ETA some more links.
God DAMN it! I am angry, and ashamed, and so, so disappointed. And I would like to take this moment to echo Black Amazon and say: Fuck Seal Press.
Listen. I won’t give up on feminism. I can’t. Feminism, as a philosophy, as a focus, as a fundamental part of my identity, saved my life. Sometimes the passion I feel for feminism as a way of living burns so hot in me that I can’t sleep at night for the excitement. Sometimes I can’t sleep for the grief, or for the despair, but feminism as a philosophy, as a focus, as a fundamental part of my identity gives me hope to keep on trying.
But I won’t stand behind feminists like Amanda Marcotte and the folks at Seal Press. That is not the feminism that I want to be a part of.
In my private life, which I attempt to obscure for the purposes of this blog so I don’t know how much sense this will make, I have been involved with a feminist group the core of which is exclusively white, able-bodied, well-educated, middle-class, and over 30. I have grown more and more frustrated with this group over the last year or so, which I blogged about a little bit here. Sparing the world the gory details, I will say that the attitudes of the group have not changed since I made that post. And in fact, the last I discussed the situation I was told that there is no feminist movement anymore because young [read: white] women have officially Dropped the Ball.
I argued the point. I said that there is a feminist movement, and a vibrant, active, passionate one. I said that just because feminism isn’t exclusively about college campus consciousness raising, just because the movement has changed from what the speaker is used to, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I said that there are women of color saying AMAZING THINGS if white women would just LISTEN. I offered web links, articles, a copy of make/shift as evidence. I said that by refusing to acknowledge the work that women are doing right now, by proclaiming that there is no more movement, the speaker was erasing from existence some of the strongest, smartest, most passionate feminists I have ever read. The speaker was effectively saying that if feminist sentiment doesn’t come from the mouth of an older white woman, in a familiar format, it doesn’t exist.
That is not the feminism I want to be a part of, either. I had thought I would stick with this group. I thought I could change it but I see now that I am really clinging to the privilege that I have in being a part of this core group, of getting to be in charge of something, of getting to be one of the main voices heard at the events. The similarities between how Seal Press and Marcotte defend their actions and how I defended this women’s group, even if it was just to myself, are too great. I can rage at white feminists for their ignorance and refusal to recognize privilege all I want, but until I turn that on myself, I am full of sound and fury but not signifying a GOD DAMN thing.
I am a feminist. It is the most important part of who I am. It is the part of me that governs my nearly every word and deed, and I won’t give up what it means to me. But racism, appropriation, the silencing and the othering of women of color, ableism, transphobia – these are NOT part of what feminism means to me, and I will not be part of any feminist movement that openly or tacitly, intentionally or unintentionally, embraces these concepts. This is my pledge to live this principle, to seek out women of color who need allies, who need people to do grunt work behind the scenes, who need silent support so that their voices can be heard, and turn my time and energies towards that work. It is really the fucking least I can do.