"I talk about the gods, I am an atheist. But I am an artist too, and therefore a liar. Distrust everything I say. I am telling the truth."

--Ursula K. Leguin

November 2009

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Posts Tagged: 'recommendations'

Mar. 7th, 2009

Brilliant post is brilliant

And everyone should go read it.

The author expresses clearly and concisely some of the knottiest issues of writing slash as a feminist. And, as a sample, let me quote the comment in which she actually manages to define feminism, which just knocked my socks off, because have you ever tried to do this? With any belief or philosophy you hold? It's amazingly hard.

Well, I tend to go with the "feminism is the radical notion that women are people" line most of the time. :)

But, of course, that tiny quote has a lot of implications -- for instance, it implies that a feminist is someone who acknowledges that we live in a society that systematically dehumanises women. We women tend to be valorised for doing things reduce our agency, that cast us as objects, etc, while if we do things that indicate that we're complex people who want to be in control of our own lives, we're automatically suspect. Another good quote, from Rebecca West is, “I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is; I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.”

Beyond that, though, feminism is quite diverse and difficult to pin down -- because while there is a broad consensus on the need to differentiate ourselves from doormats, there are lots of different (and sometimes conflicting) ideas about how to do so. As I note above, a lot of the time, this is used, by both feminists and anti-feminists alike, to polarise feminism in very unhelpful ways, and I reject this completely, even as I acknowledge that there are feminists with whom I disagree strongly on some issues. To me, feminism is about taking all of those ideas, even those that I may initially dislike, and applying them critically, and seeing what I come away with -- sometimes, the ideas I dislike do not stand up against this process, and sometimes, I am forced to challenge my own assumptions about how things work (and sometimes I shift back and forth, undecided). I see this as an ongoing process with few easy answers.