PTO Night and my musings on feminism: Ides of March

Ides of March:

March 5th- PTO Night and My first attempt at a feminist blog


PTO NIght- We usually do not attend these events but in an effort to practice what I preach tonight I am going. My notebook and pen will be at the ready. I will feel successful if I manage to have one semi awkward conversation with a fellow parent that does not center on pop culture, the weather, or our kids. That might be difficult…. maybe we can talk about wine and cooking! Yeah that will work.


Since I am not an academic feminist I bring a slew of non correct adjectives and language to the table. One group I feel is underrepresented in third wave post modern deconstruction feminism are single mothers and lesbians who choose to stay in the closet. One of my best friends is a lesbian but is not out openly- she lives with her girlfriend, my step-niece and my biological niece and most of our neighbors “knew” she was a lesbian but when I lent her Rebecca Walker’s “To Be Real” she handed back to me in a day and said “ I will NEVER be a lesbian feminist” . Her sexuality  was not her defining characteristic which made a hell of a lot of sense. I certainly would hate that my relationships with men be the sole identifier of me as woman. Oh wait that already happened to me- “ Hi this is Natalie so and so’s girlfriend/wife/baby mama”.


i think part of academic feminism’s reticence to embrace single mothers is that we made the wrong choices if we are poor and still had children. Their concepts and being raised in a plethora of  middle and upper middle class values imbue them with disdain towards working class women, women of color and women who are poor.


It is hard to identify with such a fractionalized movement. i don’t see where my marxist economic, political and social agenda fit in the neat categories that feminism tries to impose on women. I don’t blame the current crop of feminist authors- they feel that the women’s movement has failed. I know that the original white yuppie women who “ran” the movement did not realize some women of color felt marginalized.  I do think the alienation of single mothers, poor women and working class women was part of a concerted effort to keep the movement on “topic”.  Staying on message means avoiding topics like poverty, motherhood, and even domestic violence especially if a woman wants to stay with her abuser or return to him. These are all splinter and identity issues though.


If I want to self identify as a feminist I really don’t need to pander to academia as my major is not women’s studies. I can rail about the injustices of patriarchy and oligarchy and try to educate the broader community about the divisive role that identity politics  plays in keeping women apart.  Who benefits when women blog about how bad an actress in her 60’s look? Who benefits from the “mommy wars”? Who benefits from using the media and culture to reinforce impossible ( or damn near impossible) standard of beauty? In politics there is an old adage “ Divide and Conquer”. Don’t women see how easy it is to divide us and distract us from the real issue of a male dominated society? A house divided against itself cannot stand. Indeed. Don’t believe for one second that the male pundits and their female shills can’t see the divides in the feminist “movement” and try to exploit each division at every turn. Body shaming- an invention of men that is perpetuated by women. Race baiting- to see black and white women argue about political issues instead of agreeing that the man who hosts the show is pretty ignorant and high fiving one another as they depose him and take over. Keep dividing and eventually you will have nothing left.


Wannabe? Why the NCAA and the NFL are so attached to Native American Mascots

Wannabe? Why the NCAA and the NFL are so attached to Native American Mascots


The idea of being in touch with nature and the primitive. Being attached to horses, superior hunters, a community, rituals of manhood, bravery, and the noble savage.  The use of native tribes names and imagery for our blood sports is the ultimate culmination of a cultural genocide. To take away the history of hundreds of tribes and reduce them to a character in a movie or a logo on a college sport t-shirt. To excuse the slaughter and apartheid this country created so many myths about Native Americans.  I suppose I feel less responsible for the land grab and slaughter because half of my ancestors did not get to America from Sicily until the late 1890’s. By then most tribes had been forced onto reservations. Colonialism is a curiosity to the white European. It is quaint and something we had nothing to do with. Even today the vestiges of colonialism linger because white people can take cultural stereotypes of Native Americans and associate them with their institutes of higher learning.

Are we really this tone deaf to the damage that colonialism and racism cause? Until the NCAA and NFL stop fighting for their right to use offensive imagery then I will continue to feel ashamed of the part of my ancestry that is Anglo. The concept of tribes and being inducted into manhood through summer camps indoctrinates the tone deaf of America and tells them that painting their faces at a sporting event and having a Native American stereotype mascot is “not racism”. Perhaps it is not. Perhaps it is the continuation of the show of dominance the white man feels he needs to prove over all others and the killing off of all proof that whites stole this land. The proud identity and history is reduced to tokens and trinkets. Native Americans were the descendants of people who walked across a land bridge 12,000 or more years ago. Can any of us claim that we have been anywhere that long?


South Park’s Washington Redskins episode was beautiful in it’s tackle of Goodell and Snyder and the offensiveness of Native American stereotypes as mascots.  And the beauty of making a “company” that does nothing. Perfect.