I have been making a lot of trips there lately — to my “dark place” as I call it. I used to only go there occasionally, and always went to contemplate what the end would mean for me, for my ego. My memories of that place always have a visceral component — the urge to literally shit my pants out of fear. A coldness that passes through me and paralyses me. And then a sick sweat that breaks over my body. Fear of death. Fear of nothing. Fear of this grand adventure being over. Pure adrenaline pumping through my body at the mere thought of dying.
However, lately, when the grand adventure of life has started being kind of terrible (in circumstance), that dark place has started looking more and more appealing. A place to rest. My grandmother just went there, out into the universe. Into nothing. My grandmother is nothingness now, and I want to understand it.
There is a feeling I have just before an orgasm. A feeling where the blackness goes over my eyes and I lose all sense of my physicality. Bliss. Bliss is nothingness. Bliss is the absence of my ego when all neurons are firing and the world goes black and I get a peek behind a curtain I am not supposed to be looking behind. My partner disappears. I disappear. The pleasure is in the nothingness of that moment. It’s not the stereotypical “all my cares are gone,” no, I am the thing that is gone, and it feels fantastic.
In the past few weeks I have tried magic mushrooms, LSD, and some other psychedelic stuff. My therapist tells me that when I was on them I experienced something called “ego death.” The Buddhists call it “nirvana” and the Sufis call it “fana.” I melted into the universe…
I think I had close to 10 orgasms while I did mushrooms for the first time.
I have always intellectually been aware of my own insignificance in the grand scale of an ever-unfolding, ever-expanding, limitless cosmos. I know I am a mostly hairless little great ape who has empathy inasmuch as it is essential for my own survival. I never felt or experienced my own insignificance before psychedelics.
I am incredibly vain for no good reason other than it gives me pleasure. I like to be liked, I like to look hot, I like to be perceived as smart, witty, charming, quirky, better than others. Sometimes I wonder if that is really all the human experience is; day after day of vanity.
I love taking pictures of myself. I love looking at myself. Most of the time, I love what I see. The colour of my eyes is fucking fantastic. I went into a Betsey Johnson store today and tried on a hot little dress and some skyscraper boots with a fur coat. I am cashing in a GIC tomorrow so I can own that $350 outfit, because I felt like a glam rock star. Every inch of me was hot and sensual and powerful. I was the absolute definition of vanity at that moment.
I have been wearing these monsters around the house for absolutely no reason other than how fucking sexy I look and feel in them:
I have started doing some “light” sex work — phone sex, webcam stuff.
I don’t even know how many people I have slept with.
Earlier this year I had a bit of a sugar daddy.
These things, the sex work, the sugar daddy, the promiscuity, they appeal to my desire to be the centre of someone else’s world for just an hour or two. They appeal to my ego and my vanity. Being wanted is being powerful — being wanted means you take up space in the world of another human. Being wanted means you matter.
I have gotten really in to BDSM and power play — I have started to really love being choked during sex.
It started with my major depression and my loss of all sense of social propriety; the night about a month ago where I almost killed myself. Really, if I don’t matter that much in the grand scheme of things, why would I go down this empty, unsatisfying path of trying to gain social approval with more degrees, scholarships, and accolades? Why am I doing things I hate just so people will respect me? I mean, half of my own family hates me already, so I have nothing left to lose; I’m done with expectations and standard trajectories.
The funny thing about shame is, you only feel it if you believe that others have the right to shame you. I don’t feel shame about selling my body, or much else for that matter; it is almost like I lost the ability to feel such when I fully comprehended what I am. Everything seems absurd and humorous and delightful now. I giggled to myself for about 10 minutes today about the idea that I was ever afraid to be naked in front of anyone — the absurd notion that seeing an unclothed body means something.
I want to experience pleasure on a daily basis. Real, deep, pleasure. The kind you experience in a hygge night with friends in a dimly lit bar, or when your lover bites the back of your neck. The kind that comes with smoking two joints and eating nutella crêpes. The kind that you feel when you get lost in a song or a story. The kind that comes from touch and from play and from sweat. The kind that comes from fucking someone you don’t know on a bathroom floor. These moments are the only ones that make our sad little primate brains light up with electrical impulses (the good kind).
