It has been a little while since I posted an update on my book projects. I took a hiatus from writing for several months and have been focusing on the first book in the series called That Weird Girl: Essays. This book is a collection of essays on my life experiences and understanding the world we view in through an intersectional feminist lens.
Even though I was not writing much for a few months, I was still reading and researching various topics regarding intersectionality and feminism in theory and in practice. I've stumbled and fallen flat on my face a few times during that process, but I am coming out the other side. I swear that I have probably learned more in the past 6+ months than I have in all my years in school.
I tightened up the outline for That Weird Girl: Essays, it is very different from earlier iterations. (see below)
I haven't had much time lately to do a lot of writing because I have been restructuring my book projects. It has been more administrative than creative, but now that I got a few things out of the way I can dive head first into writing. In July I decided to split from writing one book to three books, because the topics were so diverse and doing it as one book would have been extremely long. Since then I have been reworking the chapters and essays even more.
I've been working on the first book in the series tentatively titlled: Tales of that Weird Girl (or a Reluctant Subcultural Feminist Looks Back on Her Life). I think that it is moving towards essays on my life experiences and various feminist topics.
Here is the lastest version of the outline: http://www.jennifervatza.com/outline-the-tales-of-that-weird-girl.html
If you are interested in the books, articles and blog posts that I have been reading in my research process, I keep an updated master bibliography here: http://www.jennifervatza.com/master-bibliography.html
I read this article today: "Why my feminism includes traditional gender roles" by Minerva Siegel on the Offbeat Home & Life website. I was hoping to find something useful to include in one of my books since feminism plays such a heavy role in and influence on my work. I want to accept her lifestyle choices at face value and applaud her for it, but I have some problems with it. If you embrace "traditional gender roles" that is your choice. However, I think a few critical points need to be made in response to her article.
On the topic of current feminist trends, she explains that she is a type of feminist "Who you likely don't picture is me: a housewife who does all the cooking and housekeeping, who makes dinner from scratch, and a solid effort to look pretty for her husband everyday when he comes home from work." Well, on the surface this is all well and nice, but what is she doing for herself? Everything seems to be done in service to her husband. What does she do when she is not cooking, cleaning, and looking pretty for her husband? I'm not judging her on not having an actual job on the workforce. I see a lot of women (with or without) children who become so enmeshed in their husbands and children's lives that they seem to have no life of their own or no time to pursue their own interests. Despite my best attempts to accept everyone as is, that kind of makes me sad for them. It is one of the reasons that I had so much trouble watching Mad Men as a feminist. Their "traditional gender roles" made me sad and occasionally angry - not at them, but at their situation as that was just how things were back then and they didn't have many choices available. Whether or not a woman is a feminist, she may want to be a homemaker, but does not have the economic ability to do so. Choosing to be a housewife is a privilege and not one that everyone can do, so of course there is bound to be some resentment.
Siegel goes on to say that "Feminism is all about giving women as much power as men, and part of that power includes the freedom to choose how to live their lives the way they want to. Most self-described feminists are all for advocating for women to be doctors, politicians, entrepreneurs, and general Titans of Industry, but they look down upon women who use their power as a feminist to choose to live in more traditional ways." I agree that feminism is about giving women as much power as men and that they should live their lives any way that they want without judgement, but that is not to say that it cannot be called into question and critically analyzed. I've done a lot of research on non-binary gender identity, expectations, and roles and while living and abiding to "traditional gender roles" is a valid life choice -- it is not for everyone and in some cases can lead to myopic close-mindedness as we have seen when it comes to homophobia, transphobia, shaming and bullying in different forms to anyone outside of the norm. I am not accusing Siegel of this, but it is a slippery slope and one to be aware of as it can be just as easy to judge people who defy social norms. Living life outside of the binary man/woman spectrum is very difficult and I feel that embracing traditional roles can be ostracizing to those who struggle.
