Handbag Post

Handbag

This is my new handbag. I love my new handbag, and this is how I show it! The picture didn’t come out the way I wanted it to, but I worked really hard on it so it’s staying that way.

And what’s the best thing about my new handbag? That it’s glamorously fashionable and that it automatically makes me look more glamorously fashionable? Well, yeah, that too. But it’s also the fact that it costed me zero moneys. I found it on the street, and though it’s second hand, it is practically brand new. It’s awesome. It’s one of the few advantages of living in the rich west: people throw away almost as much stuff as they buy.

I hear you saying, “Ok, you got your nice handbag for free, but what is it to me?”. Well, hold on, because there is more to come.

See, the purpose of this post is not (only) to show you my awesome handbag. I also wanted to give you a taste of the stuff I like. Why? Because it’s been suggested more than once on this blog that I am somehow anti-feminine. Which couldn’t be further from the truth. And not only because I like the colour pink so much it’s almost pathological. (Though you wouldn’t know that from looking at this blog, aye? It’s been a challenge, but I have managed to restrain myself from putting pink anywhere on this blog’s appearance.) Sure, you will hear me complain about the imposition of feminine values on women and about how those values play out in patriarchy. But I don’t believe I have once said anything about women’s personal choices as to how to be like within the “feminine framework”. It would just be beating around the bush, reducing social problems down to “women’s choices”, which always sucks. Women are not “free”, and so “choices” are irrelevant.

Now, onto the second purpose of this post. I want to put my drawing/illustrating/(f)artistic skills to work in pro of the feminist movement and so I’m offering them to all of you. Do you want a picture for your blog header, background, heading, important post? Do you know of some artwork needed for a poster, leaflet, etc for some women’s organization? Some feminist publication which could use some (f)art for an article? Contact me at beyondfeminism at gmail dot com! If you want to have a look at my work in this blog, it’s all inside the “Artsy Fartsy” category. And there’s a couple more (non feministically oriented) things in my flickr page.

In case you wonder why I’m doing this, aside from the obvious wish to help fellow women folk; I need to build up a portfolio and I could use the experience of working for someone else.
So, go ahead and send you (f)artistic requests my way!

Note: the work doesn’t have to be feminist based per se; it can also be leftist, and all those goody two shoe things.
Note 2: in case I haven’t made this clear enough, I am doing this for free. For the “love of art”, as we say where I come from.

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18 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    pisaquari said,

    Already e-mailed! (first in line people, form a line!)

  2. 2

    Level Best said,

    You are very talented, Mary Tracy! I am sure you will contribute much and have a great portfolio of work. And I LOVE the idea of passing on belongings to persons known or unknown. I haunt second-hand shops and buy there and always bring things I don’t want or need (often REALLY NICE NEW stuff I’ve been given) to my college to leave in the student lounges with “free” signs.

  3. 3

    Mary Tracy9 said,

    Thanks, Level Best. “Free Signs”! What a great idea! Sort of like “Eat Me” from Alice in Wonderland!

  4. 4

    Of course, there wouldn’t be anything wrong with you if you were anti-feminine. The fact that you feel obligated to prove your femininity and/or feminine preferences to the internets as if it was related to your politics or the validity of your opinions is kind of upsetting to me. Fuck the naysayers and move on; no handbag posts required.

  5. 5

    bonobobabe said,

    I’m with A-FS. Who says you’re anti-feminine? Other radfems who read your blog because they pretty much agree with you, or non-radfems who have nothing better to do than read blogs that they disagree with and post a lot of oral excrement? If it’s the latter, then who fucking cares?

  6. 6

    marytracy9 said,

    A-FS, you are right that my femininity preferences are not relevant to my politics or opinions. iI didn’t feel obligated to prove my feminine preferences at all. I just wanted to share something with all of you, and I also wanted to doodle my bag.
    However, I do feel there is something wrong with being “anti-feminine”. I make a distinction between “anti-femininity” and “anti-feminine”. For me, “anti-femininity” is the logical conclusion of rejecting the idea of gender, a cornerstone in feminism and one I agree with wholeheartedly. But “anti-feminine” is, in my opinion, the rejection of women who conform to those feminine practices. I’ve read many times that some feminists feel that us evol rad-fems are chasing after them with flaming tridents, or something, because they wear high heels or put on lipstick. And although I have never experienced this attitude from radical feminists, I have to say I don’t aprove of it. For me, blaming women for comforming to feminine standards is counterproductive, and avoids the larger issue at hand, which is that wether they want to comform or not, they shouldn’t “have” to.

