Friday, January 20, 2017

Inauguration Day - The Battle Has Begun

I didn't watch it. I wouldn't have watched it even if I could have. Women across the country are striking and marching in protest. I forgot to find a gynecologist today to make an appointment for an IUD. I have Plan B stashed away. I've been nauseous all day. Social media only made it worse. Also, I'm on my period. Even my ovaries are crying. After work, I picked up National Women's Liberation Women Strike signs for the March on Tallahassee tomorrow. My boyfriend suggested we prepare basic solutions for our eyes in case of mace. The Facebook event for the march is disintegrating because of a weather-based location change. The left cannot seem to keep it together long enough to go for a walk; meanwhile, the right has elected a sexual predator in the midst of all our in-fighting. There's a time to critique your own side, and there's a time to band together in solidarity despite our differences. If there was ever a time for unity, it's now. We are in a state of emergency. We have to learn how to agree to disagree in order to accomplish something. I used to have a plaque in my apartment that said "There are no rules around here; we're trying to accomplish something." We are accomplishing nothing by arguing over where the march ends except dismantling our own resistance without any help from our oppressors. Well, that's not fair. They're helping, for sure--instigating, even--but we have to see through their manipulation in order to form a unified front of resistance. We have to have shared goals and ways of achieving those goals. We have to find common ground. We can critique ourselves in the privacy of our own meetings. When we go public, we must be united because where they see weakness, they attack. We are already on the defense. We cannot afford to show any weakness now. They're not backing down. The following pages disappeared from the government website following the inauguration--Women, LGBTQ, HIB/AIDS Strategy, Climate, Civil Rights, AAPI, Disability, and any and all Spanish translations pages. If we think they're not going to erase us if we don't stand up and shout together, we're wrong, and we'll be sorry. This is a wakeup call for us to get it together and start working as a unit. White people, that means listening to your comrades of color. Heterosexuals, that means listening to your queer comrades. Cis people, that means listening to your trans comrades. And not just listening, but stepping back and following. It's time to let the marginalized lead the fight. It's time for an intersectional, unified front. It's time to fight back. The battle has begun, and this is a fight for our lives. Let's act like it. Show up, step up, and know your role. It's time to be organized.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Day (8 and) 9 of Trumpocracy: It's time to act!

Yesterday, I ran out of time to post because my day was overloaded with Bar studies and feminist class.

Today, I finally have an action for you to take (if you live in Tallahassee). National Women's Liberation is coming to Tallahassee! For those of you in town, we are planning a meeting for 2pm on Sunday, December 11th (location TBA - stay tuned via our Facebook event). We will be discussing NWL, doing a consciousness raising exercise, and coming up with an action plan, or at least some next steps. If you've been looking for a way to get involved, now you have one! Come to our meeting, and join the women's liberation movement!

That's it for today. In the meantime, watch Hillary Rodham address the Children's Defense Fund.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Day 7 of Trumpocracy: White women

This post will not consist of me shaming white women for voting primarily for Trump. However, this post will consist of my attempt to break down exactly why so many white women voted for Trump and against their own interests, seemingly. One explanation is that pro-Trump white women mistakenly believe we live in a post-feminist world, and I would venture to guess this misunderstanding arises from their experience of white privilege. 

However, we must be careful not to mistake white privilege with equality, or with male privilege. Many people experience both white and male privilege, but they are two very different privileges. White women only experience white privilege, not male privilege, obviously, but maybe this fact is not so obvious. White privilege does not negate the need for feminism. White privilege and female oppression can exist simultaneously, but for some reason, these pro-Trump white women do not see either. They make the same mistake as many people with privilege--they assume they earned their privilege through hard work and dedication, or something like that. They make an interesting mistake as to their oppression as women, however. While they explain away their privilege as earned, they completely ignore their oppression as invalid. 

Here's my theory, or a theory of mine--they have adopted the white, male narrative as their own without realizing it does not speak for them. I think this is because white men want oppressed people to be blind to their oppression, and white women are relatively easy to target because we have so much privilege already, being white. Hence, it's not too challenging to convince a white woman that she is not oppressed. At least, that seems to be the reality.

I find that theory to be incomplete, though, and thus unconvincing. There's another theory, and it goes along with the "pro woman line." In The Radical Therapist, Judith Brown writes, "The Pro-Woman Line insists that women are neither brainwashed nor 'conditioned' to servitude, but instead that at the moment we perceive that our chains are loosened, we will break the bonds and go free." She then goes on to define male supremacy as, "behavior which benefits men at the expense of women." She does not attach an actor to the behavior, so she cannot attach a gender to it. This means both men and women can perpetuate male supremacy through their behavior. The Pro-Woman Line suggests that women "participate," for lack of a better word, with their own oppression not because we are brainwashed or complicit in our oppression but because we get something out of it. In other words, we don't make waves, we blend in, we survive...maybe. 