Personally I cringe when "traditional" is used in any context. Rules and norms are meant to be explored and occasionally broken, not just done because that is the way that it has always been. I was unemployed for ten months, which gave me some perspective on as I put it, "being a lady of leisure", because I would probably barf if I called myself a housewife - no disrespect to those of you that are fine with it - this is just my personal preference. This pairs well with absolutely being offended if you assume that I have the same last name as my husband or refer to me Mrs. Timothy Allen or Timothy and Jennifer Allen. Personally, I hate gender-based prefixes because they exclude a lot of people who do not fit within the gender binary and I rarely use them. During those ten months, nothing changed drastically in our household, I didn't start cooking dinner every day or cleaning, heck we still keep our house cleaner coming every other week. Did I sit on my ass watching soap operas and eating bonbons, nope. Aside from trying to find a new job, I started writing a book (which has turned into a series of books), I did a lot of reading and research for said book, I blogged, I learned new stuff, I did some photography from time to time, I made some video tutorials, and started doing yoga again. If I was unemployed again by chance or by choice, I would do the same things because I had the time to do them outside of the constraints of a 40 hour work week.
In another passage Siegel claims that "I'm equal to my husband, and he knows it. " But are you really? To claim equality, wouldn't he have to put forth the same effort as you? Does he look pretty for you every day? Does he help to prepare meals from scratch and assist with the housework? or his being the sole financial provider his equality? I may be quibbling over minutiae here, but it doesn't sound like true equality to me. Granted, I don't think that she is being oppressed as her role as a housewife is her choice and no one is forcing her to do it. My husband and I just do what needs to be done when it is time to do it - we both do dishes, take out the trash, change cat litter boxes etc. Thankfully, we have a house cleaner to handle the rest because we are busy and quite frankly I have better things to do than clean the house because I would rather be relaxing after a long day at work, doing yoga, or researching and writing my books. Am I better than her or anyone, that is just a matter of opinion. I am not a competitive person by nature so being better or worse makes no difference to me - if it makes you happy and fulfilled then it can't be all bad, right?
She goes on to say that " I genuinely delight in thinking of ways to make my husband's time at home as great for him as possible, because I'm completely in love with him, and his happiness is my happiness." I'm not sure about "his happiness is my happiness" when it comes to the things that she was mentioned previously like looking pretty, cooking and cleaning. If he is unhappy because you didn't cook, clean and look pretty is something else entirely. I'm married and I get that ones partners moods or happiness can have an affect on us on, but I'm not sure about his happiness being my happiness. This is not to say that I am not happy for my husband when he is happy. Sometimes I wonder if I have been doing this wife thing all wrong?
Siegel mentioned that she " had a successful career for years, but I always wanted to be a homemaker." In her byline she reveals that she collects typewriters and writes essays in addition to her duties as a housewife, so that is at least something, but she could have mentioned some of her interests or hobbies in the article because quite frankly she sounds like someone who lives to serve her husband only with a disregard to her own sense of self. I know that she probably doesn't see it that way as she assumes that feminists like me just won't understand her brand of feminism.
It has been a little while since I posted about an update on my book project. I've been going in so many directions that I think encapsulating everything into one book would be ludicrous and would probably make for a book upwards of 1,000 pages. So now I am thinking about splitting it up into a series of three books. The overarching theme deals with subcultures and feminism with stories and anecdotes from the plethora of experiences from the past 41 years.
I am reworking my outline to reflect the changes of collecting chapters and sections that will now make up three books.
