Can We Fail At Feminism? If Yes, Are We?

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1 Response

  1. Terry Peterman says:

    A few things here, Layne. Great work.

    First, I suggest we start an rock/rap group called, “Bitches in Solidarity.” We could be like a geeky academic Rage Against the Machine. We have to make this happen. It is a moral imperative. Don’t under estimate my prodigious rap skills. I “rock the mic like a vandal” to quote the greatest living rapper of all time, Vanilla Ice.

    Second, I followed your link to NiceGirls post. I was surprised at her reluctance to file a complaint when prompted by Valerie from the Ada Initiative. I understand her reluctance to name and shame but it seems that this could be a very important teachable moment. By documenting the behavior she could open up a discussion. I also understand her reluctance to bear the brunt of anyone else’s venom. However, do you think she should have filed a formal complaint? Would you have? Seriously, all “I would have kicked their asses” aside. In her shoes, would you have pursued this through formal channels?

    Third, I could not help but think of my wife during all this. When we were under grads we took an Intro to the Profession of English course as Juniors. It was taught but a self affirmed “Feminazi” (said so in her syllabus). She told my wife (in front of the class) that she, “could never be a feminist because she is locked in the beauty game. As long as she work make up, sexualized her image (fixed her hair and wore what the instructor found to be inappropriate attire), and continued to make self depricating jokes she would always be seen as a whore and would, thus, undermine the feminist cause.” My wife cried and left class at break. She still holds a bit of a chip on her shoulder like NiceGirl about her image and feminism.

    Anyway, my point is that you seem to strike a middle ground that says there are not necessarily stone tablets with the ten commandments of feminism, and if you don’t follow these ten commandments then you are condemned to exodus from the field. You are right: the community should be seeking women with differing positions and opinions in order to strengthen the community overall. Difference of opinion makes a unit stronger. Knowledge is not made in agreement. Knowledge is made along those fractures where consensus break down and questions are proposed. On the flip side you are correct that there certainly many people who would welcome any and every opportunity to undo the work of Geek Feminists. I think you do a great job of offering a middle path that acknowledges both sides.

    Good work.