Feminism Is My Home

After another episode of Beyond Feminism managing to piss off a good number of the feminist blogosphere, here’s my attempt to continue with the positive note of this blog by posting on why feminism feels like home to me.

Feminism Is My Home

Feminism feels like my home because in it I know that I exist.
When we dare venture outside the safety of feminism, we discover that as feminists or even as women, we are of little importance, or downright non-existent.
The Left hasn’t traditionally made much room for women, though that is thankfully changing now. Even so, it cannot rival feminism in its concern for women’s wellbeing, in its analysis of the experiences lived by women, in the impact that women’s viewpoint can have in changing long held and deeply hurtful ideas. We women are there, but we are very little. Women are a niche, and feminism is an even smaller one.
Outside of the Left, in mainstream society, feminism disappears entirely. Women’s views, thoughts and experiences disappear entirely; we become totally invisible. Unless we count the ocassional butt of a joke about a feminazi or a bra-burning complot, neither of which have ever existed in the real world, not that I need to remind anyone here. When a feminist does make it to the mainstream, she’s quickly put in her place. Not that long ago I read a piece by Julie Bindel in The Guardian. Lightweight and not all that radical, as anything that makes it to the mainstream media tends to be, it consisted mostly on reminding the world (which is, by default, male) that rape exists and that the perpetrators, men, are not being punished by it. All of it true and all of it easily verifiable by a quick glance at the rape conviction rates in the UK, which she handily provided. As we can imagine, in rushed the comments accussing her of hating men and of not being neutral. Many brought up bogus claims that “the justice system has to be neutral”. Indeedy, which is why we are complaining, you dipstick, because at the moment it ain’t.
A bit less long ago, another rush of hate-commenting was aimed at one of the most famous feminists of the new generation, who, I dare say, by virtue of being famoust cannot be too radical either. I’m refering to Jessica Valenti, of course, on an interview in which she discussed her new book, which I haven’t read but which doesn’t seem to rank very high in the list of the most radical feminism ever made. At any rate, in came the hating by non-feminists. Thankfully for her, us feminists can be equally vicious when one of us who dares speak truths we all agree with is attacked.
And that is precisely what I wanted to get at. Yes, we engage in Feminist Blog Wars ™ more often than would, perhaps, be advisable for the Feminist Revolution ™. But the important thing to remember is that we fight because we see each other. You are there and you have an opinion, and I am here and I have an opinion too. I see you and you see me and we talk, or fight or scream at each other, but we are aware of the other’s presence.
Outside of feminism, neither your opinion nor mine matter at all. Even when it comes to the Sex Wars ™. The Anti-Pornstitution lot (in which I place myself) don’t have a voice because it collides with the mainstream. But the Pro-Sex lot don’t have much of a voice either. It doesn’t matter what ammount of thought they have given to the topic, which shades of it they agree with and which they don’t. The “default” position is stated beforehand. You might as well not even bother thinking.
Such is our fate outside of feminism. But within it, we exist. And that’s why I find that feminism is the closest thing I ever found to a home. Because I am seen. And it doesn’t matter if we fight. Most families do, and they don’t care about their loved ones any less. As long as we all pull in the same direction on topics we all agree with, then we will move forward.


8 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Well I’m glad you’re feeling optimistic Mary Tracy, because feminism is no longer my home. I want nothing to do with “feminism” that ignores attacks on actual real live women and just wants to attack anyone who dares say such heretical things as gender is a social construct. Which um Simone De Beauvoir, Judith Butler, Anne Fausto Sterling, Monique Wittig, Julie Kristeva inter alia have all said.

    Anyways, if you want to believe in gender, unicorns or the flying spaghetti monster, go ahead be my guest – it doesn’t make it true. And I’ll be writing an online book explaining why. It’s aimed at the general reader – not particularly feminists – and it will be here (and becuase it’s a book, not a blog, it won’t have comments because I want to devote my time to writing.


    (ps sorry for the minor thread hijack).

  2. 2

    Mary Tracy9 said,

    Polly, the attacks on you were horrible and unjustified. But I would ask you to remember that the vast majority of feminists agree with the idea that gender is a social construct. It has always been one of the main pillars of feminism and it will most likely continue to be so.
    For what I’ve seen, most of the attacks aimed at you were based on strawwoman arguments, when not just plain vitriol, and were not based on logic. Which for me translates into “the pillar stands strong and safe” as always.
    The attackers may be loud, but that doesn’t mean they are right.

  3. 3

    Polly Styrene said,

    Unfortunately though Mary, anyone who opposes them is currently being silenced on the most widely read feminist site in the UK. So yeah I’m a feminist:

    But not the kind who wants to censor anyone who disagrees with me in a reasoned and courteous way.

  4. 4

    bonobobabe said,

    Lovely post, Mary.

  5. 5

    Kim said,

    “I see you and you see me and we talk, or fight or scream at each other, but we are aware of the other’s presence.”

    Well that’s true, isn’t it?
    Never quite thought of it that way 🙂

    Polly, I don’t know what happened to you, but I am sorry you’re feeling bad about feminism. I do, believe it not, know the feeling, yet I can’t quite bring myself to give up the title of “feminist.”
    Best of luck to you.

  6. 6

    […] February 1, 2009 by marytracy9 If you’ve been following this blog, you probably know very little about me. I have been keeping a low profile, which is strange for me since I’m usually an “over shearer”. I think hiding in the intertube’s shadows has been a reflection of my emotional state. Unable to accept my life; or to accept that I am alive. Afraid of being rejected if anyone found out who I am. (It’s not that I’m particularly “bad” or anything, it’s just that I’ve been rejected many times in the past). It’s been rather important for me to not be rejected in the intertubes, since the people in it are practically the only ones I interact with. It’s also the case that in the intertubes I’ve found the closest thing to a place I feel I belong to. […]

  7. 7

    Kimberly said,

    I was doing a search for images of famous feminists, and your beautiful “feminism is my home” logo came up, so I clicked on it and found your blog, to which I’m now going to subscribe. I love what you have to say here. Feminism is my home, too, for exactly the reasons you list here. Thank you for hanging in there and for speaking the truth. Keep up the good fight. We are with you.

  8. 8

    marytracy9 said,

    Thank you, Kimberly. Your comment really made my day. It is difficult sometimes to carry on.

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