you're reading...
Pre-2008 Posts

My Sister, My Enemy? — Welcome to the Women’s History Month Blog Carnival, Healing Tensions Among Women Working for Equality!

My sister, my enemy?

by Tami of What Tami Said, Blog Carnival Co-Host

Welcome to the Women’s History Month blog carnival: Come Together: Healing Tensions among Women Working for Equality. I am proud to join Heart in hosting this event. I believe there is a growing breach within the feminist movement between white feminists and feminists of color. We need reconciliation. And I need healing.

I have long been told by other black women that feminism isn’t for us—that the white women who make up feminism’s mainstream don’t care about or understand our fight for equality and how our race intersects with our gender. I rejected that notion until now.

It is this divisive presidential election that is making my heart heavy. This glorious moment when two capable, historic candidates stand poised to take the White House. I should be proud. Instead, I am angry and alienated. I explained why in a recent post on What Tami Said:

_____________________________________________

I am angry because whether it is Gloria Steinem in The New York Times, Erica Jong on Huffington Post, or random posters on feminist and progressive Web sites, I am being subtly and not-so-subtly told that:

  • Racism is not as important as sexism
  • A vote for Hillary Clinton is the only history-making vote at stake
  • White women are more oppressed as a group than black men
  • The only vote for true feminists is a vote for Hillary Clinton
  • Feminist = white woman
  • The needs of black women don’t count
  • Black people who vote for Barack Obama are doing so only because of his race
  • Other people who vote for Barack Obama (women and men) are doing so only because of misogyny

Consider the not-so-uncommon comment from a Feministing poster re: Tina Fey’s “Bitch is the new black” bit on last Saturday’s SNL:

As feminists, we have worked our whole lives for this moment. Our foremothers fought for us to have this moment. We have an amazing woman running for the office of the president. Not just any woman running, but the most qualified candidate in years. I cannnot believe the cowardly way women are rolling over to appease the male media. Don’t vote your vagina, but no one is saying don’t vote your skin color. On the contrary what black man or woman is not voting for Obama (90%!)? Which I fully support as they have fought their whole lives for this moment. But they have vision and clarity, and we are chcken shits. We lack the courage of our convictions to make this moment ours. I am proud of black America right now, but disgusted by women.

I don’t really get the lame “I can vote who I want” BS as it is just a way to appease your mind that you failed to act. Excuse it all you like, in history, you prevented a great moment from happening. One that we could have shared with our daughters. But now, our daughters know, they are not able to be representations of “cool” “hip” or “inspirationsal”. What this election has shown us iswe all end up shrill, bitchy, women. Thank you feminsts, what a legacy we have created for the future.

When the weaker candidate messes up in his first term, I will be sure to proudly disply my “Don’t blame me, I voted for Hillary” bumper sticker!

Notice how black women are grouped with black men as “other.” Notice that the appeal to “vote Hillary for our daughters” seems not to include mothers of black or bi-racial children. Frankly, I think either a Clinton or Obama win will send a powerful message to my young stepdaughter and my nieces. Notice how the fact that Hillary Clinton once held the majority of the black vote, particularly the black female vote, has been forgotten. Now all black people are voting for Obama, the once “not black enough” candidate, out of racial fealty. Notice how Obama, despite having more legislative experience than Clinton, is being painted as a figurative “affirmative action hire” with few skills and a free ride.

This is why I am angry: Because it seems like some of my white feminist sisters are beckoning me to join the movement with one hand, while throwing racist bombs with the other; and because my feminist bonafides are questioned, yet Hillary Clinton can stand on stage with Bob Johnson who made his fortune by denigrating black women as bitches, hoes and sex objects and still be a feminist icon.

__________________________________________

We ask too much of each other, I think. That occurred to me when reading Jennifer of Mixed Race America’s magnificent submission to this blog carnival. (As a student, Jennifer had a disappointing encounter with one of my icons, bell hooks.) We too often expect our heroes to have it all figured out. We think that a woman who is astute and thoughtful when it comes to gender bias is going to have racial bias figured out too. We think that a black activist will “get” the plight of other people of color. We project our own beliefs onto other women. I have naively believed that marginalized groups–women, people of color, GLBT folks, immigrants, etc.–have uncommon empathy for each other. That is not always so. In fact, it never fails to amaze me how tone deaf one group of marginalized people can be to the plight of other oppressed groups.

Maybe the key can be found in a comment that my blogsister, Shecodes, left on the post above. I hope she is okay with me paraphrasing her words here. I found her pragmatism smart, even if it is hard to swallow for an idealist like me:

We don’t have to agree on everything to come together. We just have to come together to work on THOSE things that we DO agree on. Does this make sense?…It’s really easy to get so distracted by the 10% of disagreement and offense, that one can throw out the 90% of agreement.I feel no anger toward white feminists, because they do not have the power to hurt me. There is no expectation for them to understand me, because they only understand a slice of who I am. Therefore, they will get a slice of my participation.

I have enough in common with feminism to be able to bite my tongue and get along for the agendas that we both believe in.

Maybe we need to acknowledge that we all come from different places carrying different baggage, and that we can never truly know one another. Maybe exercises like this blog carnival are the best we can do. We can talk to one another. We can listen. We can try to understand. We can fight. And then we have to come together to fight violence against women, poverty, infringement on our reproductive rights, etc. And we have to keep working. Because this relationship between us is worth fighting for.
A word about comments

It is very important to Heart and I that this blog carnival present an opportunity for women to communicate with each other, but more importantly, to listen to each other. I have felt over the past few months that there is way too little listening going on. To facilitate this process, all blog carnival posts will be closed to comments for 24 hours after they appear. By doing this, we hope to encourage women to carefully consider the words of their sisters and to take a deep breath before responding. We don’t expect everyone to agree, but we do expect disagreements to be respectful.

We are still accepting submissions

We have room for more submissions! If you missed the deadline or are inspired by the words of another contributor, send your essay, poem, artwork, video, etc. to cheryllindseyseelhoff@gmail.com or whattamisaid@gmail.com.
Visit What Tami Said to read Heart’s opening essay for the Women’s History Month blog carnival.
Comments are open now.

Discussion

127 thoughts on “My Sister, My Enemy? — Welcome to the Women’s History Month Blog Carnival, Healing Tensions Among Women Working for Equality!

  1. Hey, Tami. I wanted to thank you for this thoughtful and insightful post and for having this idea in the first place. I’ve loved reading all of the submissions we’ve received, very inspiring. Makes me cry. (Though I cry easily, but it’s a good thing, because for a very long time in my life, in my old world, I couldn’t cry and almost never cried, even though there was so, so much to cry about all the time.)

    I have so many thoughts in response to what you’ve written here. For now, I’ll stick with a couple. And btw, I love the realism, just practicality of a lot of what you’ve written and quoted here, it’s down to earth, something I sometimes feel as though we need so much more of. It’s easy to spout off a bunch of words disconnected to anything real, it’s more difficult to communicate gut level about things.

    You quoted Shecodes, whose words you appreciated, and I agree! Though I tend also to be idealistic at times.

    Shecodes: There is no expectation for them to understand me, because they only understand a slice of who I am. Therefore, they will get a slice of my participation.

    I have enough in common with feminism to be able to bite my tongue and get along for the agendas that we both believe in.

    I think what Shecodes, and you in other ways, in other parts of your post, have said here is really key. On the one hand I could say “unfortunately” it is key, but I don’t know that it is unfortunate, I think it’s just real.

    I think it is just factual, honest, to say that each woman’s own struggles are going to “trump” struggles she doesn’t have. I don’t like using the “trump” language because it’s kind of become cliched on the blogosphere, but in the interests of being frank and direct, I’m using it. I think it is just not realistic to expect any woman to be as dedicated to struggles which are not her own (i.e., white women who, for example, have no persons of color in their lives, never have, don’t even have friends who are persons of color, have no direct investment in communities of color), as to struggles she does face on a daily basis. I don’t think that a heterosexual, poor, single mom, say, is going to be as committed to the struggles of a gender nonconforming lesbian as she is to her own struggles. Leaving aside the fact that just energy-wise and resource-wise, she’s limited so far as entering into the struggles of gender nonconforming lesbians, she also doesn’t have the lived experiences which she’d need to have to *be* committed to these struggles in any meaningful way.

    For some reason, women don’t want to just come right out and say that. They balk at saying straight up, “my own struggles come first with me.” They say a whole lot of things *instead* of saying that. The thing they most often say is, that it isn’t true! They insist that they are *as committed* to a sort of fictional “all women” as they are to their own lives. Or they sort of start reciting their activist resume to prove they are “as committed” or that their own struggles don’t trump the struggles of xyz, and then someone says, “oppression olympics” and we’re off and running towards a trainwreck.

    I think the reasons women don’t feel comfortable *being* committed to their own struggles first and foremost, and don’t want to acknowledge that they are are complicated, but have to do with the self-sacrifice which is expected of women, i.e., sexism. We’re raised in a sexist culture to put everybody else’s battles and struggles before our own. We don’t want to admit that we can’t, or we can’t do it very well, that we don’t have the time, money, resources, energy to even begin to do more than we are doing.

    I see women doing a lot of what we used to call in my old world “taking up of other people’s offenses.” It means speaking for other people, being some version of the knight in shining armor, rescuing people you are identifying, or over-identifying (for some, usually defunct, reason) with. So you have women who are doing “anti-racist” work who are white and have never even known a person of color but that’s the torch they pick up. Or you have people who are doing anti-transphobia work, and ditto. Or you have people all about animal rights who have never had so much as a kitty but they like the sound of being an animal rights activist, or something like that. My experience is, when people do this, good things do not come of it, other than, if you can call it good, the person feels “good” about herself! Kind of self-righteous and smug because she’s an anti-(whatever) activist, not like all those other selfish women out there.

    I think we’ve all done some of this sometime, if we’ve been activists for a while. I think one of the hardest things in the world to do, as women, is to *take our own lives, our own selves* seriously. There’s something in a lot of women that causes them to sell themselves short, blow off their own difficulties and issues as not all that important, it’s that same self-effacing kind of thing that goes along with self-sacrifice.

    On a deeper level, I don’t think any woman will be able to *be* of support to another woman, again, in a way that is meaningful, until she *does* take her own life, her own battles seriously. Because if I can blow off my own battles, my own struggles, when troubles come, conflicts, guaranteed, I can and will blow off the other woman’s, as well.

    I think there is such wisdom in what Shecodes writes there. She’s right– white women with zero-to-minimal investment in communities of color can only know a *slice* of who she is and maybe not even that. And that’s going to be true even if they “try” by reading and trying to learn and all of that. That’s stuff in the head. It doesn’t become real until it’s worked out in real life with real people in whom one is truly invested.

    I think she’s also right that there is some virtue in biting the tongue and just working with people where we can, not trying to get everyone on the same page (impossible), get people to understand one another’s lives (very difficult), get people to re-align their priorities (won’t happen, they will just lie and believe their own lies), and so on.

    I think, frankly, that for white feminists, again, who are not vested in communities of color for some reason, sex *is* going to trump race in this election. I think it’s just unrealistic to expect otherwise, even when all the protests go up and no, no, blah blah.

    I think it’s going to be a whole different story for white feminists who *are* vested in communities of color, though, for whatever reason. They are going to feel very torn because battles against racism are as much their own battles as battles against sexism. And it’s going to be hard for them to be lumped in with the white feminists for whom, honestly, issues of racism just aren’t their issues.

    I think all of this applies to all of the different kinds of marginalizations and is what you are getting at when you talk about the “tone deafness” of people in marginalized groups to the difficulties of others. Don’t we know this, so far as men go! Men can be all about, say, organizing labor unions or fighting poverty or animal rights, or whatever, and they can be the worst sexists around, completely oblivious to misogyny.

    I think we work better together when we acknowledge what our own issues are while, at the same time, being interested in other people. That sounds simple, but it isn’t, and I sure don’t see much of it amongst progressives. I see a lot of white progressives, especially, almost in a race to be the best anti-whatever it is, instead of going about their activist lives in the time-honored way of fighting their own battles and simply caring about battles that aren’t their own. Again, I think the way it works is, until we really do care deeply about our own battles, we *can’t* care about other people’s.

    In all of this, there are exceptions, of course. I am generalizing here. There are some people who do have a heart for certain kinds of struggles that aren’t theirs, though I think they are comparatively few. But I think, like you say, we do often expect too much and this is at the heart of the difficulties we have. The thing is, when, like you say, white feminists you think should know better lob racist bombs your direction all the while thinking you are sharing a movement, and you challenge them on that, *because* they think that they *are* anti-racists, or whatever, they can’t hear what you say. If they were fighting their own white feminist battles and believed that to be valid work, and you (rhetorical “you” here) came along and said, “hey, when you do/say (whatever), it’s a real problem for me and women like me,” if they weren’t so vested in *appearing* to be devoted to all forms of oppressions equally, they might be more able to actually hear you. As it is, there is all of this arguing, protesting, resistance, and again, I think a lot of that boils down to feeling ashamed to be thought of as someone who is selfish or just cares about their own struggles. Even though their own struggles might be formidable.

    Well, this is gigantic, stream of consciousness, lots of things, I will quit for now.

    Posted by womensspace | March 2, 2008, 7:42 pm
  2. I read My Sister My Enemy with extreme interest, because I believe it hits on a lot of truths that are at the heart (pun intended🙂 ) of conflicts.

    First off, we all have a view of what we want our life to be about, and this inner dream almost never agrees with the dreams of others.

    The thing I might hate the most is something another woman will love the most! My political history or herstory could be entirely different from other women’s personal/herstoical narratives.

    On the blogosphere or blogland, we know very little about each other. Some people know each other, but I personally have never met anyone on here to my knowledge.

    It’s easy to just label and forget, but on the other hand, in some respects it’s easier to be far more honest about what we really think and believe than most women who see each other face to face ever are.

    One brief example: a close straight friend and I were having a great conversation. This woman is really wonderful and we just get all kinds of uplifting ideas in all our conversations. At one point, she said she was a little disturbed at how Obama was associating with some pretty big major homophobes and Farrakhan supporters. I said I wasn’t going to obsess about this because after all, “All straight people are homophobes — whether it is overt or unconscious.” I said those words in a conversational manner, and she was quite shocked. But when I gave her some concrete examples from events and people we had both talked to and heard together, she really got it.

    Kind of like, “all white people are racists.” Everyone knows the truth of this, just as we all know the truth of the statement “all men are sexists.” We know this, and in knowing it, the challenge is, what are we going to do about it?

    So we know we all come from backgrounds where we had to work harder than the mainstream/malestream gives us credit for, and we all feel unheard and unappreciated. This is the inner life of most feminists or even progressives that I know of.

    Heart can say that she doesn’t know why she doesn’t like Hillary Clinton, and that she has no good reasons. And that’s a true statement. I don’t object to upward mobility and wealth. I love it when women become wealthy and achieve. I look up to women business leaders, and I study with them and learn from them. I myself am a woman business leader, and I love well tailored suits and crisp monogrammed shirts. I am a well dressed lesbian business person and very proud of it. It took me years and years of saving to get my first tailored suit, and I remember the pride in this. I remember how my income went up, and how being fully myself was so powerful.

    This life story is horrifying to Heart, but I am proud of it, just as having all those children is horrifying to me. We each are committed feminists, but we will never agree at all on this inner driven life that is perfect for each of us. This is just a small example.

    What is different about me is that I am a VERY visible out lesbian, and I don’t have a straight acting bone in my body. My very nature will be deeply scary to a lot of mainstream straight women, and it will win me friends and allies everywhere at the same time.

    All of this is a long story, but I believe it is at the heart of the election, and at the conflicts of the feminist movement right now.

    If we address these complexities, we can make a huge leap forward, but if we shy away we won’t get to where we all want to go, which is freedom for women and a kind of world we all long for. Thanks for listening!

    Posted by Satsuma | March 2, 2008, 9:32 pm
  3. Spam acoming down the midnight express to Georgia!

    Posted by Satsuma | March 2, 2008, 9:33 pm
  4. Ha ha! Once in a while I have to approve your spam alerts, Satsuma. 🙂

    Well, being a wealthy, upwardly mobile professional woman doesn’t horrify me. Honestly. I do want to be as honest as I can be in these threads and if I feel my honesty will be too much, then I’d rather not say anything than mince words or say what isn’t exactly honest. Just saying what my philosophy is going to be for these threads. I’m not horrified by these women, some of whom are my closest friends, two of whom took my case against the Religious Right, at great risk to themselves, and WON, HA! And it was a spectacular win-win because not only did I win, but their careers got a very good boost They were just one and three-year associate woman attorneys when they took my case. Now they are both equity partners in a very impressive, large law firm! And my case helped them get there.

    So I’m not horrified. I enjoy hanging out with them when we hang out. I just think my reality and theirs are often far apart. Not always, of course. One of the attorneys who took my case and is now an equity partner is from a family of 10 children and so she had deep understanding of my situation, firsthand understanding. I’ll give you an example of a situation that sort of illuminates some of the difficulties between wealthy professional women and me. For a few years I was part of a support group for married or previously married women who believed themselves to be lesbians. One of the women in the group was a highly successful doctor in a very prestigious field and I won’t say more because someone might recognize who I’m talking about, argh. Anyway, she had been married, then had a long-term relationship with a woman that ended really horribly and she was trying to decide whether she would risk another relationship with a woman or take up with a man, which in her mind would be much easier and less risky. This was a very interesting experience, being in this group.

    Anyway, we met every week and as part of our meetings got to know each other quite well. The chemistry between she and I was wrong from the very beginning, even though we both really tried, I think I tried harder but whatever. One goal of the support group was to help each woman navigate the practicalities of whatever difficulties she was experiencing in her life. My life is always quite complicated for obvious reasons, beginning with the fact of my 11 kids. So one day I was explaining this convoluted, difficult situation I had which needed the wisdom of Solomon and a lot of bucks, really, to solve and I had neither. She kept suggesting things that were absurdly simplistic or just not even in the realm of the possible. The other women in the group told her so, reminding her of this and that, they were very supportive. Finally she just sort of went off, saying that she had no sympathy because she had had to do all of these horribly difficult things, like being on duty as an intern for 24 hours a stretch, having to go for long periods of time without sleep, and she had to function well under those and similar difficult circumstances and so she didn’t really have any patience with situations like mine.

    I was just… dumbfounded. As were other women in the group. In those several sentences she evidenced zero comprehension of my reality. Did she think that as the mother of 11 kids, I had never been on duty 24 hours at a stretch? Try being on duty 24/7 for decades? Where was she when I described my monthly publishing deadlines where I’d go without sleep for up to three days running, while nursing infants or being pregnant, dealing with kids, etc? I just think my life did not compute to her in any way, but it was more than that, it was that she didn’t *want* to compute it, it was upsetting to her on many levels, and so she put up some sort of barrier, something that allowed her to listen to me without really hearing what I had to say. Her counsel for me, basically, was, “go back and don’t have all those kids and don’t have such a complicated life! Then I’ll have something I can work with!” HA! I’m laughing now, because it does seem kind of funny, but then it was pretty devastating at times.

    But this gets at what I’m talking about, because it’s not the only experience I’ve had like this. I fear this sort of resistance to wanting to know. I know from experience that this is really really REALLY not the kind of woman doctor, or lawyer, or judge, or police officer, or social worker, that I want to encounter! This is not someone I want in a position of power or authority over me! Honestly, I might (and I realize the ramifications of what I’m saying, but I am trying to be honest) be better off with a man in power over me than a woman like the one I’ve described, because the man might come through for me out of impulses in the direction of chivalry, or rescuing the damsel in distress, whereas the kind of woman I’ve described– well, there is the capacity to be pretty hardcore there, and I believe this is centered in her and my very different responses to being women in the world, the very different choices we’ve made. (Of course, a man coming through for me, even if I was immediately helped, would be a score one for patriarchy, because chivalry is just the benevolent face of misogyny.)

    I’d say more, this is as much as I can say honestly about this right now without fearing it will be too much. 🙂

    I did want to say that I think one important approach to activism, to healing the world, is to *become* invested in communities of marginalized people, either in the context of relationships, by investing materially in various ways, and so on. Investment in a marginalized community of which you are not a part creates a connection and is what results in support that is meaningful.

    Posted by womensspace | March 2, 2008, 10:17 pm
  5. That’s a familiar story to me Heart. I think though that it comes down to personality. Some people want, really really desire to understand folk different to them. Sometimes it’s almost an ego thing, to feel you can walk in someone else’s shoes and relate (I think the stuffwhitepeoplelike blog does some riffs on that, LOL). It’s a good desire though if it means you are always open and interested in learning about another person’s journey. It’s a useful desire, especially if you let yourself be challenged by it. But some folk do not have a shred of this in their makeup. It’s simply not there. So when they come across someone who’s journey is profoundly different than theirs all they have to offer is the desire that you never went on that journey in the first place. I have somehow managed to maintain a few friendships with women like this and I can almost laugh about it but as you so importantly say it’s another story entirely if that person is in a position of power over you.

    Posted by Arietty | March 2, 2008, 10:38 pm
  6. Here’s a good example of what I’m describing. I’ve actually been meaning to write about this for a while but haven’t yet.

    This is a proposal of Hillary Clinton’s:

    Link payments to good parenting behavior

    I’ve advocated tying the welfare payment to certain behavior about being a good parent. You couldn’t get your welfare check if your child wasn’t immunized. You couldn’t get your welfare check if you didn’t participate in a parenting program. You couldn’t get your check if you didn’t show up for student-teacher conferences. I’m a big believer in linking opportunity and rights with responsibility and duties.

    !!!

    I cannot begin to express what a HORRIBLE idea I think this is and what it reveals to me so far as the distance between me and Hillary Clinton.

    How is it that she doesn’t see what this might mean to marginalized women, poor women, alternative people? Who is going to be defining “good parent”?!! I’m pretty sure it isn’t going to be people who oppose the patriarchal status quo, I think it’s going to *be* the patriarchal status guo, enforcing its regimens on marginalized people, including children.

    To me, this kind of policy is AS BAD AS IT GETS!!

    ARGH.

    But Hillary identifies as a feminist or has in the past, and is a Democrat, which is at least to the left of Republicans. Sort of. This shows, though, that she has no concept of what it is to be marginalized, poor, alternative, a person of color, a single mom, none!

    Every time I think about this, I get a headache!

    Link

    Posted by womensspace | March 2, 2008, 11:20 pm
  7. PLUS — oh no, I’m fired up now! — notice the assumptions she makes about people on welfare!

    ARHGHGGHGHGHHHHHHH!

    They don’t go to parent-teacher conferences. They don’t get immunizations. They need parenting classes.

    HELLO.

    In my experience, welfare parents are MORE LIKELY to do all of this stuff than other parents because they are ALREADY being watched like hawks and feeling fearful and threatened all of the fricking time!

    UGH.

    Posted by womensspace | March 2, 2008, 11:26 pm
  8. I mean, that’s the takes-a-village-to-raise-a-child that she’s talking about there? :/

    Posted by womensspace | March 2, 2008, 11:28 pm
  9. Clinton: Link payments to good parenting behavior

    “I’ve advocated tying the welfare payment to certain behavior about being a good parent. You couldn’t get your welfare check if your child wasn’t immunized. You couldn’t get your welfare check if you didn’t participate in a parenting program. You couldn’t get your check if you didn’t show up for student-teacher conferences. I’m a big believer in linking opportunity and rights with responsibility and duties. ”

    OMG I think I am going to throw up.

    gah.. yeah lets create huge government departments to police folk before they get any kind of government help.. this is totally horrifying. That is really scary stuff.

    Posted by Arietty | March 3, 2008, 12:20 am
  10. Thank you, Heart (and others), for your kind words. Among progressives I notice a reluctance to admit the truth about humans. We are ALL prejudiced in some way or another. Anyone who is not self-aware enough to say that is likely to have problems relating to other people. It is not that being “tone deaf” about a group you know nothing about is criminal. What is terrible is not acknowleging or, worse, defending your prejudices even when you are called on them.

    Posted by Tami | March 3, 2008, 12:21 am
  11. Wow – Heart, you should blog about that and send a copy to Hillary Clinton. Who knows if she’s the type that wants to understand another’s journey or not? She can’t know if nobody tells her and if she doesn’t agree with what you say, it’s no skin off your nose!

    Posted by Branjor | March 3, 2008, 12:37 am
  12. What I was really thinking when I went to Heart’s Clinton link was, “I want to throw up.”

    I didn’t write that though, since I was worried it might sound melodramatic.

    Then I came back and saw that Arietty had said it for me. Thank you, Arietty, and me too!

    When my sister was on “welfare,” it meant facing the constant scrutiny of strangers. People in the grocery were always checking out what she was buying with “their” money (both she and her husband worked full-time but for low wages).

    She was so terrified someone would see her paying with food stamps and think she wasn’t a good mother, for any reason. Her natural inclination was to keep her kids spotlessly clean (unlike me, whose kid was just more of an outdoorsy, athletic type, so my attitude was, hey, the kid’s washable, whatever!), but the “welfare mom” tag upped that tendency in my sister by a lot. Her girls had to have dresses, hats, tights – and be spotless. She would go without eating (I eventually discovered) before she would let the kids look like they were in hand-me-downs.

    So, one time, I drove all of us to this fall festival in apple country and while my sister was off changing the baby, I had her older child and my child rolling down a leafy hill with me. We had a great time, but when my sister returned and discovered she couldn’t detach the leaves from her child’s sweater, she kept pluck-pluck-plucking at them and then she got so upset her face started to look red. I asked her what was the big deal, it’s a fall festival, the kid got some leaves on her, so what, and my sister started to cry and said, “You just don’t understand. When you get public assistance, your kids are always on display. They HAVE to be clean or else I’m some bum of a welfare mother, why don’t you get that? It’s all I have.” And then she kept repeating “It’s all I have” and she was crying.

    I noticed too when I drove her to the agency to get her stuff dealt with (and where they treated people horribly a hundred different ways), there were these signs in every bathroom stall telling women where they could get birth control. I was furious. My sister didn’t think it was that big a deal.

    Blech. Thanks for letting me vent about that.

