on feminism and friendliness

I’m trying to figure out what this means:

It is really f***ing toxic to the feminist movement to suggest that we need to be more open and welcoming to men. That’s like saying that the civil rights movement should have been more open and inclusive towards white people. And this isn’t to say that men can’t be involved in feminism, in the same way that white people are still able to fight against racism – it’s just that movements working to forward the rights and freedoms of the oppressed should never, ever try to make themselves more friendly to those who have been historically oppressive.

That’s just common sense.

The author, bellejarblog, writing for The Outlier Collective, is responding to a video starring Christina Hoff Summers, a self-described “equity feminist,” who, in the video, seems to respond to the alleged “War on Men” with a call for more friendliness to men and to women of less to-the-far-left political persuasion.

I’m curious about bellejarblog’s definition of “friendly.” And I’m very, very curious about bellejarblog’s definition of “never, ever.” Also, “common sense.”

Maybe bellejarblog is saying that one should not fraternize with the enemy? Fair enough. But who is the enemy? I don’t think Hoff Summers indicates that one should be friendly to those who abuse you.

And are enemies “forever?” Do enemies change their minds, and become your allies?

I’m pretty sure it’s possible. In fact, I believe it’s important to know its possible. To know that if you are consistent and fair in your intent, if you demonstrate your view, your needs, and perspective with compassion, empathy, as well as impatience and a earnest sense of urgency (along with your peers, who may need to number in the millions in some cases), it is in fact the case that your enemy, your oppressor, will come around.





it’s worth noting

Tracie Egan Morrissey has a pointed reaction to a New York Magazine fluff piece called “The Retro Wife.”

Both articles are worth reading, especially if you have the time and the inclination to furrow your brow, roll your eyes, and, as Tracie Egan Morrissey elegantly notes, “feel flames on the side of your face.”

I also like to think Tracie Egan Morrissey would count me among those feminist housewives she imagines reading her article. (Hey, Tracie.)

And I know that Lisa Miller would never have wanted to interview me for the story she wrote, because I do not think women are better suited to raising children than men. (Nor would I, under any circumstances, have laundry on my floor or dishes in my sink were Lisa Miller to come to my home.)

Look. I’m a wife. I’m working. For now, without pay, raising the kids, managing the home, volunteering at the school… I do what I gotta do, like any spouse is supposed to. Like any spouse wants to. 

I’m highly educated. I’m not religious (in that it doesn’t dictate my life choices or gender expectations). I have ambition (now that I’ve gotten over a little bout of insecurity right after I had our children), but I’m patient.

I’m a good wife. There are a lot of us out there, feminist or not.

Not much to write about, but it’s at least worth noting.


related by equality

There’s a petition on The White House’s site asking that the President stop using the phrase “wives, mothers and daughters,” because it is counterproductive to the fight for women’s equality. Tracy Clark-Flory, writing for Salon, quotes McKenna Miller on the issue as it would be applied to gay rights: “The reason to fight homophobia isn’t because ‘you’ve got a gay friend,’ it’s because it’s simply the right thing to do. The reason why a woman is valuable isn’t because she’s someone’s sister, or daughter, or wife, it’s because of the person she is unto herself.”

True. The reason to expect, let alone fight for, equality among sexes (male, female, or transgendered), or among those with different sexual orientations, or among those with different abilities, or among those with different religions, is because it’s the right thing to do.

But why do we do the right thing? We do the right thing because we know we wouldn’t want the wrong thing done to us.

Each one of “us” in this country comprise a community: A big, messy community in which you may never meet even one 10,000th of one percent of all of its members. It’s a community that can make you feel lonely, isolated, or safe and in good company.

When you hear a phrase like “wives, mothers, and daughters,” and in the case of gay rights, perhaps not the phrase “gay friend,” but the more accurate, if not all encompassing, phrase “sisters, brothers, sons, and daughters,” the people named are no longer “them.” They become one of “us.”

There should be no reluctance in using the fact that one is a part of something–a marriage, a family, a community–in arguing for equality. Nobody diminishes me for naming what I am in relation to others. I am proud of my relationship to others: as a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, an employee, a volunteer, a citizen. I am not isolated, I am not alone. I am safe and in good company.

Sure, the President used shorthand, likely because he is trying to appeal to a pretty stubborn segment of old-school old boys’ club members. Whatever. There are bigger fights to fight.