The Danish have a set of cultural rules called the Janteloven that everyone seems to swear by; they assert it is why, out of all of the OECD countries, they are rated “the happiest people in the world.” Not a day passed in Denmark that I wasn’t reminded of these principles.
The Janteloven are:
- Don’t think you’re anything special.
- Don’t think you’re as good as us.
- Don’t think you’re smarter than us.
- Don’t convince yourself that you’re better than us.
- Don’t think you know more than us.
- Don’t think you are more important than us.
- Don’t think you are good at anything.
- Don’t laugh at us.
- Don’t think anyone cares about you.
- Don’t think you can teach us anything.
An eleventh rule recognized in the novel is:
11. Don’t think that there aren’t a few things we know about you.
I have taken up smoking cigarettes occasionally, because I laughed for days when I read what Kurt Vonnegut said about the cancer sticks:
“The public health authorities never mention the main reason many Americans have for smoking heavily, which is that smoking is a fairly sure, fairly honorable form of suicide.“
I am pretty sure that on some level Mr. Vonnegut and I were cut from the same cloth. He understands me better than most of my friends.
I have a friend who recently confessed that he shoplifts pretty often. He said the number one thing that he took away from his experiences with petty theft is that no one is really watching you, and no one really cares; everyone is too wrapped up in their own shit, just like you are. For some reason, although I knew that, I only felt the impact of it at that moment. It took magic mushrooms for me to get over that threshold of believing I was the centre of the universe. For me to understand what I really am when it comes down to it.
I am an absurd bag of flesh and bones and blood, with hormones and impulses. I have one drive: and Freud was right when he named the basic drives of humans as sex and death, but he was wrong in thinking they are different things. They are both elimination; they are both nothingness, and nothingness is bliss. Orgasms are bliss, and death must be bliss too. It is all fana.
I am also more emptiness than matter or energy. Reading about physics will make you and atheist faster than anything in this world. From what I comprehend, there is more space between electrons and nuclei than there is matter or energy; this self is composed mostly out of the absence of anything. Sometimes when I look with my eyes I feel a black curtain falling over my surroundings and really look (with my intellect as opposed to my eyes) — I start to see the world as it actually exists — an expanse of emptiness. Bees see the world in ultraviolet. Humans see the world in matter. But the world is so much more and so much less than we could ever see with our eyes. It is there, but it is mostly made out of nothing.
There is a thought to keep you awake at night.
I am really, truly in love for the first time. I am in love with another human being who makes all of this seem a lot less terrifying. One who will stay awake with me at all hours and contemplate life and the cosmos. A kindred spirit — when I first met him I told him right away that we were “born under the same star” and we would spend the rest of our lives together. I am marrying him after only 7 months, because I just know. He is an endless source of pleasure — of elimination. I lose myself and my ego in how much I love him, and that is truly bliss.
So grandma, I am glad you found your bliss. You deserve it after all the time you put in.
Nothingness doesn’t seem so bad after all.
Blogging Against Disablism day will be on Saturday, 1st May. This is the day where all around the world, disabled and non-disabled people will blog about their experiences, observations and thoughts about disability discrimination. In this way, we hope to raise awareness of inequality, promote equality and celebrate the progress we’ve made.
Feminism and the Myth of Independence
Part of my early attraction to feminism was based upon this notion of a mythic “independence.” I yearned for the opportunity to be an “emancipated woman,” à la Emma Goldman, who asserted that,
“Emancipation should make it possible for woman to be human in the truest sense. Everything within her that craves assertion and activity should reach its fullest expression; all artificial barriers should be broken, and the road towards greater freedom cleared of every trace of centuries of submission and slavery.”
It seems like a noble enough goal, and indeed, an important part of the privileged Western feminist ideology is based on the construction of the smart, successful, independent woman; this is especially true of Libertarian/Individual feminisms, Liberal feminisms, Pop feminisms, and Amazon feminisms. Reproductive choice, and women’s liberation discourses also use the language of independence, and a lot of pseudo-feminist, or “Liz Lemonist” cultural products are predicated upon this notion as well, such as Cosmo (“fun, fearless, female”).
