that has been

    “You only think you’re oppressed because you hate women, want all white women dead and are stupid so you collaborate with men”

    yttik- she said I want all white women dead.

    Did you miss that? Because it certainly seems like it.

    Again, she claims I hate white women and think they’re only good DEAD.

    Do you have *any* response to that specifically?

  449. Nimravid

    Deciding that no woman can ever get anything wrong is a way of denying that women are fully human. We aren’t perfect and magical creatures; we have the full range of humanity, which means the full capability of doing terrible things. We’re divided already, pretending it isn’t true is not inclusive. The only benefit is to people toward the top of the hierarchy, who can tell the lowly other what is important.

    pheenobarbidoll said

    Poor women wanting to be included but not treated as unwashed morons isn’t divisive.

    And thank you for that. Growing up poor I was guarded against men just as a matter of common sense. But when women (rich women) denied my humanity I couldn’t console myself with the idea that we were really sisters. In fact, when I felt like there should be some kinship between myself and them and it was an extra slap to let my guard down. Because that feeling you get when you realize that the person you’re talking to thinks you’re subhuman feels pretty similar even if it’s a woman who’s looking at you like you’re a pile of shit that might rub off on her clothes.

    So I’ve barely started commenting but I don’t want to add my silent approval to racism either. And no doubt, no question it’s racism and it’s not divisive to point it out. It’s the racism that’s divisive.

  450. josquin

    We are born racist (yes, a sad fact: check out infant studies) and we must learn to see past race. We, most of us, struggle to do so, struggle to see people as humans rather than as members of a race, and we should all acknowledge that it can be difficult. It’s so common to hear “I am above that, I am enlightened, I am innocent, I am blameless, I am a superior evolved human, and YOU ARE NOT.” Suspicion of the “other” is so freaking built into us as a species for goodness sakes, we are fools to think otherwise. Let’s all acknowledge the complexity of the issues, the issues of racial and historical insensitivity, the issues of collective racial guilt, and stop throwing insults around so easily as if ANY of us are above these things. If we look into our own hearts and acknowledge the demon in our psyche, see how it colors our views, try to rise above its pernicious presence, perhaps we can forgive others for it more easily also. Sorry to be so Pollyanna, but for gob’s sake, the discourse does not seem elevated or progressed by this back and forth litany of jabs.

  451. Nimravid

    Ouch! Evolutionary psychology button pressed again. We aren’t born racist, though it’s learned early if a person is raised in a single race environment.

    I don’t think anyone was trying to say they were above other mere mortals by pointing out racism. Just that automatically (pre-emptively even) forgiving racism, even to the point where nobody can mention it when it happens, doesn’t embiggen the discourse either. It ensures there is no discourse.

  452. Cootie Twoshoes

    This thread has been amazing to me, as someone who feels too inarticulate to speak up to racist remarks, likely fulfilling the stereotype of the hand-wringing white woman, though I am learning. Saurs has done a great job summarizing what has been going on here, and I’m grateful to pheeno for not throwing up her hands and walking away. I’m grateful to her for sharing her experience and perspective in the midst of being attacked by another blamer.

    And, if anyone missed it upthread, pheeno also shared an extremely helpful link about the difference between oppression and colonization: https://unsettlingamerica.wordpress.com/2011/09/06/understanding-colonizer-status/

    Which leads me to a line from Louise Erdrich’s The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse. A woman posing as a priest is trying to convert Ojibwe people on a reservation in ND: “Why do the chimookomanag want us?” she growled. “They take all that makes us Anishinaabeg. Everything about us. First our land, then our trees. Now husbands, our wives, our children, our souls. Why do they want to capture every bit?” Father Damien, whose task it was to steal even the intangible about the woman beside him, had no answer.

    This scene was set in the early 20th century, but I see now that it could just as easily be happening today. This complete theft has never stopped, and any comfort I feel today on this land is a result of that.

