In the Feminist Hierarchies thread the suggestion was made that a woman's feminist beliefs, or what and who she allows in her blog, ought to disqualify her from commentary on various issues, or, I guess, from being taken seriously, endorsed, listened to, or viewed as credible.
I can't get behind that kind of thinking, and this is why.
I have taken a buttload of shit from ALL quarters, and I do mean ALL, over the 12 years now that I’ve been online, because I am simply not a purist. I never will be. For me it will never be fundamentalist-style doctrine-over-person; for me, women are going to come first every time, before their doctrines, even doctrines I really value. For me, alliances will always be the most important thing, before purity of feminist belief or values or lifestyle.
What that has meant for me is, I get in trouble with my radical feminist sisters for continuing on in alliances or friendships with, for example, women who are into SM, who sell sex toys or pornography, or who are what would be described as “sex positive.” I get in trouble with women who are into SM, who sell sex toys or pornography or who are what would be described as sex positive for the way my radical feminist friends criticize (and too often attack) them. Sometimes what this means is that I get dissed in various ways by members of both groups– by both the radfems for my tolerance and the non-radfems for my intolerance. I get in trouble with my womanist friends and feminist women of color because my white radical feminist sisters are so often effing racist and won’t for one moment cop to their racism– just arrogant as all get out (pisses me off, as you can see). I get in trouble with just about all of my feminist friends because I open my arms to women fleeing fundamentalist religion, even if they are still religious women, and I continue to walk alongside them even though they continue in, for example, their Christian beliefs. I get in trouble with women out of Christian religion because my radical feminist friends freely and regularly bash Christianity and all religion and I don't challenge them or disagree with them or argue with them.
I get in trouble with my queer and transgender feminist friends because of my views on transgender and queer, and I get in trouble with my radical feminist friends for having allied with, or become friends with, queer and transgendered women. I get in trouble with my Christian feminist friends for being relentlessly and avowedly pro-choice, pro-reproductive rights. I get in trouble with my radical feminist friends for my views about birthing, breeding, breastfeeding, pregnancy, and the maternal and matriarchal, just in general.
I get in trouble with my dyke sisters for suggesting that lesbianism is a choice. I get in trouble with heterosexual women for talking about lesbianism as a choice. I get in trouble with bisexual women for challenging the politics of bisexuality.
I get in trouble with everybody but radical feminist/lesbian separatists for being too hard on men. I get in trouble with radical feminist/lesbian separatists for not being separatist enough and for being too soft on the influence of men, especially sons, in a woman's life. I get in trouble with nonseparatists for being a separatist in the first place.
I get in trouble with Michfest womyn for being too divisively and unapologetically political. I get in trouble with non-Michfest womyn for going to Michfest to begin with. I get in trouble with revolutionaries because the revolutions I’ve waged in my daily life are different than the revolutions they understand or can relate to. I get in trouble with nonrevolutionaries for advocating for a lifestyle that is far too revolutionary and which will cost them way too much.
Any woman in any of the aforementioned groups could decide any time that because I disagreed with her, or didn't share her priorities, I wasn’t qualified to comment on whatever. I could say the same about any woman in any of the above groups. Especially, I could use the fact of my disagreement with someone to attempt to silence or marginalize her for my own possibly shitty reasons. Reasons like ambition, like wanting all the spotlight, like being petty and competitive and mean-spirited. I could baptize all of this shitty-ness as a commitment to purity, rather than as the meanspirited politicking it really is. There's a lot of that around.
Well, I don't have time for it. I am getting on in years and feeling the urgency that comes with age. I don’t think, as women, we can afford to think that way or live that way. We just plain need each other too much. We need to listen to one another, and the more deeply we disagree, the more carefully we need to listen, and the more uncomfortable we feel, the more we need to pay attention. In my book, all women are qualified to offer feminist commentary on all subjects. All. Ally ally ox in free.