Tuesday, February 23, 2010

response to an article

Someone wrote an article that seemed directed toward me in the Dakota Student today. Here it is: (they haven't posted it online, but when they do I will link it).


I read your article today and assumed the columnist you were speaking to was me. Hooray! I seem to be the attention of a lot of people ... anyway. People usually get so angry at my columns.

I don't feel that I NEED to explain my article to you ... but in regard to what you said about how me being educated has proved my position of oppression, or I guess what I read from your article that my education oppressed me.

I was speaking about Marx when he talked about false consciousness. Many people do not even realize they are oppressed. We are stuck in these positions, they're normalized, no one questions them. Personal example: I was in a shitty, highly abusive relationship for 5.5 years. Did I realize it? Not really. Even after I left the stupid piece of shit fuck, I couldn't admit he actually raped me and more than once. Or admit he was abusive. Many of our sexual encounters were not consensual and what does that mean? Rape. Another example, womyn get treated like shit because they're womyn and unfortunately, they have no tools to tell someone to shut the fuck. They'll be called a bitch (I certainly have) or abused even more (guess what? It took me over a year to leave my abusive ex because I thought if I did, it'd get worse and in some ways it did, he stalked me). Is that me victim-blaming womyn? Hell no! It's me pointing out that, hey, I used to be there, and yes, we can do something about this. And I will support you! I used to bend backward for my abusive ex or take sexism from men. This is what education gave me. It made me realize, fuck I AM oppressed (which in itself was a source of empowerment) to be more of a feminist and speak out! Which is why my articles are almost always focused on social change and inequalities.

Education has been completely fucking amazing for me. Because I am educated, like, I said: wow: I am poor and oppressed, I'm a single mom and oppressed, I'm a womyn and oppressed. But education also helped me realize that maybe I can do something about it. However, all these social inequalities are totally normalized. So I talk about them.

And if you read my other articles, maybe you'd think otherwise about me being a "real" feminist (whatever that means). But all in all, it doesn't matter what you say or think about me (nor does it matter what anyone else says or thinks of me either). Things like that are true empowerment from education and feminism.

Oh well if I "hate men." What good does it do? I'm honest, I guess? Who cares if I hate men? Why are feminists always told that? Would you tell a person of color they are "white hater" because they talk about racism from white people? Men are sexist because they are men. (Just like white people are racist because they're white and so on). Is it necessarily their fault? No. They're socialized that way, unfortunately. Almost every man I know has been sexist or is sexist in one form or another. Do I really want to be around that? No. Gross. Again, that's why I talk about it!

I am a feminist and that's one reason why I talk about the issues I talk about. I realize my oppression as a womyn because I want to and I am empowered to realize it is there. I can talk to other womyn about it. Do I allow unequal treatment? Mygod, no! Have you ever spoken to me about this? I am a single mom, I work my ass off without the help of men, I NEVER let men have control, I NEVER assume they have power over me because they don't. I left a rapist, an abuser, my kid's dad. Do I need qualify my "feminism" to you? No. I don't need to qualify it to anyone.

Unfortunately, in a world run by white men (look at the government, corporations, so on) ... this is what I mean. I don't think I need personal attacks from a person who assumes that I let men control me. Part of what feminism is about pointing out gender inequality and talking about it. Isn't feminism about talking about oppressions? Talking about gender inequalities? Other inequalities? Instead of talking about the oppressor - I talked about the oppressed. I DID NOT chose to be a womyn when I was born to have been socialized that way so I could be oppressed. I did not chose our society. No one did. A person of color does not chose to be victims of our white dominated society. Who on earth would chose that? How can we dismantle it? At least, let's talk about it!!

I have my own autonomy, agency, and my own life. I do not oppress myself. I am not a victim. I am a survivor, I am autonomous, I am so happy I am a womyn! Finally, I also do not look up to "successful" womyn: don't they just perpetuate the white, capitalist patriarchy? (Say, womyn CEO's ... if that's what you mean by "successful" womyn ...) I love up to womyn who are amazing, mothers, kids, pregnant teens, people of color who speak out against racism, the riot grrls of the 1990s, any oppressed person who has the courage to speak out even if it means losing friends and getting called every name in the book. Because to me: that is honest and so amazing.

Oh, one last question: would you be telling a person of color who was talking about the racism they experience from people a victim? Would you be telling them, you're totally victim blaming yourself, take agency and "get over it"? Maybe they're taking agency simply for talking about the racism they feel and experience. Because, guess what? it's real! Kind of like, when I am talking about the sexism I experience. Because, guess what? It's real, too.

- Heather

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