Are You a Western Feminist?

I’ve had the term “western feminist” rolling around in my brain for the past few weeks.  A young woman I follow on twitter was expressing disgust at a white man she knew who was a complete racist being in a relationship with another woman of color.  She expressed wanting to shake the woman and ask her what the fuck she was thinking dating a man who fetishes and disrespects women of her race (a reasonable desire I think) but knew it was just her “western feminist” self getting the better of her.  I questioned her about this but her answers didn’t seem that meaty.  She talked of it being wrong for women to want to “save” one another.  So in order to not come across like she knew better than this woman she would remain silent and feel bad about even having the thoughts she did.

Now I get the part about not wanting to come across as a “western savior”.  That white liberal complex is destructive and has no basis in real life struggle but I can’t agree that the anger she felt was wrong.  Feminism names the oppression of women as wrong.  Feminism makes bold statements about the rights of women.  It sees misogyny and it interrogates it, denounces it and works to abolish it.  There is no nuance when it comes to things which harm women.  We stand against it.  Regardless of where we are from.  If you don’t believe that the position of women worldwide being secondary and subservient to that of men is wrong you are not a feminist.

What I can make out is that what is thought of as “western feminism” is that feminism which makes definite declarations about women’s oppression being wrong.  Western feminists exist in every nation trying to pick up the pieces of all the fucked up things men do.  You too might be a western feminist.

Have we really come to the point where we’re unable to name things as inherently bad from a feminist lens without being derided as just oppressive first worlders?  Everywhere on earth women are dealing with the same rotten patriarchal deal.  There is nowhere where women have achieved any sort of equality with men that is tangible.  We’re all still subjected to their rule, their violence and their hatred.  

Its time we all take a stand boldly against it.

Its time we stopped viewing each other as “other” or “exotic” or being afraid of telling the truth about what men do to us.  Feminism offends sensibilities.  It isn’t polite dinner conversation and it isn’t trendy.  Its a movement for complete and total world revolution.  You’re going to offend people.  Might as well be the biggest most obnoxious know-it-all you can be.

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5 responses to “Are You a Western Feminist?

  1. “Feminism offends sensibilities. It isn’t polite dinner conversation and it isn’t trendy. Its a movement for complete and total world revolution. You’re going to offend people. Might as well be the biggest most obnoxious know-it-all you can be.”

    Lol yes.

    And this topic was on my mind when I woke up today. I was getting online just now to see if I could formulate my thoughts on it further, and your post was the first thing I saw. Synchronicity 😉

    It seems that some believe that truly “nice” people never say anything which contradicts another person’s worldview, even if their view is directly damaging to themselves and others (such as women who think they are empowered through prostitution). What is more “not nice”? Being silent while a woman is abused or tortured because her dissociation has distanced her so much from her own suffering that she doesn’t acknowledge it anymore? Or risking her lashing out at us for our insistence on trying to reach out to her and tell her the truth? (granted at some point self-preservation and knowing when to walk away or salvage ourselves is essential) I consider silence as enabling the abusers, which are men. When men abuse women and we do not speak up because the woman being abused doesn’t think it is abuse, we are enabling him and complicit in the abuse. There is NOTHING nice about that. Love is taking the car keys from your best friend when she is sloshed–even though she will possibly scream at you in a drunken daze. Love is NOT carrying her limp body to the driver’s seat or silently watching her stumble to it.

    • Yeah. Reading your comment has also got me thinking about how its just reinforcing traditional femininity. Don’t you dare speak up or say anything. If you have some disagreeable thought be sure to keep it to your damned self. That is not the loving or the feminist thing to do.

      Thanks for the comment.

  2. “Love is taking the car keys from your best friend when she is sloshed–even though she will possibly scream at you in a drunken daze. Love is NOT carrying her limp body to the driver’s seat or silently watching her stumble to it.” Yes, W4!

    And we are afraid of not just being metaphorically yelled at by a drunk, but of being cut off and thought of as crazy and damaged by other women. And we worry these women will bond with men to hate on us together. That saying something might even drive women deeper into dudes. We are afraid if we speak up, women will betray us. (Cuz it happens all the fucking time). So sometimes we say nothing because we do not want to lose her. Or risk betrayal. Sometimes we think we can maybe try another time. Let her get to know us first, etc. Or just be there for her when she finally gets it herself.

    On top of all these fears, — everyday barriers to solidarity,– a western woman (is it OK to just say “white-identified?”) has additional fears when interacting with woc, — primarily being and/or being called “racist.” If you are called racist, it is damnation shooting you not even to purgatory, where you might get some consciousness, but straight to hell, where probably no one intends to listen to you ever again. (eg, Mary Daly). Different (patriarchal!) cultures are for-real, but men also use this against women psychologically to prevent us from seeing women are one class, and that the world culture is patriarchy. Of course, there is a big line in the road between being a condecending shit/racist and talking to a woman about a gross dude because you LOVE women. But yeah — many many fears.

  3. IMHO “western feminism” is no different to equalitism. You may have difficulties to get different perspective but calling yourself radical doesn’t mean you are truly radical, you are by all means liberal even in your insults, how and when you use insults 🙂
    ‘Everywhere on earth women are dealing with the same rotten patriarchal deal.’ that’s true, just elsewhere they are even less radical (while we’re using this continuum). For simple reason as you get nowhere with strong radicalism (power) because the bigger radicalism (power), the bigger backlash and people don’t learn, they fight self perceived ‘radical feminists oppression’.

    Imho your posts are not even slightly radical. They’re very good, balanced posts with exploratory instinct preserved.

    Radical, according to me, would be ‘I’m not having sex work language around me to preserve my whatever’. Such person will be hating language while dreaming of a blow job, he will be using term ‘blow job’ in his mind all the time. He will also be using term ‘blow me’ outside of his mind, which is logical, because no one would have said ‘blow job me’. Passionate and inhibited will be influencing behaviour of another, as backlash getting polite and passive withdrawal. Inhibition is the problem, not language.

  4. Turning women against each other is a full-time job for men. They are always on patrol, and if they see anything that even smells like comradery, they swoop in and attack with the divide & conquer strategy. This is part of the reason why the Beauty & Fuckability Mandate exists; any woman who is perceived as a threat to Patriarchy (especially RadFems) can be swiftly discredited by pointing out her lack of compliance with mainstream beauty standards. Yes, men break their own silly little “ad hominem” logic rule, without consequence, when waging a battle against radical women. Challenge male authority, and the gloves are off.

    Show concern for a friend who is being abused by her boyfriend/husband, and you’ll be told that you’re “just jealous”.

    Confront a pedophile and, that’s right, you’re JUST JEALOUS (I was actually told this in a pro-pedo usenet group, many years ago. Shocking, I know).

    Say anything about berkas being misogynistic, and you’re racist. Oh, and jealous (What good is white privilege if you can’t use it to help minority women?).

    I despise fence sitters and silent approval, but I’m honestly at a point where I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle. Calling out injustices committed against women will provoke a middle finger response…sometimes by the very people you’re trying to help. I think a very large percentage of women are abuse junkies; they have learned to love what they cannot escape, as a coping mechanism, and now it’s a full blown addiction. They need to be treated like shit by men, just to feel like they even exist. It’s very negative attention, but it’s still attention nonetheless. A member of the “superior male sex class” is taking time out of his big, important day to verbally and/or physically abuse a member of the “inferior female sex servant class”. It becomes an erotic experience, and they feel empty without it.

    What I’m trying to say is, it’s impossible to save somebody that doesn’t want to be saved.

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