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Kelly J. Cooper

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Feminist Critique [Oct. 28th, 2008|01:08 am]
Kelly J. Cooper
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This well-written article is a critique of white, privileged feminism:


(Ganked from louiseroho with my thanks.)

Thing is, I'm kind of a crap feminist. Not because I don't care, but because I guess I figured if I had the chemistry and the plumbing, I was all set.

But honestly, I know fuck all about the history, not to mention what worked and what didn't. I've got a little bit of a handle on white (and straight) privilege, but I don't get a lot of the references the author makes.

Is there a feminist primer I should be reading? (I did read the backpack essay.)

[User Picture]From: cos
2008-10-28 12:40 pm (UTC)
Ugh. Well-written, yes, but too frustrating in its self-righteousness to slog through, IMO.

It points out a lot of issues worth writing about, some of which I'm familiar with already, but it doesn't do so through a useful lens of "here are things different groups fail to see about each other; if they did, they could work together more effectively". Instead, it uses a lens of one view is right, the other view is blind, the incompleteness is solely on one side (white feminism is incomplete because of its blindness)...

... and then it also works into everything a point of view which I'll make an analogy to illustrate:

Ever been on a mailing list about topic Foo, and someone posts something Really Important that everyone should know about but that has nothing to do with topic Foo? And in fact you already saw several posts about that very thing because it's about topic Bar which you're interested in so you subscribe to a mailing list about topic Bar? Try to explain to the poster on the Foo list why, despite the fact that you and many others on the list might care about this Really Important Thing, list Foo is not the place to post about it?

Now, it's not exactly the same thing, but the general concept is: the same people can work on different issues in coalitions, and they work through various groups that each does some things well and focuses on them and draws members interested in those things, and doesn't do other things. That doesn't prevent the people from doing other things, and working through other groups, and even sometimes having multiple groups work together on something. But just because, say, labor and environmental causes can go well together doesn't mean the Sierra club needs to be lobbying to increase the minimum wage, and the fact that the Sierra Club doesn't do so does not mean that "environmentalists" don't care about the minimum wage.

Yes, NOW is not the be-all and end-all of feminism, and it misses a lot of things that feminsts should (and do) care about. But neither is INCITE!, and it misses a whole lot more things. That's okay, because INCITE! exists to fill a gap and it focuses on the gap it's filling. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a significant membership overlap with NOW.

So, ugh. I really dislike this essay, despite the useful things it's got to communicate.
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From: i_leonardo
2008-10-28 02:54 pm (UTC)
i keep Eloquence in the bag of tricks that i usually can't find before my 2nd cup of tea, so forgive me but: "ditto".
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