  7. 7

    MaryTracy, you have never experienced this attitude from radfems because it doesn’t exist. They aren’t chasing after anybody trying to take away lipstick anywhere. They point out to women who wear lipstick that doing so gives them certain rewards in a patriarchy. Occasionally, these women do not want to face the fact that they are acquiescing to patriarchy or do not want to give up the privilege they gain as rule-following feminine women in a patriarchy. When this happens, they perceive themselves as being attacked whether they actually are being attacked or not.

  8. 8

    womensspace said,

    Hey, Mary Tracy, wonderful art! I am going to e-mail you. :)

    The appearance issue is interesting,the way people get all up in arms over critiques of patriarchal beauty standards and take them as a personal insult. The best response to that I’ve ever heard is from Catharine MacKinnon, who said feminists don’t generally get all fired up and personally offended by critiques of capitalism as though someone is saying they should quit their jobs today or they’re bad feminists. We all have to survive. But the system will never change if we don’t critique it! Same thing with all of these appearance issues. Women do what they do, they have their reasons, often really smart ones. Critiques of fascist beauty standards do not equal attacks on individuals. Then again, it always seems to me it’s people stuck in dominance-and-submission paradigms, who celebrate them and advocate for them, who are the ones to go ballistic this way. It’s like analysis and critique gets framed as some sort of “topping,” aggression, dominance because they view relationships and interactions just in general as unavoidably heirarchical. Anyway. :)

    I also wanted to say it’s nice to meet you here Anarcha Feminist Superstar and a couple of other new “faces” via Mary’s and your blogrolls!

    Heart

  9. 9

    marytracy9 said,

    This ties in with something I’ve just heard on the radio about the difference between “The Personal is Political” and “The Political is Personal”. It helped me understand all this better (I can get the link if someone’s interested)

    Basically, “The Personal is Political” was born from the discovery made by women that what they thought were personal problems were, in fact, a direct consequence of the system in place.
    However, it seems it has somehow mutated into “The Political is Personal”, which means that you can only change the system through your personal choices. And of course this in turn means that if you “choose wrongly” it must mean your politics are wrong. ie: if a woman wears lipstick, she’s not a feminist.

    This is totally wacko. The system cannot be changed through personal choices. And in my opinion, this focus on the personal stems from brainwashing on the “wonders of a market driven worldz”. Everything you are and everything you do (or everything worth doing) has a place in the market. And the market will solve all our problems, if we choose wisely enough. Bollocks!

  10. 10

    MaryTracy, nobody has said that women who wear lipstick are not feminist. I have and occasionally still do wear lipstick because I feel like it, because I feel like engaging in some personal decoration, or because I’d like to get in on some of the interpersonal niceties usually reserved for those who our society deems “beautiful.” Really, my reason depends on the day.

    That said, the decision to wear lipstick is thought of by the majority of people on the planet and nearly all the people in power as “the right view.” Those who make this “choice” are rewarded in a million little ways all day long while those who do not are constantly bombarded with subtle-to-not-so-subtle reminders that they are despicable, rendering it more of a pragmatic survival tactic to wear makeup and less of a choice.

    Reliably, every time I have pointed this out, some woman has acted as if I am attacking her, telling her she is not a feminist, telling her that women who wear makeup are not feminists, etc. This is not the case. She is simply furious because she does not want to believe that she is reaping rewards from patriarchy, nor does she want to give them up. And she’s chosen to handle this by taking out her rage on me. She hates me for pointing out her complicity, so she tries to justify it by saying that I hated her first.

    For a more-detailed explanation, see this post about “pretty privilege.”

    http://littoralmermaid.wordpress.com/2007/06/11/pretty-privilege/

    In addition, while my own personal decisions don’t do much, the personal decisions of large groups of women do. While my own personal decisions are just drops in the ocean, the personal decisions of large groups of women are thunderstorms. When someone wears makeup, they’re just a person making a private decision. When someone publicly advocates for the beauty industry, they’re enforcing patriarchy. When somebody tries to paint all critiques of the beauty industry as the rabid delusions of the mean old bigoted radfems, they are disabling the opposition which would help free women from patriarchy. This is my problem with women who make up stories about radical feminists being “anti-feminine.”

