I haven’t felt like writing in some time. Part of it is because I’ve been on the road for two months now, and even prior that, I hadn’t had my own home space for six months. Homesickness is strange enough when you love being on the road, stranger still when you realize that the “home” you want to go to, put your feet up and relax in, doesn’t even exist.
Apart from that, though, I’ve been thinking hard about the feminist movement (by which I mean, the radical feminist movement, because funfeminism is not feminism and liberal feminism at its best is merely a band-aid solution to a problem that needs surgery).
And I came to the realization that there IS no “movement.” There are so few of us (more than is often reported, but still not very many), for one thing, and for another thing, we can barely agree on anything. Probably because there are so few of us. We’re willing to give each other shit and even excommunicate one another at the slightest provocation (while egregious provocations often go unremarked upon, for whatever reason).
This isn’t because women are “naturally catty” or any other MRA/mainstream bullshit. Women have historically been given no incentive to form supportive communities, especially not based upon something as apparently incendiary as radical feminism (aka, asserting human rights by and for over half the human population). Those of us who have, have been subjected to both online and IRL attacks, and are thus constantly on guard for “moles” and people who are willing to sell us out — not just in small ways, but in big ways, often borderline-lifethreatening ways.
Which makes sense, but then in compensation we turn on one another almost as a sport. Maybe this all confuses and irritates me because I was a radical before I became a radical feminist.
Now, I understand firsthand that radicals are not women-friendly, and radical “community building” has no place in it for women other than as housekeepers, mothers, and fuckbots … who are also “small and fighty” and willing to “kick ass” in the name of protecting male-activist interests. (There was a perfect comment over on some post at IBtP, but I won’t link to there; the gist was that the male’s ideal of an activist woman is alternabeauty-compliant [while rejecting capitalism] and partakes in both ‘Days of War’ and ‘Nights of Love’: in other words, does not do any pesky questioning of her subordinance.)
That’s not for me. I do not believe, as I was often told, that washing dishes for male activists is “helping the revolution” by giving the men more time to work on strategies — I’d rather sit down and work on strategies myself. And that never worked with male activists anyway, as they never listened to me, at least until another male repeated the same thing I’d just said.
But the basic principle is: I’d already given up “everything” I had (which wasn’t much to begin with — being raised below the poverty line and all) to devote to a cause. To scrape bottom and try to start over again, as ethically as possible, from scratch. And it was worth it. Despite the arrests, and the unlawful detainments, and the beatings, and the profiling, and the economic disadvantages, and the lack of a home base, and all the everything else, it was worth it.
So I suppose I’m so far “out there” that discussions of whether or not one is willing to give up “everything” don’t even make sense to me.
Well, that’s not true. They do. Women are at an extreme disadvantage to men, and this translates into the fact that women often find it incredibly hard to maintain any standard of living whatsoever. Domestic partnership of any kind obviously does not help, and often (if not damn near always) makes the problem worse. Add to this the fact that so many of us are deeply traumatized, and I can understand why a woman would want to make and keep some semblance of A Life for herself. And that means some form of income, and that often means a 9-to-5 job somewhere.
I’m “lucky” enough to be so deeply traumatized, and so far below the poverty line, that I receive welfare benefits. Seriously, I’ve been told that makes me “lucky”, and as deeply scornful as that statement made me feel, I do see the point: I’m willing and fairly happy to live on $12,000 or less per year, if it means I don’t have to deal with the male-saturated, male-constructed workforce and everything that entails.
Because capitalism is patriarchy. It’s built on patriarchy. The whole idea of working for money, acquiring capital, is based on patriarchy. On valuing men, and devaluing women. If I need to explain this, I will, but I don’t feel I should have to.
Sure, it does suck not having money to do things that would benefit me, like getting a driver’s licence, making the downpayment on an elderly camper van, paying for its insurance and upkeep, etc. It sucks worrying if I’m going to get stranded somewhere, or need something, and have nobody to help. But that’s something I’m willing to trade for my (relative) freedom.
That’s perhaps the biggest difference between me and other radical feminists. I basically don’t even come from the same planet, so I’m often confused and frustrated. For that reason, I couldn’t be a part of the movement even if there was one — but though that’s sad and frustrating, it’s not going to slow me down.