In the Redstockings Manifesto, it says, "We also reject the idea that women consent to or are to blame for their own oppression. Women's submission is not the result of brain-washing, stupidity or mental illness but of continual, daily pressure from men. We do not need to change ourselves, but to change men."

Women reported lying about voting for Hillary so as not to upset the men in their lives, i.e. their husbands. I would venture to guess some others just voted for Trump instead of lying about voting for Hillary because it was easier, and it was safer. Sometimes, it is safer for the oppressed to comply with their oppressor, and sometimes it is necessary for survival. Women in abusive relationships comply with their batterers all the time, and we do not blame them for their abuse. Well, we shouldn't, at least."

It then goes on to say, "Because we have lived so intimately with our oppressors, in isolation from each other, we have been kept from seeing our personal suffering as a political condition. This creates the illusion that a woman's relationship with her man is a matter of interplay between two unique personalities, and can be worked out individually. In reality, every such relationship is a class relationship, and the conflicts between individual men and women are political conflicts that can only be solved collectively." In other words, we are blind to our own oppression due to the very nature of our oppression--isolation.

So I will not blame white women for voting for Trump, but I will expect you to step out of your home, look around, accept the hand of a feminist reaching out to you, and learn about your oppression. Open your eyes. We cannot fight what we cannot see. It is not enough to have your own privilege. Everyone deserves equality.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Day 6 of Trumpocracy: Unity, my ass

Today I got in an argument with someone about the definition of violence. For him, it was a game of semantics. He limited the definition of violence to physical violence. The quote was something like "harassment and intimidation aren't violence." Now, maybe it's because I work in the domestic violence field, but intimidation and harassment are definitely violent behaviors, which would categorize them as violence, in my opinion. This reminded me eerily of the "forcible" requirement in rape laws. This requirement mandates some sort of outward resistance by the victim as an essential element of the crime. This means if someone doesn't put up a fight and possibly put their life in greater danger, they weren't technically raped. This is another semantic distinction that serves no practical purpose other than for the privileged's sake of argument, or entertainment. Semantic arguments are for the privileged, and I'm tired of arguing with people who endorse bigotry while preaching some bullshit message of unity under Trump. I'm sick of it already.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Day 5 of Trumpocracy: The cabinet

I'm back from the forest, and the short list is out. It is worse than we feared. Notably, Rick Scott made the short list for the Health & Human Services Secretary position. Let me say that another way. The man who recently tried to enact a "health" bill restricting access to abortion by stripping away Medicaid from women's health clinics such as Planned Parenthood made Trump's short list for the Health & Human Services Secretary position. This means women's right to access basic healthcare is very likely under attack, just as we suspected.

This means women across the country need to start organizing NOW.

If you're in the Tallahassee area, come to the Planned Parenthood of Tallahassee volunteer meeting tonight at 7:30 at Oasis. Also, if you're in the Tallahassee area, get in touch with me if you're interested in joining a Tallahassee chapter of National Women's Liberation, a grassroots, radical feminist organization that's been fighting in the women's liberation movement since the 1960s. I'm gathering interested names in preparation for a meeting soon.

If you're in the NYC area, you can join NWL there.

If you're in the Gainesville area, you can join NWL there. They have a meeting coming up on Tuesday, November 15.

If you're in none of these areas, find a local feminist organization and get moving! Get in touch with me if you'd like help finding a feminist organization in your area.

No matter where you are, consider making travel arrangements to attend the Women's March on Washington in D.C.

Now's the time to start acting. We cannot "wait and see" what he will do. We already see who he is selecting, and it's terrifying. The time to act is NOW.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Day 4 of Trumpocracy: Escape to the woods.

Today I'm escaping to the Hostel in the Forest. I'll return tomorrow with more to say. For now, stay strong.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Day 3 of Trumpocracy: I'm still crying, but I'll fight through the tears.