    Last thing, I still like the idea of a mentor forum. I disagree with some who say women so easily make friends with other women. I’ve rarely found that to be true, and I would really appreciate a place where personal stories are shared in relative safety.

  453. polarcontrol

    Laxsoppa recently set up a discussion forum for blamers, why not use it for setting up a mentor forum?

    http://tribar.net/blame/index.php

  454. Akubalady

    Following the unsettlingamerica link provided by pheeno has been (and will be) giving me much thought provoking reading. The Sept 8 post “Indigenous feminism without apology” by Andrea Smith speaks to some of the issues that blamers are wrangling with currently; specifically the fact that the feminist movement has placed white women’s experience at center. What would feminism look like if were “re-centered”? The work of Navajo feminist scholar Jennifer Denetdale looks particularly interesting.

  455. josquin

    Nimravid: you’re correct about learning it early in a single race environment. And unless infants are raised in an environment which includes ALL races, all levels of mental and physical ability/disablility, all sexual orientations, all ages, all body sizes, all of which are all given equal value in that environment,they quickly learn to discriminate against the other. Seen any of those environments lately? If you shout me out as a racist for not being as sensitive about certain racial issues which I may be ignorant of, you teach me nothing. (I’m talking about insensitivities here, not blatant expressions of racial hate.)You elevate no discourse. You simply send me scurrying to defend myself, which makes you madder, raises the level of aggression, which I then return, and then the fun begins. Let’s save inflammatory language for monsters who really do hate. Is there another term less dirty than “racist” which can be used in these circumstances? I’m talking about forums like these where we are basically in agreement on very deep human issues, and are seeking knowledge through a dialectic.

  456. pheenobarbidoll

    “If you shout me out as a racist for not being as sensitive about certain racial issues which I may be ignorant of, you teach me nothing”

    It’s not a person of colors JOB to teach you anything. It’s your job to learn why you were insensitive. Pointing out you’ve said something racist or are ignorant about a racial issue also isn’t calling you a racist or calling you out as a racist.

    “Is there another term less dirty than “racist” which can be used in these circumstances?”

    Please tell me you are not expecting POC to come up with a word to describe their experience that makes YOU feel more comfortable.

  457. pheenobarbidoll

    josquin, here is a link for you to read

    h ttp://kittikattie.livejournal.com/796501.html

    pertinent quote

    “I’m not responding direct to the privileged people anymore because I’m fucking tired. Because I’m not about to deal wit more privilege flailing, I’m walking away–not because I have the privilege of doing so, but because I know I’m going to encounter this shit again and I have to start walking because this pile of Hot Wet Mess is getting me stuck and I will have to do it again and this turn around the merry go round is over. and other people are getting off but here I am bolted down to the same horse I was on yesterday and before I’m even ready more people are going to get on the merry go round and this whole thing is going to spin around again. And just like every little privilege flail I see, the people who have been called on it are making it all about how they don’t like it and they’re just not perfect and aboo hoo hoo de fucking hoo. They just can’t handle the situation. They’re just so upset. Give them a hug and a blankie and a goddamn glass of warm milk.

    This is why so many anti-racist activists don’t bother with so many people. Because they tell things other people don;t like hearing, and they go and run and cry about how they just want to learn but it’s so hard because all those mean ass minorities are just not being nice about it and I’ve never had privilege I’m a woman/queer/never got into Harvard/don’t have a yacht and a McMansion. “

  458. redpeachmoon

    I don’t think that either AN or Pheeno have INTENDED to be racist, sexist, separatist, etc. This argument (and that’s what I’ve experienced) has become personal, and divisive and is causing Blamer’s to take sides, one of which seems more ‘PC’ (Pheeno’s). Feels like High School. I’m with Josquin. Feelings and passions are running high. In the last 2 days, I’ve learned alot more about Pheeno’s world. I hope AN has too, and will come back and retract some of her angry words.
    We are all fragile and sensitive people experiencing our unique oppressions in unique ways.

