Archives for posts with tag: Intersectionality

I got sucked into Reddit recently. I’ll get back to you later on whether this is a good thing or not, in the mean time it has been educational!

One of the first things I did when joining Reddit was seek out some feminist forums. One of the first things I found on r/feminism (which is distinct from r/feminisms, if you embrace intersectionality I advice avoiding the latter)..anyway, one of the first things I found on r/feminism was a man asking why there couldn’t be a middle ground between feminism and the Men’s Rights Movement.

The main response he got, from one of the forums moderators, was that MRM and feminism are NOT two sides of the same coin because the Men’s Rights movement is trying to turn back the clock and strip away the hard-won rights of women everywhere, and can never have any middle ground until members of the men’s rights movement admit that woman’s grievances are justified and start support real equality, not “men first” equality.

Now, I’ve visited several men’s rights websites that do in fact say exactly that kind of shit. But I’ve also seen the feminist websites that claim every straight woman is tool of the patriarchy just because they like dick, and every instance if PIV sex is always rape. We feminists have our own Kool-Aid we desperately need to stop drinking.

I also know far to well that there are areas where men are discriminated against. The side of feminism I support looks at this and says, “Yes, gender roles and gender stereotypes fuck everything up for everyone, we need to fix this shit.” The really loud side of feminism that I wish would die says, “Oh, the poor menz, dey got der feeling hurt. Suck it asshole.”

Anyway, I decided that just because a couple of men’s rights websites were misogynist crap didn’t mean all of them were and decided to do some research, starting with r/mensrights.

In the Men’s Rights subreddit there is a big, bold link right in the sidebar about the difference between Men’s Rights and Feminism. I decided this was probably a good place to start. I was hoping to find something a bit more open-minded and nuanced than the feminist version. What I found was a very well thought out explanation about the various forms of legal discrimination many men face, and this concluding paragraph:

So for all of you men and women who support the MRM and to all of you neutral parties who can’t seem to figure out why MRAs and feminists can’t find common ground; to everyone who thinks The MRM and Feminism are two sides of the same coin, take a closer look at the damn coin. One side endorses legal bigotry while the other seeks to end it. You can’t get any more different than that.

–Jared White, http://www.avoiceformen.com/mens-rights/whats-the-difference/ sourced on 7/4/14

Basically, both sides are saying the same damn thing, just swapping who is the victim and who is the bad guy.

Every one of the issues that Jared says men face discrimination in? I fully agree on. Blaming feminism for them? Eh…look, when the custom of women automatically getting custody in a divorce developed in the 19th century, when women couldn’t vote or be judges and feminism wasn’t even a thing yet? Yeah, there are definitely some ways feminism has made things worse for men, if only by emphasizing women victims of domestic violence and rape but ignoring men victims. But blaming all men’s problems on feminism is going a bit far.

Sometimes it isn’t a matter of feminism being out to get men, sometimes it’s a matter of men being screwed by gender stereotypes.

At the same time, feminism needs to wake up to the fact that it has largely been successful. The big battles–for the vote, for non-discrimination, for women’s health to be treated as a real thing, are largely over. Oh, I’m not saying that women aren’t still facing discrimination in various ways. The fact that the anatomy of the clitoris wasn’t mapped until the last 20 years is a sign that we still have far to go in having women’s health taken seriously. So is the fact that more has been done to study and treat erectile dysfunction than a medical condition–a “woman’s condition”–that nearly killed my mother three times before she could get her doctors to take it seriously. So is the fact that not one state-level legislative body has reached even parity between men and women, and the average state legislative body is 75% men.

I remember a disturbing conversation I had with my kids after watching MegaMind. At the time my kids were 6 and 7 years old. I asked them what they thought about MegaMind “getting the girl” as a prize for saving the city. Both of them, one boy and one girl, saw absolutely nothing wrong with that. “Well he won, didn’t he Ima? So of course he gets the girl. The hero always gets the girl.”

