Thursday, September 7

Thanks, America, for acknowledging my humanity!

ACK has weighed in on the whole American-feminists-Ignore-fundamentalist-Islam meme, and, while I appreciate his views and attention to the matter, I just have to nitpick a little bit with what he says in defense of Mark Rose, who didn't even give me the courtesy of a link when he "addressed" my complaints, harrumph!

So anyways, ACK says:

At issue is this: Conservatives see feminists, quite correctly in most cases, as embracing the full portfolio of liberal issues. This includes multiculturalism, the embracing and elevating of cultures other than one's own.


Ehrm. (That's the sound I make when I'm uncomfortable with something but it's a minor quibble and I'm mostly willing to move on.) I see where you're coming from, ACK, but I'd like to throw my peas into the pot. While I can't speak for All Feminists, I still think it's safe to say that most feminists will consistently criticize sexist aspects of other cultures while lauding the more egalitarian aspects of those same cultures provided egalitarian aspects genuinely exist. There is no Feminist Doctrine (or Liberal Doctrine) that says, "Above all else, we worship other cultures simply because they're not ours." There is more of a loose guideline that encourages us to see desirable aspects of other societies and ponder how we can get those aspects to take hold in our own society. I don't see how this is any different from any other socially conscious person looking at another society and saying, "Hm, that's cool, we should do that!" or "Yuck, I'm glad we don't do things like that."

If there are feminists or people who cling to any -ism who fetishize other cultures just because they are other cultures, then those people are naive and ill-informed regardless of their -isms and we should all feel free to ignore these people.

But I won't quibble too much with that first paragraph if that is indeed how conservatives, in all their myopic glory, insist on seeing feminists.

What I will quibble with is the next few paragraphs. And what I'm going to say is less a quibble and more a WHAT THE FUCK.

Rose's and conservative' real beef, their unstated beef, is not so much that Western feminists do not criticize other cultures and religions but they do not sufficiently recognize their own culture's worth.

Western Civilization, the civilization built by white Christian men, is truly the most beneficial culture to women in human history. No other civilization, no other culture, comes close to recognizing and cherishing the true worth of women than the West.

We are Number 1. Granted, our competition is not so fierce but we are #1 nonetheless.

What I think conservatives like Rose are looking for is some admission of this. When liberal feminists go around criticizing Western culture and embracing multiculturalism it gives conservatives the impression that Western feminists do not understand that it is the Western Culture they deride that enables them to be the feminists they are.


Okay, let's back up here.

Rose's real beef is that Western feminists aren't sufficiently grateful that our society finally came around and decided to treat women as (some version of) human?

Seriously, Mark A. Rose will relent and admit that feminists fight for important causes if I just bow and shower Western Civilization with kisses for finally acknowledging that women aren't merely property to be bought and traded like donkeys (even if that practice still continues in certain ways)?

Well, shucks, Mr. Rose, I am so sorry for my lack of gratitude to this fantastic society that so graciously recognizes my basic humanity. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. AND YOU, AND YOU! In case those allcaps weren't indicative of my thankfulness, I just want to let everyone know that I am on the floor writhing and weeping out of gratitude to my great White Christian masters and their holy benevolence, which led them to the conclusion a few decades ago that it wouldn't make the Baby Jesus die if the womenfolk got to vote and whatnot. THANK YOU. THANK YOU ALL. I AM WAVING LIKE A PARADE QUEEN AND WRITING IN ALLCAPS AND I COULD NOT BE MORE GRATEFUL FOR THE FREEDOMS IMPARTED TO ME BY THOSE FANTASTIC WHITE CHRISTIAN MEN OF GENERATIONS PAST.

Now that I've got that out there in the open — THANK YOU — I can move on to my next thought, which is not quite as facetious.

Kleinheider, as always, I appreciate your perspective, but the way you've framed this argument is kind of ludicrous.

This is where misunderstanding occurs. Conservatives see the extreme examples of the West-hating feminist and do not see the unspoken admission amongst the reasonable ones.