    Posted by ceejay1968 | March 3, 2008, 2:30 am
  13. It is real newspeak when “it takes a village to raise a child” actually means “govco is invading your home”.

    Okay lets go down that path.. Welfare Mom does not immunize her children, fails to go to Parent Teacher interviews and never went to a parenting class (I fit all 3 of these btw). OH NO, she is obviously a terrible parent so we will *take all the money away*. Yeah, that will really be good for the kids. And then I fear they will go to the next extreme and take away the kids too.

    I wasn’t aware that Welfare existed to reward parents for making mainstream choices.

    Hey Clinton are you going to come over and babysit the toddlers so mom can go to the parent teacher interview? Are you gong to babysit the toddlers so mom can go to the parenting classes? I doubt she has any idea how much stress requiring all this would add to a family.

    Posted by Arietty | March 3, 2008, 3:35 am
  14. Good idea, Branjor, and you’re right, I should.

    So true, everything you wrote about there, ceejay and Arietty. And particularly now when “welfare” is really “workfare” for most women, meaning they have to take time off of work (which they have to go to get assistance so they can (maybe) survive) to go to parent teacher interviews, find a way to get to parenting classes, find babysitters, the whole nine yards. Rich people don’t get this. Even middle class people often don’t. Not everybody can just get a day off work. Not everyone has babysitters or can pay for them. Not everybody has cars. Not everybody has carfare and gas money.

    Posted by womensspace | March 3, 2008, 3:50 am
  15. She must have seen the stunning success of the No Child Left Behind act and decided to apply the same program to welfare recipients. I’m sure it would about as well. Because the problems caused by poverty can totally be eliminated by threatening to take away even more money if people don’t meet an arbitrary set of standards.

    Posted by keen | March 3, 2008, 5:14 am
  16. If one never walks, then one cannot fall down. Where’s Obama’s proposal? The same shit happened in the military. The silent man was always labeled, smarter, better, etc. Because he never fucking said anything, so all the wrongs of one was projected onto the other and the other did not denounce it. It is so easy to hate Clinton and to bad mouth her proposals (even if they are lousy) while projecting the absent one to be perfect or better, while over looking that it is ABSENT! Absent because it was not important enough to address from the beginning.

    Notice how black women are grouped with black men as “other.” Notice that the appeal to “vote Hillary for our daughters” seems not to include mothers of black or bi-racial children.

    Sorry but I did not notice this. I noticed the meaning of women being used as the meaning of women. I think I even read the word vagina. I did not project the meaning of women to be white women. I read that 90% of blacks both male and females were voting for Obama. I read that. However, when I read about daughters, I did not read an appeal for white daughters only, I read an appeal for all women, including the women who have already stated they were voting for Obama.

    It is very important to Heart and I that this blog carnival present an opportunity for women to communicate with each other, but more importantly, to listen to each other. I have felt over the past few months that there is way too little listening going on.

    I’m having trouble submitting something that is supposedly about coming together when all the entries in front and behind that entry is promoting Obama for president. I so don’t trust listening to be going on when Obama is all that is heard.

    Posted by ekittyglendower | March 3, 2008, 7:11 am
  17. Wow, what an interesting and powerful discussion!

    Just one comment to our dear Heart: I understand when you say you’d rather have a man over you than that type of woman. My experience has been that a man is doing the ‘protection’ thing, and one day I say ‘I can do it myself now’ or I learn to do the job and start working regular hours instead of overtime, or even (horrors!) start taking my lunch breaks, and it’s over. This is when I have found that every man I have ever worked for, or worked alongside with, gets ugly. It’s direct hostility or verbal abuse or sexual harassment or just making my life miserable enough so I’ll quit.
    So I would rather have neither: not an abusive woman or a man who wants to dominate by being the chivalrous gentleman ,and then a complete a**hole once I stand up for myself and become his equal.

    I was talking to a friend once about the difference between male and female bosses. I counted all of my bosses from my entire life, and I have had one good male boss and one bad female boss.

    Posted by shy virago | March 3, 2008, 7:46 am
  18. I have to agree with ekitty on what she read in the SNL quotes above. I actually did not read “white women” into the “daughters’ and Hillary Clinton parts of the quote. I read all women with all the daughters, nothing more. In fact, I actually had no concrete image of what women were really included in this description. I knew that referring to daughters probably meant straight daughters, and that lesbians weren’t a part of the hetero family equation here. This is just picky, because actually it did not say straight women, it said “women” meaning all women. I think it depends on what the word “is” is.

    Ekitty says:
    “I so don’t trust listening to be going on when Obama is all that is heard.”

    I think there is a little bit of truth in this comment too.

    The election is a complex mish mash of every democrat’s hopes and fears I think. Like the O.J. trial, it seems to push all race/gender buttons, and a lot of the disagreement among feminists I think comes through intersections like this, historically speaking.

    Be this as it may, I believe we all have a right to vote our best interests and be honest about this. A very smart liberal democratic woman is in my best interest as a presidential candidate.

    I can see how some women would be upset at Hillary’s silly comments about welfare, but on the other hand, I’m weary of quotes and snippets here. The thing is, for me, as a lesbian feminist, who has no interest in children whatsoever, and who gets sick of them being trotted out to hold over women candidates, whatever Hillary says about women and children is never of much interest to me. If we hold male candidates to the same — ok boys tell us about women and children and concrete welfare details, well maybe I’ll be a little interested.
    Obama, the family man who goes out to earn a living, while his lovely wife stays home with the kids does not sound like much change to me. Sorry! “Brilliant Sigmund goes off to create psychiatry– genius, and then comes home to a compliant wife who gets the meal on the table at the same time day after day….” wow, some genius. Change means change IN THE HOME as well as in the world. If the male patriarchal home is intact and running smoothly, then this is not change!

    We can all read Andrea Dworkin’s expose of brilliant male writers, and what they did to their wives!

    So when I look at male and female candidates, I also look at what the other spouse is actually doing. If it’s the same old traditional heterosexual set-up, then I tend to laugh out loud that someone like that would be believed as a major change agent anywhere at any time. Obama, a big change agent? Yikes.

    I want as many women in jobs of power and authority as it is humanly possible to get into those positions. If they are liberal/left of center and feminist (mild, spicy or fire breathing variety) count me in. If they are smart and experienced all the better.

    But if you tell me that women are supposed to be super experienced and that they have to have met all the major foreign leaders… and then suddenly you come along and say… well, Obama, he’s a change agent… Geez, the older woman is more experienced but…. we all long for that young male leader who is going to save us all… the MLKs. the JFKs, the RFKs and the LBJs, well I’m telling you I don’t care about the great male leader singing siren songs yet again.

    We may be in a big mess between women of color and white women and feminism. I am sure we’ll have all kinds of different opinions. But I can tell you I supported all the women I could who have run for offices nationwide. Yes, I consider every election a national election to get the most women in these jobs! Carol Moseley Braun, Tammy Bruce, Sheila Keuhl, Jackie Goldberg… Maxine Waters… you name a good woman, a great qualified liberal/radical woman, and I’m supporting her. Some of the women I listed may be well known to you all, and some are more obscure, but I can assure you, I’ve been very pleased with all of them.

    I don’t feel that men represent me at all — liberal men, radical men, conservative men… they don’t cut it. So this election is not really a big deal for me. I know Hillary is going to be a great president, and I know Obama won’t be able to defeat McCain, and I know he hasn’t a clue about feminist issues.

    We should know by now that as liberal/radical feminists, that we should not keep expecting liberal men to speak for us or lead us. Maybe they can lead other men, but no man is going to lead or speak for me if I can help it.

    We’ll have a million Obama posts. We’ll believe that racism and sexism are one in the same. In America, both are terrible. But we also know that patriarchy and sexism are global. You can go to a country that is composed of one race, and have brutal sexism still. Go to Japan, and you’ll see Japanese men oppressing Japanese women! I know of no major country on earth where women oppress men as a system of power.

    We all come from different positions. I appreciated Heart’s description of great women in business or doctors. Poor people are good and rich people are bad, yeah I hear this a lot here. Somehow Obama’s poverty as a youth makes him more in touch with America. I suppose we could believe this as feminists, but I don’t.

    But really, do we have true conflicts between white and black feminists? This election is just an election. Not much is going to change with any candidate getting elected. We may find that a military man like McCain might just have the muscle to stand up to the generals and get us out of the war after all.
    So war is not something you can really trust any party with.

    Can white women and black women heal differences in this election and beyond? Well, I think so. We can heal if we want to. We can accept that none of us agree on little things, and that there are many big things we can all agree on. Some of us will be very interested in some issues and bored to death with others.

    It’s a big world out there. The bottom line is, do you believe women can run the world and do a better job of it than men, and I say it’s pretty much a no contest in this department now.

    Posted by Satsuma | March 3, 2008, 9:37 am
  19. Choo choo spam train a coming round the mountain as she comes… choo chooo🙂

    Posted by Satsuma | March 3, 2008, 9:37 am
  20. ekittyglendower: “I’m having trouble submitting something that is supposedly about coming together when all the entries in front and behind that entry is promoting Obama for president. I so don’t trust listening to be going on when Obama is all that is heard.

    FWIW I hear you.
    Race is highlighted as an indirect reference to Obama, then only A-A race seems to be focussed on, what about hispanic women? Or its a “class” thing. Well there are rich black people too, who have never known poverty, and have little empathy for those in that lifestyle.

    It shouldn’t be a choice of whether you like someone or not, or whether you identify with their gender, race, or class.

    The policy mentioned above is a standard one, enacted in many Western countries in recent years, either by right-wing govts, or as a concession to the hard-core right-wing if they dominate the legislative system.

    In Australia it was imposed on remote Aboriginal communities last year, including sending the Army in to enforce it, where 50% of welfare benefits were “quarantined” for food expenses. We have since changed govt, but they can’t do anything about it, because they have a “hostile Senate” facing them, the legislation will not be passed with the right-wing still having a majority in the upper house. Secondly, they do not have a mandate from the people to reverse it, seems many people like it, or don’t care. If you end up with a blue dominated congress, that sort of legislation can’t be passed anyway, so work for a blue congress to block it, or work to convince other people who like the idea, that its not a good idea.

    Secondly, it may be very well be rhetoric, and not meant as firm policy. Thats what politicians do.

    Obama sure has these last weeks.

    Obama campaign, all of his top economic advisors are well-known hard-core right-wing neo-con “free traders”, ie multinationals should rule the world. They are not a secret. Just recently, Canadian consulate officials stated publicly that one of Obama’s campaign officials approached them to say that “don’t worry what we say during the campaign, its just political rhetoric, we won’t touch NAFTA”.

    Or it comes down to personality, some just don’t like Hillary *personally* — well, thats fine, I don’t have a problem with that. If all you care about in a President is whether you like them or not. Bush was a “nice guy” too, wasn’t he?
    But OTOH as one blogger said about Obama, ” He comes over like a really nice guy, someone I’d like to invite around for supper. Thing is, I already have a best friend. I thought I was supposed to be voting for a President. I still can’t figure what he stands for?”

    Hillary is not perfect, no, she’s a politican, thats her job, but we do judge women so much more harshly than men when they don’t live up to our preference for sweetness & light.

    Question the negatives sure, but don’t be blind to all the loooooong list of positive work that she has done.

    Nobody looks that up.

    And Obama of course, is just perfectly squeaky-clean. Nobody even asks *questions*???

    Has anyone done a check on Obama’s “civil rights” record? No of course not. He couldn’t possibly be lying or spinning myths now, could he?

    Anybody checked his record as an Illinois politician? Its all public domain, all you got to do is look it up. He did sweet FA for civil rights in Illinois. His so-called “I was always against the war” record? A total lie and fabrication, and easily proved by looking up the open public government records. Have you checked his public records and statements on the Exelon issue?

    Oh his book, the childhood memoirs, he never knew his father – his step-father was a wealthy Indonesian oil-company baron, and he returned to Hawaii at age 10 to a relatively middle-class lifestyle. He says he got the stories about his father from his mother — but his mother’s dead, and his still-living grandmother has been quarantined under security (for her health’s sake, he says).

    These women in his life, are absent, silenced, completely erased from his narrative, and they aren’t even given a glancing reference, and prevented from any way of corroborating his “imagination”. He does not acknowledge them. They are also white, and he denies that part of his heritage too.

    Ohhhh..and his brief allusion to childhood poverty?
    Sheesh, his family isn’t around to confirm or deny that. Only got his word for that. He got into college on a scholarship, and paid his way with a book that nobody can confirm is even half-truth?

    Hillary waited tables through her college days, just like many other girls do to get their education. She worked in civil rights during the 60s, she even got slammed for her early work with the Black Panthers as a young woman, and she started her own political career working on McGovern’s campaign in 1968.

    Why did the Illinois state chapter of NOW not endorse him in his Senate run in 2004?

    Because of his consistent record of voting against or abstaining from Dem sponsored state legislation on abortion, child sexual abuse and gun control. Often he was the ONLY Democrat to do so.

    His health plan? Blatant corporate welfare. At least Clintons/Edwards and co, will take a first step towards universal health care.

    His books are full of admiration for Ronald Reagan?
    Just the other day, he announces publicly that he would appoint high-profile conservative Hawk Republicans to his Cabinet, including pro-life ones – Wow, just who do you think he might put on the Supreme Court? Just which side is this guy on? He calls it bi-partisan “Unity”. I call it selling-out. Big Time.

    He won’t get rid of using contract mercenaries in war-zones either. In the Texas debate, he wanted to increase activity in Afghanistan, and that the NATO allies had to increase their involvement with more troops, but as a Senator, he is Chair of the NATO Committee which hasn’t met in 14 months because he “was too busy with his Presidential race”.

    (The Chancellor of Germany, Ms Merkel was not impressed at having been told on TV by a “candidate” who hasn’t even won nomination yet, that she should lift her country’s military forces in Afghanistan, when he doesn’t even have the time to chair the NATO Committee to discuss a policy position. European papers reported “Another Bush?”)

    In that same debate, he didn’t know the name of Putin’s protege who would become the new President of Russia. Hillary had to help him out when he screwed up.

    Hillary, however is not only continuing her Senate work on several committees, also running a campaign, and finds time to appear for a few minutes on a late night TV comedy show.

    It was Obama’s campaign which played the “race card”, not the Clinton one, but the mainstream media has rarely shown the proof, don’t blink or you’ll miss it. A number of A-A Dem superdelegates have publicly complained of strong-arm threats on their own re-elections for Congress, by Obama’s campaign staff.

    This is all public domain, easily verifiable information, yet nobody *questions* the man.

    I find it strange, a country which excels in Hollywood myth-making, can’t see it happening before their eyes.

    Posted by Rain | March 3, 2008, 12:18 pm
  21. ceejay,

    That story about your sister made me cry.

    Kitty,

    I really hope that you will submit something.

    I am an Obama supporter. That is true. But he is incidental in my post. I wrote about the presidential election because it is the catalyst that opened my eyes to the divisions within the feminist movement.

    What bothered me about the Feministing poster is that she separated two different groups: black people and women. She is proud of black people, because…But women are rolling over to appease the male media. So, where are black women in that scenario?

    Her quote also marginalizes all women who do not support Clinton as she does. I will state unequivocally that Hillary Clinton is a smart and capable candidate. I simply think Barack Obama is the better of the two. The idea that he has no plans and no experience is also a narrative that I think is born out of racism, and it pains me to hear so many feminists repeat it. Why is it so easy to paint this black Harvard graduate, author, civil rights attorney, state senator, community organizer and U.S. Senator as an affirmative action “hire,” getting an unfair free ride?

    Again, Democrats for the first time in a long time have two capable, engaging, smart candidates that have a shot at the White House. Why, why, why are we tearing each other apart? Why are we as women tearing each other apart?

    Posted by Tami | March 3, 2008, 12:27 pm
  22. Why are we as women tearing each other apart?

    It happens when males are valued over women. The women are left fighting for the crumbs.

    Posted by ekittyglendower | March 3, 2008, 4:59 pm
  23. WOMEN. FOCUS.

    Please!

    This is the “come together” thread. This is not the “stump for my fave candidate” thread. I didn’t get it at all that Tami’s post was about the elections or her support for Obama, nor was my post on her blog about any of that, nor was my response here. Nor was the intention of this Women’s History Month Carnival, that it be all about the elections!

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

    What she was talking about, and what I was talking about, and what I *want* us to talk about, among other things, is what these elections have foregrounded so far as the difficulties and conflicts we have as feminists and womanists and women.

    I do not want the carnival to *deepen* the antagonisms between us because everybody is stumping! Even sideways stumping! Unless, of course, you are stumping for moi! 😀

    Please, if you cannot restrain yourselves from promoting the candidate of your choice, could you do that in one of the Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama threads? There are several from which you may choose. Could we apply ourselves, in these threads, to the deeper issues which, again, are foregrounded by this election.
    :/

    Satsuma, what Hillary Clinton recommended there was not silly. It is HIDEOUS. You may not want to think about that stuff, and I get that, but MOST OF THE WORLD’S WOMEN, NOT JUST U.S. WOMEN, ARE THINKING ABOUT STUFF LIKE THAT. Because we cannot afford not to. And you know, we are raising all of the next generation of girls and boys who will determine what happens on this planet. This includes lesbians. We are raising the next generation of *lesbians*. Under Clinton’s good idea up there, there is a good possibility that mothers found to be raising lesbians get punished for it (even if that isn’t apparent at first glance.) And that lesbian mothers would *definitely* be punished.

    IT IS ALL CONNECTED. WHAT HARMS ONE GIRL, ONE WOMAN, HARMS ALL WOMEN.

    Ergh.

    Shy virago, you are right, and I sure do not mean to suggest that I would rather a man be in power over me than a woman, only that women who evidence zero insights into the lives of women like me can cause a lot of damage, whereas sometimes men, because, usually, they are clueless, will do the right thing by accident, because they are being good guys, or because since they don’t know what to do, they go with whoever is pulling their coat, or because they are the night in shining armor. You’re right though, if they *are* the chivalrous type, when you don’t need their chivalry anymore, all bets are off and they are pissed and can be very punitive. Having said all that my experience with women bosses is also really good, and my practice, when I know I am going to answer to someone in my job, is to specifically state that I want to answer to women if I have a choice. I have not been disappointed in this ever, in fact, the women I have answered to have been *amazing* and remain my good friends where we have stayed in touch.

    I *HAVE* however had some HIDEOUS experiences with woman bureaucrats in the Child Support Division of our state HEW because they are fracking clueless as the day is long and don’t ever care to buy a clue, and the harm they have caused to me and my children, and I am betting to hundreds and thousands of women and children, well, I do not want to even think about it. I know what these caseworkers have done to me, the problems they have caused for me, causing me to have to go to hearing after hearing, well, I’m not going there.

    But this is what I think about in these horrific welfare scenarios, and if I have had to go through this, women far more marginalized than I am *certainly* have been made to suffer.

    Anyway, could we focus, again, on the conflicts and divisions these campaigns have brought into the foreground. I really don’t want this to be an Obama v. Clinton thread, much less carnival!

    Argh.

    Posted by womensspace | March 3, 2008, 5:02 pm
  24. Tami, quoting a Feministing commenter in a discussion of Tina Fey’s commentary on SNL: I don’t really get the lame “I can vote who I want” BS as it is just a way to appease your mind that you failed to act. Excuse it all you like, in history, you prevented a great moment from happening. One that we could have shared with our daughters. But now, our daughters know, they are not able to be representations of “cool” “hip” or “inspirationsal”. What this election has shown us iswe all end up shrill, bitchy, women. Thank you feminsts, what a legacy we have created for the future.

    I agree with Tami that this statement does seem to erase daughters of color, because it subsumes their racial identity beneath their identity as girls and women. I have one daughter who is absolutely gaga over Obama. In her way of thinking, if Obama is elected she *will* be represented, in that someone like her, biracial, a person of color, though not a woman, is President of the United States. And following the Feministing commenter’s logic, or hyperbole, or whatever, she *will* feel represented as “cool,” “hip” or “inspirational” (to those who feel that way about Obama), because they are both multiracial people, people of color, though of different sexes.

    She will not see her sex represented, no, should Obama get the nomination and become President. And she is torn by that. I sense in her body language and gestures, at times, when we talk about the campaigns, that she feels a little bit guilty for supporting Obama the way she does, and I am then always giving her my speech about all of this stuff and assuring her that I totally see her position and that in the end, if Obama gets the nomination, he will also get my vote, and that it’s a shame that we are in this position of having to choose between a person of color and a white woman. We’ve talked a lot about this torn-ness, these divided loyalties.

    Posted by womensspace | March 3, 2008, 6:18 pm
  25. Satsuma, what Hillary Clinton recommended there was not silly. It is HIDEOUS.

    Well, if you are going to diss Hillary Clinton on welfare, why not examine what Obama’s position on it is? Obama is even more stingy than Clinton on welfare. He doesn’t even care enough to address it, beyond scolding black women for having so many children. If the concerns of poor black women are important then Obama is the wrong choice.

    Tami’s post on “women coming together” strikes me as hypocritical. What does she mean by women coming together? That women should not expect ourselves and each other to put women first? That we should give a free pass to those who go with their menfolk rather than support other women, and allow them to call it a pro-woman choice for the flimsiest of reasons? Tami’s post strikes me as attacking other women while stumping for a man, not as coming together.

    Posted by Kali | March 3, 2008, 6:22 pm
  26. I am sitting here with tears in my eyes. It is huge for a person of color, whether male or female — but in the U.S., especially black persons — to see a person of of color, a black person, a black family, as President of the United States, the first family, living in the White House, being a black family. This is just as huge for persons of color as it is for us as white women to see a woman as President of the United States. Hence, the torn-ness for women of color, especially and for those who are vested in communities of color.

    Posted by womensspace | March 3, 2008, 6:26 pm
  27. Feministing commenter re Tina Fey/SNL: …you prevented a great moment from happening. One that we could have shared with our daughters.

    Persons of color and those of us vested in communities of color will share with our daughters the great moment, if it comes, in which the U.S. has elected a biracial, man of color.

    There is erasure in this statement.

    Posted by womensspace | March 3, 2008, 6:27 pm
  28. Well, if you are going to diss Hillary Clinton on welfare, why not examine what Obama’s position on it is? Obama is even more stingy than Clinton on welfare. He doesn’t even care enough to address it, beyond scolding black women for having so many children. If the concerns of poor black women are important then Obama is the wrong choice.

    I am very happy to diss Obama on welfare as well! But the context of my comment was the disconnect I have at times observed between women like me and professional women whose lives have been very different from my own.

    You know, the “Come Together” carnival is not a place I am interested in women calling other women hypocrites! Could we save that for, say, all of the many threads we regularly have in which women are calling each other hypocrites (in some form or fashion)?!

    It seems to me there is a fundamental misunderstanding operating here that this carnival is about the election. It isn’t. Tami’s first post and mine referenced the campaigns because she and I encountered one another and decided to have this carnival after having discussed the campaigns. This discussion brought stuff up for us and we both observed we were not alone in that! That again, the campaigns were foregrounding historic conflicts and divisions between white feminists and feminists of color.

    Let’s talk about THAT. Not whether Obama or Clinton is the best candidate. Please!

    That women should not expect ourselves and each other to put women first?

    The short answer is, that many, though not all, women of color believe they *are* putting themselves first when they support a candidate of color, even if it is a man. Hence, the conflict.

    Posted by womensspace | March 3, 2008, 6:34 pm
  29. Note: Before participating in this carnival, everybody please make sure you have read what we are trying to do here:

    https://womensspace.wordpress.com/2008/02/28/come-together-healing-tensions-among-women-working-for-equality-a-womens-history-month-blog-carnival/

    Posted by womensspace | March 3, 2008, 6:39 pm
  30. Oh dear…

    Let me co-sign with Heart. I too did not intend for this carnival to be about the election. It is simply that the election has been the catalyst for much of my inner turmoil surrounding feminism. My post was meant to share my perspective as one black woman and my pain at feeling erased from the current feminist dialogue. It is this division and separation from the mainstream that has my stomach in knots. I am hearing other black women share similar feelings. Can this be fixed? Does it matter in the scheme of things for the feminist movement?

    Oh, and in Tina Fey’s defense, the comment I quoted was from a Feministing poster discussing Tina Fey, not from Fey herself.

    Posted by Tami | March 3, 2008, 7:12 pm
  31. The short answer is, that many, though not all, women of color believe they *are* putting themselves first when they support a candidate of color, even if it is a man. Hence, the conflict.

    Note that I said “put women first”, not put ourselves first. If what you are doing is putting yourself first, then that is OK. You have every right to do that. But stop trying to put a feminist, pro-woman, women coming together spin on it.

    This whole discussion comes across as a farce to me, a cover for guilt about going with the man. Sorry, but that’s what I honestly feel.

    And if you don’t want this to be about Obama vs. Hillary, then stop dissing Hillary and promoting Obama.

    Posted by Kali | March 3, 2008, 7:36 pm
  32. Kali, knock it off. I don’t know what your issue is but it is pissing me right the hell off.

    You have clearly (1) not read the description of what this carnival is — a prerequisite for participation; (2) not followed the history of how this carnival came to be; (3) ESPECIALLY, not observed that I have posted (and taken BUTTLOADS OF SHIT FOR IT):

    * Robin Morgan’s Goodbye to All That -2, entitled, “In Support of Hillary Rodham Clinton;”
    * Gloria Steinem’s pro Clinton New York Times Op/Ed article;
    * Maya Angelou’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton via youtube;
    * HUNDREDS of pro-Hillary Clinton comments, most of them lengthy.

    I have posted ONE Barack Obama youtube video of Alice Walker in support of Obama and many anti-Obama comments

    And you know what?

    I am running for President myself!

    Therefore, my primary interest is in my OWN campaign, not Hillary Clinton’s or Barack Obama’s. My running and supporting MYSELF for President is completely feminist and woman-centered and pro-woman. My campaign site is here:

    http://www.cheryllindseyseelhoffforpresident.wordpress.com

    Wiki is here:

    http://www.heartforpresident.wetpaint.com

    Your comments here are INAPPROPRIATE because you have not been paying attention to what is going on here, obviously.