Not even 10 years old and already convinced that a woman was a prize, and not a person who made her own choices. Thankfully, I managed to correct that impression…temporarily. I don’t kid myself that I’m not fighting an up-hill battle against the majority of media. And since I don’t have custody, I can’t control their media either.

But if that kind of casual misogyny is built into our culture, it’s equally true that every time we talk about rape culture as being part of a war on women, we are erasing male victims of rape. It is equally true that for decades rape was legally defined as something that only happened to women. It is equally true that male victims of domestic violence are the butt of jokes while women victims of domestic violence are rescued and supported.

I had two friends who were having a very rough marriage. I’ll call them Alice and Bob. One day when they were fighting, Bob tried to leave the room. He was getting angry and knew he needed to cool down before he said or did something he would regret. Alice didn’t want him to leave and planted herself in the doorway, physically trapping him in the room.

Bob pulled Alice out of the doorway, tossed her on the bed, and ran out of the house. Bob’s own mother offered Alice sympathy and support and said she almost called the police on him.

If the situation was reversed? If Bob had trapped Alice in the room? You know anything she needed to do to get herself out of that room would have been applauded as “standing up for herself” and “getting out of an unsafe situation.”

So I am a feminist. I believe that there are and remain areas of life and culture where women are discriminated against, and that all people should be equal. But because I am a feminist, because I believe ALL people should be equal, I support men’s rights.

Because no one deserves to be discriminated against, belittled, or denied justice because of their gender.

I believe–I hope, that in spite of all the voices on either side saying that men’s rights and feminism are inherently opposed, I am part of a silent majority who thinks we all need to work together to fix the way people in our society are treated.

I can’t do this. I’ve tried, but even attempting to put together another post has been triggering me to the point that I haven’t been able to log into WordPress for several weeks. It is just plain hell going through all the shit out there, reading through it, picking and choosing what to share, organizing it, all the while drowning in the hell that is the world today for so many people. And the victories that I read about just aren’t enough to overcome that feeling. Especially not when Activist Apathy starts to set it.

So I’m going officially step away from this for a few weeks while I rethink what I”m doing here. Whatever I do it will continue to be able activism and intersectionality. But I think what I may do just re-blog the occasional must-read article, and focus on building pages of information about intersectionality, and all the oppressions that so many people deal with every day.

If you’ve been following this and have an idea for what else I might do here, feel free to share your thoughts. Otherwise, I’ll see you sometime in August.

 

Folks, life has beat the crap out of me lately and I had largely disappeared off the ‘net due to mental overload and loss of the ability to give a fuck. Luckily, I regained my feet just in time to meet the tidal wave of SCOTUS related news which is this week in activism. I’ll try to resume regular posting next week. Usually I try to take a couple of days and several revisions before putting up a post like this, but right now timing and topical counts. Apologies for any typos or errors.

It has been an amazing and horrid week in SCOTUSLand. Rarely do simultaneously want to jump for joy and break down weeping. Lady Justice, where the hell were you Tuesday? Certainly not in chambers.

Alright, anyone who isn’t living under a rock has heard about the so-called ‘big news’ of the week. The Supreme Court has struck down part of DOMA (After DOMA Fact Sheet) and dismissed the case on Proposition 8, both of which are major wins for LGBT rights. Personally I wonder just how much bile Scalia had to swallow in siding with the majority on Prop8 (here’s some legalese on why the Prop8 decision isn’t actually about SSM – I am not endorsing this guys conclusions, per se, but he has his facts in order).

The sadly-less heralded news came on Tuesday. NAACP, wake up and remember that you are not irrelevant! The media blitz from the overturning of the Voters’ Rights Act should have rivaled the celebrations today, instead SCOTUSLand’s butching of voter rights has passed relatively quietly.