  459. pheenobarbidoll

    Racism tends to be divisive.

    Shocker, I know. I’ll be sure to defend myself in a less divisive way the next time someone kicks me in the teeth with it. Wouldn’t want my reaction to upset anyone’s feelings. Yanno, since it’s just a PC side and not legit.

  460. tinfoil hattie

    I get that it’s not pheeno’s, or any WOC’s, job to teach me about racism. There’s this thing called the internet, and one can use a fancy search engine to look up “racism,” “sexism,” “racial division in feminism,” “white privilege,” or any other concept about which one is not knowledgeable.

    As for a term less ugly and divisive than racism: it is what it is. That a person of privilege did not intend to be racist does not make the action non-racist. It also does not make said person of privilege “bad.” One hopes said privileged being would acknowledge being called out, apologize where necessary, and then do some research.

    I’m thankful to pheeno for this long and exhausting “lesson.” I am also gratified that she was able to vent her anger here. There’s not a lot of room for women’s anger. I know we’re all fighting the good fight and we all have our triggers and we’re all exhausted. But racism is ugly and exhausting, sexism is ugly and exhausting, poverty is ugly and exhausting. Women’s lives are one long ugly and exhausting fight, it seems.

  461. tinfoil hattie

    pheeno, to you directly: I HEAR YOU. And, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  462. josquin

    Thank you, Pheeno. I now feel angry and would love to slap you with spiteful (and incorrect)assumptions about your reality as you have done to me. (Harvard, McMansions…that’s a good one)
    As I said, let the fun begin.

  463. josquin

    And I am now acknowledging the little thrill of adrenalin released when I wrote the previous hot defensive little email. These are demons I’m talking about. It feels good to attack and defend, on a chemical level. We gotta override this programming. All of us. Unless there is a bear after you, that adrenalin “reward” tends not to get us what we want.

  464. pheenobarbidoll

    If you’d have set that defensive WP aside, you’d have noticed that several privileges were listed as examples. Those were listed because those are the most common excuses. Whenever a POC brings up racial oppression, inevitably, WP conflates it with class (ie I didn’t go to Harvard, I’m not rich, I don’t have a McMansion so it’s the SAME as RACIAL oppression!!) They weren’t assumptions about YOU, they were real world examples of shit people say to deny they have privilege over others (most often, over people of color).

    And instead of listening, what did you do? You read what you wanted and formed a defense for something that *wasn’t even said*.

    In other words, you did exactly what the author of that predicted you (as an owner of WP) would.

    Continue reading the link above that quote, and see if you can pick out what you just did.

  465. MPMR

    To the WOC on this thread:

    It must be exhausting to explain over and over and over again how your oppression as women is amplified by the racism around you, (and vice versa), in past and present. And for the response to be, “You’re wrong. I’m ignorant of your situation. Now you should teach me. But make sure you do it with a sweet submissive tone, and don’t make me feel bad for my part and the benefits I receive from it.”

    I’m disappointed with the divisiveness on this thread. I believe feminists can care about the oppression of white women AND the oppression of women of color. Both at the same time! Here’s to hoping Twisty arrives soon and shuts this crap down.

  466. pheenobarbidoll

    Another pertinent quote

    “Having privilege is not making you into a bad person. What makes it bad is when your reaction to learning something you don’t like hearing is to cry in your e-pillow and act like it’s all about you and your hurt feelings.

    So what do you do because it’s just so goddamn hard to hear something you don’t like? What do you do when you’re privileged? You sit down and you shut the hell up for once in your life and learn yourself. You listen–and by listen I don’t mean think about your defense while someone’s talking to you and how you’re going to bicker with them. You go pick up a book somewhere and read some shit. You look for resources that aren’t me or those like me. There are books. There are websites. There are entire sociological discussions around privilege and if you pick up your fingers and start working you’ll find answers without having to get them handed to you in little tasty bite sides morsels of thinkystuff from people who are tired of being the go-to person for your education when they didn’t ask to be.