Additionally, some of the things that awakened my early sense of “Girl Power,” a precursor to my feminism, also showcased this idea of independence, both financial and personal. Girl Power is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as such:
“Power exercised by girls; spec. a self-reliant attitude among girls and young women manifested in ambition, assertiveness, and individualism.”
Some inspirations included:
- Destiny’s Child’s “Independent Women,” (and Charlie’s Angels) and “Survivor” (which interestingly has gender neutral lyrics)
- Jennifer Lopez’s “Love Don’t Cost a Thing“
- The Spice Girls
- The Powerpuff Girls
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
On a larger scale, the ideas of independence and individualism are also foundational to to the construction of a “Western” ideology. From meritocracy to the importance of identity construction, from the binaristic othering of “Eastern” ideologies as “collectivist,” to the speculative fiction trope “fear of assimilation“; the achievement and maintenance of independence is a value that is freely espoused as good in its own right.
In terms of my own personal identity, having minimal ties with my family, I often prided myself on my financial independence, my self-funding of my undergraduate degree, my scholarships, my CV, my transcript, and other individual achievements. These were the markers of my feminism — my reminders that women in the past had worked hard to open doors for women like me — never mind that those same doors weren’t accessible to most people who don’t have white privilege, thin privilege, class privilege, educational privilege, Western privilege, cis privilege, Anglophone/English privilege, blonde privilege, and able privilege. At a previous point, though not anymore, I also had Christian and heterosexual privilege; the only one I was ever missing was male privilege.
My “independence” — my “success” — was reliant upon systems of domination. Therefore I never really was independent, because in constructing this narrative of self-reliance about myself, I denied not only my privileges, but my support networks as well. I denied the fact that in defining my own success as such, I was tacitly approving of the systems of domination from which I benefit.
Independence or the pursuit thereof is a pursuit of privilege; the less that one has to depend on networks and relationships the more “successful” that person is. This is a profoundly ableist notion, in the sense that it constructs any sort of dependency as an obstacle to “success,” and because of the way our society is structured, people who are disabled are neccessarily dependent on various support systems. Additionally, no one is truly independent from eir privileges, networks, and communities, but the social construction of disability as a state of dependence vis-à-vis ablility as a state of independence denies just how interdependent we all are, whether is through exploiting, dominating, or supporting one another.
The Myth Meets the Reality: Making “Success” an Inclusive Goal
In moving beyond the ableist myth of independence, privileged feminisms have the opportunity to create safer spaces for disabled feminists. Moreover, in interrogating this myth, we can open up a larger conversation about privilege in feminism: to what extent does the myth of independence factor in to other systems of domination? How are privileged Western feminisms complicit in maintaining different systems of domination? In redefining our paradigms about what constitutes “success,” how can we combat not just ableism, but other privileges?
What if instead of deriving so much pride from our independence, we took pride in our networks and community memberships? This is not to say that we cannot be proud of both, however, the exaggerated emphasis on independence, emancipation, and liberation in privileged Western feminisms bars important members of our feminist communities from participating fully.
It also leads more privileged feminisms to devalue systems on which a lot of women choose to be and/or are dependent:
- excluding people who have strong ties to religion (ie. Islamic feminists, and Christian womanists),
- excluding people who have strong ties to tradition and community memberships (ie. women who choose to undergo female circumcision, women who choose to wear the niqab),
- excluding people who are actively subjugated by imperialism, racism, and colonialism and thus depend on community systems for survival and resistance (ie. transnational feminists, indigenous feminists),
- and excluding people whose social justice interests are not solely related to gender emancipation, and thus depend on various networks (ie. women of colour, low-income women, immigrant women).
Furthermore, the myth of independence encourages privileged feminists to buy in to capitalist and consumer culture: being a “have” as opposed to a “have not,” and not having to share resources are the yardsticks against which independence is measured, which leads to environmental degradation. Individualism and independence are things that one can buy at the expense of those that are exploited in capitalist relations.
My point here for privileged feminists like myself is this: can be ambitious and assertive without having to pretend that we are self-reliant and independent; no one is really independent. We can be confident and successful without having to pretend that these attributes are totally individual. We can take pride in our accomplishments and still recognise our privileges and the networks/communities that have enabled us to do the things we do. We can re-define the meaning of success beyond the masculinist paradigm of individualism, and create a feminist paradigm of success. In doing so, we can combat priviliged behavior and ableism in our feminist communities.