You are admitting right there that Rose and his ilk are using a strawman to attack feminism's core by calling it hypocritical. And then you implore feminists to go ahead and put on the kid gloves and play nice so these ornery conservatives might not hate us as much:

Does this mean that Western feminists should bow down and repent their ways, thank the white man daily, and cease criticism of Western society and culture? Of course not.

However, in addition to continuing to attack those religions and cultures across the globe that degrade, demoralize, and abuse females, I think it would be instructive to reflect on the benefits that Western Culture provides women and take some time and try and see why feminist criticism of Islam and the developing world may seem insufficient to conservatives, even when it isn't.


See, the thing is, going about this whole process as if conservatives give two shits whether or not Western feminists are going to bat for their Islamic sisters is a load of horseshit. If conservatives were that fucking concerned about mistreatment of women worldwide, they'd be on board with us already and they'd have much less time to make up ridiculous shit like this.

So, sure, it might be instructive for me to sit here and ponder the priveleges and responsibilities of being Western and/or American (it's something I think about, seriously, EVERY DAY, in one fashion or another), but I'm confused: Since when is acknowledging "privelege" considered — in conservative circles — anything but a futile exercise in self-loathing?

Not to get sidetracked, what I'm getting at is this:

Going around criticizing the things that are wrong with and unfair about our system is something not just feminists do, but every person living in a democracy does or should do. Sure, feminists have their pet issues that we tend to stick on, but there's a good reason for that: NO ONE ELSE IS GOING TO FUCKING DO IT IF WE DON'T.

But while I think we can all agree that living in America is a great privelege in a lot of ways, I think we need to step back and acknowledge that there is a difference between saying, "Be proud and grateful to be an American" and "American women and/or feminists should be more grateful that they live in a society that allows them to exist as fully human because other places aren't so nice."

Don't tell me to be grateful that my status as a human is recognized. There should be no question about that — ANYWHERE. The fact that there IS a question about that in some societies does not mean that America automatically gets a cookie or a pass or ANYTHING. Talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations!

The fact that we are still even having conversations about "women's rights" and what women are allowed to do in certain societies and how Western women should thank the stars that someone in history finally decided we were human is proof — real proof, with extra ironic goodness — that sexism and misogyny are thriving these days.

Thriving!

8 Comments:

Blogger TVonthefritz said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Thu Sep 07, 03:37:00 AM  
Blogger TVonthefritz said...

Yes. I noticed that Mark Rose didn't respond to your well-thought grieveances, too. When Fox News or Maha Rushie doesn't have anything relevant to say on a hyper-local pissing contest, it's really hard to address your concerns or "give you a point." Thinking for yourself is so hard. But I'm being an ass. I really need to stop poking fun at the mentally ill. As I told you over e-mails, my pastor told me we should be making in-roads with religious fundies (both Christian and Islamic) instead of combating their hatred with our hatred and/or lack of understanding. I'm trying really hard to be nice and loving to Mark Rose as Christ would. But he makes it so damn hard

Thu Sep 07, 03:38:00 AM  
Blogger TVonthefritz said...

Lindsey Turner. I laughed so hard reading your post that I actually started crying. I haven't laughed this hard in awhile.

Thu Sep 07, 03:42:00 AM  
Blogger TVonthefritz said...

"Don't tell me to be grateful that my status as a human is recognized. There should be no question about that — ANYWHERE."

Exactly.

Thu Sep 07, 03:46:00 AM  
Anonymous brittney said...

This is great. Thank you for saying what I wasn't able to express.

Thu Sep 07, 08:14:00 AM  
Blogger John H said...

could i just say, that you are my hero...

wow. Nirpel was neutered, and Rose deflowered...nice coupla days work there Linds...

Thu Sep 07, 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger theogeo said...

Thanks, y'all.

Fritz, glad I could make you laugh. But seriously, I think we're barking up a vacant tree here.

Like that mixed metaphor? Yeah, me too.

Thu Sep 07, 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger TVonthefritz said...

My heart is so overwhelmed with love for you right now. You bring me sheer joy. Sheer fucking joy. And my heart runneth over with the joy emanting (sp?) from my very pores at this moment.

You made Daddy proud. And as I've said before, I want to become you.

Thu Sep 07, 02:40:00 PM  

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