Your feminism ain’t like mine…

The Washington Post keeps finding ways to disappoint me.

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.

Take Action NOW!

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.

Take Action: Ask your senators to sponsor S.1515!

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.

About problem chylde
"In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:6

14 Responses to Your feminism ain’t like mine…

  1. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

    Jason Whitmen

  2. Aaminah says:

    Ug, I am totally with you on this!

    “people who would never dare to make a racist comment on purpose say sexist things all the time”

    Actually, I find the two pretty much go hand-in-hand and far too many people DO dare to make racist comments on purpose “all the time”. Honestly, I’ve never known anyone who was overtly sexist who wasn’t also pretty racist.

  3. and frankly, this woman’s apparently never lived in flint, I take it, as I hear blatantly racist BS all. the. time. and not “get back in the kitchen” type of racism, but all out “n****rs ruined flint” or “n****rs need to get their asses out of flint” or some other such BS. My guess is she’s not hearing it because she’s not on the receiving end of it. And frankly, I’d rather be on the receiving end of “get back in the kitchen” than “you n****rs did X Y or Z”.

    Also, perhaps she hasn’t been aware of something called anti-immigration rhetoric that’s sweeping the nation?

  4. Sylvia/M says:

    not only that, but i think that there is a problem with sexism in this election. hillary clinton has been treated unfairly in the media. yes. i agree. but that does NOT mean we are missing some magical awesomeness that should make her POTUS; her winning will not end sexism. i would like to see some nonpartisan defense of clinton against the sexism without the sufficiency or the prioritization of my identity called into question.

  5. joankelly6000 says:

    “Because I rank fighting sexism higher than electing her.”

    Thank you.

    And thanks also for all the links and topics you covered in the middle there, too.

    I don’t understand why the standard isn’t:

    We expect each other, all of us, to not be cheap-shot-taking, misogynist-sneer-having mother effers, whether it’s the presidential race or waiting in line at the bank, and so no, any of that shit against Clinton does not fly.


    White women’s delusions about racism not being as acceptable does not get to count as a goddamn commentary on whether Obama is a better candidate than Clinton. Even if that was not a delusion, and I think it is, but even if it wasn’t – fine, agreed, neither sexism or racism are acceptable, and I would still like to know what one jackass’ jackassery actually has to do with what kind of president either of them would make. Or a million jackasses.

    And am really tired of the “you are choosing blackness over lady parts!” attempted guilt-trip-ery of nonsensicalness and insult. What would any of these people have to say if Clinton were doing better in their minds among the African American women they have decided to speak for, and then someone in Obama’s camp was like, I can’t believe these broads chose lady parts over blackness!!! Really, how would they view that sort of statement?

    Also, agree with Aaminah and BFP about the claim that racist crap is not spewed publicly anymore.

    And here’s another thing –

    On the level of what some people are willing to *pretend* is less acceptable or not, definitely there are *white* people who will spit out a dozen “bitches” in public while perceiving a need to keep racial slurs behind closed doors. Unless they are on stage or cell phones, but still. That is not an imaginary argument to make, about what garners pretend-disapproval *amongst some white people* versus what gets shrugged off.

    None of that bears on whether Obama or Clinton would be a good president. It bears on other things, but not that.

    And I feel like Aaminah also about how the two seem to go hand in hand a lot anyway.

    Feh I am being a bad employee today, must stop blog-surfing and chattering….

  6. Sylvia/M says:

    It’s okay…I wrote this post in one of my classes today.

    But seriously, why is this election taking the entire electorate as a huge group of fools? I mean…more than normal. Blatantly. Disgustingly. It’s only MARCH. Elect someone now already so I don’t have to look at it anymore!

  7. seriously… “her winning will not end sexism”… and neither will Obama winning end racism.. especially when he supports funding palestinian genocide… this whole election hype is a distraction from the real issues, and its funny and saddening to see all the shallow stupidity that arises out of this (take this article for instance)…

  8. Elle says:

    I read the quote that implied black women have ‘ forgotten’ about sexism. I want to get one of those pull strings on my back, so y’all can just pull it and hear me say ‘is this for real?’ cuz I find myself saying that everyday!

  9. Sudy says:

    This Washington post took 3 years off my life, I swear.

    I don’t know if I can handle reading this anymore.

    I might be with BA and say, “I quit.”

    Can I quit feminism?

  10. Very well said.

    I am furious over Hillary’s Muslim-baiting on “60 Minutes”–very obvious and very Nixonian. I was disgusted.

    And now she’s been rewarded for it, by winning two large states.

  11. Lloyd Webber says:

    This election campaign, more than any event in my life has made me deeply wary of white mainstream feminists. My question always is “just how feminist is Hillary Clinton anyway”?

  12. aliciadk says:

    Thanks for this post. It’s everything I’ve been thinking. It’s insane for white people to say that racism doesn’t exist in an outward form when they could never be on the receiving end of it. I pass for white but have Puerto Rican blood and I’ve had a boss tell me to remove a “fat Puerto Rican chick” from an image, among the everyday BS I hear people spew (“All black people carry guns!” “I was working like a Mexican!”). I suppose we just shouldn’t expect anyone without a non-white person in their family to ever understand how racism is everywhere. But then the dialog never evolves. What to do…

  13. Sylvia/M says:

    TC, welcome, and ever since I saw Obama’s statement on the Israel/Palestine relationship I’ve been wondering where the hell is the civic participation for that instead of his saturated skin in a political ad.

    Elle, sign me up for a pull string that says, “What the hell did you just say?” And a slapping arm. Yeah. I can do business with that…

    Sudy, I almost did until I realized that I’m not standing on the same stage with these fools anyway. Hence the title. Because I’m convinced there are feminisms and the one they have isn’t the one I believe in.

    Daisy, she hasn’t quite won because they’re doing proportional allocations of delegates (I’m guessing they decided on that way because there were so many people in the initial running). They’re still neck and neck, and Obama just won the Texas caucuses after Hillary took the popular vote. So things are still…bleh. And of course, Hillary thinks the caucuses shouldn’t count and neither should the people’s votes where there are superdelegates but magically the votes do count in Michigan and Florida and blahblahblah posturing blah.

    Lloyd Webber, welcome, and she isn’t. She is simply “a woman who is trying to smash through the glass ceiling.” And BA and I agree that she don’t care about the women the glass shards will fall on afterwards.

    Alicia, welcome, and I think a lot of people had high hopes for serious talks to come out of this campaign. Serious grappling with what racism and sexism entail, how they perpetuate themselves, more close evaluation on how to fight it. But it’s used once again as a weapon to tear at people…and things haven’t changed. It’s so depressing. I can’t stand it.

  14. Pingback: Recommended Reads through March 10th at Faux Real


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