It seems I have inadvertently stumbled upon a subject that other people apart from me would like to talk about. Awesome! ‘Cuz it’s been in my mind for quite some time now, and I haven’t as of yet found any reference to it in the feminist (radical or otherwise) blogosphere.
The subject in question can be summarized as follows:
“It SUCKS to be a STRAIGHT radical feminist“.
It would be a long, winding excercise to enumerate the many reasons why it sucks to be a straight radical feminist, but let’s give it a try.
The most obvious one is, of course, the inevitable aversion that we have towards men after years devoted to understanding and discovering what they do to us women. Misogyny is a radical feminist’s bread and butter. It’s the very stuff we work with every day in our tireless quest to dismantle Teh Patriarchy. And the very essence of misogyny is simple: “they hate us”. It is only natural that we would, at the very minimum, face men with a raised eyebrow and a suspicious look. So, from the get go we have a problem: how can we expect to love that which we know hates us? Sounds masochist, doesn’t it? The only solution I can come up with lies in the distinction between the “whole” of men as a group and every individual man. They might all hate us, but it is possible to find at least one who doesn’t. Right?
Then there’s the problem of that individual man. For me, my feminism is non-negotiable, and I guess it will be the same for most radical feminists. The question is, can we love someone who doesn’t agree with our most basic values? And should we? Where do we draw the line? After all, men do have a tendency to engage in misogynistic behaviour (Duh!). Can we love someone who, say, visits prostitutes, goes to strip clubs or consumes porn? And should we? I know I can’t and I am quite certain that I shouldn’t. We know very well that no matter what men say, when they disrespect “some” women, that attitude tends to “spill over” to all women. You know how you can test the “quality*” of a society by the way it treates its most vulnerable individuals? Well, I think you can test how much of an asshole a man is by the way he think of the “least valuable**” women. I’ll call this the “Tracy Test of General Assholery”. I’ve been with men who scored very low on that test. They didn’t think much of women and they didn’t think much of me.
We all choose different battles and that in turn will, I guess, define what we will tolerate from a man and what we won’t. Like waxing, or dress-code, we will all have our individual “deal breakers”. But once we have firmly established what those deals are, what we are willing to put up with and what we are not, we fly in the face of the cold, harsh reality: the men who could, in principle, meet all our feminist “requirements” would be very, very few. We are looking at a small, almost non-existent sample here. Feminist men do not abound. And this is when desperation kicks in for me, usually in the form of:
“Aaah, I’ll never find love! I’m going to be single forever!!! I hate MEN!!! Being straight SUCKS!!!”
And… we are back to where we started. Unless we come up with an alternative. Can we? More to come. Stay tuned!
What do you all think? Do you feel the desperation of an eminent life in “permanently single” land? What are your deal breakers? Are we being “too picky” or are we merely being consequent with our principles? And if so, well, no one said that would be easy.
* By “quality” I mean an artificial measure of how crappy it’s individuals have it.
** By “least valuable” I mean the women that patriarchy values less by definition, ie: prostitutes, old women, the unfuckable (fat, ugly, hairy, etc), disabled, black, homosexual, etc.
NOTE: Before anyone accuses me of assuming that all feminists are straight, note that I said “more to come”.