Tales of that Weird Girl (or a Reluctant Subcultural Feminist Looks Back on Her Life)
Chapter One: Introduction to an Alternagoth Metalhead Feminist
Chapter Three: Mixed Messages: Gender Roles and Sexuality
Chapter Seven: Why Feminism is Still Relevant Today
Women’s Roles and Feminism in Subcultures & Postsubcultures
Book Three: From Video Vixens to Riot Grrrls and Beyond
In the Beginning:
Chapter One: Groupies, Libertines and Feminist Trailblazers
Chapter Two: Keep on Rocking in a Man's World: The Runaways
Chapter Three: Oh Bondage Up Yours: The Punk Years
Chapter Four: Sex, Drugs and Rock N' Roll: The Metal Years
Chapter Seven: Underground Art Rock: Subterranean Movements
Chapter Eight: Rave til Dawn Dance Culture and the Ecstasy of Excess
Chapter Ten: Riot Grrrls and Angry Women Rockers
Chapter Eleven: Post-subcultures Retrospective Since 2000
I haven't blogged in almost a month, so I figure that I am overdue for some kind of update. The lack of writing has more to do with working full-time again since late April. At least, I get time to read/research whilst I am commuting from South Philly to North Philly, which takes about 45 minutes door-to-door. I'm still reading about a book a week in addition to random articles and stuff online. Thanks to all of my friends who have sent me links to videos and articles pertinent to the subject matter of this book.
I feel like I keep going further down the rabbit hole in the research process, I've learned so much about myself and the world I live in. There are so many things I never considered or even thought about before. I've been very contemplative for the past few weeks as a result.
The first stint of reading focused primarily upon the general study of subcultures and pop culture. Once I switched over to reading some books on feminist topics, it opened the door, or perhaps a wormhole of sorts to a lot of other topics. At the intersection of feminism and subcultures/pop culture, I have found another wormhole taking me down the path of reading about non-binary gender studies and sexuality, since as my research has yielded a lot of different angles as to how to examine the roles of women in subcultures. When I say women in subcultures, I am referring to anyone who defines themselves as women, past or present.
I am currently reading books dealing with non-binary gender and sexuality. I started out with Judith Butler's Gender Trouble, which is a tough book to read academically speaking as it relies heavily on the theoretical aspects of gender and draws upon a lot of previous work by Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan and Sigmund Freud among other theorists and philosophers. It's been awhile since I have read anything by them, so I probably lost some stuff in between the lines. Butler looks extensively at the performative aspects of gender. It started to make more sense to me once I started reading the two books that I am reading concurrently. The first being Genderqueer: Voices from Beyond the Sexual Binary, which is divided between stories from different writers and the first few chapters focused on gaining a deeper understanding of non-binary genders. The Other Genders is an eBook focusing on how we define non-binary genders. So far it has been a bit scientific and technical with a lot of statistics drawn from surveys and research, but very helpful in gaining a deeper understanding of gender issues across the boards.
If you want to learn more about my book project, you can find more information here: http://www.jennifervatza.com/subcultures-book.html and a current outline here: http://www.jennifervatza.com/outline.html
Write a book; you will learn who you really are. I wrote this in the margin of a book that I am currently reading as research for this book. I have learned so much about myself during the process of writing this book. I just finished reading Female Chauvinist Pigs by Ariel Levy and one of the chapters focused on gender roles specifically focused on being “genderqueer.” I was not familiar with the term, so I Googled it and low and behold it refers to someone who does not subscribe to traditional gender roles and can identify with both or any combination of male and female genders. I must admit that I have had to learn about all of the different gender distinctions that have become more popular in recent years. However, here is the thing, reflecting upon my life, I have always said that I was “gender dyslexic” since I did not know that there was an actual term for it. I’ve often described myself as a chick with a dude personality and prefer men who are more feminine in personality and appearance. However, it goes deeper than that… I traced the origins of my unofficial education in gender roles back from my early childhood to young adulthood within the influence of my subcultural leanings.
Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, music and pop cultures and subcultures were filled with men in makeup adorned in feminine attire. As a child of the MTV generation, I was an early adopter of music and style starting in the New Wave/New Romantic genre with bands like Duran Duran and drawing inspiration from David Bowie and Prince of course. This became my normal as I moved on to the hair metal genre that gave us more men in makeup with teased hair in flashy feminine attire. I loved bands like Mötley Crüe, Poison, Guns N Roses and Faster Pussycat. Again I would move on through the early 90s into the alternative scene, where men did not wear makeup as much, but it was fashionable to mess around with gender roles by wearing skirts and dresses and styling ones hair into pigtails. From there I became a goth and once again, men were in makeup, jewelry, crazy hairstyles and wearing skirts and feminine clothing. Needless to say, I never found common normal men interesting or attractive, jocks = YUCK, (traditional) frat boys = YUCK, Businessmen = YUCK! I’ll take Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx over Mad Men’s Don Draper or any professional athlete any day. I’ve always liked men who were considered to be effeminate regardless of their sexuality and women who were somewhat more masculine in personality, yet still girly in appearance..
And now for the boys that I love...with the looks that kill....
And now for the ladies of rock that I love.... Make no mistake, these ladies will cut ya'
I was the tallest in my class until high school, I was also overdeveloped at an early age, and grew out of children’s clothing by the time that I was 9 years old. Thinking back to my experiences, I didn’t fall into the heteronormative gender roles assigned to children. I was somewhat of a tomboy even though, I had my fair share of Barbie Dolls. However, I would color their hair with magic markers and cut up their fancy ball gowns and make awesome rock n roll attire for them. My bedroom walls were wallpapered with horrible floral designs and Holly Hobby; I quickly redecorated by covering them up with posters of all of my favorite hair metal bands. During high school and my first stint in college I always mixed up my styles, cute black dress and a pair of combat boots or a spiked collar and a strand of pearls. I always loved juxtaposing masculine and feminine traits at the same time. To be honest, I never really thought about it at the time.
My husband and I started dating as we were settling into the early 2000s in our post-1990s alternative gothic style. We’ve changed a lot over the years, but I like to think of us as both gender equals, and I will leave it at that since he is not about oversharing on the Internet.
Over the years, I have always had a much easier time relating to men and have had a string of platonic male friends. So what does a chick like me do with a male best friend? You will not find us at a monster truck rally that is for sure. We would wonder around art museums, outdoor gardens, make dinner, drink wine, listen to jazz, gossip about our shared friend circles, go to parties, hang out at nice bars and restaurants, go to concerts, and have deep intellectual conversations about everything and anything. I’ve always prided myself on being “one of the guys”, whatever that means.
On the other hand, I always had a hard time “getting” other women; I just did not understand them. For instance, it took me years to realize that women greet each other with compliments, which is weird. I know my boots are fabulous, but I did not make them, so why compliment me on them? I will accept compliments on makeup because that at least takes skill and creativity. I would much rather be complimented on my intellect or a creative skill. For some reason, many of my female friends have confided in me that they find me intimidating and/or thought that I hated them. In retrospect, this is probably because I am blunt and don’t sugar coat things, I am fairly intelligent and don’t fake anything. I would rather have an intellectual conversation, allowing for occasional gossip, but I could not give a crap about discussing red carpet fashion at the latest award show. I consider myself to be stylish, and I love shopping as much as anyone else, but you probably will never see me running around in $1,500 Louboutin pumps with a $5,000 Chanel purse. It is just not me. Although, I do have a lovely tiara sitting on my desk and more glitter than a craft store in my massive makeup collection. I love makeup, but I also love books.
I did not know much about rape culture because I just didn’t know the kinds of guys that make rape jokes or who would fall into that gray area of societal norms that espouse that sort of gendered violence. After doing extensive research, I have a hard time grasping that there are men like that, even though that I know they do in fact exist.
I’ve also have learned a lot from my transgender friends about the fluidity of gender roles, psychology, and appearance. I owe a lot of that to my friend Maddie from Second Life, who incidentally was the voice of Pokemon’s Meowth. Sadly she passed away several years ago, but I am forever indebted to her for her wisdom and advice.