In conclusion, my questions for you, readers, are:
- What would a feminist paradigm of success look like?
- If we remove all of the oppressive and privileged ideas from the standard definition of success, such as independence, what is left?
- Is there an anti-oppressive way to think about success?
Learn More about Feminism and Able-ism (a.k.a Disablism)
Thank you to the following bloggers/websites for quoting/supporting this post:
“The issue of independence has always been kind of problematic for me as a person with disabilities. I will always be dependent, whether it’s on my parents as it is right now and on my service dog the near future. That’s just how my life works. I need a network, a community or I’m sunk.
These things are true even in a world free from ableism. It’s taken a lot for me to stop hating on myself for not being able to do things people my age are doing and it’s compounded by the fact that I look abled. I still do hate on myself about it, actually.
Anyhow when we talk about independence as the end all be all of human existence, it can be kind of alienating. It’s good to have free to make choices, but even in a prefect world, some of us won’t be free from ties to others.”
. . .
“I’ve felt that individualism has been an incredibly problematic force in feminism in US culture but I’d never thought about the concept of independence or how those two ideas work together to create a shallow, problematic, reductionist brand of feminism that is really alienating.”
And to the folk on Tumblr:
So I went to a protest a little while ago — more specifically, a demonstration against the Islamophobic, sexist, ableist, and racist Bill 94 here in Quebec — and I was struck by both the low attendance (between 60 and 120 according to news outlets), and the demographic composition of the attendees. Based on my conversations and observations, the main groups of people that I observed were:
- Muslim women who wear the niqab, hijab, or no covering at all, and their male friends, husbands, partners, relatives, counterparts, children, etc.
- Representatives of other faiths showing solidarity (Jewish organizations and Montreal’s Anglican diocese)
- Representatives from groups such as the South Asian Women’s Association
- A small group of language teachers, who were responding to the incident that provoked all of this hubbub (wherein a woman was expelled from her language class for refusing to take off her niqab) by asserting that they can teach a student with a covered face just fine, and it is insulting to their profession that the government should think otherwise
- Libertarians, who oppose any government intervention of this type
- GLB, Queer, Trans, and gender-variant folks, who felt compelled to show solidarity because this bill is a human rights violation, and also because government prohibitions on certain types of clothing (hoodies, for a facetious example) could just as easily adversely affect them in the future (“THEY CAME FIRST for the women wearing the niqab, and I didn’t speak up because I didn’t wear a niqab…)
- Social-justice activists and academics, including the 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy, and the representatives from the Simone de Beauvoir Institute (who also released and handed out a statement on the matter); these protesters rightly asserted that “tearing the clothing off of women’s bodies is violence against women.”
Maybe I just don’t go to enough protests, but it seems like such a blatant human rights violation would attract more attention, I mean, more than 120 protesters. Unfortunately, Bill 94 is supported by over 95% of Quebecers, and 4/5 Canadians, so I understand that it is not popular to oppose it. However, I’ll be damned if I have not personally met well over 120 feminists in Montreal — where the hell were they?
I wasn’t as angered about this dearth of feminist interest in an OBVIOUS feminist issue until the recent furor over the Facebook “Boobquake” (67,003 attendees) and “Brainquake” (1484 attendees), and more recently the “Femquake” (331 attendees) taking place today, all of which have collectively garnered hundreds of times the support of the protest I attended. I understand that it is easier to click “like” on Facebook than it is to get your ass down to city hall, especially when one does not live in Montreal, but before any more folks break out the patronising “obvious logical” response to this disparity, please consider that the protest comparison is an illustrative point.