    If you want to participate, participate respectfully according to what Tami and I have set forth in our post.

    That goes for EVERYBODY. I will be approving NO MORE disprespectful comments. If I get too many I will simply close all of these carnival posts to comments, period.

    Posted by womensspace | March 3, 2008, 8:09 pm
  33. Kali: And if you don’t want this to be about Obama vs. Hillary, then stop dissing Hillary and promoting Obama.

    This is so absurd, I am compelled to respond. Maybe you were talking to Tami, Kali, but you quoted and responded to ME. Therefore, following is a list of my posts to date about the 2008 presidential campaigns. I’m not going to provide the links, just go to the categories cloud, click on 2008 Presidential Election, and you’ll pull them up and can click on them. Never mind, here’s the link:

    https://womensspace.wordpress.com/category/2008-presidential-election/

    __________________________________________

    Archive for the ‘2008 Presidential Election’ Category

    What Clinton and Obama Could be Doing: “Leveraging the Power of Race and Gender”
    Posted in 2008 Presidential Election, Afghan Women, Being Poor, Female Ritual Servitude, Feminism, Gaza, Genocide, Indigenous Women’s Rights, Iraq, Racism, Rape and Sexual Assault, The Rape of Iraq, War on Women, Women and Fundamentalism on March 3, 2008 | Edit | 3 Comments »

    Leveraging the Power of Race and Gender
    by KAVITA NANDINI RAMDAS
    As the contest for a Democratic presidential nominee enters its final stages, the feminist dilemma has become palpable and painful. My inbox has been filled with passionate and provocative pieces from Katha Pollitt, Frances Kissling, Caroline Kennedy and Feminists for Peace and Barack Obama, all explaining […]

    Announcing My New Presidential Campaign Blog and Wiki

    Posted in 2008 Presidential Election on February 25, 2008 | Edit | 4 Comments »

    I’ve created a new blog for my presidential campaign which features my platform and position on many, many issues. I’m betting my regular readers might feel as I did reading through: that none of the frontrunning — or, for that matter, third party — candidates is really speaking to the issues that are most important to us as women.
    I’ve […]

    Read Full Post »

    The Cultural Roots of the Anti-Hillary Clinton Bias
    Posted in 2008 Presidential Election, Feminism on February 20, 2008 | Edit | 53 Comments »

    UNCOVERING GENDER
    Hillary’s Bias Problems Have Deep Cultural Roots
    By Elizabeth L. Keathley – WeNews commentator
    (WOMENSENEWS)–Earlier in the primary contest, when comedian Chris Rock quipped on “Saturday Night Live” that Barack Obama was more disadvantaged than Hillary Clinton because “everyone loves white women . . . except other white women,” he might have been channelling the mid-20th […]

    Read Full Post »

    Dr. Maya Angelou: “Rise, Hillary. Rise.”
    Posted in 2008 Presidential Election on February 14, 2008 | Edit | 13 Comments »

    You may write me down in history
    With your bitter, twisted lies,
    You may tread me in the very dirt
    But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

    This is not the first time you have seen Hillary Clinton seemingly at her wits’ end, but she has always risen, always risen, don’t forget she has always risen, much to the dismay of […]

    Read Full Post »

    Running for President While Female — 3
    Posted in 2008 Presidential Election on February 12, 2008 | Edit | 3 Comments »

    Reminder (not to the women who regularly read here, but to those who may just be flying through reading blog posts about the election): The above cartoon is not about the campaigns of either Hillary Clinton or Obama and it is not in support of either.
    It is about the starkness and ugliness of the sexism the […]

    Great Blog Find and Charlene Spretnak on Robin Morgan’s and Gloria Steinem’s Presidential Campaign Essays
    Posted in 2008 Presidential Election on February 11, 2008 | Edit | 1 Comment »

    By the ever-amazing Charlene Spretnak via the Women and Spirituality blog (a great find which I am adding to the blogroll forthwith):
    To think that this is still going on – the raw hatred projected toward a woman who’s “going too far” – after nearly forty years of efforts is immensely disappointing, to say the least.
    Even if […]

    Read Full Post »

    Alice Walker on Barack Obama
    Posted in 2008 Presidential Election on February 7, 2008 | Edit | 8 Comments »

    What Alice Walker says on this video is beautiful, hopeful, and well worth watching no matter what candidate you support. I love what she says about writers. I love what she says about needing a President who is in touch with the real world. I love what she says about the importance of having a President […]

    Read Full Post »

    Where were Were Feminists, and Gloria Steinem, When Carol Moseley-Braun Was Running for President?
    Posted in 2008 Presidential Election, Erasure of Feminist History, Erasure of Feminist Leaders, Erasure of Women’s Lives on February 6, 2008 | Edit | 75 Comments »

    What’s off-the-charts scandalous about these blog posts is the boldness with which all of the bloggers linked above, and many others, have published lies about a woman.

    Read Full Post »

    Intersections: If Obama Were a Woman and Not a Man
    Posted in 2008 Presidential Election, Feminism, Male Foolishness, Male Terrorism, Racism on February 6, 2008 |Edit | 15 Comments »

    I’ve posted these photos hoping to illustrate some of the points I (and Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem) and others have been making about the way Hillary Clinton is being treated because she is a woman as opposed to the way Barack Obama is being treated because he is biracial/black. That discussion is here, and […]

    Read Full Post »

    Super Tuesday
    Posted in 2008 Presidential Election on February 6, 2008 | Edit | No Comments »

    Crooks and Liars has a groovy constantly updating report of Super Tuesday results.

    Below are the results as of about 9:15 PST. Looks like if you click the link, you get the updated results, but make sure you go to Crooks and Liars, since they created this.

    STATE
    Democratic Leader
    Republican Leader
    Reporting

    Alaska
    Obama, Barack

    0%

    Alabama
    Obama, Barack
    Huckabee, Mike
    97%

    Read Full Post »

    The 2008 Elections as Radicalizing for Women
    Posted in 2008 Presidential Election, Feminism, Male Terrorism, War on Women on February 5, 2008 | Edit | 2 Comments »

    Apparently, Chelsea Clinton has been forwarding Robin Morgan’s “Goodbye to All That — 2″, in an e-mail in which she writes:
    “I don’t agree with all the points Robin Morgan makes but I do believe her thesis is important for us all to confront–I confess that I didn’t entirely get ‘it’ until not only guy stood […]

    Read Full Post »

    Running for President While Female — 3
    Posted in 2008 Presidential Election, Male Foolishness, Male Terrorism, War on Women on February 5, 2008 | Edit | 44 Comments »

    Read Full Post »

    Hillary Clinton Nutcrackers — Get Em While They’re Hot (Running for President While Female — 2
    Posted in 2008 Presidential Election, Feminism, Internalized Misogyny, Male Foolishness, Male Terrorism, War on Women on February 5, 2008 | Edit | 6 Comments »

    I can’t bring myself to comment right now. This stuff is just sick.
    Heart

    Read Full Post »

    SHAME: HuffPo Headlines “Clinton Cries Again”, the Woman Hating Continues
    Posted in 2008 Presidential Election, Male Foolishness, Male Terrorism, War on Women on February 5, 2008 | Edit | 9 Comments »

    New York Feminists for Peace has published a statement in support of Barack Obama and signed by 100 feminists. So far as I’m concerned, that’s all good. Many good women, good feminists, support Barack Obama and I understand why they do. The Huffington Post has an article about the statement and signatures which I visited because I was getting incoming links […]

    Read Full Post »

    In Support of Hillary Rodham Clinton: Good-bye to All That, Part II, by Robin Morgan
    Posted in 2008 Presidential Election, Female Ritual Servitude, Feminism, Feminist Politics, Heroes, Inspiration, Internalized Misogyny, Male Foolishness, Male Terrorism, Media, Prostitution, Racism, Racism and Feminism, Rape and Sexual Assault, Sex Trafficking, Sisterhood, War on Women on February 3, 2008 | Edit | 161 Comments »

    by Robin Morgan (and thanks to the Women’s Media Center)
    “Goodbye To All That” was my (in)famous 1970 essay breaking free from a politics of accommodation especially affecting women (online version is here.) During my decades in civil-rights, anti-war, and contemporary women’s movements, I’ve avoided writing another specific “Goodbye . . .”. But not since the […]

    Read Full Post »

    Dr. Violet Socks on Why Obama’s Campaign Strategy Is Dangerous
    Posted in 2008 Presidential Election on January 28, 2008 | Edit | 8 Comments »

    The more I see of Obama, the more I understand his game. He’s decided to exploit the Republican propaganda of the past 20 years, rather than fight it, in order to get himself elected. The right-wing lie that Reagan was Saint Ronnie, who won the Cold War and could leap tall buildings in a single […]

    Read Full Post »

    Running for President While Female – 2
    Posted in 2008 Presidential Election, Feminism, Male Foolishness, Male Terrorism, Party Politics, War on Women on January 11, 2008 | Edit | 23 Comments »

    From today’s Washington Post. Thanks to Karla for sending me the link.

    Archive for the ‘2008 Presidential Election’ Category CONTINUED

    Diebold? Hillary’s NH Win and a Primary Vote-Counter’s Observations
    Posted in 2008 Presidential Election on January 11, 2008 | Edit | 3 Comments »

    This guy (an Obama supporter) is theorizing that the reason Hillary Clinton won the primary in New Hampshire, confounding pollsters, is that whereas in Iowa, people voted by raising their hands, 81 percent of New Hampshire precincts used Diebold voting machines. He has interesting diagrams posted to support his theory. But near the end of the thread is this […]

    Read Full Post »

    If Any of the Male Candidates Are Worth Voting For…
    Posted in 2008 Presidential Election on January 10, 2008 | Edit | 2 Comments »

    They will evidence some statesmanship and express outrage over the sexist bashing of Hillary Clinton. To my knowledge, mum’s the word on that front. Not one of them has said a damn thing.
    Heart

    Read Full Post »

    How Americans Elect Presidents: Mystifying and Wearisome U.S. Electoral Politics Explained
    Posted in 2008 Presidential Election on January 6, 2008 | Edit | 4 Comments »

    Elsewhere on the internet I had an exchange with a Canadian progressive who understandably finds U.S. electoral politics complicated, mystifying and wearisome. I thought our exchange was fruitful and might be interesting for others who would like to understand the way Americans elect presidents.
    I have a few very basic questions. Your country’s politics give me a headache […]

    Read Full Post »

    Iowans say, “We Want Change”
    Posted in 2008 Presidential Election on January 5, 2008 | Edit | 25 Comments »

    I think Iowans spoke loud and clear at the Iowa Caucus, and I think what they said, among other things, was, “We’ve had it with the Old Guard and we’re ready for big changes.” Obama and Huckabee are, above all, new faces, new blood. There is a perception, I believe, that these candidates have and have […]

    Read Full Post »

    Which Presidential Candidate’s Views Are Most Like Yours?
    Posted in 2008 Presidential Election on December 17, 2007 | Edit | 56 Comments »

    If you go here you can take a quiz which matches your political opinions with those of the 2008 Presidential campaign frontrunners. My views, says the quiz, most closely match those of Dennis Kucinich. I took the quiz for the 2004 campaign and learned that my views most closely matched those of Ralph Nader and the Green Party.
    Which […]

    Read Full Post »

    Barack Obama: Most Trustworthy Candidate (Besides Me)?
    Posted in 2008 Presidential Election, Heart for President on September 24, 2007 | Edit | 14 Comments »

    I have been learning what the financial disclosure requirements are for candidates for President. I’ve obtained the forms and have spoken with representatives from the Federal Elections Commission. It’s interesting — for ordinary people, the disclosure requirements are not onerous. For example, you do not have to disclose information about the value of your primary […]

    Read Full Post »

    Another Reason You Should Vote for Me, Heart, for President
    Posted in 2008 Presidential Election, Feminism, Heart for President on September 22, 2007 | Edit | 13 Comments »

    From yesterday’s Seattle P-I.

    Read Full Post »

    Heart for President Blog and Website Banners
    Posted in 2008 Presidential Election, Heart for President, New to the Blogroll, Party Politics on August 25, 2007 | Edit | 4 Comments »

    Here are some banners you can put in your sidebar if you would like to support the Heart for President campaign! I’ll add more as I have time and inspiration.
    Heart ♥

    Read Full Post »

    How to Support the Heart for President Campaign
    Posted in 2008 Presidential Election, New to the Blogroll, Party Politics, War on August 2, 2007 | Edit | 2 Comments »

    by Aletha at the Free Soil Party
    posted this announcement on the Margins boards yesterday evening, hoping for some feedback before I posted it in the public arena, but it could not have been more than an hour or so before the boards were overrun by the hacking crew. So on urging from Heart, I am […]

    Read Full Post »

    Independence Day Announcement
    Posted in 2008 Presidential Election, Feminism, Feminist Politics, New to the Blogroll, Women and Music on July 4, 2007 | Edit | 53 Comments »

    With this post, I am announcing my candidacy for President of the United States.

    Read Full Post »

    Posted by womensspace | March 3, 2008, 8:18 pm
  34. I count EIGHT (8) posts in support of Hillary Clinton there and 287 comments total for those posts.

    I count TWO (2) posts in support of Barack Obama and 22 comments total for those posts.

    I count SIX (6) posts about the campaigns just in general, not supporting any candidate and 166 comments total for those posts.

    I count FIVE (5) posts about my OWN campaign and 77 comments total for those posts.

    Posted by womensspace | March 3, 2008, 8:32 pm
  35. And you know, Kali, you’re straight up saying voting for Obama is not feminist, not pro-woman, and that if a woman says otherwise, she is telling lies, “putting a spin” on what she’s doing, and it’s a farce. You’re entitled to your opinion but these attacks? This is the VERY reason we created this carnival!

    And statements like yours are *hardly* in the spirit of this Come Together Carnival!

    Geemany crickets my son john, and I apologize for my earlier cursing, which I have deleted. But dear god, up at the top, “Come Together!” and “Healing Divisions!”

    Maybe not!

    Posted by womensspace | March 3, 2008, 8:46 pm
  36. Tami: My post was meant to share my perspective as one black woman and my pain at feeling erased from the current feminist dialogue. It is this division and separation from the mainstream that has my stomach in knots. I am hearing other black women share similar feelings. Can this be fixed? Does it matter in the scheme of things for the feminist movement?

    I sure hope so, in answer to those questions. Geez, I hope so.

    Oh, and in Tina Fey’s defense, the comment I quoted was from a Feministing poster discussing Tina Fey, not from Fey herself.

    I will fix this, and thanks. I never watch SNL and have no clue about who anybody is! Sorry.

    Posted by womensspace | March 3, 2008, 9:19 pm
  37. Heart, is this post open to comments on women of the same race who turn on each other? I do have some stories, but I only want to post if it’s appropriate.

    Please know how much I appreciate your work!

    Posted by shy virago | March 3, 2008, 9:57 pm
  38. Hey, shy virago, absolutely, the goal is to “come together,” the idea being to at least look in the direction of healing divisions between women. The original idea came out of issues around the election campaign and conflicts around race, but in our plan, Tami and I wanted to expand on that and include discussion of different conflicts and difficulties between women.

    Whatever you feel you’d like to contribute, I’d love it! Write it up and send it in to me or to Tami and we will put it up this month. 🙂

    Posted by womensspace | March 3, 2008, 10:29 pm
  39. I guess since it was the election which catalyzed a lot of this present turmoil in all of us, it makes it sort of hard not to talk about the election. Since the media treatment of Hillary Clinton vs. Barack Obama seems to indicate the malestream media not only wants Clinton to lose but to lose in a big, public and humiliating way, feelings are understandably running a bit high among white women especially. Yes, the statistics about how “black people” and women are voting does not give sufficient data about black women. Black women would be included in both the categories of “black people” and “women” but these categories are not broken down into how many black women vs. black men are supporting Obama or how many black women vs. white women are supporting Clinton, thus leaving out important information about black women. White women predominate in the “women” category as there are many more white than black women in the US population, whereas black women probably predominate slightly in the “black people” category as a little more than half of all black people are women.

    Posted by Branjor | March 3, 2008, 10:30 pm
  40. Yeah, Branjor, I agree there is a lot of anger and frustration, and it’s appropriate and I feel it, too. I read this article in the morning paper:

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/2004256057_feminists03.html

    I don’t agree with, actually, most of the article, but I think it’s true that a lot of us are really, really angry and feel disgusted and resentful over what has happened to Hillary Clinton, even if we didn’t actually support her. Maybe the next stage is, those of us who didn’t support her are going to get excoriated by those who did, a la, the John Kerry/W thing, but I am going to steadfastly hope not and keep hoping for better than that.

    Posted by womensspace | March 3, 2008, 10:40 pm
  41. I’m thinking about how women join together.
    You have to make sure that your sisters never stand alone, even when there is conflict in the group, even while you disagree. It’s going back to what some women say about the Liberation Movement, that you had each other’s backs. I do this so much in my daily life, but rarely do I see it in groups. Everyone wants what they want, there is too much focus on the individual.
    Not everyone is willing to risk their position to stand up for a woman. Sometimes I have remained silent for this very same reason.
    One example where women standing strong together would work: in Eugene, OR where I lived for years, the Eugene Weekly started to run lots of sex/escort ads showing women as porn for men. A group of women got together to protest the Weekly,
    did a speak out on violence against women, demanded a feminist columnist. But what they didn’t do was BOYCOTT
    the Weekly- pull their ads, pressure other business to join the boycott, refuse to patronize any business who continued advertising.
    That would have empowered women, raised awareness about violence against women, and may have led to other wonderful victories.
    No boycott took place and today the Eugene Weekly is so full of pornification that I can barely stand to read it, and they run Dan Savage.

    Posted by shy virago | March 3, 2008, 11:39 pm
  42. Branjor, I don’t think it’s any more understandable for feelings to run high among white women than any other women; it sounds/looks/feels to me that feelings are running plenty high among all women.

    (as a white woman) I personally feel that information about how black women (and other women of color) are feeling is a lot more important than information about how they’re voting.

    I can’t participate in the carnival beyond that, I don’t think. I, too, am full of anger about this election, and it has myriad and diverse targets.🙂😦

    Wish you all well – funnie

    Posted by funnie | March 4, 2008, 12:02 am
  43. hi all– getting back to some of what tami & shecodes said in tami’s introduction, and heart said in her first comment . . .

    i think heart really summed up a key concept of this discussion when she said, “i think we work better together when we acknowledge what our own issues are while, at the same time, being interested in other people.” to some extent i think this is what many of us are saying in different ways.

    this is my take (sorry if it makes no sense . . . i blame med school):

    each of us has to look inside ourselves and try to understand our own personal struggles and experiences and realize what’s really important to us and what we’re going to fight for and how we’re going to fight. but at the same time, we have to be aware of how our personal struggles are tied to the struggles of others, and consider when our struggles run parallel to each other and when they oppose each other and when they’re just on different wavelengths altogether. ultimately, we may decide to share some of our energy with others, or we may put some of our energy into opposing others, or we may simply nod to each other and keep doing our own thing. but what is important is that acknowledgment that yes, we are all struggling, and no, none of us is doing it in a vacuum.

    and because everything boils down to seeking understanding of our own struggles as well as the struggles of others, it is of paramount importance that we SHARE our experiences and stories and that we LISTEN, SUPPORT, and THINK respectfully when others share theirs.

    AND THUS: the feminist blogosphere. q.e.d.🙂

    and in closing, in response to something tami said (up there, somewhere, can’t find it exactly!) about how everyone has some kind of bias/blind spot and the key is to acknowledge it . . . this is one of my favorite quotes on that subject, from one of my favorite feminists😉 :

    “there’s no shame in not knowing everything we need to know, there’s no shame in our desensitization or even our ignorance. the shame comes in where we defend it or deny it or minimize the significance of the ways our views and ideas have been touched by [our own personal biases].”

    thanks all– sorry again if this comment makes no sense.

    Posted by ladoctorita | March 4, 2008, 3:51 am
  44. ladoctorita, you always make gynormous sense. I’ve been missing you around here! Tell med school to give you a break. 🙂

    at the same time, we have to be aware of how our personal struggles are tied to the struggles of others,

    This is SO central. Our struggles are all tied up together. At the risk of calling forth all sorts of antagonisms, our struggles are even tied up together with the struggles of men!

    It is just *true*.

    We cannot make revolution by focusing narrowly-to-blindered on the atrocities in our own lives. We can focus on those atrocities and horrors most of the time, and whenever we are strategizing how to make a new world, but if we don’t come back, again and again, to how our own oppressions and difficulties and torments are tied together and up in the struggles of *all* marginalized people, and creatures, and in a marginalized earth, then in the end, we won’t be able to make revolution.

    I am a radical feminist with separatist sensibilities. I am a cultural feminist with a deep and abiding appreciation for, and devotion and commitment to, women’s art, music, writings, culture, history, spirituality, lands, nation. I belong to the Goddess. Nevertheless I know on a deep level that my struggle for liberation, my struggle to breathe freely on this earth, is tied up with the struggle of all people of color, including men of color, is tied up with the struggle of gay men, with the struggle of pro-feminist, anti-patriarchal white men (gasp!), is tied up with the struggle of immigrants, poor people, the disabled, the disenfranchised, the homeless, the mentally ill, animals, the seas, the earth, the trees, flowers, growing things, of all kinds. My life is entwined with theirs. I ignore this truth to my own hurt.

    Things get confusing and difficult for us when we feel as though we are being asked to put struggles which are not directly our own, before our own. But you know, when you get right down to it, that doesn’t really happen all that often. When it does, we can say no.

    The earth, anymore, and her people, are so small. Somehow we have to learn how to help each other.

    In this, I always recall John Perkins, an amazing black man, civil rights worker. I called him years ago, when I was publishing, to ask whether I could publish something he had written. When he picked up the phone and I identified myself, the first thing he said was, “How can we help each other?”

    Somehow we have to get there if we are ever going to change the world.

    Posted by womensspace | March 4, 2008, 5:11 am
  45. …women who evidence zero insights into the lives of women like me can cause a lot of damage, whereas sometimes men, because, usually, they are clueless, will do the right thing by accident, because they are being good guys, or because since they don’t know what to do, they go with whoever is pulling their coat, or because they are the night in shining armor.

    I can’t believe you really think this. Men do less harm to women because they may chivalrously stumble into doing the right thing?

    How many men in power show insight into the lives of ANY woman? Seriously. If men have done/would do so much good for us “by accident,” how in the heck do you explain the way women are treated worldwide?

    How about coming together and not creating excuses for why it’s just better to put things into the hands of men, because, well, so many of them are good guys?

    Posted by tinfoil hattie | March 4, 2008, 12:10 pm
  46. La doctorita–You totally make sense!

    Though, the idea makes my little idealist’s heart sad, I do know we have to go our own way and come together where our needs intersect.

    Where is that quote from? Love it!

    Posted by Tami | March 4, 2008, 12:53 pm
  47. tinfoil hattie, I was very careful to explain and qualify that quote you’ve pasted there, including by saying when a woman *does* (apparently, momentarily) benefit from a man’s chivalry, it is “score one for patriarchy” because chivalry is the (apparently) benevolent side of misogyny. I also said that it’s a dangerous thing to do because “chivalrous” men, when you no longer need or want their help, can become punitive and vindictive. I qualified that statement very carefully and did not say anything remotely close to what you have said there.

    You know, someone I dearly love and trust e-mailed me yesterday and said I should close down comments. I am wondering whether I should. I really do not want to have to — after I have careful and laboriously explained, qualified, etc. — explain again when a comment gets misconstrued and turned around anyway such that all of this effort has to go into untangling what is actually very clear, or explaining what the carnival is or what we are trying to do.

    I feel like, I don’t want to close down comments, but honestly, if comments are not in my view conducive to “coming together”, if they are really way over the top, like, sorry tinfoil hattie, but this is:

    How about coming together and not creating excuses for why it’s just better to put things into the hands of men, because, well, so many of them are good guys?

    (Anybody who reads me regularly knows this is nothing I would say or think),

    then I’m just not going to approve them. This is not in the spirit of “Coming Together.” Maybe this carnival needs to be limited to those who I can see, by their comments, want to come together enough to read carefully.

    Posted by womensspace | March 4, 2008, 1:45 pm
  48. Heart, I know that you are running for president and that you haven’t endorsed anyone but yourself. I also know you have posted some pro-Hillary articles as well as pro-Obama articles. But, this is the thread in which you don’t want discussion about the election, and I was refering to this thread, Tami’s post and your comments and Tami’s comments in this thread. If you don’t want discussion about a topic in this thread, then don’t introduce that topic in this thread.

    Tami’s post really irritated the hell out of me, and my comments seem to be irritating the hell out of you. So, how’s that for women coming together😦

    And you know, Kali, you’re straight up saying voting for Obama is not feminist, not pro-woman, and that if a woman says otherwise, she is telling lies, “putting a spin” on what she’s doing, and it’s a farce.

    Not every choice a woman makes is feminist. Not every choice even a feminist makes is feminist. I don’t buy that argument from self-labeled “pro-sex feminists” when they say that being pornilicious is empowerfulling. And, I don’t buy it from people who say that choosing a man over a woman is feminist. There is only one situation in which choosing a man over a woman is a feminist choice, and that is when he is better for women than she is. That is definitely not the case here.

    There are ways in which racism and sexism intersect, and generally speaking, movements that fight these -isms have goals and methods that are consistent and mutually reinforcing. Both want to reduce oppression and inequality. However, there are rare situations when they conflict, such as the present situation. So, not every anti-racist choice is feminist or vice versa.

    Posted by Kali | March 4, 2008, 3:13 pm
  49. tami, i agree that it can be so hard to acknowledge that we have to focus on ourselves, when what so many of us are hungering for is to come together as a community. but i think what we’ve seen in the flowering of the feminist blogosphere is that when we tell our stories, and read others’ stories, and start thinking about how they intersect, we DO come together as a community– and a stronger one at that.🙂

    also, the final quote is from an old post of heart’s.🙂

    Posted by ladoctorita | March 4, 2008, 4:41 pm
  50. I also know you have posted some pro-Hillary articles as well as pro-Obama articles

    I have posted TWO pro-Obama posts and EIGHT pro-Hillary posts. The ratio there is 1:4. That’s different from “some” in either case.