All in all, being genderqueer is awesome, and it does not make me any less feminist in the process. I have met so many amazing people over the years who have made my life much richer and fuller in the process.
Since the bulk of my studies on women and subcultures take place during the time frame of Generation X, I will be focusing primarily on this generation in my book. I will also look at how the Baby Boomers before us and the Millennials after us influence the world view of subcultures and fandoms.
The years that categorize generations have shifted a bit over the years, but Gen X settled into 1961 - 1981 while the Millennials are 1982 - 2004 and Baby Boomers are roughly 1946 - 1960. Different sources will have those generations overlapping years in some areas. Anyone born since 2005 is in an unnamed generational category.
Gen Xers are also much lower in numbers at 65 million as opposed to 77 million Baby Boomers and an estimated 83 million Millennials according to the Pew Research Center. Just like the shifting times mentioned above, the number of members also shifts higher or lower.
It is critical to understand generational differences when looking at subcultures. Generation Xers have been reluctant to abandon their subcultural leanings as they aged. I know that I am one of them. I pretty much have dressed in the same manner, give or take a few questionable fashion choices, since the early 1990s. I still listen to the music of my youth and refuse to abandon it since I am 40 years old.
One thing that gets ignored is that while Generation X didn’t invent the Web but they largely were responsible for building it. Google, Amazon, Twitter, YouTube, and blogging all came through the genius of Generation X. We were also the first generation to grow up and come of age during the Internet era. While the Millennials claim to fame is being “digital natives”, Gen X were perhaps “digital pioneers”, we came, we saw, we built a digital legacy for future generations.
I still have more reading and research to do on this subject, plus formalizing my own thoughts experiences on the subject matter.
Here are some helpful resources to get to know your Gen Xers better.
I have been following the case of Kesha versus her producer Dr. Luke and Sony in the press since I have been researching and writing about rape culture for my book. Her allegations are shocking against Dr. Luke, and despite having international fame, she is still a victim of the impervious nature of rape culture and victim-blaming, especially in the music industry.
In 2014, Kesha filed a lawsuit against her music producer Dr. Luke claiming years of sexual, psychological and physical abuse. Also claiming two accounts of rape after being drugged by Dr. Luke. In this lawsuit, she asks to be released from her contract with Sony and producer Dr. Luke, for reasons which should be fairly obvious. She was even willing to stay with Sony but wanted to work with another producer. This isn’t the first time that a powerful and presumably wealthy man used his fame to exploit, assault, and rape young women, Bill Cosby did pretty much the same thing for decades before being outed as a sexual predator, publicly shamed and sued by his victims, who refused to remain silent any longer. It blows my mind, how men like this can get away with this shit for decades while everyone else cleans up their messes and silences their victims. Even stranger to this emotional saga, the New York Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich stated that “every rape is not a gender-motivated crime.” Kesha recently posted on her Instagram page that she was told to admit that “she was never raped and to apologize publicly for it.” Individuals like Dr. Luke are usually serial offenders, Kesha was probably not the first woman he is purported to have assaulted and probably won’t be the last.
Kesha is quoted as saying in a Forbes article: “I don’t think that my case is giving people who have been abused the confidence that they can speak out.” Even for someone as famous as Kesha, she has been submitted to victim-blaming, making stories up to get out of her contract with her abuser and even the courts have astonishingly ruled against her. This sends a horrible message to women out there that they have no voice in the matter and will be silenced and shamed if bringing their allegations of abuse out of the shadows. If no one believes a celebrity, what chance does the average person have?
Where has all of this left Kesha? No one should ever be punished for reporting abuse such as this, but Kesha is seemingly being punished. Dr. Luke could drag out her contract indefinitely, and no one else will want to work with her fearing being sued Sony and Dr. Luke. According to a post on Bust Magazine’s website, She cannot create any new music or record with any other producer, she can only sing songs that she hasn’t written and to date, she has not performed since the lawsuit was Dr. Luke began in 2014.
