I had a big fight with the Man from GM on Sunday, though it was one of those fights where I’m sure I hung up the phone going “Whatever, motherfucker,” and he hung up the phone going, “Yep, B. just has to do x, y, and z and she will be on her way to blogging superstardom. Glad we solved that.”
I tried to explain to him that I didn’t want blogging superstardom and he actually said to me, “Oh, you’re always slowly backing away from things. But it works for you, so, I’m sure this will work for you.” Which stung me to the core, which probably means that it’s true, but god damn it, I could have driven up there and ran him over three times and gladly sat on his carcass in front of the police station until someone came out to arrest me and felt okay about it.
The thing is, as I’ve said before, I believe the system is fucked. It needs to be different for the health and well-being of all of us. But, growing up in the system and being schooled by the system, I am fucked up by the system. I do not know what the right different is. I don’t know. I just know that this is not right.
I’m sorry. This is going to be very jumbled because there are about four different situations in my life to which this is all applicable and focusing just on one to try to talk about it is proving to be difficult.
But let’s take the feminist blogosphere. How I understood it was that, in the beginning, there were a few self-identified feminist bloggers. And slowly, large readerships started accumulating around some of them. Not because those bloggers were the best bloggers (which is not to say that they weren’t, just that it wasn’t a meritocracy), but because they were the easiest to find or great at self-promotion or they had a lot of time to comment around the blogosphere and link and build readership. They were, in fact, not “the best” but in many ways, the most fortunate.
There’s nothing wrong with being fortunate, except when you mistake it for reflecting on your merit. But that, from my perspective, seems to be what happened. Yes, of course, the people who are successful do deserve their success. But I cannot help but wonder if they understand that other people, who are not successful, also deserved that success.
I said over at Lauren’s that I felt like we have a lot of leading feminist bloggers, but not a lot of actual leaders.
But, honestly, I don’t know what a feminist leader looks like. I guess because, in my heart, I feel like “feminist leader” is a contradiction in terms. At least now, at this point in the system, I just don’t believe that any urge to lead feminists isn’t problematic. Women need to learn how to lead our own lives. It’s not the only goal of feminism. But I think it’s an important one–that women learn to first live ourselves for ourselves. Swapping out whoever’s the boss of you now for some feminist leader to boss you around in the future just doesn’t cut it with me. That’s meet the new boss same as the old boss shit.
And I don’t want to be a leader.
But, you know, of course I do. I’m in the system. I’m fucked up by the system. I believe that, if I’m good enough, I will be rewarded with power and fame and riches and happiness and it will be great! And it will prove my worth as a human being.
But that is fucked up. It’s so tempting, but it’s fucked up.
And I do wonder, once you start with the book deals and the media appearances, or shoot, even the meetings with politicians or the fund-raising campaigns, once you start using the system to get ahead, how easy is it to forget that the system itself is the problem?
I don’t know.
I do want real change, but I also want to be the one on top for a while.
I know that’s only human, but I want to be honest about those competing impulses.
I don’t know. The thread over at Lauren’s has stirred up a lot of things for me I don’t quite know what to make of or do with.
So, who knows?