    :::irritated:::

    I think it’s one thing to say that a choice is “not feminist” (which is confrontational and critical, but not, I don’t think, a personal attack) and quite another to accuse people of making excuses, telling lies, twisting things, and saying what they are doing is a “farce”. I think those last four are straight up attacks of the type I do not want to have in this carnival.

    I think when women of color base their decisions/choices on whether or not a person or institution or idea will make life better for women of color, they are making feminist decisions. They are saying, this person, this institution, this idea will be more likely to challenge/confront/address/alleviate racism, which immediately affects all women of color, than the other.

    Does this mean that their decision to choose a person (or whatever) for anti-racism reasons is going to be the best decision, immediately, in the short run, for white women? No. Sometimes a woman of color makes a decision for anti-racism which is in fact, in her own best interests and the best interests of women of color and that decision is not going to be in the immediate best interests of white women.

    I think every anti-racist choice a woman of color (or white women invested in communities of color) makes is a feminist choice, even if white women are not immediately benefitted by it.

    When you say this:

    There is only one situation in which choosing a man over a woman is a feminist choice, and that is when he is better for women than she is.

    The inference is that there are people/solutions which can always be described as “better” for (all) women. I don’t think that’s true.

    I think we have a complicated situation here in which some of what Hillary Clinton might do and stands for is better for some women and some of what Barack Obama stands for and might do is better for some women.

    That, I think, is where the conflict is.

    Posted by womensspace | March 4, 2008, 5:00 pm
  51. Here is an example. A black radical feminist told me (a long time ago, years) about something that had happened to her during the Second Wave, when she was part of a consciousness raising/activist group. She was one of two women of color in the CR group and the other woman was Asian.

    The group decided to do a street theater kind of action in which the women were going to have a podium and a bullhorn and read off, publicly, the names of all men in their city or state or whatever who were currently incarcerated for rape. My friend objected to this because of the vastly disproportionate numbers of men of color imprisoned for rape compared with white men, who are as, or more, likely to rape and never go to prison, especially if they have raped women of color.

    This is an instance, I think, in which a choice against sexism would be, at the same time, a choice for racism, and a choice against racism is at the same time a choice against sexism. For white women, especially, to recite the names of men of color in prison for rape participates in the white male project of casting men of color as sexual criminals. So while in a broad sense, white women acting against rape is “feminist”, this kind of action can also be viewed as not feminist in that it participates in the white male project of casting men of color, black men especially, as sexual criminals, while ignoring white male rapes, particularly of women of color.

    Posted by womensspace | March 4, 2008, 5:11 pm
  52. Ha ha, ladoctorita. I thought that quote sounded familiar. 🙂

    Posted by womensspace | March 4, 2008, 5:39 pm
  53. The inference is that there are people/solutions which can always be described as “better” for (all) women. I don’t think that’s true.

    When I say better for women, I mean better for women as a group, better for women as women. One can divide women along all kinds of ethnic, racial, tribal, religious, sexual orientation lines, but I don’t want to do that, or privilege those divisions over the commonality and sisterhood of women as women. I am a woman of color, and I don’t think of white women as the “other”.

    Posted by Kali | March 4, 2008, 6:26 pm
  54. I understand, Kali (and I have known you are a woman of color and had that in mind in composing my comments).

    I agree with you– I also don’t want to privilege the divisions among women over the commonality and sisterhood of women as women. And, in general, I don’t. This is part of what makes me a radical feminist.

    I know in saying that though, that sometimes this is going to mean I will advocate for things, or do things, or hold views which women in all those divisions you list find harmful to them. That doesn’t mean I have to change my plans or stop doing whatever, but I think it’s important to acknowledge how what I am doing affects other women, or how they perceive it, because I think it is this type of thing that is the source of so many of the historic and current difficulties and conflicts among women. I think we *do* sometimes have to operate according to what we believe to be in our own best interests, even *when* what we do is perceived as harmful to other women in all of the various divisions you list. What I don’t think is that we can say that what we do that is perceived as harmful is unassailably feminist and beyond challenge or scrutiny, whereas what someone else does that we perceive as harmful becomes “not feminist” because it’s our ox being gored, or because it is we who are being harmed in some way this time. It’s a source of considerable contention when women attempt to act on behalf of “all women” or decide what is best for all women. Even if we really believe we do have the interests of all women at heart, I think we have to acknowledge that for that to be true, we need a consensus of women, and where women say to us that they disagree, we don’t have that consensus.

    Posted by womensspace | March 4, 2008, 7:11 pm
  55. Supporting anti-racism does not mean ignoring the sexism of men of color.

    Posted by shy virago | March 4, 2008, 11:25 pm
  56. I read you regularly, Heart. You’re bookmarked. I’m sorry I either did not understand your statement or I simply disagree with it. I am sorry my tone was rude. It was uncalled for. I should not have been snotty. I appreciate the work you put into this blog.

    And FWIW, part of me is jealous of your 11 kids. (all those babies! swoon…YES, SWOON!)

    Please forgive me?

    Posted by tinfoil hattie | March 5, 2008, 1:11 am
  57. Ah, shucks, tinfoil hattie, nuttin to forgive. I think this campaign, the election, the politics of everything, it’s got us feeling intense and really frustrated in various ways. I know that’s how I feel.

    Jealous of my 11 kids? Whoa! 🙂 I look back, now that I’ve raised most of them and wonder how I ever survived it, honestly. I have some really sweet memories, though, and seems like, the older I get, the more it’s the sweet memories that stay and the others kind of fade away.

    Hugs,
    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 5, 2008, 4:08 am
  58. I’m on outrage overload — no, burnout, and when I turn on my own, it’s time for me to chill and ask myself just what in the sam hill I think I’m doing, attacking for no good reason.

    Lately I just feel like women can’t win at anything, and the misogyny has me crazy.

    Anyway…I’ll keep reading, and back off when I am overreacting.

    Posted by tinfoil hattie | March 5, 2008, 5:04 am
  59. Not having Internet access at home for the past few months until yesterday and so relying only on the national and local news reporters, who, by the way, seem to tap dance around the topic of any possible division, I’ve wondered about how this great first for the two minority groups has impacted relations between the two groups, especially between black and white feminist women. As is often the case nowadays, the stories and issues that the news media won’t touch can be found in the blogosphere, at this blog in particular if the issue or story is about or affects women.

    Having just read this blog post, I’m selfishly grateful for having been out of the loop. My ignorance of the division between black and white feminists has afforded me the luxury of looking forward with excitement and anticipation next January, when either the first woman president or first black president will be sworn into the office of President of the United States. And it will be one of them – either Obama or Clinton – to hold the most powerful political office of the most powerful country in the world, not because of the race or sex of either of them, even though the factors of race and sex will affect the vote, but because Clinton and Obama are each a better choice than any one that the other party has dredged up to run against either of them.

    Furthermore, this election for the next presidential term belongs to the democrats. After eight years GW Bush, only the hard core Republicans will vote for their party’s representative. Even if Superman, Indiana Jones or Jesus Christ himself were to end up on the ballot, the moderates and so-called undecideds would still be voting for the democrat’s choice this November because people are disgusted and disappointed with the eight years of poor performance by a Republican administration. Personally, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to hear almost everyone I know, white males included, some of whom I’d (wrongly?) pegged to be closet misogynists and racists, say that choosing between Obama and Clinton will be difficult because they’re both good candidates but that they’ll be glad to see whichever of the two who wins the election in the White House next term.

    Ignorant of the division between black and white feminists, my only sadness has been that the two possible firsts had to come at the same time and that one first will, unfortunately, delay the other first. But either way it turns out, the barrier has been removed and the other first – the one that doesn’t get its turn just yet – will have its time very soon.

    So, I think I’d like to hang on to my excitement and continue looking forward with anticipation to the positive changes in store for the US and even to the rest of the world, too, to some degree. I’m going to skip reading the comments to this blog post, at least for right now, and stay in the positive. This is a great time in history for both women and black Americans and I want to enjoy the moment.

    Posted by CoolAunt | March 5, 2008, 6:43 pm
  60. la doctorita,

    Ah…well, that is a wise woman who said that!

    Kali,

    You say: “When I say better for women, I mean better for women as a group, better for women as women.”

    The problem I have with that is that women are not monolithic. There is no more a blanket “good for women” than there is a “good for black people.” Sometimes we have the same needs. Sometimes race, class, geography, ability, sexuality, etc., create differences. To ignore those differences can be as insulting as dwelling on them.

    I simply don’t believe that Hillary Clinton is automatically a better choice for women because she is a woman, just as I don’t think Barack Obama is automatically a better choice for black or bi-racial people. I did not make my presidential choice based on race or gender. In fact, I first supported John Edwards. When he dropped out, I reviewed platforms and experience and decided that Barack Obama was the best candidate for me as a woman and a person of color. I know that you and many other women disagree with that. That’s okay with me. I say let’s debate the issues. I love a good debate! What is alienating is being attacked for being anti-feminist. I don’t think that is fair.

    Since making my decision, I have also been concerned about the way the Clinton camp has subtly used race against Obama in the campaign. You may not see it. I do. I am additionally concerned about her alliance with BET founder Bob Johnson. These are specific issues with Clinton that I have as a black woman. Even if you don’t agree, isn’t okay for me to make a decision based on those concerns without losing my feminist cred?

    Freedom for women and black people is being able to exercise our hard-won right to fully participate in the political process. I worry about this notion of a political litmus test that requires women deny their concerns and needs and fall in line with the feminist mainstream.

    Posted by Tami | March 5, 2008, 9:32 pm
  61. Rain said: “Oh his book, the childhood memoirs, he never knew his father – his step-father was a wealthy Indonesian oil-company baron, and he returned to Hawaii at age 10 to a relatively middle-class lifestyle. He says he got the stories about his father from his mother — but his mother’s dead, and his still-living grandmother has been quarantined under security (for her health’s sake, he says).

    These women in his life, are absent, silenced, completely erased from his narrative, and they aren’t even given a glancing reference, and prevented from any way of corroborating his “imagination”. He does not acknowledge them. They are also white, and he denies that part of his heritage too.”

    I’ve been trying to ignore Rain’s post but I can’t. Rain it is YOU who are silencing the women in Obama’s life, pretending their lives have not been represented or spoken of by Obama when they have, pretending they have been silenced when they speak.

    What you’ve written above are all lies, bluntly.

    In both Obama’s books he references the women in his life, quite extensively. I don’t want to include a billion links, you could try simply skimming even just one of his books, for starters. If you won’t go to that trouble then Wikipedia Stanley Ann Dunham, Sarah Obama, Michelle Obama, Madelyn Payne Dunham.

    What you say about him denying his white half is a bold-faced lie and it is really sick that you so nonchalantly lie about this.
    It is a sickeningly easy potshot to make toward a mixed person to make them feel defensive even when their words say otherwise. God I can’t believe your nerve.

    Obama has over and over again affirmed both parts of his family–his black and white family, as well as his sister who is half Indonesian, and his niece who is half Chinese. Again, read one of his books. As a mixed race person it really disturbs me to see you declare this “fact” about Obama-and why? He openly expresses much love for his white side. I expect to see this type thing in ignorant youtube comments or from neo-con conservative journalists who upon the prospect of a black man becoming president suddenly want their portion in the deal and don’t want him to call himself black. When Oprah addressed him as “mixed” he did not argue w/her. He calls himself black as many mixed people do, in full respect of their white ancestry and love for their white parent.

    “To my mother, whose loving spirit sustains me still” -Audacity of Hope dedication

    “My mother taught me empathy—the basic concept of standing in somebody else’s shoes and looking through their eyes. If I did something messed up, she’d just say, ‘How would that make you feel if somebody did that to you?’ That ends up being, I think, at the center of my politics, and I think that should be the center of all our politics. If we see a child who’s languishing in an inner-city school, how would we feel if that was our child?”

    “…when we get together for Christmas or Thanksgiving, it’s like a little mini-United Nations…. I’ve got relatives who look like Bernie Mac, and I’ve got relatives who look like Margaret Thatcher. We’ve got it all.”

    “Like most of my values, I learned about empathy from my mother. She disdained any kind of cruelty or thoughtlessness or abuse of power, whether it expressed itself in the form of racial prejudice or bullying in the schoolyard or workers being underpaid. Whenever she saw even a hint of such behavior in me, she would look me square in the eyes and ask, ‘How do you think that would make you feel?'”

    “She was just the sweetest woman that I knew and really a wonderful spirit. She basically raised me as a single mom. She put herself through school while working. She was somebody who although was nor formally religious had an extraordinarily powerful sense of what was right and what was wrong and how to treat other people.

    And, as I write in the book, you know, most of the values that I think still guide my politics are values that I got from her. And her spirit still I think motivates me in a lot of what I do.”

    On his wife: “She is my life partner and we make decisions together. And I couldn’t do anything without her….(she is) my best friend and closest adviser…”

    The above quotes are from Oprah and Larry King interviews.

    On his (white) grandmother, Margaret Payne Dunham:

    (The entire article can be found at the Chicago Sun-Times – http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/obama/familytree/545449,BSX-News-wotreeee09.article)

    In his memoir Dreams From My Father, Obama described his grandmother as “suspicious of overwrought sentiments or overblown claims, content with common sense.”

    He also called her “a trailblazer of sorts, the first woman vice-president of a local bank.”

    “What Toot believed kept her going were the needs of her grandchildren and the stoicism of her ancesters,” Obama wrote. “‘So long as you kids do well, Bar,’ she would say more than once, ‘that’s all that really matters.’ ”

    And if she was deliberately low-key about that convention speech when she first spoke with her grandson, Obama’s grandmother let her true feelings show in the Sun-Times interview a few weeks later.

    “I was a little amazed,” she told a reporter. “It was really quite an exceptional speech, or I’m being prejudiced, I don’t know. But, to me, it was really quite exceptional.”

    This is a link to the fact that Obama’s Grandma (not him as you say) rejected anymore interviews, due to her health.
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/03/14/politics/main2567770_page2.shtml

    You can find many articles and find Obama talk about how he relates to and loves both his white and black relatives. They are not hard to find.

    Obama comes from strong and independent-minded women, and according to his sister it is for this reason he has surrounded himself w/strong women, first and foremost his wife who is an attorney. Maya Soetoro-Ng, Obama’s sister, can be found in these articles supporting her big brother strongly :

    http://www.vibe.com/obama/2007/08/maya_soetoro_ng/

    http://www.iowaindependent.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=1511

    http://209.85.173.104/search?q=cache:3U_dAjTvE4gJ:www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/02/14/politics/main3831108.shtml+obama+sister+maya&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=6&gl=us

    Michelle Obama is a lawyer, a very successful lawyer. She is not “sitting at home” as you assert. Nor is she silenced, she’s very outspoken! She has cut back to help her husband campaign, and getting in trouble for her outspokenness regularly.

    So there goes your doormat wife theory.

    As far as his mom goes, again, please look her up.

    This young white Southern woman who marries a black Kenyan in the frikkin 60s, goes on to achieve a Phd in Anthropology many years later. She was very young when she had Obama and when Barack’s dad left, she was a struggling young student and mother w/probably few resources, as well her relationship w/her parents was strained as her parents disapproved of the marriage across race lines.

    Many young women w/not many resources and w/children in the US are on public welfare for *some* period of time, this is not hard to believe that for a time she needed help, it’s in fact extremely common!

    If you have kids and are alone as a woman, you often are driven to food stamps or welfare. In my own family, we veered from living entirely off food banks to being middle class and having enough for some time. etc. This type of life of sometimes being working class and sometimes being middle class is normal for alot of people. In fact, almost all of my friends have been on public assistance at some point in their lives, lived off charity, even if now they are middle class or even rich through marriage (read, Obama’s mom when he was aged five to his stepdad).

    Maxine Box, Obama’s mom’s best friend of her high school years (shortly before she met Barack Hussein Obama Sr) describes Obama’s mom as “the original feminist”. This was a very cool woman, Obama’s mom, and she helped him write his book. If you want to be graceless enough to suggest she didn’t, fine, whatever. Where else is he going to get his stories about his dad?? His grandparents and mother provided him w/stories he never got to learn first hand. He met his dad at age 10 for one month. At 21 he got the call saying his dad had died.

    On to more of the “silenced women” in Obama’s life:

    His Black Granny, who is actually his step granny. His Kenyan grandfather had three wives and she was his second or third wife so helped raise his father. She is not silenced, she speaks all the time to world journalists, and has a relationship w/Obama though they must speak through translators. They’ve visited a total of five times in both Kenya and the US, and he first met this granny when he was aged 26 and a student.

    All of this can be found by googling “Sarah Obama” or youtube-ing her name and/or “Obama Kenyan grandmother”.

    It is clear that some people resent Obama for being interested in his Kenyan roots, but it is only natural and right he needed to make sense of where he is from. He met one Kenyan half sister and several brothers in Kenya as an adult, and tells of the fierce loving bond he immediately felt w/his *sister*, Auma.

    Mixed people are routinely judged and their motivations accused for identifying w/either whites or blacks too much, depending on who cares. Or, for loving their black relatives too much, or their white relatives too much. Or for being interested in their black ancestry or their white ancestry. Let people love who they frikkin love. Let people work on understanding their place in the world, too, in whatever way they need to. Barrack Obama was born into this world necessarily**, *for body and soul survival*, needing to bond with different kinds of people, needing to learn to relate to different kinds of people, and needing to seek out his missing black side, to figure himself out. This does not in any way take away from the love he has for his white mom or white grandparents, and even if you don’t know that, I’m sure they did and do.

    Anyways in closing, you have enough good things to say about Hillary without having to lie about Obama, focus on your own paper.

    Also Obama is a a black man in America, and if he has real dirt, it will be found, I guarantee you that. They’d of found something by now and don’t kid yourself, the Clintons and others are looking.

    One other thing: class does matter. The fact pretty much only rich people hold most powerful offices is *not* representative government, period. It is not true democracy. It erases the realities of most Americans and causes the paternalistic attitudes in govt. we have. Most people are middle, working class, or poor-**not rich**. That is not true representative democracy. Class matters. Bigtime. And the founders of this nation knew it –this is why in the beginning *only* the *rich* white men could hold office or vote.

    In the end though, Obama and Hillary are both institutionalized patriarchal establishment figures and therefore I am voting for Cheryl Seelhoff.

    :)**😀 ** :D**** !!!!

    This thread has helped me to understand womens’ passion for Hillary. I made myself try to understand it. I never trusted her or her husband. But now I *get it*. Hillary is the ultimate “SEE?!” -woman for women who are in male dominated fields and have to suffer the (mostly) men in power. I can relate to the frustration, I just think she’s as establishment as any man. *But* I love her tenacity and I understand why women want their often-misogynist male counterparts to have to address the Chief in Command as MS.🙂

    So, just saying, to the Hillary supporters–I hear you. I *do* hear you. For this reason I am thankful for this thread–I understand many of my sisters more now. I made myself put myself in your shoes, your mentality, and now I got it.

    p.s. Hillary did not have anything to do w/helping the Black Panthers, this is fiction and if it were true, no way would she ever be able to live it down or have any hopes of winning the presidency. (Although I think it would be cool if it were true.)

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/clintons/panthers.asp
    http://209.85.173.104/search?q=cache:gq-ggA

    I thought it was interesting you mention Hillary’s campaign work for McGovern in 1972 — two other anti-war Democrats –women– were running for the presidency that year as well– Shirley Chisholm and Patsy Mink. Both were anti-war and already in high positions in government.

    Chisholm was the first black person (male or female) to ever run for the presidency. Patsy T. Mink, a Japanese woman (and probably the first Asian woman to run, I’m not sure) , was also running that year.

    Posted by Jeyoani | March 6, 2008, 6:08 am
  62. Satsuma: Obama, the family man who goes out to earn a living, while his lovely wife stays home with the kids does not sound like much change to me. Sorry! “Brilliant Sigmund goes off to create psychiatry– genius, and then comes home to a compliant wife who gets the meal on the table at the same time day after day….” wow, some genius. Change means change IN THE HOME as well as in the world. If the male patriarchal home is intact and running smoothly, then this is not change!

    We can all read Andrea Dworkin’s expose of brilliant male writers, and what they did to their wives!

    So when I look at male and female candidates, I also look at what the other spouse is actually doing. If it’s the same old traditional heterosexual set-up, then I tend to laugh out loud that someone like that would be believed as a major change agent anywhere at any time. Obama, a big change agent? Yikes.<<

    Ok, again, Michelle Obama is an attorney and SHE has always brought home more bacon than Obama.

    She is a successful lawyer, cutting back for the moment b/c her children are young and her husband is campaigning. I’ve seen an interview w/her in TIME or maybe Newsweek, saying she could never stop working and stay home w/her kids as she knows she’d be bored.

    Imo no Clinton supporter should be going where you’re going as far as looking at what a candidate’s spouse is actually doing and how that stacks up against prevailiing sexist norms.

    Have you looked at what Hillary’s spouse has *done* ? Hers is a spouse, a former president, w/an unprecedented number of accusations from women saying he has exploited, harrassed, even raped them. And she stays w/him, how’s that for confronting the patriarchy?

    There’s little difference between a Paula Jones, Juanita Broaddrick, Gennifer Flowers, etc., and someone like Anita Hill–all are women who accuse men in power of abusing them to varying degrees. Hillary has chosen to stay w/him, she has her reasons, fine, I’m no one to judge. She’s been w/him forever too –but I’m just saying this kind of argument coming from a Hillary supporter is hypocritical.

    Posted by Jeyoani | March 6, 2008, 6:28 am
  63. I meant to say this little thing last night and forgot, but I’ve thought it often and i think it’s really important:

    I think it’s good to be thoughtful in how voraciously we’re going to attack people who are vulnerable in ways no other candidates have been.

    There are a lot of people who are mentally unstable and who would find it apostasy for a woman or black person to be in office.

    It’s just good to keep in mind, and being cognizant of this reality helps humanize both candidates by being real about the vulnerability of both of them.

    Posted by Jeyoani | March 6, 2008, 3:17 pm
  64. Here is more about Obama’s mother. I didn’t realize she grew up in Mercer Island, which is a suburb of Seattle. She died of cancer when she was 53 and never got to see her grandchildren. Jeyoani e-mailed this to me.

    ****

    MERCER ISLAND, Wash. – Chip Wall can’t help but zero in on the little stuff whenever he watches Barack Obama on TV.

    The turn of the smile, the sharp wit, the comfortable self-assuredness, all of which he saw up close, a half-century ago.

    It’s his old pal Stanley.

    For Wall and a few dozen others, Obama on the campaign trail often brings to mind Stanley Ann Dunham, Obama’s mother and a strong-willed, unconventional member of the Mercer Island High School graduating class of 1960.

    “She was not a standard-issue girl of her times. … She wasn’t part of the matched-sweater-set crowd,” said Wall, a classmate and retired philosophy teacher who used to make after-school runs to Seattle with Dunham to sit and talk — for hours and hours — in coffee shops.

    “She touted herself as an atheist, and it was something she’d read about and could argue,” said Maxine Box, who was Dunham’s best friend in high school. “She was always challenging and arguing and comparing. She was already thinking about things that the rest of us hadn’t.”

    The education of Obama the would-be politician didn’t begin, of course, until after his birth in 1961, in Honolulu. But the parental traits that would mold him — a contrarian worldview, an initial rejection of organized religion, a questioning nature — were already taking shape years earlier in the nomadic and sometimes tempestuous Dunham family, where the only child was a curious and precocious daughter of a father who wanted a boy so badly that he named her Stanley — after himself.

    ….. interviews with their friends from Kansas, now in their mid-to-late 80s, and interviews with their daughter’s former classmates and teachers, now in their mid-60s or older, paint a vivid portrait of Barack Obama’s mother as a self-assured, iconoclastic young teen seemingly hell-bent to resist Eisenhower-era conformity.

    Boyish-looking, Stanley Ann was prone to rolling her eyes when she heard something she didn’t agree with. She didn’t like her nose, she worried about her weight, she complained about her parents — especially her domineering father. Her sarcasm could be withering and, while she enjoyed arguing, she did not like to draw attention to herself. The bite of her wit was leavened by a good sense of humor.

    While her girlfriends, including Box, regularly baby-sat, Stanley Ann showed no interest. “She felt she didn’t need to date or marry or have children,” Box recalled. “It wasn’t a put-down, it wasn’t hurtful. That’s just who she was.”

    Her name was something to tolerate — barely. Elaine Johnson, who used to wait for the school bus with her, picked up on that when Dunham introduced herself one morning.

    “I know, it’s a boy’s name . and no, I don’t like it. I mean, would you like to be called Stanley?” Johnson recalled her saying. “But my dad wanted a boy and he got me. And the name ‘Stanley’ made him feel better, I guess.”

    Susan Blake, a classmate and former city councilwoman from Mercer Island who long ago changed the infant Barack’s messy diaper, said of her friend: “Hers was a mind in full tilt.”

    ….Dunham traveled around the world, pursuing a career in rural development that took her to Ghana, India, Thailand, Indonesia, Nepal and Bangladesh. In 1992 she earned a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Hawai’i. Her dissertation, “Peasant blacksmithing in Indonesia: Surviving and Thriving Against All Odds,” was 1067 pages long. [5] Dunham died in 1995 of ovarian cancer and uterine cancer.[6].”[7]

    Barack Obama has said of Ann Dunham, “My mother was a Christian from Kansas.”[12][13] Earlier he had said, “I was not raised in a religious household… My mother’s own experiences… only reinforced this inherited skepticism. Her memories of the Christians who populated her youth were not fond ones… And yet for all her professed secularism, my mother was in many ways the most spiritually awakened person that I’ve ever known.”[14] And his half-sister said, when asked if their mother was an atheist, “I wouldn’t have called her an atheist,” she said. “She was an agnostic. She basically gave us all the good books – the Bible, the Hindu Upanishads and the Buddhist scripture, the Tao Te Ching – and wanted us to recognise that everyone has something beautiful to contribute.”[15] And, from another source, “She touted herself as an atheist, and it was something she’d read about and could argue,” said Maxine Box, who was Dunham’s best friend.

