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.
Although I have a college education I am not an academic feminist. I just began to read women’s studies books that were not written from the political science perspective. If there are waves of feminism then I guess I am a 4th wave feminist. I respect the work done before me- but i want a matriarch guiding me in the stormy seas. I am a poor single mother, not queer, not middle class, I don’t hate men but I hate the fact that men portray women as vapid dolls, I don’t think sluttiness helps me reclaim anything and I am pretty sure that until we have a female presidential candidate that does not have the nickname “Caribou Barbie” or “Abortion Barbie”.
As a single mother I know this means we are on the brink financially. We make up 70 plus percent of the minimum wage work force and the Walmart effect on retail wages has especially damaged women’s earning power. A Woman’s Nation gives the basic non wonky outline of how we can start to RECLAIM our power on decision making. WE need reproductive freedom, economic policies and wage equality.