On Blogging and Part of My Boston Experience

Hey everyone,

I know its been quite awhile since I’ve updated, part of it was trouble logging into my account when I got back from Boston in July, but most of it has been because of depression, aggravated by summer and extra work load.  That being said, lets do an update and see where it goes….

So yes, I went to the Radical Feminist Seminar in Boston this year, not only did I go, I had the privilege of speaking on a panel put together by Lierre Keith who is just a phenomenal person.  I gave a talk somewhat based on victim blaming and how third wave feminism ties in and feeds into capitalist individual blaming and of course, stigmatizing victims.  I spoke as a woman who doesn’t identify as a survivor because I want t destigmatize the term victim.  Victim isn’t a personal character flaw, its a reality of having something bad done to you that you had no control over and its god damn empowering to let it be known that I can be a victim and be strong and the two are living in me.

There also were a lot of things I was uncomfortable with at the conference and I’m still trying to figure it all out after this time.  I felt out of place, like it wasn’t a place for me because I’m rough around the edges, poor, fat, obviously living with trauma, obviously a PR disaster for any movement.  I also want to point out that this was the whitest conference I’ve ever been to in my life.  There were a few people who weren’t white there and thats a damn shame.  Especially when so many women around the world and at home fighting these fights aren’t white, and the women most impacted by male violence aren’t white.

This isn’t to criticize the conference, I met so many women I wouldn’t have met otherwise, women I will treasure my entire life.  It was an amazing thing to be out of my usual surroundings and around women who are so bright and intelligent and beautiful in their own ways.  It was a serious privilege.

This is where I talk about something related to why I’ve not been blogging, and how experiencing it firsthand at the conference made me step back and want to evaluate myself and my behavior a bit.

I think when we get so deep into an analysis of the world, little things can become mountains between us.  Things to look down on each other for, things to get snotty and sarcastic with each other for.  Things that we tear each other down with.  Is a woman’s lipstick, although we may agree on why she shouldn’t wear it, a reason to exclude her?  To bash her?  To disrespect her contributions to trying to get some justice for women?  Is it wrong to admit that women can be oppressive and idiotic?  Is a remark made by a woman that may have been offensive a reason to cut her off completely?  Instead of valuing her and thinking highly enough of her to delve deeper into what she means?  Into what she’s really saying?  I keep thinking of reading Audre Lorde’s “An Open Letter to Mary Daly” where she criticizes Mary for what she felt was an erasure of the divine power that lays in non-euro centric feminine spirituality and how much she still loves and respects her.  Here’s the thing, Audre was RIGHT.  That doesn’t mean Mary Daly is a bad person or can’t teach anyone anything or that she wasn’t a warrior committed to this struggle with her every nerve.  It just meant she was human and suffered from the ability to overlook something very, very important.

Thats why we need each other.

I’m really worried about all of this, not everyone can be at the same level of consciousness at the same time, it isn’t possible.  I worry about the tendency of people entrenched in these very deep and scary politics to harden themselves so much and respond in the same ways so often that we aren’t actually connecting.

I guess I can talk about the other stuff later, there’s a lot t0 go over, lots of notes, lots of ideas and a lot of happiness.

Of course my twitter and youtube channel have been updated a bit more, talking and tweeting is always a lot easier than sitting down and actually thinking.

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8 responses to “On Blogging and Part of My Boston Experience

  1. First of all, I am sorry to hear about your depression! Second of all, I am thrilled that you enjoyed your time in Boston. I commend you for speaking so much truth at the conference – I admire your bravery, I could never be so assertive in public like that.

    You were the first person that made me think about victim-hood and the implications of it. It has changed the way I have thought and felt about so many things. Reading this post now has confirmed many of my “gut” feelings regarding the radical feminist community as it stands – divided. I find I feel the same way as you do about the petty issues that separate us. They are petty for the most part, too – like you said, why discredit someone because she has lipstick on, for example? It’s just silly. It further divides us and benefits patriarchy by keeping us fighting with one another.

    Thank you for your never-ending courage and amazing-awesome wisdom.

    • Thanks.