For anyone who has not been following the VRA case, here’s the gist:

Last year, Texas tried to redraw their voting districts in such a way as to deliberately hurt PoC. This redrawing was done by white members of the Texas legislature in secret from their black and latino colleagues. Basically, here’s what happened: the white guys looked at the voting districts and said “This district is a majority PoC, which means they won’t vote the way we want them too, so we’re going to change the borders of the district to remove some PoC and add some white folks, this way the PoC won’t have a majority any more. This other district has a majority white folks, we’ll leave that alone.”

Well, understandably PoC and their allies weren’t to happy about this. They challenged the redistricting under the voter’s rights act, which among other things, said that states with a history of severe and institutional racism and voter manipulation had to run changes in voting laws past the Federal government to insure that any changes they made weren’t going to infringe the voting rights of PoC.

The Feds took a look at Texas’ new-and-improved voting districts and said, “What are trying to pull here? This is blatant racism and you aren’t allowed to pull that crap!” And the old districts stayed. But Texas didn’t like being told what to do (who does?) and sued the Feds for the right to set any voting laws they want, no matter who got hurt.

Yesterday, SCOTUS ruled in favor of Texas, and less than two hours after the ruling was handed down, Texas Attorney General said the redistricting and associated voter ID law might go into effect immediately.

And the reason SCOTUS tossed out the VRA? Because everyone has the right to vote now, and racism is gone in America, so it wasn’t needed any more.

As Justice Ginsburg says in the dissent: “Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”

For fairly obvious reasons, white LGBT folks are a bit happier with SCOTUS today than straight PoC. For LGBT people of color, well sadly the DOMA and Prop8 don’t apply if you live in any of the states that were covered by the VRA, because none of those states have marriage equality, so you can’t get married and they can now fuck with your voting rights. Yay for the puff pastry of oppressions.

Yeah, I’m snarky today. It’s keeping me somewhat sane in the face of this insanity.

In a somewhat related note (very related to intersectionality, somewhat related to SCOTUSLand), last night Texas Senator Wendy Davis pulled a marathon filibuster* that prevented the passage of a bill which would have shut down 80% of abortion clinics in Texas and outlaw abortion after 20 weeks (SB5 Primer) Wendy Davis is one of the Texas senators whose district would have been redrawn before the November elections, meaning she likely wouldn’t have been elected and standing on the Texas Senate floor to pull off her feat of awesome if that redistricting had gone through.

*One source claimed she spent most of the 10+ hour filibuster reading the stories of women whose lives would be negatively impacted by the bill. Sorry I lost the link for that one.

Hey folks, as some of you may have noticed, I am remaking this blog into a forum for folks from across activism to learn about what is going on in other movements. Interesectionality is often spoken of within movements – “My feminism will be intersectional.” but it also needs to be across movements – feminist talking with POC, family rights activists working hand in hand with LGBT, and so much more.

There is so much going on and so many battles being fought, it is nearly impossible to keep up with all of them. So if you are devoted to fighting racism, or ableism, or body shaming, to gaining gender equality or protection for transfolk, here you can share information about your own battles, and learn about what is going on in the battle grounds next door. Most posts here will be a collection of links to recent events. The first post, going up later tonight, will be recent events in feminism. Next week will be LGBT rights, the week after that racism and the battle of people of color.

Guest posts, sharing experiences in your activism, discussing intersectionality, and similar topics are welcome. If something important happened in your neck of the woods that I missed, let me know and I’ll made sure it gets added.

101 pages with information for people new to various activisms and ideas will be going up over the next few weeks. if you have a link, article or infographic that you would like to see as part of a 101 page, please let me know.

 

Links are not endorsements – I may link to pieces that I do not agree with. I will not link to pieces that I feel are intentionally offensive. Caitlan Moran is not one of my favorite people, but she is a major voice in feminism and for that alone it is worth being aware of what she has to say. Link titles are my own take on the major point of the articles linked to – they are not necessarily the actual titles of the articles.

For folks who initially followed me for writing related topics, I’ll be starting a new blog for those, and will announce the link for that blog here when it is up and running. Thanks for your patience.