Kesha’s fight represents other women who have been victims of the sexual violence. She is not alone in her battle and hopefully some day she will be free from her past abuse and abuser. Even if you don’t like her music, you must stand on her side as a woman. No one deserves this, ever. We cannot afford to live in a world, where this is a justifiable outcome. This young woman’s career is being torn asunder, and who would make up a fake story like this just to get out of a recording contract, my guess is no one would do this. This is why so many rapes and acts of sexual violence are never reported.
Here are some of my recommended goth readings:
So Full of Myself as a Chick: Goth Women, Sexual Independence, and Gender Egalitarianism by Amy C. Wilkins from the Gender and Society journal. You may not have access to JSTOR unless you have access to a library that subscribes to this database. In any case, if you Google search the title the second result from ibrarian.net will open a PDF of the article. Wilkin’s study of the gothic subculture takes an interesting approach looking at the blurred gender lines, various forms of non-hetero-traditional sexuality and even spends a significant amount of time discussing polyamorous relationships in a positive light. She illustrates how the goth scene provides a pro-feminist safe space for women who dress sexy, but not to be viewed solely as sexual objects for entitled men. She also writes that “Goth women are strong and independent.” (A sentiment which I agree with 100%.) This is a very positively and not clichéd account of the role of women in the gothic subculture.
Dancing on Bela Lugosi’s Grave: The Politics and Aesthetics of Gothic Club Dancing by Tricia Henry Young from the Journal of the Society for Dance Research. This one is also accessible through JSTOR like the previous journal article. Young focuses a lot more on the history of the gothic subculture, as the title would imply, I originally thought that it would be focusing solely on the topic of gothic dance styles, which it does to some extent. She mostly focuses on UK goths of the 1980s and 1990s as her article was written in 1999. She acknowledges that goths were very early adopters of the Internet, which I can proudly attest to being one of those goths who frequented the AOL Gothic message boards and occasionally the complexly dramatic alt.gothic newsgroups.
The Secret History of Propaganda: The Underground Goth Bible by Emma Hope Allwood, she interviews Propaganda magazine’s creator Fred H. Berger. I wish I still had intact copies of the magazine, but I digress. The magazine covered music, film and fashion and unfortunately bit the literal dust in 2003. It began as a zine focuses on the hardcore punk subcultures of the 1980s and then moved to being the most iconic gothic magazine and then to heroin chic and queer chic in the mid-1990s. I am seriously tempted to order the back issues from my gothic heyday, which can be done via the Propaganda Facebook page. I was a small town goth for a chunk of my pre-permanent relocation to Philadelphia. I got my goth wherever I could those days.
Gothic Scholars Don’t Wear Black: Gothic Studies and Gothic Subcultures by Sara Martin. This paper draws some interesting parallels between the academic study of Gothic literature and the Gothic subculture, which usually falls under the academic rubric of cultural studies or sociology. The two are so interrelated, yet seem to be disconnected from each other at the same time. She outlines the early history of the gothic subculture in addition to gothic literature from the 18th and 19th century and its influence on the subculture.
Ageing in a spectacular youth culture: continuity, change and community amongst older goths by Paul Hodkinson from the British Journal of Sociology. Again, like the first two journal articles, you may need to access this particular piece from a library database like JSTOR. Paul Hodkinson has written extensively on the gothic subculture and is featured in several collections of essays and excerpts on subcultures, as well as in academic journals in addition to his own book on the gothic subculture. In my readings, I have found, especially coming from the UK that subcultures are often referred to as youth cultures, which is not an overly accurate description as many Goths and other subcultural participants carry on their gothic lifestyles well into adulthood, some members tone down their appearance and find it hard to balance work and family life over clubbing and social events. There are two collections by Andy Bennett on the subject of ageing and subcultures, so this is not an area of study that has gone unexamined.