    You stop talking about how much you are hurt by this and how you can’t handle this and going on and on about your upsetness one time that didn’t affect you but you saw it and but boy you got mad where’s my merit badge for racism 101 and pity-partying over on your journal and getting hugs and wanting to build a little bitty circle of feel good “I’m a good person hug me wahhhhh” BULLSHIT because you want people to babystep your ass through the ‘isms so you can have it all on a platter to learn about. You don’t white guilt and poor me I’m so burdened I try and I just feel so bad mess. You don’t make it about you. You don’t White Woman Syndrome everywhere and cry about what you did that was so noble like you should get a fucking cookie for not lynching me or bashing me or telling a sexist joke. And you damn well don’t ask us to hold your hands or you’ll never learn and that if we don’t you won’t learn. It is not the burden of the oppressed to lift your foot off our necks–it’s your job to pick up your goddamn feet.”

  467. Bushfire

    Yeah, MPMR, I can’t wait until Twisty comes back.
    She’ll probably be like “what the fuckety fuck is all this shit?”, shut down the thread, and put up another post, probably reminding us all of the comment policy, which many of us (including me) have been violating.

  468. The Embezzling Bedazzler

    Quoth Pheeno:

    “You sit down and you shut the hell up for once in your life and learn yourself…”

    As women, we’ve all been expected to do just that from the moment we were born.

    Far more to say about this, but really I’m very confused. There surely must be a way for feminists to engage and participate and converse and change the world without a single one of us having to sit down and shut up and be silenced. IBTP.

  469. nails

    I don’t know what she will do. I hope it doesn’t all get deleted because this is important. It seems like this thread is way better than ones in the past as a response to racism, which is a step in the right direction. If getting too upset gets a thread deleted then it allows white people to dominate the discourse about racism here. Privileged people always get upset when being called out on it, and if they express that they could (in theory) shut down a conversation about racism just by taking it personally and saying so. The idea that Pheeno’s posts were too personal has already been said, despite the content being really damn fair and calm (considering). We all know the conversation happened, but anyone stumbling on IBTP won’t know what happened here or that any racism occurred. Racism does happen here, I don’t want anyone to get the impression that IBTP is something that it isn’t. People who feel tired of dealing with white privilege should be able to see what happens on IBTP when race comes up. Pheeno brought up being blindsided by racism in feminist spaces because she let her guard down before, and that sucks. The value of comments (or threads) comes more from what lurkers and new readers learn, because that continues on long after we all stop talking about this. Maybe a few threads like this will be left (and closed), much like the issue-that-must-not-be-named? That seemed to work pretty well. I will be interested to see what Jill ultimately decides to do about it all.

  470. IrishUp

    “Shut up and *listen*” is not synonymous with silencing. It’s not a permanent condition. It is an injunction for $_Privileged Person to stop centering THEIR OWN feelings / experiences /opinions when the topic at hand is a (differently) $_Marginalized Person and hir experiences IN THAT MOMENT.

    Does “shut up and listen” leave you feeling too butthurt to process the message? How about a reframe? Try “replace judgment with curiosity”. But asking $_Marginalized Person to soothe your butthurtness is insult to injury.

    IBTP for instilling the idea that being wrong = losing in a zero-sum game.

    (Twisty, I do hope everything is ok!)

  471. nails

    “As women, we’ve all been expected to do just that from the moment we were born.”

    We are also expected to take care of other people and empathize, two things that are really important for any society. There are a lot of inherently negative things expected of women, but I don’t think listening is one of them. The problem seems to come when a huge group of people who have been told never to listen (dudes) enter the picture and control everything.

    “Far more to say about this, but really I’m very confused. There surely must be a way for feminists to engage and participate and converse and change the world without a single one of us having to sit down and shut up and be silenced. IBTP.”

    bell hooks is a good place to start if you are confused. The idea isn’t to shut up forever, it is