    Finally, I’d like to point out that the decision not to engage in the market by not buying given products at all is exactly that. I’m not sure how you are trying to cast it as a capitalist decision for which the market has a place, as if I was choosing between a plethora of products and personalities offered by the market. It is explicitly anti-market. The market may try to parody it and make room for it by, say, co-opting punk culture and even attempting to use anti-consumerist imagery in its advertising, but if I’m not fooled by that shtick, then I get to keep my anti-capitalist cred, thankyouverymuch.

  11. 11

    marytracy9 said,

    A-FS we are so much on the same page we are practically sitting on each other (I know, funny to picture). I agree 101% on what you said.

    You are right that no one’s said that women who wear lipstick are not feminists. But it’s been suggested that somehow I implied it (in other posts), so I wanted to set the record straight.

    What I meant was that the market has co-opted political change, as if the world could be changed by personal, consumerist choices. This is a far wider phenomena than just beauty practices. We can see it very clearly on environmental issues. “Use less water”, “Buy organic food”. It’s ridiculous! The very suggestion that climate change can be stopped just through “consumerist choices” is a blatant acceptance that the market rulez work.
    Now, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t care what we buy. So long as we keep in mind that we will never bring about political change just by choosing “better”.

    And it’s funny you mentioned that post. See, I read it and it was a huge revelation to me, so I blogged about it.

  12. 12

    Polly Styrene said,

    I concur with AF superstar at no 4. If you like being feminine (especially if if costs zero moneys) good for you MT. The problem is this ‘femininity’ stuff isn’t optional.

  13. 13

    Polly Styrene said,

    And re handbags – well I once wrote a post on the damage these giant bags do to your back (because they do). And high heels ditto. Objecting to being crippled by fashion surely isn’t just loony rad fem ideology……The problem is that ‘feminine’ usually equals ‘fits ridiculous, unobtainable and damaging stereotypes that all too often require actual bodily mutilation.

    It’s funny isn’t how being “masculine” doesn’t entail spending thousands of pounds, spending your entire time starving and performining beauty routines and wearing shoes you can’t walk in. Also lipstick is a stupid cosmetic because it requires constant reapplication and contains many harmful chemicals, most of which the wearer will swallow. There’s some statistic that the average woman will swallow six POUNDS of lipstick in her lifetime. Well I’ll stick to my (paraben free) organic Chapstick I think.

    Ok I’ll shup up now.

  14. 14

    Polly Styrene said,

    I take it you did pisaquari’s new header MT. Very cool.

  15. 15

    marytracy9 said,

    Gosh, Polly, such attention to detail! I did indeedy. Though it ended up all stretched and funny looking due to wordpress header requirements. But Pisaquari seemed happy enough :D

  16. 16

    I’ve got yer (f)art solicitation right here.

    TwissB left the following over at IBTP, and I immediately thought of you as the cartoonist.

    “I apologize for breaking into this amazing discussion with an urgent off-topic appeal for a basic feminist cause: the “No On K” campaign opposing a San Francisco ballot measure (see http://www.noonk.net) to decriminalize prostitution in that city. Activist Melissa Farley is looking for a strong feminist cartoonist to draw an editorial cartoon illustrating a particular idea about the predictable effects of hanging a neon Welcome sign for pimps and traffickers on the Golden Gate bridge. If you are a cartoonist or know one who might want to contribute her talents, please contact Melissa at mfarley@prostitutionresearch.com.
    Background info: Melissa, a research psychologist, is author of the recently published study “Prostitution and Trafficking in Nevada: Making the Connections” As an oganizer, she, along with Annie Fukushima and others, were successful in defeating a similar decriminalization proposal in Berkeley, and have just scored a court victory in SF against the pro-K side who sued to – listen up anti-censorship people – remove the “con” language from the city’s legally required “pro-con” ballot statement. Like her friends Andrea Dworkin, Catharine MacKinnon, and Dorchen Leidholdt, she is the target of vicious attacks by misogynists like Ronald Weitzer.
    I hope that we’ll have an opportunity some day to discuss on this genuine forum the decriminalization/legalization and Swedish model responses to prostitution and trafficking.”

  17. 17

    marytracy9 said,

    Thank you, atheist woman! I’ve already e-mailed her!

  18. 18

    Oh yay, I’m so glad. I hope it goes well.


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