I have amassed a small arsenal of journal articles, web articles, and blog posts in the research process for my book. I wanted to thank some of my friends for sending me links to pertinent articles and such. The articles that I have read so far covering various topics on feminism, rape culture, generational differences and fandoms.
Here is some of what I read this week:
Age, Race, Class and Sex: Women Redefining Difference by Audra Lorde. The link will automatically download a Word document with the text. Lorde is a self-proclaimed “Black lesbian feminist socialist mother of two”. She points out how “feminism” often overlooks anything that falls into the category of the “other” as the title suggests based on age, race, class and sexual orientation. She creates a dialogue between the dominant and subordinate status of women pointing out that “you (dominant) fear your children will grow up to join the patriarchy… and we (subordinate) fear our children will be dragged from a car and shot down in the street and you will turn your backs upon the reasons they are dying.” You might think that this paper was written recently in the wake of #BlackLivesMatter, when in actuality this was written in 1980.
Becoming the Third Wave by Rebecca Walker. She is the daughter of African-American novelist and activist Alice Walker, who wrote The Color Purple. Written in 1992, her essay appeared in Ms. Magazine and introduces the concept of “third-wave” feminism. The first wave came into fruition during the late 19th century and focused on women’s right to vote. The second wave came during the 1960s and 1970s when women demanded equal rights and ownership of their bodies when it came to reproductive rights. Walker wrote this piece and references the sexual harassment case between Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas. Her message is simple “I will not be silent” and she encourages younger feminists to be moved to action and to turn outrage into political power.
The F Word: “Feminism” turns off a lot of younger women. Is it time to retire the word – or reclaim it by Rebecca Traister appeared on salon.com in 2005. She speaks of feminisms troubled past and vague future with younger women. Feminist is an exclusionary term that doesn’t include everyone equally. Some “feminists” have chosen to use words like “womanist” instead because feminist was primarily associated with white, middle-class women.
Mansplaining, explained: ‘Just ask an expert. Who is not a lady’ interview by Jessica Valenti with author Rebecca Solnit. Solnit is credited with coining the term “mansplaining” in her book Men Explain Things to Me. Her essay and this interview examine the ways in which men, in their entitled confidence often find themselves in need to explain women’s experiences, feminism and other topics to women. They assume that they know more and fact-checking, heck no! This phenomenon is not new, but it is so deeply entrenched in our culture. We are women, we know stuff too!
Rebecca Solnit, The Archipelago of Arrogance via TomDispatch by Rebecca Solnit. Mansplaining is sexism, plain and simple. It is the “intersection of overconfidence and cluelessness”. Solnit admits that no man has ever apologized for explaining things to her, wrongly, things that I know and that they do not know.
Feminists are not responsible for educating men by Cecilia Winterfox. It might seem odd placement to go from mansplaining to an article on feminists not wanting to be responsible for education men on women’s issues. No one likes to be cornered in a conversation and questioned about feminism and other aspects of womanhood. Men have to learn some of these things themselves. The burden of proof should not fall upon the shoulders of feminists far and wide. I recently saw a TV ad for an upcoming episode of VICE on HBO, in which the female interviewer is threatened with violence during a conversation with a man in the Middle East about rape. Hello, misogyny. Now this is an extreme case, and it is easy to say that change must come from within. If someone’s mind is closed, good luck on educating them.
Performing Age, Performing Gender by Kathleen Woodward looks at film and art examples to illustrate how the older female body is absent or even invisible from our visual culture. Ageism pervades American culture and feminism, seeking to erase the older female body from view. There is a cultural divide between the reproductive and post-reproductive years of women. Once a woman turns 50, she starts to become invisible, which is something that hopefully is changing since she wrote this in 2006. I can see this be a generational issue, as 50 was quite different for our baby boomer predecessors, but the Gen Xers hitting 50 hold on to their style and appear to be much younger at 50 than our parents and grandparents did at that age.
I will be adding more links to articles that I am reading to my blog.