    She was to help her son write his book Dreams from My Father as she was dying from cancer. Obama wrote:

    During the writing of this book, she would read the drafts, correcting stories that I had misunderstood, careful not to comment on my characterizations of her but quick to explain or defend the less flattering aspects of my father’s character.[17]

    Obama was to note in the book that it was Ann rather than his natural father who taught him about his African American heritage.

    She would come home with books on the civil rights movement, the recordings of Mahalia Jackson, the speeches of Dr. King. When she told me stories of schoolchildren in the South who were forced to read books handed down from wealthier white schools but who went on to become doctors and lawyers and scientists, I felt chastened by my reluctance to wake up and study in the mornings…Every black man was Thurgood Marshall or Sidney Poitier; every black woman Fannie Lou Hamer or Lena Horne. To be black was to be the beneficiary of a great inheritance, a special destiny, glorious burdens that only we were strong enough to bear.[18]

    Obama noted in the book that he might have written a different book if he had known she was dying when he wrote it:

    I think sometimes that had I known she would not survive her illness, I might have written a different book — less a meditation on the absent parent, more a celebration of the one who was the single constant in my life. In my daughters I see her every day, her joy, her capacity for wonder. I won’t try to describe how deeply I mourn her passing still. I know that she was the kindest, most generous spirit I have ever known, and that what is best in me I owe to her.[19]

    As a freshman, she caught the eye of Barack Obama Sr., a charismatic older student who radiated a self-confidence bordering on ”arrogance,” says Abercrombie, 69. Dunham, he recalls, was ”quiet, unassuming.” She was ”a kid, but had this adventurous spirit,” he says. Dunham and Obama wed later that same year, at a time when interracial marriage was illegal in many U.S. states. ”This was a young girl in 1960 married not just to a black man, but to an African,” Abercrombie says. Dunham, he says, was ”very, very self-contained but with a little burning flame in there.” It never occurred to her that “she couldn’t go and try anything.”

    OBAMAS DISAPPROVED

    Dunham’s parents reluctantly accepted the marriage, though her husband’s family in Kenya remained vehemently opposed. Barack Jr. was born the following year, on Aug. 4, 1961. Dunham and Obama divorced four years later and Barack Sr. went back to Kenya.

    After her breakup with Obama, Dunham met and eventually married an Indonesian graduate student named Lolo Soetoro. In 1967 Dunham and Barack, then in first grade, accompanied him to Jakarta.

    The move sparked a lifelong passion that later led Dunham to return to Hawaii for graduate studies in anthropology. She authored an 800-page Ph.D. thesis on Indonesian blacksmithing.

    Her interest in the local culture was aroused almost immediately, when she started teaching English. Meanwhile, her husband was working for a U.S.-based oil company.

    ”They were simply developing into different people: He was becoming an American oil type and she was becoming a Javanese weaver,” says Alice Dewey, 79, an anthropologist who knew Dunham in Indonesia and Hawaii. Dunham came to dread oil company employee get-togethers in which golf scores would be announced.

    She sent Obama to Honolulu to live with his maternal grandparents at age 10 so he could attend the prestigious Punahou School, whose alumni also include America Online founder Steve Case.

    ”Ann saw first of all that he was so bright that he needed to come and really be challenged by a good school,” says Benji Bennington, 73, the retired curator of the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii. Dunham also hoped that “maybe he’d meet a few blacks while here, because he was not meeting them in Jakarta.” The family was reunited about a year later when Dunham separated from Soetoro and returned to Honolulu for graduate school. Obama began to take on a care-taking role for the family, says his sister Maya, 37, a teacher in Honolulu.

    ”He was very much the patriarch as a young person,” she says. “Our mother was incredibly strong but also incredibly sensitive. She would cry easily. He was always protective of her.”

    In 1986, Dunham did a one-year development project in Pakistan. That year, mother and daughter took a two-week journey along the old Silk Route to China.

    Dunham’s work for the Agricultural Development Bank of Pakistan was followed by stints at People’s Bank of Indonesia and Women’s World Banking in New York. She also did consulting work for the World Bank and USAID.
    In her 40s, Dunham talked about adopting a baby. ”She loved kids, and we were taking too long making her a grandmother,” says Maya, noting that her mother never got to meet any of her grandchildren.

    After seeing a news report about the offspring of children in Korea born to African-American soldiers, she decided that would be the perfect addition to her multiethnic family, Dewey says. Dunham was ”very specific about what she wanted,” Maya says.

    Posted by womensspace | March 6, 2008, 4:56 pm
  65. I thought we agreed not to stump for candidates on this thread….or has something changed? If I want to listen to these kinds of arguments I will log back in after November.

    Posted by shy virago | March 6, 2008, 6:16 pm
  66. shy virago, Jeyoani isn’t stumping. She’s not going to vote for either Obama or Hillary Clinton– she’s going to vote for me, she says.

    Statements have been made here in this Come Together thread about women — about Obama’s mother, grandmother, relatives, wife — which were not true. These are, or were, real, living, flesh-and-blood women. Jeyoani’s comments have, I believe, made those women real in a powerful and necessary way.

    If we are ever going to come together, we are going to have to become “real” to one another, I think. Not fictions to be blown off or talked about carelessly because we are in the way of someone else’s politics.

    Jeyoani’s comments also go to the heart of what we are talking about in this carnival in specific ways– the relationships between women, the relationships between white women and women of color.

    I am not sure why you viewed those comments as stumping, given that Jeyoani was careful to say that she would not vote for either candidate. She also said she had worked hard to understand loyalties to Hillary Clinton. Jeyoani has read extensively about Barack Obama in part because, as she said a couple of times, she is a mixed race woman. He is a mixed race man. This is of interest to her. It doesn’t mean she supports his candidacy or will vote for him.

    Not directed only to you, shy virago, but I remain hopeful that this carnival will, in the end, serve to draw women together.

    Posted by womensspace | March 6, 2008, 6:43 pm
  67. I am not backing either Clinton or Obama, but I found all of what Jeyoani posted fascinating and really inspiring. His mother was amazing– there’s enough there about her to make me smile and love women even more deeply for days. And her best friend, who stepped in after she died young to tell Obama everything she recalled that he might not know about. Is that not what women do all of the time for each other and nobody ever talks about it?

    Part of coming together is, I think, understanding why women are drawn to the people they are drawn to, support who they support. We can appreciate that without agreeing or joining them in that support.

    Posted by womensspace | March 6, 2008, 6:50 pm
  68. Strange. I wonder if a mixed race man would read extensively about a mixed race woman because it was of interest to him. Somehow it doesn’t seem as sure a thing (?)

    Posted by Branjor | March 6, 2008, 9:16 pm
  69. I don’t know if he would or not, but I do know that in this instance, Jeyoani has done extensive reading and research about the women in Barack Obama’s life, not just Obama himself.

    Men don’t exist in insularity. They always entered the world via the bodies of women, and so there are always women in their lives. I think those women’s lives are as important as any women’s lives.

    Posted by womensspace | March 6, 2008, 9:37 pm
  70. I mean, based on what I have read here, Barack Obama’s mom was a feminist woman. That is of interest to me on all sorts of levels.

    Posted by womensspace | March 6, 2008, 9:38 pm
  71. This highlights something here, this idea of what men or women might be interested in. There’s a really good book written by a biracial man about his white mom entitled The Color of Water. This man cared enough to write this book about his mom, who raised 12 biracial children with two different black husbands (her first husband died and she remarried and had more children with him). The book was on the NYT best seller list for two years– many people, men and women, were interested in reading it. I read it and it’s a great book. At least four of my adult children, three sons and one daughter, that I know of, have also read it.

    When it comes to biracial families/people/families of color/individuals of color invested in communities of color, the considerations are rarely going to be shut up to whether a book is by or about a man or a woman. Race is also going to factor in. A biracial woman interested in the life of a biracial man is not going to be about gender only, it is also going to be about race, in other words, in a way that a white woman interested in the life of any man, regardless of his race, is more likely to be about gender, and not about race, at least not in the same way.

    Posted by womensspace | March 6, 2008, 10:01 pm
  72. Interesting, Heart, but that’s not what I was wondering. I was wondering if a mixed race man would be inclined to read extensively about a mixed race woman who was not related to him, because it was of interest to him, as Jeyoani has read about Obama. Men writing about women who tore their bodies up birthing them, spent years raising them or whatever wasn’t what I was wondering about.

    Posted by Branjor | March 6, 2008, 11:36 pm
  73. “focus on your own paper.”

    Heh.

    I think Jeyoani’s comments here have been very thoughtful and interesting. I understand that women want to leave the candidate talk behind, and I agree. On the other hand, what she brings up is, I think, a much-needed counterpoint to a discussion here that has mostly centered around white assessment of a white candidate vs a candidate of color. The fact that everything is gendered – us, the candidates, the world – and everything is sexist – us, the candidates, the world – doesn’t change that simple fact, relevant to the framing of discussion.

    I think Jeyoani’s post, and Heart’s, illustrate a simple fact:

    If you are looking for commonality, you can find it.
    If you are looking for difference, you can find it.

    Some women are looking for commonality with Clinton.
    Some are looking for commonality with Obama.

    And in terms of this thread and others,
    Some are looking for commonality with other women.
    Some are looking to spot the differences between them and other women.

    I don’t think there’s a right and wrong side to any of that, necessarily.

    I personally find this:

    Strange. I wonder if a mixed race man would read extensively about a mixed race woman because it was of interest to him.

    To be nearly incomprehensible. Men do what they do…but women refusing to behave as men do is “strange”? Since when?

    Women relating to men due to a shared oppression is…what, then…wrong or weird or naive? Blame-worthy, almost, not because it’s bad in principle to unite and seek commonality over a shared oppression, but because women of color, uniquely among women, are supposed to deny or minimize part of their OWN identity until men decide to “come around”?

    Earlier today, I attended a racial minority career talk, and the panelists were three women of color, and one man.

    When asked how being a minority affected the way they were treated, professionally, all three women nodded emphatically during the man’s description of how he was treated.

    And then when they talked, each described their own negative experiences, specifically saying that had no idea whether the motivation behind certain comments was due to racism or sexism, but that it was harder for _____ women than ______ men when it came to ____________.

    So – just because the guy didn’t nod along (like he knew what it was like to be called a sexist racial slur!) is it really “strange” that they supported him when he talked?

    Sure, women are trained to empathize with men, and the reverse is not true. Does that mean that when we see men being treated badly *in the same way* that we have been treated badly, we cannot relate, we cannot be interested in that, we cannot support the end to that kind of treatment, without having “strange” or suspect motivations?

    I hope not.

    I get the women-first-ALWAYS viewpoint. I really do.

    But I plain don’t see it in that kind of comment.

    Nor do I think there’s anything strange or less than feminist about believing, due to one’s own experience, that there are valid qualifications and reservations, big ones, to women-first.

    Like: women first, and that means helping to end the poverty faced by single mothers…not just by “enforcing child support judgments”, but keeping black men out of prison and employed/employable so they can WORK and so they can PAY them.

    If you don’t think the second issue is a women’s issue, you’re probably a woman who doesn’t have to deal with it.

    Posted by funnie | March 6, 2008, 11:56 pm
  74. Branjor, I think I answered your question. But since you don’t like my answer, maybe you could ask your question of some mixed race men, see what they have to say firsthand. I’m not seeing any in this thread though.

    For the record, getting “torn up” is not a part of the normal birthing process. I gave birth to five sons and six daughters and not a one of them “tore my body up.”

    Posted by womensspace | March 7, 2008, 4:04 am
  75. And yes, I’ve spent 35 years raising five biracial sons. So? Your point?

    Posted by womensspace | March 7, 2008, 4:10 am
  76. I think the point is, Obama is a man. He is still a man. A man. Obama is a man. What sex is Obama? Obama is a man. Obama acts like a man. Obama is not a woman. Obama did not live his mother’s life. Obama did not experience his mother’s feelings. Obama practices and utilises the patriarchy to his advantage. Obama is a man.

    Posted by ekittyglendower | March 7, 2008, 5:48 pm
  77. True, kitty. Then again, like funnie says, people of color might say, Clinton is white. She is still white. White. Clinton is white. What race is Clinton? Clinton is white. Clinton acts like a white person. Clinton is not a person of color. Clinton did not live a person of color’s life. Clinton did not experience a person of color’s feelings. Clinton practices and utilizes whiteness to her advantage. Clinton is white.

    What I’ve been thinking a lot about since I read it is something funnie wrote up there:

    If you are looking for commonality, you can find it.
    If you are looking for difference, you can find it.

    Some women are looking for commonality with Clinton.
    Some are looking for commonality with Obama.

    And in terms of this thread and others,
    Some are looking for commonality with other women.
    Some are looking to spot the differences between them and other women.

    Where we get into trouble, I think, or one place, is when one of us who is looking for commonality encounters another looking for difference. The perception can be that they we disagree, when really, we are just looking for different things.

    I think there are so many layers to this. People struggling to understand their place in the world might at various times be looking for differences between them and (x group of people) and commonalities; if you encounter them when they’re looking for differences, you might find them difficult, but if you encounter the in a time when they are looking for commonalities, you might find them more agreeable.

    I think when people are mad at each other, they tend to focus narrowly on how they are different, not on their commonalities. And when people feel connected and happy with each other, they are more likely to focus on their commonalities.

    I think when people feel hatred and want to hurt someone, they focus exclusively on how that person is different from them.

    Posted by womensspace | March 7, 2008, 6:02 pm
  78. Yes but this thread was supposedly about women coming together. But it has turned into an episode of Sex in the City. Women coming together to stump or talk shit about a man. Because it seems women are nothing without men, so says the unfolding message.

    Posted by ekittyglendower | March 7, 2008, 7:18 pm
  79. Well, the way I look at it is, maybe we aren’t going to come together. That’s been a possibility from the get-go, that we can plan this and work on it and do our best and find out that it isn’t going to happen. We can always hope, but we can’t make it happen because we want it to. Maybe coming together really isn’t possible right now. And if it isn’t, I guess there’s value in finding that out and paying attention to why it isn’t, or why it’s so complicated or difficult, or, heck, why we don’t really even feel like coming together, if that’s how we feel.

    Posted by womensspace | March 7, 2008, 7:36 pm
  80. From my perspective, having this carnival, participating in it, is evidence that women do want to come together, even if they can’t, in the end, make it happen. That’s all good, so far as I’m concerned. It’s a place to start.

    Posted by womensspace | March 7, 2008, 7:38 pm
  81. I find Obama’s efforts to sell himself based on the experiences of the women who took care of him nauseating. If Clinton tried to sell herself based on how the black people in her life served her and took care of her and loved her, then that would be nauseating too. But she isn’t doing that and I respect her for that. I don’t know why some people find these kinds of stories, especially the way they are being used, so heartwarming.

    Some women are looking for commonality with Clinton.
    Some are looking for commonality with Obama.

    Some women identify more with other women than with men of their own race (or age, religion, nationality, etc.). Some women identify more with men of their own race (or age, religion, nationality, etc.) than with other women. It depends on whether your gender identification is stronger than your racial identification, or vice versa. Personally I believe that it is the basis of feminism to put identification with women over all other identifications. To the extent other identifications come first (in case of a conflict), to that extent the goals of feminism (equality and respect for women as women) suffer.

    Posted by Kali | March 7, 2008, 8:00 pm
  82. Kali, again, your comment is over the top for this thread.

    No more comments like this. I will not approve them.

    I find Obama’s efforts to sell himself based on the experiences of the women who took care of him nauseating.

    He wrote autobiographical books and talked about his mother, grandmother, sisters. I guess everybody who does that is “selling themselves” based on the experiences of the women who took care of them. Well, the day I become that cynical is the day I hang it all up.

    Those women who took care of him were important women, worth knowing about, his mother, his grandmother, I am glad he wrote all he did about everyone of them. Women’s lives matter to me, no matter how I learn about them. We know far too little about women, about women’s lives, because people *don’t* write about them.

    It’s ridiculous, really. If men write about women’s lives, they are “selling themselves based on the women who took care of them.” If they don’t write about women’s lives, they don’t care about women.

    If Clinton tried to sell herself based on how the black people in her life served her and took care of her and loved her

    This is over the top. Obama wasn’t talking about random black or white “people” who served or took care of him. He was talking about his *mother*. His *grandmother*. His mother’s *best friend*. His *sister*. These are not “people,” these are blood. And they matter. And I’m glad he wrote about them and that I know about them now.

    then that would be nauseating too.

    Yes, because love is so nauseating. You know what? NOT HERE. NEVER here, in this blog, is LOVE — any kind of love — nauseating. NOT HERE. Take that really cynical, discouraging, misanthropic stuff somewhere else.

    But she isn’t doing that and I respect her for that. I don’t know why some people find these kinds of stories, especially the way they are being used, so heartwarming.

    Maybe because we care about women’s lives. Maybe because we care about relationships between women and between human beings. Maybe because to some of us love really is heartwarming. It is to me. And for that I will never apologize.

    I believe that it is the basis of feminism to put identification with women over all other identifications. To the extent other identifications come first (in case of a conflict), to that extent the goals of feminism (equality and respect for women as women) suffer.

    Only if you believe your own goals = the goals of feminism. Only if you think that you are the arbiter of what equality and respect are and mean to and for all women.

    Posted by womensspace | March 7, 2008, 8:19 pm
  83. “Some women are looking for commonality with Clinton.
    Some are looking for commonality with Obama.

    Some women identify more with other women than with men of their own race (or age, religion, nationality, etc.). Some women identify more with men of their own race (or age, religion, nationality, etc.) than with other women. It depends on whether your gender identification is stronger than your racial identification, or vice versa. ”

    Kali, the statement that I made was NOT intended to suggest that looking for commonality with Clinton/Obama was something epic, overarching, and fully indicative of prioritizing race or sex.

    I’d just like to make that really clear.

    You’re free to believe that “looking for commonality” between yourself and someone else at one particular point in time and in one particular set of circumstances is NECESSARILY indicative of your entire worldview and identification and strength of identification.

    But I don’t think it’s fair for you to put that on any other woman.

    Posted by funnie | March 7, 2008, 8:31 pm
  84. Personally I believe that it is the basis of feminism to put identification with women over all other identifications.

    The thing is, when I do this — because it *is* what I do — put identification with women over all other identifications, I have to enter into those other women’s realities in ways that are meaningful. Just talking about “identifying” with “women” is pretty much meaningless. When I identify with a woman, I feel her– I feel her sufferings, her struggles, her conflicts and confusions, her loyalties and bonds with people in her life, her love for people in her life, and some of those people are going to be men and boys. I feel the way her life is tied up with the lives of the people in her life, including men’s and boys’ lives. It’s not possible to identify with “women” if in the course of that I am bracketing them off from their communities and pretending their communities are not important and do not deeply affect them or shouldn’t deeply affect them or whatever.

    Sometimes identifying with women is so painful, including *because* of their relationships with men and boys, that it really hurts me *to* identify. But in order to be able to say I do identify with “women”, I have to go there with her anyway, go there with women, because otherwise I am not really in any sort of meaningful solidarity with them. Otherwise, again, my identification is just, seems to me, words.

    Posted by womensspace | March 7, 2008, 8:42 pm
  85. funnie,

    I think that most of us are not looking for differences. Instead, until something comes along that highlights differences (like this election), we assume that we have a common experience–that we all agree, as someone upthread said–what is “good for women as women.” I think that is why this election has been so divisive. We had been rolling along assuming that our thoughts, feelings, struggles and motivations as women are the same, then BOOM!

    Actually, I think focusing on similarities rather than differences is more constructive, but we still need to acknowledge differences. And we ought to respect those differences, even if we don’t always understand them. Sometimes, we should even talk about the differences, because it helps us to understand one another.

    I have found that conversations about women’s choices re: this election disintegrate into sparring over the candidates. We don’t bother to talk about the different life experiences that lead women to make the decisions they do.

    As I’m typing this, I’m thinking about Brittany Shoot’s submission to the carnival that ran earlier this week. In a comment to her post, I talked about how women are too often made to justify their personal choices by other women. I related my experience of having to defend my decision to not have children. In many ways, the drama I have faced from other women surrounding my voting choices feels the same. Just as there sometimes seems to be a lack of understanding that I can be a woman, but choose not to be a mother for valid and personal reasons; there seems to be a lack of understanding that I can be a feminist and not choose to vote for Hillary Clinton for valid and personal choices.

    Posted by Tami | March 7, 2008, 9:08 pm
  86. Kali,

    “Personally I believe that it is the basis of feminism to put identification with women over all other identifications. To the extent other identifications come first (in case of a conflict), to that extent the goals of feminism (equality and respect for women as women) suffer.”

    So where does the fact that women are not a monolith fit here? While I embrace women as a whole, my gender intersects with my race. They can’t be peeled apart. As I move in the world, people don’t see me just as “woman,” they see me as “black woman.”

    Just as an example: many black women are talking about this racist and sexist skit that aired last weekend on SNL: http://whattamisaid.blogspot.com/2008/03/sumpin-turrible-indeed.html That skit is uniquely denigratiing to black women, as it plays on the raft of Sapphire, Jezebel and Mammy stereotypes that we face. In this case, it is a denigration perpetrated by a black man, aided by a white woman. The battle against media like this is part of my feminist agenda. It may not be part of yours. Indeed, you may find nothing wrong with the skit.

    What you seem to be asking is that women cast off many parts of who they are to fit into the feminist mainstream. I think that is a notion that is damaging to all women.

    Posted by Tami | March 7, 2008, 9:28 pm
  87. Kali,

    “Personally I believe that it is the basis of feminism to put identification with women over all other identifications. To the extent other identifications come first (in case of a conflict), to that extent the goals of feminism (equality and respect for women as women) suffer.”

    So where does the fact that women are not a monolith fit here? While I embrace women as a whole, my gender intersects with my race. They can’t be peeled apart. As I move in the world, people don’t see me just as “woman,” they see me as “black woman.”

    Just as an example: many black women are talking about this racist and sexist skit that aired last weekend on SNL: http://whattamisaid.blogspot.com/2008/03/sumpin-turrible-indeed.html That skit is uniquely denigratiing to black women, as it plays on the raft of Sapphire, Jezebel and Mammy stereotypes that we face. In this case, it is a denigration perpetrated by a black man, aided by a white woman. The battle against media like this, and portrayals like Shirley Q. Liquor, are part of my feminist agenda. It may not be part of yours. Indeed, you may find nothing wrong with the skit.

    What you seem to be asking is that women cast off many parts of who they are to fit into the feminist mainstream. I think that is a notion that is damaging to all women.

    Posted by Tami | March 7, 2008, 9:29 pm
  88. Kali –
    You’re racial spin on this is really wrong to me. The words needlessly divisive come to mind.
    Hillary doesn’t have blacks in her family, whereas Obama has a mother. That is a part of who he is as a person, this is part of his story and personal history. As well when you’ve lost both parents by 33 , and you’re a writer, you’re going to probably be writing about them and have many reflections about their contributions to your life.
    A person is allowed to write and/or say good things about their mother, I think this is actually in the constitution.

    God.

    And you know what else, if Hillary has any close black friends or meaningful experiences w/black people, (I think she did have a black best friend, actually, in college–not sure) I sure as heck wouldn’t accuse her of “selling herself” for sharing them! Talk about uncharitable. A person’s history, a person’s experiences, are their own. As a college student I know Hillary worked to an admirable extent on civil rights issues. I also know she still is concerned with civil rights. Woe be it to me to judge her when and if she ever does share! If she got something from people who happened to be black, I think that’d be awesome if she shared it, and who knows one day she might. This kind of suspicion about a person’s every move is wasteful and totally destructive, not to mention it sounds pathetic and grasping for straws.

    Also if someone is a part of male establishmnet patriarchy, in my feminism, they’re a tool of that eardrum decimating and inherently misogynist instrument.
    I don’t care if they’re male or female –in my feminism that is not “feminism” and identifying w/one woman who acts as part of that instrument is not identifying w/womankind in any way shape or form, not in my book.

    Among many other things, these women authorize all kinds of decisions (like the Iraqi war) that cause the murder, rape, and general suffering of millions of other women. When it comes to republicans OR democrats as US President, even if they *can* at times make woman-friendly choices they are required by their job to make many others that actually hurt, kill, women, and to make decisions that are below even a fundamental morality.

    Posted by Jeyoani | March 7, 2008, 9:33 pm
  89. Funnie’s summary:
    “If you are looking for commonality, you can find it.
    If you are looking for difference, you can find it.

    Some women are looking for commonality with Clinton.
    Some are looking for commonality with Obama.

    And in terms of this thread and others,
    Some are looking for commonality with other women.
    Some are looking to spot the differences between them and other women.

    I don’t think there’s a right and wrong side to any of that, necessarily.”

    This was all quite sensible and true. It is about what commonality you are really looking for. I believe a lot of women look for commonality all the time, but in the end, do we see concrete change because of this behavior?

    For example, you can listen to men talk all day long, and for the most part, they really have not been trained in how to listen back. Men are trained to be the talkers and dominators, women are trained to be the social smoother overs and the charmers. Men get to be respected for being silent stick in the muds and dull at the parties, while women were trained to dress up like peacocks and be ornaments.

    So coming together is always possible, but these days I think there is more social complexity involved, and most people are not used to this new world.

    In coming together, we have to be very interest about what are true connections are. All women will not be connected to each other. There are significant differences that are profound. Personal interest comes into play a lot in terms of what will actually and truly hold my attention.

    It’s very hard to figure these things out if you look at how women are on blogs. In my world, most of this stuff just doesn’t exist in a daily life sort of way. So you can learn things, but I also feel a certain amount of detachment.

    In all my real life and real time interactions with women, I find authentic connections everywhere. Depending on the social structure or objective of the women who connect, you’ll get a mixed bag of everything.

    The challenge of the carnival is to discover what the most basic connections can be. I think it is good to be an honest about our personal interests, and what we don’t care about, as it is important to say what we do value in other women.

