Friday, October 10, 2008


more on the ideas of privilege...

i wound my way into an article on not being "that guy" which was really great in helping with the idea of where many women are coming from when feminism comes up. the idea of privilege and how not to shove it in people's faces and how to recognize the urge when it hits, and where it might be coming from. and generally how not to be that creep who makes women uncomfortable and exacerbates the issue.

but the big epiphany part of this was reading through the comments. one of the commenter's was saying that, much like me, she doesn't feel she is much of a feminist since she has no issue with men opening her door or helping her out. there were several posts following that talked about the idea of reciprocity in those instances. that basically it's not the fact of the door being held but the idea that the person the door is being held for doesn't have the right to expect it. or, maybe more importantly, that the person holding the door doesn't think the other person can't do it themselves. it's been a disconnect for me, because i am a big proponent of holding doors and gentility type manners and stuff. i simply do not find manners to be patronizing. but maybe that's because i've always come to them from a position of, doing these things allows me to show people around me that i respect them. as a further... complication... i actively engage in a power exchange relationship where i am the dominant partner, and part of his duties are to hold the door open for me. and in this case there is a sense of entitlement, that this is owed to me because of the agreed on inequality in our relationship. as something for me to tuck away until another day, i know there will be a point where i have to reconcile the idea of equality for everyone with the consensual inequality of our relationship.

but back to this epiphany.... here is the bit that really got me going, hmmmmmm:

"I've seen it stated that "feminism is the radical belief that women are people, too". A feminist is not "forbidden" from wearing makeup and/or frilly dresses and/or nylons. You can shave your legs and wear heels and enjoy cooking and still be a feminist. You can let men open doors for you and seat you at the dinner table and still be a feminist. The point is, feminism tells us that those things are not an intrinsic part of being a woman, and we don't have to do them if we don't want to. " by starwatcher who's lj is at: which conversely means, i can do them if i do want to. because i really like corsets and gartered stockings and heels and pretty clothes. and i love to cook, just about as much as i love to eat. and i sew, and embroider, and i love these things too. they are my art. and here is this woman, the feminist woman, saying that i can do all these things and not be one of THOSE women so long as i do it because i want to and not because i think it's my job or the way i'm supposed to be.

it amazes me that, in the very little reading i did on this subject in high school, i never cam across this idea of privilege. i think if i had, the disconnect wouldn't have happened for me. instead i ready books of essays by teens and early 20 something women about their experiences of discrimination and how they came into feminism. and i could never relate to those stories because i didn't have those experiences, and i felt guilty about it in that, maybe i'm not trying hard enough to see what's going on around me. i am not afraid of men and the violence they might do to me. i have never had some skeevy guy take my no for a maybe, at least not that comes to mind right away. i also rarely find that women are the safe sisters i can always turn to, not because i think of them as competition but because i find i don't relate to them in the way i relate to men.

not sure how to conclude this...but this is definitely something that my brain needs to ruminate and that i'm glad i found.

update: so i followed the above mentioned thread through a few others to a post on lj about the open source boob project, which i'm sure you can google if you like. but this just sends me back into the, i don't think i can participate with these women feelings i have toward feminists. here this guy and a bunch of his friends, men and women, at a sci-fi convention ended up asking many women if they could feel and appriciate their boobs. now i cringe at the word boobs, cause i think it's one of the worse anatomical words used but that a whole different rant. and yeah, i think the fact that the guy didn't seem to get, or maybe couldn't get, why so many women were getting updet over the fact that he thought he had the right to ask in the first place is agrivating. but the responces were so angry and so full of vitrol i just couldn't stomach them. the fact that many of the posters were refusing in much the same way to understand what he was saying is so heavy handedly duplicitous i just cannot begin to express it. and while were at it, i don't think they chose the right body part for touching but it think we need more fucking touch in general. i mean my god! no, there isn't a single person who should have touch forced on them if they don't want it. period. and yes, you should always ask before you touch someone you don't know very well who's non-verbal ques you don't know. but for fuck's sake! we are social creatures who thrive on touch. and this whole, lets hate the boob grabbers has turned into something so harsh and so hate filled i just cannot comprehend.

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