I hesitate to ask that question because “insufferable, miserable bitch” pretty much goes hand in hand with “feminist” in the popular culture and I hate to add to it. But I see these radical feminists running around the internet killing joy wherever they see it and I just have to wonder.
In a way, it reminds me of that saying–To the person who has only a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.
Let’s try this from another direction.
I’ve been reading Renegade Evolution for a while now. She’s one of the toughest blogs for me to read, personally, because so much of what she says fundimentally challenges my ideas about what it means to be a feminist and what it means to be sex positive and what it means to feel powerful. I think I benefit from reading her a great deal, but I read her and am always just “No, no, no, no, no. La la la. I can’t hear you.” Which, I think, means that she’s someone I really need to hear from and consider. So, I try to honor that. I read and consider. But I don’t comment over there because I feel like my objections to what she’s saying are based in how challenged I feel by her perspective, not by their validity. At this point, arguing with her would be about my desire to remain unmoved and unchanged by what she says and I believe being unmoved and unchanged are not valid goals. Does that make sense?
Anyway, I bring her up because she’s had it with feminism.
Okay, let that stitch hang for just a second.
Over at Alas, they’re still debating the hilarious cartoon Amp drew the other day. A certain set of radical feminists believes that his comparing them to certain conservative Christians is misogynistic. Unless they believe that any man daring to critique a woman is inherently misogynist, I’m afraid I don’t understand their position.
And I, like Mandolin, often don’t recognize myself in the online rad fem defintion of “woman,” let alone feminist. The rad fem strategy seems to be to have a framework through which to view the world and to force that framework to… um… frame (ha, if I had an editor, she could smooth that mess out) whatever it is they’re looking at. If you read some of the comments in the threads Mandolin links to, you can see some women grateful to have a way to view the world.
And, you know, I guess I don’t get that. Again, I want to come back to ethical pleasure–feeling good and doing things that make you happy that don’t hurt others. Why aren’t we advocating that women do things that feel good to them?
See, I consider this to be radical, in a different sense of the word, of course. But to me, the notion that women should be encouraged to actively take part in the world (do things), and not passively wait for the world to happen to them, in a way they find pleasurable (meaning that women would have to figure out for themselves what felt good for them and seek it) and being attentive to it not hurting others (taking up space in the world and being aware of what taking up that space means) is radical.
Changing women’s thinking so that we, ourselves, decide our own destinies is radical. But how can we know if we’re on the right track? None of us can really imagine what it will be like when women are not so fucked up anymore. We can’t set goals or use theoretical framework because we don’t know where it is we’re going.
Say that we were all fish and some of us had a dream to get onto dry land. We might have, by leaping out of the water, some ideas about what we’ll need to get there and what we’ll need when we get there. But we’ve never been on dry land before. We can’t say for sure that what we need to get there is the same as what we’ll need when we’re there.
We have to be able to be flexible and to plan for a future we cannot wholly envision.
That, to me, is where pleasure comes in. Pleasure doesn’t require having a known goal. It’s a way to guide you.
With that in mind, I don’t know why we can’t say that, just as it brings some women, like Renegade Evolution, great pleasure to dance naked in front of folks, it brings other women great pleasure to find dancing naken in front of folks very silly. And both groups would go on their ways doing and believing the things that bring them pleasure and acting on that pleasure in ways that don’t hurt others.
That, to me, seems very powerful.