This is really happening. This is the next four years, possibly even eight because at this point, anything is possible. I was going to start this post with, "The dust has settled, and reality is finally sinking in," but that would be a lie. A. The dust is not settling, but instead is being kicked up by protesters on the left, right, center, and everywhere in between. White supremacists are vandalizing property with swastikas and other Nazi symbols and words of hate. Democrats across the country are chanting, "Not my president!" while blocking the streets. Anarchists are co-opting peaceful protests to destroy property. I'm not sure how effective any of this is anymore. We had a chance. We had our say. Just under half of you decided to stay silent, so we lost. (I will take this time to bring up the fact that just under half the country didn't vote, so some of these protesters didn't think it was important enough to have a say in who ran our country until after the democratic process was over. I won't take this time to go into just how infuriated I am at people who claim to be on the side of love, acceptance, tolerance, and unity but find themselves above the political process. If you're mad now, but you didn't say anything while it was happening, while the country was listening, while you had the chance, I'm not going to bother shaming you; I'm only going to ask you to do better. I can't help but read your silence as complicity in my oppression. Please prove me wrong.)

I used to be friends with someone who posted on Facebook yesterday a video from Flashdance with a caption saying something to the extent of, "#TBT to when feminism was sexy." I say "used to be friends with" because our friendship ended somewhere in the middle of this election season because he supported Trump, and we couldn't reconcile our differences. This is not to say I cannot be friends with people with whom I disagree politically. However, this goes beyond political differences. This is about basic human rights. Trump stands for the violation of those for many of us, and anyone's support of him is seen, by many of us, and I think reasonably so, as support for our oppression. In other words, I am not mad because my candidate lost; I am mad because we lost--humanity lost, love and unity lost, and oppression, bigotry, and I am hesitant to say hatred based on some articles I've been reading, but it's hard not to say hatred, won.

And that is demonstrated by this past friend's post. His anti-woman, anti-feminist, sexist, and misogynist statement about the "sexiness" of feminism, or lack thereof, has been validated, nay, institutionalized, by Trump's win. People of color, immigrants, women, and other minority groups are being attacked in the streets as we speak because Trump won. One harassment quotation in particular has stuck with me since I heard it--a guy yelled something sexist to a woman in the street (I forget exactly what, but does it matter?), and after the woman ignored him, he said, "You have to say, 'Thank you,' now." Now. Now. It's that "now" that gets me. Now that what? Now that Trump has won the election. Now, things will be different. Now, women will thank men for their oppression and harassment. Now, women will return to the home. Now, women will accept their place. Now, things will be different. So to everyone telling us to "calm down," quit our "temper tantrum," and "get over it" because things won't be the apocalypse of which we're afraid, explain to me what that "now" means? How does it not mean exactly that of which I am afraid?

"America is more sexist than it is racist, and it's really fucking racist." I've been hearing a lot of jokes similar to that sentiment lately. I'm not mad that they're jokes. I understand the value of humor within tragic times, and I appreciate mirth as medicine. I want us to heal, and if we have to laugh to do so, then laugh we will. However, the sad truth is still there--America hates women. No, I'm not saying everyone who voted for Trump hates women, but I AM saying everyone who voted for Trump endorsed a candidate for leader of our country who DOES hate women. Oh wait, no, that's not fair. He loves women--he loves our bodies, our grope-able pussies, and our silence. He loves to objectify us, and if you endorsed him, you endorsed my, and possibly even your own, objectification.

You know what, while I'm at it, let's take a minute to discuss the fact that more white women voted for Trump than Hillary. I am ashamed of you, fellow white women, but I am not mad at you. I am enraged at the fact that white supremacy is so powerful even oppressed groups will vote for the candidacy of their oppression. Because why? Because it is safer than voting for a woman? Is being a woman still so threatening and scary that it is safer to support your own oppression than to stand up for someone in your own class? I am not mad at you; I am mad at the white, male supremacy that has infiltrated your thought process and convinced you that voting for a bigoted, inexperienced, white man is safer and smarter than voting for an experienced, qualified, passionate, yet composed woman.

And don't tell me this isn't about her being a woman. Hand me two resumes without names on the top, and I'll point to the more qualified candidate without a moment's hesitation--Hillary Rodham Clinton. If Hillary had been a man, she probably would've won. Don't believe me? Take a minute and check out your Bernie Bros' pages. They're all sharing posts about how Bernie was the only candidate who could've beat Trump, and they're proud of that fact without even acknowledging the level of sexism inherent in it. If Hillary had been a man, she would've won. I have zero doubt about it.

Yesterday, I mentioned some things in the works. Today, they are still in the works, but I promise  I'll have some step-by-step, concrete action plans soon. But for today, I just want to say, Thank you, Hillary Rodham Clinton, for everything you've done and continue to do for women, for our country, and for humanity. You have been a lifelong inspiration.