    In observing men, I simply see their indifference to the real life struggles of women worldwide to do a variety of things. You’ll see marriages more as role playing, and daily life as role playing — the women have been “assigned’ the roles they are supposed to play. Who on this blog wants to do that?

    I think the political conflicts of women here has more to do with our personal interests. The way I see it, we have had plenty of information about who men are and what they think in the public sphere, we have lies and deception in the private (and thus unpoliced sphere), so ultimtely even presidential candidates come down to which candidate really interests us personally the most. Who do we identify with the most?

    Who is the most important in terms of a constituency?

    For me, I wanted as many good women in visible positions everywhere as possible. I wanted more women in the public sphere revealing the truth of women in policy terms, and I wanted more men to work hard on lives in the non-public world of the family. People might think that there are certain men who can equally serve women in the public world, or that they might be significantly different in power.

    But we know from history that all men in power pretty much do anything they want to do and get away with it. You see all this love of JFK, for example, but when you hold him up to the standards of “caring about women” you get a pretty cynical and awful human being.

    Women are taught to support really dreadful men, and this is the norm.

    So when we figure out what we want as women collectively — the things we can agree on, and also the things we know we can work on and accomplish, we’ll see interesting results.

    My surprise was seeing how difficult it is for women to support each other, because the system has been rigged cleverly to get women to give so much energy and support to men, men and more men. We don’t even know our resources are being stolen, or that we are listening to the men who could care less about listening to us.

    So the real breakthrough is when women do listen to each other, and it’s harder than you might think. On a blog, I have my doubts, but in person and in face-to-face groups, I see real progress.

    Posted by Satsuma | March 7, 2008, 10:25 pm
  90. “Interesting, Heart, but that’s not what I was wondering. I was wondering if a mixed race man would be inclined to read extensively about a mixed race woman who was not related to him, because it was of interest to him, as Jeyoani has read about Obama.”-Branjor

    Actually at this point I’ve definitely read more about Obama’s mom than about Obama himself.

    But that aside, I don’t understand what is strange about my reading about Obama. The man is running for president, no. 1. I’ve read enough to make me feel halfway informed about not only his life and policies but also the other candidates’ lives and policies.

    It seems like you’re trying to condescend and make me feel stupid or naive. I know a lot of men aren’t interested in women but I’m smart enough to be smarter than them and to be interested in whoever I find interesting, and to be able to back my arguments with some data. I wasn’t about to just comment “I skimmed his books, I know what you’re saying is untrue.”

    The charges were bad and and I require facts behind my arguments.

    As well most of what I put in my comment was Obama talking about the women in his life and/or comments from the women in his life. This was so as to disprove the indictment of him as a rejector of his white heritage and as a silencer and ignorer of the women on his life, both serious and both untrue charges.

    I didn’t want to let that stand on this thread unchallenged. It’s not good for race relations period. It also feeds into peoples’ mistrust of mixed people as not having the ability to be loyal to both sides of their heritage, etc. Ugh.

    As well I was angered that these women such as Obama’s mom and wife were being disrespected when I knew that they were in fact strong women, women who are the opposite of “silenced” and on the contrary they make their marks or have made them already, (in the case of Obama’s deceased mom). In fact the only way a woman like Stanley Ann Dunham can be effectively silenced is if we refuse to acknowlege her life or the fact it is *has* been represented! By both her, when she was alive, and by her son and daughter, in both books and interviews, and by friends. And certainly in her own work, in her thousand page paper on Indonesian blacksmithing, which is frikkin awesome.

    So that’s what set off my research flurry and as well, it was not difficult to find that info.
    You know, the good thing about getting pissed off is you learn a lot. I never would’ve known just *how* cool Obama’s mom was had I not been pissed off and went to see more in detail for myself.

    Also I wasn’t stumping for anybody. I was adding things I felt were important and as yet unsaid to this discourse. It’s not right to say someone is a rejector of their heritage when they are not, it is also not right to in fact disrespect about other women b/c it serves your agenda to misrepresent the reality of how they have been represented.

    I took several days to decide to do it, (because it gets hot in here) but I couldn’t stand what Rain said and as well I saw some other things and I just thought, you know, whatever, I’m saying something to add to this.

    I sent my mom the info about Dunham because I knew she’d love it and because it’s fun to find people who share many of your sensibilities and life decisions. Most women of the time of my mom were not making the type choices Dunham did, or that my mom did. That makes people like them feel lonely and misunderstood, often. I know we all feel lonely and misunderstood, please don’t misunderstand. But there are certain choices people make which stay w/them a lifetime and that isolate them from others in large degree, and we can all relate to this right?

    We all have something like this. We try to figure ourselves out and heal ourselves by learning the stories of others who have gone through similar things. Hopefully our interest and intuition tells us to listen to other kids of stories as well, especially in this thread.

    I found Dunham to be a very touching and inspiring character. She was a marginalized woman because she was white and had children of color.

    I got watery reading about her. It was a joy to read about her. In between the details of her life are a thousand stories untold, and I could feel them there. Her life was full of struggle and curiosity. Anyways I find as well that I am very drawn to older women in difficult circumstances. Women who are in between rocks and hard places? — I am a sucker for their stories!

    There’s tragedy in the fact she dies right after getting her PhD at age 50. I love people who are older doing that kind of thing!! Who just keep on going for it. And the fact she got cancer right when she wanted to adopt too. With her kind of story it just makes me think of my own struggles and the struggles of so many women and the inexplicableness of life. So sad, so weird, so inspiring.

    Though I’m voting for neither democratic candidate, this discourse is still potentially (and I think it is happening now) transformative for all of us you know? Everyones viewpoints here are at least informative as to where we’re all at. I know a lot of people read at the Margins and I think chiming in is a way of just, being part of this transformative, bridge-building process that is like frikkin pulling teeth for all of us, so it is worthwhile.

    Also my brother John I know for sure researches any mixed person of note, yes, *to include women*. He’s interested in any mixed person of note b/c well no. 1 he researches all things anyways and is into race issues, and no. 2 he wants to see if they say anything interesting to say about being mixed, having no doubt gone through identity issues, etc.

    But ultimately? –If Barack Obama were Bonnie Obama, there would be plenty of men, mixed race and otherwise, reading all about her.

    Posted by Jeyoani | March 7, 2008, 10:27 pm
  91. I keep on thinking of this song by Jenny Lewis in conjunction with this thread, because it is kind of hopeless and kind of hopeful.😛 🙂
    I think it fits with this thread and how hard it is for everyone in general. How misunderstood and misunderstanding everyone can feel at times.

    “What are you changing?
    Who do you think you’re changing?
    You can’t change things, we’re all stuck in our ways
    It’s like trying to clean the ocean
    What do you think you can drain it?
    Well it was poison and dry long before you came

    But you can wake up younger under the knife
    And you can wake up sounder if you get analyzed
    And I better wake up
    There but for the grace of God, go I

    It’s hard to believe your prophets
    When they’re asking you to change things
    But with their suspect lives we look the other way
    Are you really that pure, Sir?
    Thought I saw you in Vegas
    She was pretty, but she was
    (not your wife)

    But she will wake up wealthy
    And you will wake up 45
    And she will wake up with babies
    There but for the grace of God, go I

    What am I fighting for?
    The cops are at the front door
    I can’t escape that way, the windows are in flames
    And what’s that on your ankle?
    You say they’re not coming for you
    But house arrest is really just the same

    Like when you wake up behind the bar
    Trying to remember where you are
    Having crushed all the pretty things
    There but for the grace of God, go I

    But I still believe
    And I will rise up with fists
    And I will take what’s mine mine mine
    There but for the grace of God, go I
    There but for the grace of God, go I
    There but for the grace of God, go I
    There but for the grace of God, go I”

    Posted by Jeyoani | March 7, 2008, 10:36 pm
  92. Just in case there’s confusion, since Jeyoani mentioned it, she is my oldest adult daughter, i.e., she is the daughter who sent me the information on Stanley Dunham (Obama’s mom) that I posted up there. 🙂

    Posted by womensspace | March 7, 2008, 10:45 pm
  93. Since we’re talking about feminism and intersectionality, did anyone read Jessica Valenti’s post “The Sisterhood Split” on The Nation’s Web site? Gloria Feldt also wrote a reply/rebuttal. Links below. What does everyone think?

    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080324/valenti

    http://www.gloriafeldt.com/heartfeldt-politics-blog/2008/3/7/whats-that-about-a-sisterhood-split.html

    Posted by Tami | March 7, 2008, 10:47 pm
  94. Excellent posts women! Good show!!!🙂

    Posted by Satsuma | March 7, 2008, 11:36 pm
  95. ***It seems like you’re trying to condescend and make me feel stupid or naive.***

    I ask questions, questions and more questions. Your above comment jumped out at me because I once had a professor in college who said almost the exact same thing to me, minus the “condescend” part. I delved so deeply into the subject matter the poor baby was actually beginning to feel not so expert in her subject. Totally not intended. Don’t worry about the word “strange”, it is just a word that often comes out of me while I am idly musing, sort of like “hmm.”

    I have a lot of thoughts on what has been posted since in response to me but I really don’t want to fight on this thread.

    Posted by Branjor | March 7, 2008, 11:52 pm
  96. Thinking about it more, I am really amazed. It was just a question. A question about men, what would they do? And the response is….outrage! It makes me despair for women.

    As to Obama, it’s nice that he wrote those nice things about his female relations but I look more at his actions. Many of his supporters have been horribly misogynistic. He could get up there and say “Please stop it, those are not my values”, but he hasn’t. He says nothing about it and is benefitting from all the misogyny directed at Clinton.

    Posted by Branjor | March 8, 2008, 12:19 am
  97. HA! Caricature GENIUS, Branjor!😉

    Posted by funnie | March 8, 2008, 12:58 am
  98. Hey, Tami – Well, I don’t find either very compelling.

    I think that complaints over who’s not properly using an intersectionality lens are easy to make AND to refute (at least compared with engaging the issues that face women), and that making and refuting them is oftentimes a waste of time and energy better spent working proactively FOR something.

    And I think that time-wasting without proactivity is often, unfortunately, the point. In my opinion, it’s Valenti’s and Feldt’s point. By debating who is right and wrong and how other women are not properly meeting the challenges that face women today or who is taking Danger seriously enough, neither has to DO much of anything at all.

    Not that these women don’t want to do anything for women. I’m sure that they do. But their energy and influence are not limitless, and it’s really *hard* to do things for women, and it’s much easier to conserve blood sweat and tears by issuing properly-feminist-language-coded proclamations about other women, as though that does something for women.

    Why not just proceed to discussing that which one feels has been left out of the conversation? Shift those goalposts back by uprooting them and replanting them, not by pointing to the measuring stick.

    If (general) you think this issue all comes down to women supporting women and the trouble we often have doing that, *talk* about that – and really analyze what that means, what its limits are, and how it can be a strategy and/or a philosophy. But do not just keep reiterating that it is necessary, and sad sad sad that women don’t see how necessary it is.

    If (general) you think this is all about intersectional analysis, my god, PERFORM some. I’m so *done* with white third-wavers going all prickly about how exclusionary it is to support women “just because” they’re women…when their solution is to state that some monolithic group tokenized as “WOC” demand something other than that…while simultaneously being almost totally unable to articulate how intersectional analysis could really work in a given situation, and why. And who themselves, by prioritizing the power and centrality of “choice” (which always minimizes the influence of broad class analysis and critique of social structures), adopt the same white middle-class exclusionary thinking they allegedly needed to rebel against 2nd wavers in order to overcome.

    This stuff too quickly becomes an argument over how many angels dance on the head of a pin. The disagreements aren’t grounded in unimportant principles, but they just get narrower and narrower and increasingly exclusionary to women who are “outsiders” – who, once passions are inflamed, then unwittingly stumble into saying something “coded” to someone associated with one or the other sides, and all hell rains down on them. Which understandably leads to bemusement, irritation, and increased feelings that ALL of these ideas about feminism are just plain mean-spirited, bossy, and acrimonious.

    Bah.

    Let’s talk about single moms in poverty. Women who are trafficked. Domestic violence. Lack of healthcare access. Inequality of public education. Even when we do this really poorly, in the most exclusionarily narrow of fashions, we do it better and more productively than when we restrict ourselves to attacking each other’s motivations and framings totally *disconnected* from most women’s lives, over junk like political expediency arguments, establishment politicos, whatever.

    Posted by funnie | March 8, 2008, 1:10 am
  99. Your question seemed rather personal and off subject matter to me is all.
    No need to despair for me Branjor. I just took it wrong, sorry.

    Obama should decry the misogyny directed at Hillary-agreed.

    Posted by Jeyoani | March 8, 2008, 1:44 am
  100. Okay, I don’t get the caricature thingie.

    And yeah, Branjor, I felt as though your comment was a dig. Of what good use are random questions about women whose bodies supposedly get “torn up” having babies — they do not. Bearing children is a normal physiological process for which women’s bodies are designed, and I loved having my babies; these experiences were among the best of my life and did not tear anything up. And then, the allusions to raising kids for years and so on. You have not chosen to do these things and that’s fine. Why take potshots at women who have. It would be like me making snide remarks about child free women and then saying I was just asking questions.

    Tami, I read both your links. Although I like Jessica Valenti more now that I have watched a yuotube video of her, because she does come across in her speaking as being sharp and solid in a way she doesn’t, in my opinion, in her writing, to me, Valenti is just too much of a johnnie-one-note. In most of her essays published outside of her blog, she cannot resist criticisms of older feminists. She’s far from alone– one way to build an apparent solidarity with younger feminists is to lay into older feminists. And some of that is just to be expected and oh well, everybody has to make her own way. But when I read her essays, honestly, my eyes just start to glaze over. There’s a non-reality there. It’s words, rhetoric. I want to hear something deeper, better, I want to hear her analysis of a really good discussion she had with one of these older feminists, the insights she had in that discussion, where the discussion took her. It’s always the same thing, this sort of litany of stuff about older feminists that simply isn’t true. I liked what Feldt said, but also felt frustrated. The discussions were just too… I don’t know, glancing or something. They sort of touched on some things that were interesting without really going anywhere very useful.

    I think that second wave feminists have been talking about intersectionality, in various ways, for 40 years. But, mostly, they haven’t been heard for various reasons.

    Posted by womensspace | March 8, 2008, 5:20 am
  101. Regarding putting identification with women over all other identifications, is that supposed to apply to all women? If not, where to draw the line? Ann Coulter? Condoleeza Rice? Phyllis Schlafly? Christina Hoff Summers? Camille Paglia? Tammy Bruce? Dianne Feinstein? Hillary Clinton?

    In the political sense, I identify with none of the above, though some do identify as feminists. Politically, some of my “sisters” are my enemy. Politically, I identify with no man, now or throughout history. My principles are too radical to allow me to identify with or support any mainstream politician, regardless of sex or color. I think the point Jeyoani made about identifying with women who act as part of the political establishment is well taken. Mainstream politics has to be dragged kicking and screaming to throw women a few crumbs.

    At this point, Hillary Clinton is a fantasy candidate. The gains in delegates she acquired this week were miniscule. It would require a miracle, an incredibly stupid move by Obama, or major arm-twisting of superdelegates for her to win the nomination at this point. The latter could easily destroy her party and hand the election to McCain on a silver platter, unless women abandon that party infamous for taking women for granted, to come together around a candidate who actually represents our best interests. In the unlikely event anyone does not know, I am referring to the writer of this blog.

    Posted by Aletha | March 8, 2008, 8:20 am
  102. funnie,

    I think you have a point about all this weighing and turning over all the differences between us and never getting down to discussing where we can work together. I still think, though, that while it seems like we (general) have spent a lot of energy on the identification and discussion of differences, we really haven’t. I agree with Jessica Valenti that the discussion is overdue and important, but we can’t end here. We need to find out how to do feminist work, where we can, in ways that work for as many women as possible. That may lead to different approaches here and there.

    Heart,

    I’m not sure what wave I am. I am 38 years old, a GenXer. Am I wave 3 or 2.75 or something? At any rate, I think young feminists are way too assured about their egalitarian values and their ability to embrace all women under a big tent. I hear a lot of third wave feminists bashing second wave feminists for racial tone deafness and exclusivity, but I have participated in many a thread on Feministing that disproved that idea.

    To funnie’s point, maybe we should have an open thread here and on What Tami Said where women can list the issues they feel are important in the feminist agenda. We can find intersections and offer suggestions on how to “come together.”

    Would the folks on this thread participate?

    Aletha,

    This election is making me more radical. As a woman, a black person and a progressive, I am questioning my dependence on the Democratic Party. I think a lot of smart women and black people are realizing that our allegiance has not been returned, and we are disenchanted. I am increasingly disturbed by how the Democrats have allowed themselves to be chased to the right, and how they repeatedy roll over on issues of religion, war, environment, GLBT rights, civil rights, women’s rights, etc. While I do support Sen. Obama in this election, I feel the time has never been more right for the emergence of a strong third party that actually embodies the progressive values that Democrats give lip service to.

    Posted by Tami | March 8, 2008, 3:15 pm
  103. Tami: To funnie’s point, maybe we should have an open thread here and on What Tami Said where women can list the issues they feel are important in the feminist agenda. We can find intersections and offer suggestions on how to “come together.”

    I think this is a great idea. Maybe I could make it a page so it stayed a tab at the top, something like the “Practical Radical Feminism” page where women talk about the shape of their own activism.

    Posted by womensspace | March 8, 2008, 5:08 pm
  104. It would help to get each woman’s “list” of issues or concerns.
    I know most of the time here, I have no idea what particular issue is really of the most concern to women posting here.

    Posted by Satsuma | March 8, 2008, 7:06 pm
  105. “Let’s talk about single moms in poverty. Women who are trafficked. Domestic violence. Lack of healthcare access. Inequality of public education. Even when we do this really poorly, in the most exclusionarily narrow of fashions, we do it better and more productively than when we restrict ourselves to attacking each other’s motivations and framings totally *disconnected* from most women’s lives, over junk like political expediency arguments, establishment politicos, whatever.”

    “I am increasingly disturbed by how the Democrats have allowed themselves to be chased to the right, and how they repeatedy roll over on issues of religion, war, environment, GLBT rights, civil rights, women’s rights, etc. While I do support Sen. Obama in this election, I feel the time has never been more right for the emergence of a strong third party that actually embodies the progressive values that Democrats give lip service to.”

    Both these sets of quotes highlight how difficult it is for women to focus on the things they want.

    In Los Angeles, small groups of feminist women just don’t gather together. Cross-generational groups don’t gather, and this is part of the problem with feminism today.

    We get caught up in all these “issues” and we get annoyed, but we have no real way of verifying what it is that radical feminists do want. A blog is a very difficult way to communicate. None of this stuff comes up all that much in my day to day dealings with real women and real issues, for example.

    I must admit, when I’m in “activist” settings, I often feel distant and drained of energy. It is the disconnect of information coming at you, but on some level, you know you are in a different universe.

    It can be kind of weird. We can talk about women and poverty, but then get horrified at all the rather easy solutions to poverty that don’t involve the government at all.

    We have these “issues” but then we somehow fall short of figuring out what action we can all take to make the world better for women.

    I’m a practical person, and I can see theoretically how all the “groups” came into being. You might look at your life and think of it as disadvantaged vis-a-via the “mainstream.” Technically speaking, this is true. It is true that lesbian couples have no civil rights, and that they don’t have access to survivor social security benefits, for example. Looking at this with detachment, is it all that big a deal? On a deeply personal level, I don’t see myself as disadvantaged a lot of the time. I don’t see myself as less than say the average straight couple across the street.

    To me, feminism was about intellectual challenge, and it was about women being able to get jobs that interested them. It was not a critique of capitalism or ever heterosexual marriage. Just because I wasn’t interested in a lot of broader feminist issues, doesn’t mean that I didn’t have a strong mental focus on things I thought were of value.

    I made more personal decisions, and I grew distant from the “activist” mentality.

    Would feminism create a better life for me personally? Well, yes, the answer is definitely yes. We are world’s apart from 1975.

    I think we have this idea that we will end poverty or we will end wife battering or child rape or whatever. We get caught up in wanting to “end” things. I believe we can change the social climate to make all of this less likely, but we won’t end it.

    What type of society can we help create that will enable women to speak more truthfully about their lives to begin with?
    There is a lot of silence out there, a lot of women living in fear, a lot of women who have terrible educations, and are stuck with really limited circumstances.

    We have varying degrees of ambition. I know I’m not much interested in any agenda out there that puts me down for wanting to be very good at what I do for a living, or that gets all upset because I’m uninterested in a lot of aspects of women’s lives, just as most women out there are completely bored by my passionate interests. It’s just the truth.

    I think we like to think that all women are united, or even that all women really want worlds that seem so attractive to me, but they actually don’t.

    There is a huge difference between rural straight women, and urban lesbians, for example. There is no connection really. There is a huge difference between young women with children and my cousin who works on Wall Street. How did my cousin become a Wall Street woman, well it was because of the feminist movement that forced borkerage companies into hiring women in the first place. So then women got these jobs, but feminist activists then hated the women who got the jobs because of the activism, and on the fighting went!

    It reaches the point where it becomes kind of silly. I think this may be at the heart of a lot of the fights on this blog. We aren’t honest about what we like or dislike, and I don’t know about you, but I’m going to think it’s weird to get all upset at women in poverty, and then get all angry at women who make a good go at a successful business, because some Marxist-type feminist thinks the actual solution to personal poverty is actually getting better paying jobs.

    Since my interests and analysis are primarity economic, I find a lot of commentary even here hard to fathom. And yet, I’ve been a lesbian feminist for a very long time, and I did not “convert” to feminism, I have always been a feminist. At some point, I just got sick of women not getting anywhere, and I really want to excell. The activists groups often felt like they were holding me back. I wanted to really go go go, but they were still somewhere else.

    This I think is where feminism lost its edge. Women simply got what they wanted and moved on. Feminism succeeded to a degree, just like civil rights got blacks at the front of the bus, food at the Woolworth’s counter and much much more.

    Feminists and civil rights people got a lot of what they wanted, but still we have social structures in place that make life not exactly equal. This can be frustrating, but I’m enough of a realist to say, hey, I only have so many hours in the day. I know if I pay attention to certain things, my life will be happy and interesting. I am clear as to what I like and what I don’t like, and in real life, that’s what I stick to.

    In some respects, a larger radical feminism doesn’t have as much to offer me now. But I still wish that women’s lives could be better. The thing is, I have no clue as to how to protect women from some dumb battering husband, no clue at all. My answer is too stupid for words, and thus this cycle of women getting the hell beaten out of them will continue. These are just examples here. I’m sure we all have our ideas, but I believe our ideas should be rooted in what WE REALLY WANT out of life, and how these desires can connect with other feminists in coalitions, but not at the personal expense of each woman — not out of self-sacrfice, or boredom, but out of real passionate interest.

    Posted by Satsuma | March 8, 2008, 7:40 pm
  106. Sorry, Heart. Caricature = goofy response to Branjor’s comments in 95 & 96, explaining that

    1)the last time someone responded to her simple innocent questioning similarly to how Jeyoani did, it was because “the poor baby” couldn’t hack not knowing the answers, and

    2)that such “outrage” in response to her little old questions is all about men (not women), and how women being so centered on men int his way makes Branjor despair for women, and

    3)she really doesn’t want to fight

    It made me mad, and also made me start singing the sesame street song about one of these things not being like the others. I don’t know how else to respond to it, and I don’t know why it’s here.

    **************************************

    Hey Tami –

    Sorry, I wasn’t very clear. I’m definitely not saying we spend too much time talking about differences, as in everybody should just get over herself!🙂

    I mean something more like what Heart said about Valenti singing a one-note song; in my opinion, she and Feldt didn’t get beyond the broadest and vaguest of accusations and defenses.

    It’s not that I think they’re wrong to say that there are differences/similarities, it’s that neither seems to get around to saying anything about what those differences/similarities ARE. It’s like mentioning that something *exists* is now a totally appropriate substitute for explaining what it is, what it looks like, how it operates, when it’s happening, who’s doing it, why it’s harmful, etc.

    And it’s just not an equivalent subsitute. I mean, if you have a great pulpit like the Nation – use it, friend! Congratulations, you’re not on FOX News, nobody’s going to shout you down, you don’t have to come up with a 2-second soundbite you can spit before you get cut off. You get to craft your words in print and have them published. So SAY MORE than “NOW execs said such-and-such!” and “Maybe we think Obama’s better for women, huh, betcha never even thought of that!”

    Meanwhile 2nd wave women such as Feldt seem just about flabbergasted – partly because they just don’t GET what Valenti & co are complaining about (partly their fault, but certainly could be resolved by Valenti being more thoughtful and performing ANY class-analysis) and partly because they have not historically had to decenter white feminism before. They know what works, and they don’t understand WHY other people see their language and tactics as exclusionary.

    Second Wavers, to me, sound like they think somebody’s trying to recall their tools for being flawed, and take them all away but not replace them, leaving them with nothing to use. And partly? They’re right! I’d be mad, too.

    Posted by funnie | March 8, 2008, 10:57 pm
  107. Here’s one example of one specific difference that everybody “knows” about but women in each group really don’t really seem to consider when fighting with each other:

    It’s 2008. In 1978, 40-year-old women were 10.

    Women 18-35 have been born and raised in a political climate where we have never been immersed in anything BUT the Reagan backlash against social movements (and their continuing devolvement), have never head anything BUT anti-affirmative-action rhetoric, have never seen the civil rights or antiwar or women’s movements in action, but do remember (some of us older ones) Contract With America. And that post-9/11, we didn’t need to come together as much as go out and buy our own selves more needless crap.

    The 80s ethos was about ME ME ME ME ME. The 90s ethos was about DROPPING OUT (en masse BUT NOT collectively – very specifically not, as a lone rebel – as an individual making the best “choice” for her own life). The 00s have been about – well, I’m not that sure, really. It seems to me that it’s about dropping back in, strategically, and getting what YOU want. And the mainstreaming of porn as an increasingly legitimate “lifestyle”. The spring break lifestyle, the playboy lifestyle, wearing fetish leather as an “identity.” Hell, *entertainment * as lifestyle – when I was growing up, people read and played games for entertainment, but they weren’t “readers” or “gamers.”