      I think some division is okay, there’s definitely a difference between a “radical feminist” as it was at the conference, and a revolutionary one.

      Sheila Jeffreys sang a song about how the raddies and the revvies can be friends but I think with that comes some mutual respect for the different fields of work it entails and material support.

      You’re awesome.

  2. Gah! You are awesome! AND lucky to have gotten to see Sheila sing a song!

    Also, i agree – some division is necessarily. For example, fun-fem pro-porn “feminism”

  3. This is so much of a better essay than the one I’ve been trying not to post, which is basically “AUUURGGH AURGH FUCK WHAT THE FUCK!”

    Because I AM a PR disaster/nightmare.

    I’m kinda proud of it, though. And I’m glad you are too.

    (Do I recall that you got some shit for wearing lipstick? I got some shit for not shaving my legs or combing my hair. I’m still not sure what, exactly, they wanted out of us. Other than … dissociation? A really nice, demure, but not too sexxy public face? Essentially, Shelley Lubben?)

    • LOL I did get some shit for “wearing lipstick”. But I didn’t wear any lipstick, I have this thing called dark lips. I actually have taken to wearing lipstick again but only to accentuate how fucking goth I am, etc.

      I was thinking in reference to the women from the Women’s Front of Norway who did wear makeup but who were also really badass and down to get shit done.

      Who gave you shit for not shaving your legs? This is absurd this nitpicking shit. THIS IS A RADICAL FEMINIST SPACE you will see women LOVING THEIR BODIES and NOT PRACTICING A LOT OF POINTLESS SEXY-MAKING habits.

      *fistpunch* *brofist* *punkrockhorns* *handheart*

  4. I got some shit from the wealthy white hetero academic theorist-radfems. (Maybe the lady who was worried that her seven-year-old would have penis insecurities from watching anal rape porn was one of them.)
    I’m not sure if I can publicly name names here, but I was pretty much told outright that I was a feminist PR nightmare and it wasn’t just the anger/PTSD.

    Those “This Is What a Feminist Looks Like!” ads we all derided were pretty much on the spot, actually. The public face of feminism is still white, groomed, and conventionally pretty. (Brown women are sometimes okay as long as they fit the rest of the bill.)

    Oh, and straight. Or at least, appearing straight. Did I mention that? Because the women from England were madly kick-ass, but several of them were “obvious lesbians” and therefore didn’t get much press time.

    I’m not sure what’s radical about all that. Maybe this conference should have dropped the pretenses and invited Gloria “Snitch” Steinem, just for press shots. Can you tell I’m still a little disillusioned?

    This, of course, is not to say that the straight white and groomed delegation from Sweden wasn’t awesome. They did, in fact, seem to know how to get shit done. And they were excellent women, to boot. But they didn’t get a lot of press time, either. Curious.

    Also, you are super fucking goth and all that. Let the haters hate.

  5. thanks so much for taking the time to write a bit about your conference experience, BC. I am sorry you felt like you did not fit in for the reasons you named. It’s really silly for some woman to give you a hard time about wearing lipstick–as if your wearing lipstick is standing between us and an egalitarian world!

    I thought it was awesome that you were brave enough to speak; you are a strong speaker. You wouldn’t have been asked to speak, otherwise.

    I do know what you mean (in general, not so much at this specific conference) about women being snotty to each other, including supposedly feminist women. Honestly, I think some radfems have just been through so much that they aren’t able to function in a group without destroying it. I hope one day this changes for them, but I have learned intellectually, if not emotionally, that just because I agree with a woman’s politics, it doesn’t mean she is good for group dynamics. We have to take into account the *form* of what a woman is saying as well.

    Again, the last paragraph is just a tangent that my brain went off on when reading what you wrote; it isn’t meant to be specific to the conference discussed.

    • I wasn’t wearing lipstick at all. Thats the crazy thing.

      I can agree that some women can’t and shouldn’t be part of groups because they don’t know how to treat people. I think it happens too much. Yeah just a few things that happened at the conference got me thinking about things online and why I try to not be too involved in all of it. Just doing my own thing.

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