Your feminism ain’t like mine…
March 5, 2008 14 Comments
I planned on ripping this editorial to shreds after reading it because I am sick of people bringing this argument into the picture.
Clinton goes into today’s crucial primaries in Texas and Ohio with her candidacy on the line, and Wagner believes it is ignorance and bigotry that undermined it. As Wagner and other NOW executives toured Ohio last week, they repeated a resounding message: Clinton has been mistreated by an opponent who subtly demeans her, by a mainstream media that ridicules her, by voters too threatened to vote for a confident woman, by young women who no longer feel the urgency of the women’s movement, by African American women for whom race is more important than gender.
Why are motherfuckers so quick to speak for women like me and what I find important? See, what I find important does not involve an arbitrary ranking system and it has been urgent since whatever creation myth spawned this earth. But it ain’t called “race” and it doesn’t necessarily have much to do with “gender,” either. I’m really disturbed by this discussion of urgency.
Three decades — and still no ERA — later, Wagner walked into the lobby of a hotel in suburban Cleveland during a snowstorm last week. A small sticker on her jacket read: Hillary — I’m ready. As she waited to check into the hotel, a man noticed the sticker and approached her.
“Ah, come on,” he said. “A woman’s place is in the kitchen.”
The man laughed, and Wagner scowled at him. Too surprised to respond, she checked into her room and fumed alone. At that night’s NOW event in Akron, she stood at the lectern and told the story.
“Would he have stopped a black man and said something derogatory like that?” Wagner asked. “No, I don’t think so. But somehow sexism is still okay. We all know racism is endemic in this society, but people who would never dare to make a racist comment on purpose say sexist things all the time. We can’t assume anymore that our fight is over.”
People will get serious about sexism when the mainstream feminist movement — the NOWs and Feministings of this society — stops highlighting their fights over buttons and t-shirts and glossy magazine ads. I’m not saying they aren’t important; but perhaps the urgency of sexism doesn’t stem from these occurrences. I’d rather hear more about some of these petitions on NOW’s homepage:
Urge Your Senators to Co-Sponsor International VAWA
Help End Violence Against Women WorldwideAction needed: Please contact your Senators and urge them to co-sponsor the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA).
IVAWA (S. 2279) was introduced by Sens. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) and Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) last fall, and is pending in the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
According to the World Health Organization, one in three women in the world experiences some violence in her lifetime. It is stated U.S. policy to promote women’s civil and human rights and opportunities throughout the world and to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls. The International Violence Against Women Act addresses gender-based violence in its many forms — including rape, domestic violence, sexual violence, genital mutilation, forced and child marriage, “honor” killings, dowry related violence and human trafficking — both directly and comprehensively.
This legislation streamlines federal efforts by centralizing all U.S. policy and programs related to international women’s issues in a new Office for Women’s Global Initiatives at the State Department. The bill requires the department to develop a five-year comprehensive strategy to fight violence against women in 10 to 20 countries. It authorizes an annual funding stream of $175 million to support coordinated programs in the areas of legal reform, health care, economic empowerment, educational opportunities and public awareness. The bill also strengthens the protection of women and girls when violence is used as a weapon of intimidation and abuse in situations of armed conflict.
Put Volunteer Attorneys to Work for Domestic Violence Survivors
Write Your Senators
Survivors of domestic abuse face enough adversity. With legal assistance often beyond their reach, abused women may experience the justice system as yet another hurdle to overcome.
Tell Congress you agree that survivors of domestic abuse should have access to the same legal resources so readily available to more fortunate and affluent members of society.
The National Domestic Violence Volunteer Attorney Network Act (S.1515), introduced by Senator Joe Biden (D-Del), meets this demand for legal assistance by setting in motion an effort to mobilize 100,000 volunteer attorneys willing to work on behalf of survivors of abuse.
Studies estimate that fewer than one in five low-income survivors of domestic violence ever even see a lawyer. Yet legal advice is key for these women as they seek help from the police or court system. Often, stopping the violence hinges on the ability to obtain effective protection orders, initiate separation proceedings, or design safe child custody arrangements. Without legal knowledge, these options are not accessible.
Existing programs, like the Violence Against Women Act, assist women suffering domestic abuse but do not specifically address access to legal services. This network aims to fill that gap by working mostly with resources already in place. There are thousands of lawyers willing to volunteer to assist in domestic violence situations, but the mechanisms are not in place in most areas. S.1515 will allocate federal funds to create a network of those lawyers and match them to clients. The act will also give the National Domestic Violence Hotline $500,000 so it can provide legal referrals to victims who call in requesting help.
Passage of the National Domestic Violence Volunteer Attorney Network Act will place adequate legal aid within reach of the people who need it most, proving that the justice system works for-not against-victims of domestic abuse.
And let it be known I give props to Senator Biden for introducing both bills on the Senate floor. You know him, white man, former Democratic nomination seeker for POTUS, doing something that looks like he gives a shit about violence against women that could amount to substantive solutions… Yes, that! I like it! I like it a lot! As a young African-American woman, it is a small snippet of the great things I find important!
I don’t wanna hear about some jackass insulting your goddamned button, and I definitely don’t want to hear your half-assed analysis of how Senator Hillary Clinton — not WOMEN, mind you; but Senator Hillary Clinton — is not faring well in this election. I have a problem with her counting her eight years as First Lady as part of her 35 years of “experience.” I also have an objection with people ranking her first term as a U.S. Senator over Obama’s…first term as a U.S. Senator. They have the same job, and they have both voted on measures for the war that have prolonged the funding of the conflict. It’s no coincidence that neither of them speaks about a complete withdrawal from Iraq and both speak about universal health insurance in their policies and not universal health care — two different concepts.
People do not like Senator Clinton as a candidate, and they have justified with substance and with sexism. Don’t conflate fighting sexism with supporting her or I will gladly and unashamedly bow out of it. Because I rank fighting sexism higher than electing her.