    So – you have a whole lot of people – some young and some not even that young anymore – who don’t remember a time when people ID’d themselves by these gauche and old-fashioned gender/race categories. We’ve seen people identify themselves according to how prestigious their job is, how much money they make, what they do for fun, what music they listen to, how much they hate society, and what kind of exploitative sex they like. These are the categories that make sense to us.

    We’ve only heard things like “just because I’m a woman, doesn’t mean _________” and *unlike the 2nd wavers who said stuff like that* we don’t have the backup-vocal-track of class analysis to run behind that statement; we’ve only heard the foreground as though it’s the end-all/be-all of analysis. Our WHOLE LIVES. That we CAN do anything we want and therefore if we don’t it’s our CHOICE not to, our OWN fault, period. End of story.

    And – especially with people younger than me (30) – there is a STRONG and pervasive idea that women banding together as women are sexist. And minorities banding together as minorities are racist. This comes from the mid-90s post-post-affirmative-action thinking broadcast by political wings (Republican, but also Democratic) insisting that people who put their race or sex “in your face” were being PREJUDICED against white/men. Lots of people under 30 don’t necessarily think that’s true but they know that they’re *supposed* to think it is. So, as a result, they’re oftentimes really socially afraid of (for instance) having a meeting about women’s concerns without saying “of course, men are invited too! we love our feminist men!!!”

    None of these worldviews resonate with second wavers who saw collective action work multiple times for multiple movements.

    WE have never seen it. We understand Cindy Sheehan making the war about her and her individual situation (and I mean that with no disrespect) a lot more than we understand how walking down the street in a faceless mass is going to change anybody’s mind. Which so far it really hasn’t.

    So when 2nd wave feminists write about how “we” “women” “need” to “support” a “woman,” all those words in quotes confuse, piss off, or frighten many younger women.

    Who then are told that those emotions are a)their fault and b)grounded in male identification. Which is (IMO) not particularly helpful or accurate.

    Posted by funnie | March 8, 2008, 11:06 pm
  108. Funnie says:
    “The 80s ethos was about ME ME ME ME ME. The 90s ethos was about DROPPING OUT (en masse BUT NOT collectively – very specifically not, as a lone rebel – as an individual making the best “choice” for her own life)…”

    I really liked the 40 year old 1978 herstorical perspective here.

    Let’s see, the 80s (half of them anyway) were about living abroad and being a part of a Japanese feminist movement. The last half of the 80s was about lesbian and gay activism, and having 250 + friends die of AIDS — it was a time of endless funerals, and an earthquake, and also about a commitment ceremony between my longtime partner and me — the ray of sunshine in a rather grim atmosphere. It was about our church getting firebombed in the Castro (gay section of San Francisco). The FBI never found the firebombers.

    It was about that incredible acceptance we felt when we moved into our little beloved gay ghetto. A time when our gay neighbors invited us over for wonderful parties, where it took forever to get anywhere on time because you’d be hugging and saying hello to all your gay and lesbian neighbors at any given time in the village. It was a time when even the mail carrier was gay or lesbian, and they knew all of us personally. I can’t think of a time when I felt more loved by this large community!

    Perhaps the larger world of the 80s was the me decade, but we were living a completely different life in a lovely lesbian and gay world. It was probably the first time in my life that I actually felt like I belonged somewhere, and that I could relate to people and feel connected to them.

    It was about building women’s community, creating women’s spirituality and saving women’s lives. Nobody much cared if yet another lesbian committed suicide back then. Heck, most straight people didn’t even know there was an AIDS epidemic. Just ask Mike Huckabee-he knows all about it.

    We created the first AIDS shelter for women and children back then. A gay male banker helped get the start-up funds. The shelter is still going strong.

    The 90s were about international lesbian and gay activism — traveling to lesbian conferences around the world, connecting with lesbians in Germany and South Africa, and getting a new business launched.

    I’m not so rooted in second or third wave feminism, but have always considered myself just a plain old lesbian feminist. Most of the things we had or did we created out of nothing. Out lesbians were simply rejected or made to feel very unwelcome in most straight women’s groups everywhere back then.

    The Reagan oppressive years and the neo cons have done incredible damage to all the social justice movements of the last 40 years. They feared all that we fought for. Now these conservatives are trying to continue their take over of the government.

    Depending on what women’s group you happen to be in at the moment, you can actually mention the dire circumstances of our civil rights, our freedom of speech, and the awfulness of the patriot act, and a lot of straight middle class women will just shrug it all off. It’s a weird sort of disconnect one feels when you venture into the mainstream of women’s worlds.

    I think most Americans have become more insular, because feminist activism is alive and well in Iran, in Rwanda, in Latin America, in Mexico City. Mary Daly always said that when radical feminism declines in one place, it pops up in another place, and I think the angel has largely left the room in America. That angel of radical feminism is fragmented here, but overseas it’s roaring and ready to go. Helen Reddy would approve🙂

    When you connect with women in an international movement, the whole thing becomes less about a particular country and more about sisterhood. That’s what I’ve always felt. I well remember a black South African woman who came to a conference here. We all went out to lunch with her, and it turned out she was in junior high when police charged a black school. The story had a familiar ring to it, and I realized with utter shock that back in 1978 or so, I had a signed a petition on my college campus protesting the police brutality against the very woman I was now eating lunch with. When I mentioned the petition, she too was amazed. It was a real connection.

    If you want to reach out globally, it’s always a good idea to do this. Feminism should be international, and I have found the most inspiring lesbian feminists all over the world. It is this international lesbian sisterhood that still is so uplifting to me.
    It was the vision of Mary Daly to make the connections between women, and to expose the lies of patriarchy as a global phenomenon. Her powerful message took me to many places around the world, and it was her vision of freedom that still inspires me today.

    I would say that the structure of our society now makes it very hard for women to converse and connect. But really, we can’t hold opinions about people we don’t personally know. A second wave feminist talks to a third wave woman? You have to have places for these conversations to occur, and also provide the political opportunities for young women to flourish.

    We were all excited about our lesbian feminist groups — all these smart women in their 20s working away for social change. Most of the lesbian leaders were very young women when they began this work. Now we have become very bureaucratic, and as Robin Tyler said last week, you really do have to strike out as an individual — file that court case, because many times gay or lesbian organizations are going to tell you “wait, the time is not right…” etc. etc.

    I believe feminist passion really is individualistic as well as collective. There are ways that I am deeply collective in my lesbian feminism, and there are other ways that I am completely on my own in a delightful individuality that would drive most feminists nuts. The thing is, as a lesbian, I think I am able to do what I want, and I’m not waiting for some group’s blessing to go out and do it. And that’s how it should be in my opinion.

    Somehow, I just wasn’t interested in the sex wars, and I felt sorry for women who fell victim to that trash known as porn. It was a sorry sight. The drugs, the clubs, the whips, the leather… it was a sad sad thing. In Los Angeles, we are in sharp decline as a community. We have fallen on very corrupt influences, and when I look at a lot of young women’s lives, it’s not a happy sight. I can only live by example and continue to reach out an encourage. That’s what we can all do, and it really works!🙂

    Posted by Satsuma | March 9, 2008, 3:42 am
  109. Ugh, I went in to edit my response to a comment from Kali and inadvertantly edited it inside of Kali’s comment, erasing most of what Kali had written.

    Kali, if you saved your comment, please resubmit it. I’m just going to erase my response since I inadvertantly erased most of your comment.

    Posted by Heart | March 9, 2008, 4:49 pm
  110. I finally was able to access the Valenti/Feld articles that were mentioned above. Thank goddess!! Both articles were fascinating!!!

    Actually, I thought both articles were very sensible and well written. We may have this painful idea that women are divided, and that this election highlights that divide. But I don’t think any large group of human beings is truly united if they really have freedom of speech. For example, if you are in a right wing or a left wing cult, you don’t have freedom of speech, and thus the “unity” is completely fake.

    To me, sexism is the primary oppression, and it’s rather simple to prove this: just travel to countries where there is racial homogenaity, and see how African men treat African women, or watch how Japanese men treat Japanese women. It’s pretty simple.

    I’d be curious to find out from Obama supporters about whether or not they actually lived or traveled in African countries to observe first hand societies where race really wasn’t the issue at all. It’s kind of a Henry Louis Gates moment, where he goes to Africa and discovers that black Africans owned slaves and were instrumental in selling Africans to white slave traders. He had this look of horror and sadness, and I got the feeling that before he traveled there, he had not known this was a possibility. Slavery still exists in many part of the world — the Sudan being a big example.

    You get shocked at the reality of what race is, but you have to keep your eye on the main issue: if women are central to every radical feminist analysis, then how are women being treated as women in every nation of the world? We often have difficulty getting international data that is reliable about women’s condition.

    We can argue that there in “intersectionality” (did I get this woman’s studies🙂 term right🙂 is necessary. I agree with this. You can’t just use the word “women” or “feminism” without taking into account how each of us feels vis-a-vis our race, social class (born into class that is), sexual orientation… you know the list… Even if you take into account all these things, you are still left with the fact that men rule the world.

    Sure, I don’t expect a lot of straight women’s groups to get me. I could send you the pictures to prove this, but I have low expectations. Straight people are just being able to even BEGIN getting used to plain old OUT lesbians or gays in their midst socially. Not so long ago, everyone was closeted in these groups, and straight people believed that they actually didn’t know any lesbians. Right wing straight male talk show hosts like Frank Pastori, still think they have never met a formly straight person who then comes out as gay to them. He’s such a homophobe, I don’t think any self-respecting lesbian or gay person would even go near that man!

    Long winded I know, but this stuff is complicated.🙂🙂

    I don’t expect a straight women’s group to really get a radical lesbian feminist. Most straight women in business don’t know that much about this, nor were they really involved in many social justice movements. They were too busy raising kids, and then making a go of it as a small businesswoman with three kids to raise on their own. Women’s wages were so pathetic, that they decided to create their own companies, they worked really hard, and now they are very successful. I’d call them natural feminists, and I count these women as my friends, clients and equals, but they won’t or can’t really get lesbian feminist me. They get parts of me, just as a lot of feminists on this blog only get or tolerate parts of me.

    We all have these kalidescope personalities — the colors blending in the light to produce incredible patterns.

    Perhaps this election really highlights these so-called splits in feminism. I think we believe different things. As I see it, I don’t want men in the White House if I have an honest choice between a man and a woman as president, period end of it.
    A lot of women who support Obama just don’t have this line of reasoning. As a lesbian, I am a little more of a hardliner — men bad, women good. Simplistic, childish and dogmatic, but nevertheless I truly believe this.

    So if Obama gets the nomination, and Hillary is vice president, or vice-versa, I say great! But if only a man is running for president, and a man is VP, well it really doesn’t matter to me at all whether it is Obama or McCain as president, and in fact, I tend to think that McCain would know how to deal with the war far better than Obama. I know this is going to cause a lot of disagreement here, but if you are going to disagree with this, it’s ok. I won’t take women’s opinions very seriously if they don’t have a good background in middle eastern politics, have not lived abroad and have not actually worked for the Senate or State department. So the bar for me is high here. Sorry, but those are my standards in foreign policy. If you are a state department official, are from the middle east — say Iraq or Iran, and still travel to those places or are in constant contact with family members there, or are a member of the armed forces serving in Iraq or Afghantistan, then I’d be very very interested in your opinions right now.

    Just wondering, do military women write for this blog?

    Because I am a lesbian feminist, I know that intersectionality is not all that important to me, mainly because I don’t expect straight women to be very honest about their deeply engrained homophobia. Almost all the straight women I know are homophobes, just as black women know this about white women. You just know it if you ARE IT. Because I know this, I don’t really take the homophobia all that personally. I look at the intent of women, and if the intent is about kindness, caring and being a friend, then I believe in time, straight women will be strong allies of lesbians. Heart has demonstrated this again and again, and I appreciate it.

    I really want to make this point about the unity of women. We can be unified even if we don’t all “get” each other, or even if we all remain racist or homophobic– this changes over time. If straight women don’t have good opportunities to be in all lesbian groups, for example, or if they don’t have access to a strong lesbian culture, it is going to be awfully hard for them to really get over this homophobia. Same thing for white women who have NO black close friends, or white women who don’t live in places where there are sizable black communities. No exposure or deep friendship means little internal social change is very possible.

    The other day my partner and I were talking, and she said she realized that she doesn’t get along with Mexicans very well, but that all her Latina friends were from Brazil, or Ecuador or other Latin American countries. She thought she needed to learn more about Mexican culture to understand where Mexican women were coming from, and to try to figure out what the origin of the distaste really was all about. I thought it might be class based. My partner comes from an elite background, and has trouble with working class people of all races. She fits in perfectly with a high WASP culture, but high WASP really pushes my Jewish heritage buttons, so both of us can’t be in the same place at the same time because of this, for example. It’s not obvious sometimes when patterns are apparent even in your own personal life, and if you take this out to a political campaign, well it is even more complex about women’s relationships with each other.🙂

    So this is why I believe what I believe. The articles by Valenti and Feld highlight this, but I believe their most brilliant thoughts include the insight: the election is simply the excuse to bring us all together and to really care about “intersectionality” to really try to keep up this incredible dialogue, and I can speak for myself here, but I am really trying not to get screaming mad, but to keep an open mind to “get” what a woman is saying. It’s hard work, and the blog format can cause you to miss points or to forget who wrote what sometimes, but if we look to the intent, then it’ll be a good thing for every woman here.

    We can say who we are: I am a woman first feminist. I don’t believe any man represents me ever. If a man gets into the White House, he will deal with man’s world, and I want a man who can deal with men competantly. I don’t expect him to know or care about women’s issues, and he’ll only cave in on women’s issues if we put a lot of pressure on him. He will then cave due to pressure, women will win something — like another Supreme Court Justice, for example, but he won’t care about women, he’ll be fearful of a law suit or women’s massive anger, or his wife’s rejection.

    Even Obama will not comment publically on the mysogyny directed at Clinton. He won’t ever do it, because I believe no matter how many women are in his life, or how many radical women raised him, he still is the same kind of guy who writes “I dedicate this book to my _________ mother, sister, wife…” “Without her help this book would not have been written… my wife’s name should have been on the cover of the book because she wrote most of it….” I’m not quoting Obama here, these are just the usual platitudes that men direct toward women, while they continue to rule the world, and disregard woman hatred in campaigns.

    Women have been married to men for how long? Has it changed men? Whether women are kind or helpful or partners, the men still think the public sphere is their’s to run, and that’s why I think the real issue here is not really the election, but whether women can support each other as women, and this is quite a challenge, because I know the greatest temptation for women is not freedom, but the expectation that men will change if only… ________.

    We should know better by now, but then again, I’ve never married a man, so I have no temptation in my own home that will sway me, I just see what they say in public out in the world, and that gives the show away every time for me.

    Posted by Satsuma | March 9, 2008, 10:20 pm
  111. More spam flying across the universe, winging it’s way past Saturn…🙂

    Posted by Satsuma | March 9, 2008, 10:21 pm
  112. ***And yeah, Branjor, I felt as though your comment was a dig. Of what good use are random questions about women whose bodies supposedly get “torn up” having babies — they do not. Bearing children is a normal physiological process for which women’s bodies are designed, and I loved having my babies; these experiences were among the best of my life and did not tear anything up. And then, the allusions to raising kids for years and so on. You have not chosen to do these things and that’s fine. Why take potshots at women who have. It would be like me making snide remarks about child free women and then saying I was just asking questions.***

    If you want to know what was behind the comment, here it is: Barack Obama wrote very nice things – about his mother, grandmother, wife, for which he garnered high praise on this thread. It is very common for men, even the most exploitative and patriarchal, to praise and write nice things about women who have invested *a lot* of themselves and their lives in THEM (the men). These are the “good women” to men, women who have given a lot to them. I was pointing out that the women who Obama praised were precisely *those* women, therefore I wasn’t particularly impressed that Obama has a good attitude towards women. I would have been more impressed if he had praised, say, an unrelated woman, who did little/nothing for him personally, but was a hero to him for some other reason. That is *specifically* why I asked in my question if mixed race men would be just as likely to read about UNRELATED mixed race women as vice versa. It had nothing to do with the process of childbirth per se or taking “potshots” at women for raising children.

    Postscript on childbirth, since you brought it up: OK, you weren’t “all tore up”, my point is simply that it is biologically demanding, therefore something men “approve” of women doing (for them), consistent (or it was supposed to be) with the point above about Obama (note not about women, or mothers, but Obama). As to “normal” and your body designed for it – maybe, but lots of women have *died* during this “normal” event throughout history and not *only* because of obstetrical interventions. As to your body being designed for it, try telling that one to my mother. After being in unproductive labor for many hours, they finally had to call in a surgeon, on Thanksgiving Day 1952, taking her away from her family and friends, to do an emergency c-section. The problem? Baby’s head was simply too large to pass through the pelvis and both mother and baby would have died without the surgical intervention.

    Posted by Branjor | March 9, 2008, 11:12 pm
  113. Satsuma said:
    To me, sexism is the primary oppression, and it’s rather simple to prove this: just travel to countries where there is racial homogenaity, and see how African men treat African women, or watch how Japanese men treat Japanese women. It’s pretty simple.

    I’d be curious to find out from Obama supporters about whether or not they actually lived or traveled in African countries to observe first hand societies where race really wasn’t the issue at all.

    That’s twice now that you’ve referred to Japan, specifically, as a place where race isn’t an issue.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_issues_in_Japan

    In 2005, a United Nations report expressed concerns about “deep and profound” racism in Japan and insufficient government recognition of the problem.

    Re: Africa – I know of no place in Africa where race is not an issue. Please be more specific.

    I agree with you that women are oppressed in every nation and culture. Women’s oppression is, in fact, SO obviously egregious that there’s just really no excuse for misrepresenting facts about race and downplaying the effect racism has, globally, in order to discuss how bad sexism is.

    Posted by funnie | March 10, 2008, 2:29 am
  114. Japanese men oppress Japanese women. I lived in that country for a long time, and believe me, Japanese feminists were in constant struggle with sexism that would make the U.S. look like a women’s utopia.

    The racism that the UN probably refers to is between Korean immigrants to Japan and native Japanese. But this has nothing to do with the millions of native Japanese men who are perfectly willing to treat women as objects, household servants, and as “office flowers” — a term for secretaries in Japan that men invented.

    I don’t know why you would use a U.S. example to compare what happens to women in Japan to sexism in the U.S.

    We like to believe that racism and sexism are exactly the same thing, and this is simply not the case. I know of no other oppressed group in the world that has to cook for, live with and bear children for the oppressor as a matter enshrined into law and custom just about everywhere.

    For those of you who want to find racism in Japan, you can find it, but it is not the same as the treatment of Japanese women by Japanese men. I don’t know why this is such a difficult concept for feminists to get, but apparently it is.

    In America, both racism and sexism are rotten. They play as a theme and variation in American life. We think that electing one kind of man over another in this country will negate male supremacy, but this won’t happen. Now if we had a black woman and a white woman running for president, then that would be an entirely different matter, and everyone here knows what the difference is.

    In Sudan, Somalia, Egypt and many other countries in Africa, I know of no custom that routinely mutilates the genitals of males to the degree that this is done to women. I think if you talk to the African women who escaped to Europe and America directly, they’ll give you a pretty good idea of what male supremacy and patriarchy are really all about.

    We sometimes live in a cocoon in this country and it drives me nuts.

    The bottom line of feminism for me is will women get the jobs, or do we always have to go through an “intersessor” male of some kind or another? I don’t know about you, but my feminism is simple: women deserve my support and men do not. Whether it’s a leftist man or a rightist man, we still have male rule intact and running just fine thank you very much.

    Branjor says:
    “It is very common for men, even the most exploitative and patriarchal, to praise and write nice things about women who have invested *a lot* of themselves and their lives in THEM (the men). These are the “good women” to men, women who have given a lot to them. I was pointing out that the women who Obama praised were precisely *those* women, therefore I wasn’t particularly impressed that Obama has a good attitude towards women. ”

    I think you just have to be suspicious of men’s relationships with their female relatives. When men get served, nurtured and taken care of by women, they do have some sort of peculiar “gratitude” — a dedication in a book, a thank you to the wife from a stump speech– we all know how phoney most of this stuff is when it comes down to the brass tacks of women’s freedom from all forms of male condescention and male supremacy. We all know this, and yet we still don’t get it.

    Women love to be conned by men, they really want to believe that these beings have our best interest at heart, and that’s why women try again and again to favor, placate and vote for men. Women are going to keep on doing this probably until men blow up the world, and even then, after the survivors get out of the nuclear rubble, women are going to want to feed and take care of the few men remaining. [Edited– don’t want to get in this type of trouble today! Thanks for always understanding this, Satsuma!]

    No argument on the face of the earth is going to get me not to support women for elected offices, for jobs, for freedom. I will not take care of boys or give them the time of day, I will not give money to any male enterprise if I have alternatives, I will not support any program for these little tyrants to be.

    No, the clouds will break open and freedom will come when women say no more, we will support each other, we will walk out and leave the men alone. Women will at last say that only women count, and the men can be left to their own devices. When this happens, we’ll see incredible change. No doubt that patriarchs will “you hoo” try to get women to come back. Sonia Johnson has a hysterical speech where she talks about women learning to perform abortions vs. trying to “get men” to let us have them. “You hoo girls… I mean women….” great speech.

    It’s a really hard thing for women to do. Women have been conditioned to bake bread for the oppressors for so damn long, that servitude has been dug into their DNA. Patriarchy has a gravitational pull stronger than Jupiter, no rocket is strong enough to get out of the planet patriarchy’s atmosphere. What we are doing is trying to break free women, and who will want to hold the rest of us back the most? Fill in the blank________.

    Posted by Satsuma | March 10, 2008, 5:42 am
  115. P.S. I supported a black woman for president back in 1972– before many women on the Internet here were born.

    Posted by Satsuma | March 10, 2008, 5:44 am
  116. Satsuma,

    I can’t say that I completely understand where you are coming from. And I disagree with some of what you have said. But I respect and appreciate your thoughtful comments to my post. And I think that may be the point.

    You are right that merely living in this society, or maybe just being humans, pre-ordains that we will all have levels of prejudice against something or someone. The first step is knowing this. The second is caring enough to challenge your biases. The third is actually listening to people who think differently to TRY to understand what they are saying. The fourth may be working to find some commonality.

    I disagree with you; however, that sexism is the primary oppression. Funnie highlights some examples of “homogenous” peoples and race problems, but if nothing else, the long hand of colonialism throughout the world has ensured that most people of color have a Western boot on their necks and a sense of inferiority that says “white is right.” More important, I think, to this election, I think, is the fact that here in this country, women of color, in particular black women, face gender oppression that is entwined with their race. It is not my experience as both a black person and a woman that sexism is MY primary oppression at all.

    So, while you say:

    “I don’t believe any man represents me ever. If a man gets into the White House, he will deal with man’s world, and I want a man who can deal with men competantly. I don’t expect him to know or care about women’s issues, and he’ll only cave in on women’s issues if we put a lot of pressure on him. He will then cave due to pressure, women will win something — like another Supreme Court Justice, for example, but he won’t care about women, he’ll be fearful of a law suit or women’s massive anger, or his wife’s rejection.

    Even Obama will not comment publically on the mysogyny directed at Clinton. He won’t ever do it, because I believe no matter how many women are in his life, or how many radical women raised him, he still is the same kind of guy who writes “I dedicate this book to my _________ mother, sister, wife…” “Without her help this book would not have been written… my wife’s name should have been on the cover of the book because she wrote most of it….” I’m not quoting Obama here, these are just the usual platitudes that men direct toward women, while they continue to rule the world, and disregard woman hatred in campaigns.”

    …which may well be true. But I can also say:

    “I don’t believe any white person represents me ever. If a white person gets into the White House, she will deal with white person’s world, and I want a white person who can deal with white people’s issues competantly. I don’t expect him or her to know or care about black people’s issues, and that person will only cave in on black people’s issues if we put a lot of pressure on her. She will then cave due to pressure, black people will win something — like another Supreme Court Justice, for example, but she won’t care about black people, she’ll be fearful of a law suit or black people’s massive anger.

    Even Clinton will not comment publically on the racism directed at Obama. She won’t ever do it, because I believe no matter how many black people are in her life, or how many lions of the civil rights movement she is friendly with, she is still is the same kind of white politician who hangs in the pulpit of some black Baptist church on a Sunday morning, but then slyly paints her black opponent as an affirmative action candidate or darkens his photograph or refuses to quell rumors of his Muslimness, because it is okay to trade on racism or xenophobia to win a campaign. These are just the usual platitudes that white people direct toward people of color, while they continue to rule the world, and disregard race hatred in campaigns.”

    But I don’t really believe all of these things–some of them, yes, but not all. I am as uncomfortable about deciding all white people are against my best interests as I am deciding that all men are against my best interests. But I cannot be solely a “woman first” feminist. Doing so requires me to ignore other oppressions that are real to me. For instance, you may not agree, but I think Hillary Clinton has cynically traded on racism and xenophobia since it became clear that she was not the inevitable winner of the Dem nomination. I find that abhorrent. And for that reason, she will not EVER get my vote. This is a decision, I guess, based on my race. I cannot overlook what I see as race-baiting because the perpetrator is a woman. I am also uncomfortable with Clinton’s friendship with BET founder Bob Johnson, who ran a cable station that routinely broadcast denigration of women and assorted minstrelsy under his watch. This is a decision based on my race AND gender.

    While some white feminists see Hillary Clinton as a sister in the struggle for women’s equality, some black women see that, but also see an oppressor. Not all black women–in fact, my mom is a Clinton supporter–but some. My position has always been that if other women don’t understand that position, that is fine. To your point, we don’t walk in each other’s shoes. You may not always “get” me. But respect me enough to not brand my decision sexism. It saddens me this idea I get from many feminists that there is no rational, non-sexist reason to vote for anyone other that Hillary Clinton. It is unfair. (I’m saying in general–not that you said a vote against Hillary is sexist.)