The three events were started in response to an Iranian cleric’s proclamations about women’s immodesty and promiscuity causing earthquakes, and have subsequently been supported by members of such prominent feminist sites as Feministing.com, Jezebel.com, and Feministe.com. I was initially intrigued by the idea as a sort of campy and playful way to collectively disprove an idea, but after about 5 minutes of perusal, it became glaringly apparent that this North American response to an Iranian cleric was more about Islamophobia and ethnocentrism than the rights of Muslim women. The events are a vector for the co-option of feminist rhetoric to further objectify women, and a demonstration of the smug North American sense of moral and developmental superiority over those “other” brown folks in the Middle East. The people who should REALLY be leading the response to the statements made by the cleric are IRANIAN and MUSLIM WOMEN, who have, you know, the LIVED EXPERIENCE of dealing with these statements every day, but their voices are silenced by us obnoxious and entitled white-educated-secular types who feel the need to make a BOOBQUAKE instead of really listening and standing in solidarity. Our form of protest also bars and mocks women who CHOOSE to dress modestly — such as women who wear the niqab – from participating in and being at the forefront of the protest, a protest which actually affects their lives far more than ours.
Therefore I ask: why is it so easy for feminists to organise around a chance to show off some cleavage in order to belittle one man overseas who would police the lives of Muslim women, whereas it is so difficult to get feminists to organise around a chance to protest a powerful provincial government who would police the lives of Muslim women?
To quote the above statement from the Simone de Beauvoir Institute about Bill 94:
“As feminists, we are committed to supporting bodily and personal autonomy for all women, as well as all women’s capacity to understand and articulate their experiences of oppression on their own terms.”
Or at least we SHOULD BE committed to doing so, but we are really just paying intersectionality lip service when we pull stunts like these Boob-, and Fem- quakes. I am sure there is a good idea there, but the cause around which we’ve rallied — the “othering” and demeaning of Islam as backward and oppressive — fuels wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, racist immigration laws, racial profiling in airports, “reasonable accommodation,” and legislation like Bill 94. My feminism won’t be complicit in that.
It is time for this to change. Feminism should not avoid its domestic problems while subjecting others to a scrutinizing neo-colonial gaze: it’s time for Western feminists to stop talking about Female Genital Cutting abroad with such moral authority, and to start talking about the unnecessary surgical procedures performed on Intersex children in North America; it’s time for non-Muslim women to stop talking about the hijab, and start talking about the high heel; it’s time for white feminists to stop telling womanists who they are, and to start interrogating the racial problems of the feminist movement; it’s time for hipster feminists to stop accusing indigenous feminists of being “angry,” and to start talking about what it means to live on stolen land.
It’s time for us feminists to own up to our own privileges.
NOTE: I am getting a lot of traffic and commenting on this post, so just to save everyone some time before you comment:
Here are some things I am NOT saying:
- that everyone needs to fly up to Canada and protest, or else you are a bad feminist
- that YOU PERSONALLY are a terrible person for ‘Boobquaking,’ or having white/Western privilege
- that we shouldn’t talk about FGC, and the hijab, etc. EVER
- that feminists can’t multitask and care about lots of things
Things that I AM saying:
- the ‘Boobquake’ is patronising
- the ‘Boobquake’ prioritises the experiences and reactions of Westerners
- a lot of the discussion surrounding the ‘Boobquake’ is steeped in privilege
- we should talk about these things — like FGC, the hijab, and Iranian clerics – but without ‘moral authority’ (as if we are the arbiters over other people who have been historically marginalised by people like us). Voices of the people with the lived experience should ALWAYS be prioritised. We don’t take to kindly to cis men setting the agendas and determining the responses of feminism, but we seem to feel comfortable defining those things for women overseas.
Strawman arguments that I will not put through moderation:
- that I am suggesting that: ‘feminists can’t care about a lot of things at once,’ (we can and do, but sometimes we silence others in the process)
- that ‘it is discriminatory towards privileged people that they can’t talk about everything with authority’ (reverse-discrimination arguments don’t fly here, maybe they do elsewhere, but I don’t buy it.)
- that ‘judging and critiquing other culture’s practices does not mean I am positing myself as superior’ (Oh but it does…)
- that ‘Muslim women over there don’t speak for themselves, so we must speak for them’ (this is really not true, Google is your friend, let’s take a break and LISTEN instead of always TALKING.)
- That I am the ‘condescending feminist police’ (c’mon, I am calling out prejudice and privilege when I see it, I would expect the same from anyone else if I were acting in a privileged way, in fact, I HAVE been called on my white privileged bullshit before when it comes to race: see this thread; we live and learn. Learning to listen and take criticism is part of learning to be an ally.)
