It never fails that when women criticize other women for behavior that is demeaning or oppressive its taken as a personal insult. No matter how the language is coached or how constructive and useful the criticism is.
Here’s how this works in reality:
Person with privilege is blind to how the world unfairly gives them advantage. So when its pointed out to them that hey things are a lot worse down here and hey you kind of aren’t helping, its taken personally.
Then the person pointing it out is ganged up on (generally), told they are the problem because what they’re doing is creating “horizontal hostility” and they are being “divisive”.
Its rarely acknowledged that whats actually hostile and divisive is the behavior and chauvinism of the advantaged party.
You see, pointing out someone’s behavior or oversight isn’t hostility, and isn’t it great when its generally impoverished/black women who are the “hostile” ones and isn’t it great that there’s generally no recourse as the women criticized usually hold all the keys to the doors of activism anyway?
The past few years have been kind of a problem for me in terms of my political identity. My facebook profile skirts around this easily with the “she demon” label.
I still call myself a Marxist-Feminist. I doubt that will change but I do have some problems with the label because although I utilize the Marxist method and am a staunch communist its hard for me to reconcile that with labelling the feminist aspect of it with a man’s name.
Most of the radical feminists I know come out of it from being leftists. They usually were anarchists, some but not many communists and they grew to become disillusioned with the amount of sexism they had to deal with and the disrespect for the righteousness of the female liberation struggle. Apart from many having been raped or abused by male activists in some way.
But the initial ideas they had were of a collective world, shared labor, shared resources, a world with completely different values than that which is lauded under capitalism as being important.
I’m partially inspired to write this because of Joy who I absolutely adore. I often feel out of place in what are supposed radical feminist circles because the elitism and the academia I feel all around me is stifling as a human being. Its the opposite of why I became interested in changing the world at all. Its what I rebelled against when I became a red, etc. Its not what my lifes blood is about.
That isn’t to say that I feel comfortable in most socialist/communist circles. The condescension towards females is overbearing. Many groups only laud Rosa Luxemburg as a respectable female revolutionary. If they recognize her at all. The idea that women need to organize autonomously is often laughed at at best and autonomous women’s groups are often disrespected regardless of their politics or their orientation towards working with men on other issues. Most women to survive on the male-led left have to develop a kind of machismo attitude, capitulate to male ideas and be just as macho and sexist towards women as the men are (if not more). Its not a safe space especially when you have to have conversations with dudes about how they’re “feminists” when they then turn around a few minutes later and say “if Marxist theory is feminist then why do you need to call yourself a feminist?” Not to mention the all work is slavery unless its prostitution then its empowering SEX WORK argument that gets tossed around like idiocy flying from so many mouths. Its beyond sickening to deal with.
So I guess I don’t know what to do exactly. I don’t feel “right” anywhere exactly. Except maybe with a small group of people (almost exclusively women) that I think share a similar vision.
I’m also thinking of dumping this blog and starting a different one cause the whole “chick” thing is starting to grate on my nerves. I’m more of a dame or a broad if we’re gonna use those kind of terms…
Labels, labels, labels.