    Posted by Tami | March 10, 2008, 3:18 pm
  117. I never said, nor did I imply, that Japanese women were not oppressed by sexism, nor that sexism and racism operate in precisely the same way.

    I pointed out that it is incorrect to point to a society with an ancient caste system and an ancient (as well as fairly recent) colonialist empire (including the “Satsuma” feudal system that dominated indigenous Okinawans) and a thriving anti-immigrant bias, as one that is so homogenous that race is beside the point. It’s not beside the point, and never is.

    Most importantly – if race is never beside the point? If we take it as a given that it is always at work and always considered? This does NOTHING to damage or compromise discussions of sexism.

    What does, consistently, compromise discussions of sexism is sidelining the concerns of minority women by saying race is not an issue. Framing discussions in this manner, even with all good intentions, necessarily results in advocating for some women at the expense of others.

    I don’t know why you would use a U.S. example to compare what happens to women in Japan to sexism in the U.S.

    Well, exactly.

    Posted by funnie | March 10, 2008, 4:30 pm
  118. funnie: Most importantly – if race is never beside the point? If we take it as a given that it is always at work and always considered? This does NOTHING to damage or compromise discussions of sexism.

    Yeah, this is pretty key, I think.

    Tami: My position has always been that if other women don’t understand that position, that is fine. To your point, we don’t walk in each other’s shoes. You may not always “get” me. But respect me enough to not brand my decision sexism. It saddens me this idea I get from many feminists that there is no rational, non-sexist reason to vote for anyone other that Hillary Clinton. It is unfair. (I’m saying in general–not that you said a vote against Hillary is sexist.)

    Yes!

    It is so hard for me to understand this position! I understand supporting Hillary Clinton because she’s a woman, it isn’t that, it’s going on to suggest that if other women don’t, they are sexists or not feminists!

    There are so many reasons *not* to support Clinton *because* of my feminist commitments. But I wouldn’t call a woman not a feminist because she supports Clinton.

    Posted by womensspace | March 10, 2008, 4:42 pm
  119. Re: Africa – I know of no place in Africa where race is not an issue. Please be more specific.

    Not racism, perhaps, but tribal hatred certainly! That’s what is happening in Kenya most recently and has been the cause of the other conflicts.

    Posted by Miranda | March 11, 2008, 1:59 am
  120. I would have absolutely no problem supporting a black woman for president of the United States. A black woman would never ever have the same view of the world that all men black and white do. So the issue is not about black or white, it is about male or female to me. In fact, I have supported as many black women for elected office as have come to my attention over the years. To me, as a radical lesbian feminist, the colonizers worldwide are men, and I want as much freedom from those colonizers as I can get.

    Call me a bit blind, but I don’t trust any men to govern me, ever. I don’t like men, and I don’t trust men. Why would I want to vote for these idiots ever, if I had a choice?

    You can point to the samurai era, but if you look at what happened with the Satsuma rebellion, Saigo Takamori initially supported the modernization of Japan under the emperor Meiji. It was only when the Meiji government didn’t hold up it’s end of the bargain that the rebellion occured.

    I look to this rebellion as a kind of metaphor for what happens when women support “the reforming” leader. Ring any bells? This is what happens all the time to radical feminists. All the “liberal” men out there seem to think that we will be fooled by their rhetoric, but to me, all men are oppressors. It’s my bottom line, so what we need is thousands more minority women running for public office across the land; that is what we need. In fact, majority black women’s groups would be fine with me. We’d get a lot more plain talk than we usually do out of the wishy washy liberal white women, and you all know the types I am talking about here.

    If you look at the clever ploys of the patriarchy, you should ask yourself who are the real powers behind the scenes that seem to fund the candidates in the first place. Kind of suspicious that the one time a woman gets anywhere near the top job, suddenly a minority male candidate gets pulled out of the woodwork to divide and conquer the feminists once again.

    I stick to one simple program: women come first — white women and black women come first. Men come second, and even then I’d rather have a government run completely by women for 100 years, because that’s what men have had worldwide. I think you either believe in a feminism that women run and women control, or you believe that a “liberal” man can do a better job for women. Or you believe that a black man is less dangerous than a white woman. There are a hundred variations on a theme. I don’t see much evidence of black men really being passionate feminists out there. I read a few academics, but I don’t really hear a black male feminist voice all that often. Just look at rap music and black feminist’s attempts to engage the black male rappers on this one — a small example, but analogous to gay white men contaminating lesbians with porno sex obsessed culture– another issue entirely. You have to be in the subcultures to see these nuances. Maybe this is not as clear as I’d like it to be.

    I certainly don’t expect feminists to all think alike. Certainly no straight women in office do any loud speakouts on lesbian issues. Haven’t heard Hillary even use the word “lesbian” lately at all. Hmmm.

    All I know is that women running for office are not the “wives” any longer, they are blazing a trail that is quite different from male centered heteropatriarchy.

    I think it is actually quite hard to say that women are number one, and that we won’t compromise on this point. It is such a hard thing for women to say, that I’ll just say it all the time. I actually could care less about men, as long as they stay out of my way, stop boring me with lies, and stop pretending that they are anything other than men who want power over women. This unifies men no matter what their race or social station is in life; it’s a system of all systems.

    There a zillion kinds of feminism out there. None of the women here are anti-feminist idiots the way the malestream media is all the time. This is just my idea of what feminism is, and obviously the rest of the women here can say what their feminism is. On a blog, we only live in one or two dimensions, and that’s why it will be so hard to flesh out the reasons why we support people for this or that job, or even why we have the ideas we do.

    It is all about the source of primary injury. If the source of primary injury is male supremacy and hetero-supremacy, then you’ll want to overthrow anything that puts these two oppressions in front of your face. If the primary source of injury is white racism, then you’ll want every white person knocked out of the race.

    Each one of us has a very personal score to settle. That’s right, women’s anger, lesbian volcanic anger, and as a radical lesbian feminist, I want the knock out blow. I want the victory. My ideal world would be a country that women own, run and rule, and also this world would consist of 50-50 representation for straight women and lesbians. There would be states where the child hating lesbians could live, and states where women with children could live, and other states where a mixture of all types of women might move to.

    Again, it is what makes you angriest as a feminist I think that determines the underlying issues of this strange election.
    For those of us 50 and older, we aren’t going to wait for yet another woman to get defeated. For those women age 20, you may believe you have plenty of time, and that after an Obama presidency, another good woman will come along and win. Looking at women’s right to vote as a guideline in America today, and the herstory of this, I very much doubt that we’ll be so lucky again.

    I’ve talked to many black women over 50 who are passionate Hillary supporters, and their “rebellious” anti-baby boomer daughters support Obama. Malcolm X said that white men were the devil, and I have never disagreed with him🙂

    Posted by Satsuma | March 11, 2008, 3:50 am
  121. You are correct Miranda, not racism in Africa but tribal hatred.
    Now take a close look at inter-tribal hatred, and you’ll see men wanting to control their tribes, and control resources for their tribe. Whether it is Kenya or Rwanda or Ethiopia or Eretria… it’s a male tribal club.

    Even black authors with courage speak up about the horrors of African (read male) leadership, and they speak up against the people who are still blaming “colonialism” for the stupidity of leaders today. If Ghana got its independence in 1957, that was over 50 years ago, and so on….

    If you have people all of the same race, the male elders will pick fights with one another over social class, tribe, religion or something else. They fight over “bride prices” they’ll raid other tribes to rape and capture women. Not a white person in sight during all of this.

    This is why I say that women are oppressed worldwide, and this happens whether they live in an all black village in Ethiopia, and have never seen a non-black African in their lives, or whether they are a black woman in America dealing with the sickening “smiley sweet racism” that upper middle class white women are so good at doling out. I get the smiley sweet lesbophobia now, before the days when so many lesbians were out and visiable. Now those women don’t do the smiley routine with radical mean me! Too scary for straight women! The thing is, for many women, who do they have to come home to in the evening? Black husbands batter black wives all the time. They take the racism out on women, but black women are treated like trash too, and you don’t see the reverse very often.

    They talk about the manhood of black men. Geez, the manhood of a man! Aren’t all men parading their “manhood” all over the world!

    So if we have sexism in Kenya, does the tribal hatred coming out in this latest election there have anything to do with white people? Or is it two “presidential rivals” who are both black men, but who come from different tribes battling it out for male supremacy? It’s why sexism is always the main issue in every nation of the world, and after you’ve lived in different countries, it’s really quite easy to see this. In fact, it’s even easier to see this because you aren’t in America anymore with an American brainwashing to filter out the purity of male hatred of women worldwide. heck, white American men look like angels many times to Japanese women, but to me with my trained eye, all I see is yet another far east freddie.

    Kind of like being a lesbian and looking at what straight women put up with in marriages or dates with men, or the prom/pornified queen at the high school. It all makes me sick—help!!! get me out of here!!!! What country can I move to where sexism doesn’t exist? I’ll sign up for a visa, and book a flight next week!

    Posted by Satsuma | March 11, 2008, 4:09 am
  122. P.S. Japanese were the colonizers all over Asia, and they are hated in both Koreas, in China and in Taiwan, for example.
    Japanese thought they were a master race and the equals of white people, while other Asian peoples were inferior.

    In fact, the average Japanese hates Koreans more than they hate white people. I heard more insults directed at Koreans and the lower cast Japanese.

    In every country, they’ll think of some reason to generate hatred. I suspect this is a male tool of divide and conquer.

    I’d say this attitude is still beneath the surface in that country.

    Posted by Satsuma | March 11, 2008, 4:14 am
  123. It is all about the source of primary injury. If the source of primary injury is male supremacy and hetero-supremacy, then you’ll want to overthrow anything that puts these two oppressions in front of your face. If the primary source of injury is white racism, then you’ll want every white person knocked out of the race.

    I’ve thought a lot about this. By far most of the time I feel as though male supremacy and male heterosupremacy are the source of primary injury and I want to overthrow anything that puts these oppressions in my face. Sometimes I feel, though, as though the primary source of injury is white racism. I don’t want every white person knocked out of the race then, just white men. Sometimes I feel as though the source of primary injury is capitalism, greed, exploitation, and then I want to overthrow capitalism. I’m betting more women than not are not really exactly linear here, that at certain times what is most important to us changes, even if in general, we focus on settling a score that seems, overall, most pressing to us.

    My experience, too, is that in general, women over 50 (who are progressive or feminist) seem to be supporting Hillary Clinton, whether they are white or black, and like you (I think it was you, Satsuma) also say, often their daughters support Obama.

    Posted by womensspace | March 11, 2008, 6:26 pm
  124. Hi Satsuma,

    You said:

    “I think you either believe in a feminism that women run and women control, or you believe that a “liberal” man can do a better job for women. Or you believe that a black man is less dangerous than a white woman. There are a hundred variations on a theme. I don’t see much evidence of black men really being passionate feminists out there. I read a few academics, but I don’t really hear a black male feminist voice all that often. Just look at rap music and black feminist’s attempts to engage the black male rappers on this one — a small example, but analogous to gay white men contaminating lesbians with porno sex obsessed culture– another issue entirely.”

    It is not that I think that a liberal man can do a better job with feminism, or that a black man is less dangerous than a white woman. I don’t know a lot of black male feminists either.

    What I mean is that sexism is not the only “ism” that I face. I also face racism. Sometimes that racism is inextricably llinked to sexism. (Don’t know if you watched that SNL clip I linked to above, but I think that is an example of sexism and racism at play.) Sometimes the racism is perpetuated by white women. I don’t think white women can be absolved of racism because they are oppressed by men, anymore than black men can be absolved from sexism because they are oppressed by white people. White women have been complicit in racism and have benefitted from it, just as men have.

    Now, when my primary injury is racism, it doesn’t make me want to knock all white people from the field. But when faced by what I perceive as racism by Hillary Clinton and her campaign, I am not willing to allow her to act as an oppressor to my black self while scoring for my female self. In the same way, black rap artists who blame white racism for their denigration of women get no pass for me.

    I’ve said on my blog a few times that I think if you aren’t about justice for all, then you aren’t about justice. Now I don’t expect everybody to fight as hard as I do over issues of importance to black women. But I’m still wrestling with how I feel about the ability of some feminists to overlook the racism within this presidential campaign.

    Posted by Tami | March 11, 2008, 7:49 pm
  125. Branjor said: ”
    If you want to know what was behind the comment, here it is: Barack Obama wrote very nice things – about his mother, grandmother, wife, for which he garnered high praise on this thread. It is very common for men, even the most exploitative and patriarchal, to praise and write nice things about women who have invested *a lot* of themselves and their lives in THEM (the men). These are the “good women” to men, women who have given a lot to them. I was pointing out that the women who Obama praised were precisely *those* women, therefore I wasn’t particularly impressed that Obama has a good attitude towards women. ”

    Branjor I totally get this point but you ignore two things:

    No. 1
    The REASON I posted the nice things he’d said. I only posted that stuff because Rain charged falsely he rejected his white heritage and the women in his life.
    That’s the only reason I posted that stuff, period.

    And no.
    He didn’t garner high praise here for saying those things–
    he didn’t. Re read the thread.

    People smacked down or dismissed the “nice things”. The only praise was toward his mom.

    If the ridiculous charge had never been made no one would’ve been subjected to “nice things Obama has said about women in his life.”

    My point in posting that stuff was only to prove good things had indeed been said. Period. Not to prove “see? Obama’s good stuff”.

    He best praise the women in his life. They’re cool women.

    Yes some of us here felt warm fuzzies and were inspired by his cool mom in perticular.

    Which was just a sisterhood thing.

    Branjor: “I would have been more impressed if he had praised, say, an unrelated woman, who did little/nothing for him personally, but was a hero to him for some other reason.”

    Cool, though again — I was answering a specific charge which related entirely to *women in his life*. As well I wasn’t trying to impress you or anyone else w/what he did say, only proving he had said *something*.

    Branjor: “That is *specifically* why I asked in my question if mixed race men would be just as likely to read about UNRELATED mixed race women as vice versa.”

    WHUT? So my initial suspicion was right! Hahahah!
    Anyway you wanna see my response to that question it is several posts above this one. Ahem.

    Branjor”: “It had nothing to do with the process of childbirth per se or taking “potshots” at women for raising children. ”

    Right. Work on context more then. Telling my mom, whose had 11 kids and is publically proud of her child birthing, doesn’t need your totally random opinion that she (yes as she is included in your passive statement about mothers of sons) “tore her body up ” to birth her mixed sons and clueless mixed daughter who read about mixed men who probably wouldn’t read about them (unless they were related?) …”
    ..ugh.
    Talk about a clusterbomb of “innocent” wonderings.

    But since you asked like I said my response is already up there.

    There’s nothing wrong with questions, yeah, but so then ask them. Or let them be answered with out saying you weren’t asking! Don’t act like you’re not asking what you *are* (now admitting you were) asking, just because you don’t like the answers to what you *didn’t* ask. And were offended* I presumed (rightly) that you were asking.

    Also–again. I know men aren’t as into women as the other way around, in general. Just saying so, again. I’m the first one to write any male off who doesn’t have women listed in any of his literary/musical/hero-worshiping indexes. (And you’re right –it’s a high percentage of men like this, and I hate this! It disgusts me.)

    I too like men admiring unrelated women, for achievements, contributions, displayed skills and bravery, etc. However, me, a mixed woman, reading about Obama, a mixed man, is normal as he’s running for prez. As they say, “everybody is doing it”.

    Anyone reading about someone running for prez is normal. As well, heads up mixed women: if you want to be read about by mixed men, run for president. As well, if any mixed women want to be read about by *anybody* run for president.

    Posted by Jeyoani | March 11, 2008, 10:12 pm
  126. This is a thought-provoking post. Relevantly, there is a growing consensus among experts, and in the media, that Obama is not a Boomer, nor an Xer, but instead is a member of Generation Jones (born 1954-1965, between the Boomers and Xers). Just in the last month or so, several top media outlets, including The New York Times, Newsweek Magazine, and NBC, have all made the argument that Obama is specifically part of Generation Jones. I also heard a panel of generations experts recently on a national radio show discussing this specific issue, and four of the five experts conlcuded that Obama is, in fact, a GenerationJoneser…that his bio and political worldview closely match the GenJones archetype.

    Posted by ElectionGuy2008 | March 16, 2008, 6:29 pm
  127. Hi Tami,

    This thread is really challenging my “cutting” and “pasting” ability.🙂

    You are absolutely right! Racism is a primary injury if it is in your face all the time. If racism is the # 1 injury, this will affect how you see Obama/Clinton. Not all people will be as clear within themselves about this, but I believe it is generally a “truth” that is floating out there.

    The problem in my book, is how do you handle multiple oppressive situations? I am willing to give Obama some benefits of the doubt. His campaign targeted women, and it was a very calculated thing. But I think this was a targeting of straight women. As a radical lesbian feminist, “charming” men are suspicious characters. I am moved by direct statements that are bluntly feminist.

    Neither the Obama camp nor the Hillary camp gets down on the other side for racism or sexism. Both have seemed to say that we should keep this presidential race about issues. But to me, both those statements are fake. An election is about race and it is about gender, and that’s what is the power of this election. We finally have two viable candidates that are NOT white dumb old guys! Or white dumb middle aged guys! And I say finally!!!

    Now how do we divy this up? Too me, Obama is a sexist, and I see him as the proverbial wife at his side, woman give up a Harvard level shot at the world, and stay home feeding the kids and keeping the home fires lit. Yuck. The personal is political with me, and this heterosexual lifestyle just isn’t going to cut it. I would be just as mad about this if it were a white woman with a frozen smile up there on the podium too. Cindy McCain, Laura Bush…. Mrs. Newt Gingritch, Mrs. this and Mrs. that…. Mrs.– missing opportunity.

    Neither side is going to condemn the racism/sexism of the other side. I believe that racism is invisible to white people and that sexism is invisible to men. Men will never ever understand exactly what sexism is, and white people in America are never going to get what racism is. NEVER ever.

    That said, I believe it is our duty to learn more and do more.
    And that’s why nobody is going to agree with anyone here about this election. As a hard line feminist, no man is acceptable ever when I have a choice of a very smart woman. Even in cases of moderate republicanism, I will support a good woman for office. That’s my bottom line now and forever. men would scream “reverse sexism” but I don’t care what men say. I am supporting women front and center just as men have always done this for men. Black men in the Nation of Islam support male supremacy, White men in the KKK support male supremacy… we all know the drill.

    I do believe it is harder on black feminists, definitely. Just listen to the attacks on Hillary Clinton’s “privileged upbringing” in a Jeramiah Wright sermon, and you get how the men don’t even know the true class background of a very well known woman political figure. Pretty tacky. It’s not sexist, it’s just male tacky and male dumb. There is a subtle difference here.

    I don’t want male dumb in the white house, male tone deaf, male joking behind closed doors about women. All male closed door places are about woman joking, belittling and trash talking. I have had enough of all of that. As a radical lesbian feminist, heck I am tired of male heterosexuality period, and annoyed with straight female compliance! It’s a yuck to me, sorry, but it is.🙂

    Tami says:
    “Now, when my primary injury is racism, it doesn’t make me want to knock all white people from the field. But when faced by what I perceive as racism by Hillary Clinton and her campaign, I am not willing to allow her to act as an oppressor to my black self while scoring for my female self. In the same way, black rap artists who blame white racism for their denigration of women get no pass for me.”

    “I’ve said on my blog a few times that I think if you aren’t about justice for all, then you aren’t about justice. Now I don’t expect everybody to fight as hard as I do over issues of importance to black women. But I’m still wrestling with how I feel about the ability of some feminists to overlook the racism within this presidential campaign.”

    Satsuma back at ya:
    I don’t believe anyone is purely for justice, because justice changes based on your primary injury. Male justice is not the same thing as radical lesbian feminist justice. Justice is not about freedom, it is controlled by those in power and used against those who herstorically don’t have power. I just am not impressed with the word.

    As a lesbian, I certainly don’t experience justice from straight women very often. It doesn’t happen, so I don’t have to care all that much about exclusively straight women’s issues. It’s ok, but I do believe in collaboration and working together on the stuff that will benefit BOTH straight and lesbian women.
    I think that is the secret — to find all the things that absolutely positively benefit both.

    The very same thing can be said of black and white women. We all know unity over specifics is possible, and we have to dole our time out in ways where we benefit ourselves.

    I relate to women first, women first, adult women first…. I don’t relate at all to women who have to “sacrifice’ for someone else ever. That is not going to cut it with me.

    When you have a woman first philosophy, an adult woman as # 1 philosophy, and a radical child free zone philosophy, the world just looks different. This adament absolutist nature of mine was formed over many a decade. It has hardened me to the extent that if there is no measurable and absolute win-win for me and another group or point of view, then I don’t care.

    But I do believe with brutal honesty, we can find commonality, and that is fun and exciting. Probably most women aren’t as fussy and demanding as I am, and most women don’t want power for women as much as I do. They don’t hate male colonizers as much as I do, and that’s ok.

    Tami highlighted:
    “Now, when my primary injury is racism, it doesn’t make me want to knock all white people from the field.”

    Now I said, as a radical take no prisoners black woman, why not? Why not put black candidates ahead of white candidates always? Now Clarence Thomas would try anyone’s patience, but most African American candidates strike me as a hell of a lot more liberal or progressive or radical than white male candidates. They are probably a hell of a lot more progressive than most white female “liberals.” Hillary Clinton didn’t go to a radical church for 20 years, she went to milktoast Metholist places. Obama went for the gold! Great in your face anger preaching, the courage to say “G-D America” from a pulpit… pro or con, he was there for radical Afrocentric preaching. This is really great stuff to radical lesbian feminists. I guess it appeals to our separatist souls, but it also oddly reeks of sexism, and well, nobody is perfect…

    You have to vote your power and live your power! So Tami, you’re a great writer, and I’m glad there are a few things that you understand about my arguments. Just as I hope I am able to get what you are saying most of the time. It’s a process right?

    Now on to Heart’s primary injury list:

    I am always intrigued by the ritual hatred of capitalism here. I guess I just don’t see it as a primary injury. It is a system that I believe in, and support. The capitalism I support is the small business variety. I’m not into rah rah for Fortune 500 stuff, but I do know that money has been a very good thing in my life.

    As a lesbian, I simply get better service and more deferential treatment with more dollars. Straight women don’t even experience life the way I do, so they get this instant social approval just about anywhere there go. I like to purchase it and know it will be delivered to me if I go to some places and avoid other places. I need consistency of excellence in my life!

    Believe me, if you are a lesbian, rich is better. The best and the brightest of lesbian salons and literature early in the 20th century came from very wealthy women. Gertrude Stein, Natalie Barney, Romaine Brooks, Virginia Woolf, Nancy Cunard, Radclyffe Hall, Rene Vivien… and more. These were women of wealth and refinement that defined the height of lesbian style in Paris, London and Germany between the wars. The reason you know about these lesbians is they had assets!

    I look forward to a major gay and lesbian event coming up so I can wear my very first tux. A stylist lesbian ala Radclyffe Hall or Nancy Cunard. Cigars, brandy, perhaps a rainbow colored rose in my lapel… it is lesbian style all my own, and I love this!

    By the time Gertrude Stein died, she had an art collection valued at about $4,000,000– because she was a lesbian, her straight family came in and took it all, leaving Alice B. Toklas penniless. Had they known me back then, I would have made sure that their assets were protected from heterosexual bio family theives.

    Back in the day, when there was little to no lesbian anything. .. Imagine going to a college with NO gay or lesbian anything? Imagine having to put up with rampant heterosexuality everywhere, and absolutely no social structure for lesbians? That my dear women, was not that long ago in the mid-west of America. So the heroic lesbians of herstory to me were healthy, wealthy and wise. This is one reason I believe in wealth accumulation as a good thing for lesbians.

    Let all the straight women screw around with poverty, but not me. So I defend what I call lesbian capitalism. I am very interested in how lesbians structure women created wealth to pass on to successive lesbian generations. Believe me, a primary injury to me is the blatant homophobia of straight women. I am very well aware of it, and I want to share perhaps a minority view of economics or even equality.

    I don’t belive in justice or equality. I don’t see it and I don’t get it. But I do know that I am in charge of my life, and I can go out and make it better without any straight woman’s help at all.

    Primary injury determines a lot of what we think and feel. Most of the time, women’s primary injuries have been silenced by men. I believe that male sexism and womanhatred is the primary injury inflicted on all women worldwide. But there are subtle themes and variations on the theme of male bad and woman good. There is white bad, black good…

    If we are honest about primary injury, and if we care about shared struggle and shared solidarity over specific issues that benefit all, then we’ll be very strong indeed. If we are honest about what we can’t stand and won’t do, and if we are honest about what we love and what we will do, then nothing can stop us women!

    If anything, this election has given us a lot of opportunity to share our views with each other. It can bring black women and white women closer together in blunt honesty. It might hurt a little, but I believe we all know we are trying. I am trying, but it won’t do any good if I pretend to think or believe things I don’t.

    As a life long lesbian feminist, I do see the world very very differently. As a woman who became very good with numbers and math, I go to worlds a lot of women avoid. Remember straight women have had a lot of male subsidy, but my life has been paid by my labor and my brains. When there was nothing lesbian at all that I could see, I was a lesbian for myself. I read about the lives of those lesbians in Europe, and to this day, they continue to be my role models.

    Lesbian identity to me is very much a creation of early 20th century life, and this might help all of you understand more of where I’m coming from. It’s really a pleasure to share all these ideas with you. Tami, you’re fantastic, thank you for caring! Heart…. needs no further ado, but perhaps a few kookarooka – roos are in order. Branjor the best in the west! Mary Sunshine– go go great! And even the irritating women here make me smile. I won’t name any names here🙂

    Keep it up women! Keep it going strong, and have a cup of virtual tea in a 1915 Paris salon hosted by Natalie Barney, American Heiress, bon vivant, and lesbian charmer of another age.

    Posted by Satsuma | March 16, 2008, 9:20 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog Stats

  • 2,563,060 hits

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Archives

The Farm at Huge Creek, Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, The Feminist Hullaballoo

206672_10150156355071024_736021023_6757674_7143952_n

59143_424598116023_736021023_5026689_8235073_n

Afia Walking Tree

More Photos