And after all that, I would like to say, thank you for reading! Let’s get some good discussion going.
Thank you to the following bloggers/websites for quoting/supporting this post:
“So I have to tell you that I’ve wondered quite a bit about what “my feminism” looks like in the past 24 hours. I’ve asked myself some hard questions about internalized misogyny—and also whether I’m going to just agree with the idea that anything someone wants to do, whether out of a desire to produce activism or satire, is a good thing for feminist causes. I’ve wondered about what “our” feminism looks like, and whether it’s really just paying lip service to intersectionality. And frankly, in some ways it’s difficult to avoid that conclusion. I don’t, for example, think it’s an accident that when we write about trans health, or immigration, or racism, that no one gives a shit, while the mere mention of the fucking Boobquake brings everyone out of the woodwork. And I don’t think that this is a trend we’re alone in, as I’ve noticed it a bit throughout the feminist blogosphere.
This is a problem. It’s not a problem because I’m soooo much more awesome at being intersectional than you. I’m not trying to hold myself up as an example here; I agreed that I made a mistake by not being clearer in my last post. But I am saying that there’s something legitimate to worry about in the Boobquake situation—not in the pearl-clutching way, but in the “hey, this maybe isn’t doing the thing that it’s supposed to be doing” way, or even the “hey, what you’re doing right now is patronizing and demeaning of a bunch of people” way. And I think that if we can’t fucking say that, if we can’t wonder about whether our words and actions have (even unforeseen) effects that are actually counter-productive to feminist or anti-oppressive goals…well, then, I’m not sure what we’re doing here.“
“. . .it is striking to see what feminists in North America and Europe choose to protest when it comes to subjects affecting Muslims. While the Boobquake inundated Facebook and Twitter, there were barely a few lone feminist voices protesting the niqab ban in Quebec. What is wrong with these white privileged feminists, one wonders.”
“The author made a very good point about the huge amount of viral support for Boobquake compared to the lack of attendance at a protest against Quebec’s racist, sexist Bill 94 which bans the niqab in a ton of situations and is basic religious oppression at its worst. I saw a lot of western feminists whine at this comparison – obviously we can’t all get our asses to Quebec to protest, whereas clicking on a Facebook link is easy - but the author’s point still stands. Boobquake isn’t just popular because it’s easy “activism” – it’s popular because it cuts across ideological lines to condemn and mock another culture and religion, one that is widely feared and derided in the west.”
“Aside from my own feelings of discomfort at being told that I was a bad feminist by not getting my tits out, there was something else that struck me as not quite right, though it took most of the day for me to properly put my finger on it.”
“Some Iranian cleric said something about women dressing immodestly causing earthquakes and Western feminists decided to protest through the radical activity of posting pictures of their cleavage on Facebook. This then resulted in other feminists engaging in the also radical activity of slut-shaming and deciding to host a “brainquake” for feminists who are too smart to post their cleavage on Facebook. There was also a “Femquake” but I don’t know what that involved. Meanwhile, Iranian women’s calls for solidarity went ignored.”
“. . .it’s painfully obvious that western feminism really has no friggin clue how to think outside it’s own box a lot of the time: Iran Gender Equality – A little bit of a reality check.”
“Time we rethink our priorities.”
“A lot of the rhetoric that comes with something like Boobquake also often comes from a point that is disturbingly racist and imperialist. The idea that Muslim women are always subjugated and must be stupid because they pick a religion that oppresses them; that to dress modestly is to play into patriarchal sentiments like the cleric’s statements (which is an interesting contrast to the Boobquake counter-protests); that Muslim women can’t speak for themselves.
I’ve had to call out people on their highly limited views on the burqa, niqab, hijab, or other Muslim veil. On their assumption that Female Genital Mutilation is inherently a Muslim thing. That Muslims are more interested in terrorism than in “assimilating” to local culture. There is a lack of awareness of different cultural norms, of the difference between culture and religion, of historical significance, of time, of having a different perspective on life. Hell, even things like “the burqa must be really uncomfortable!” when it’s actually really handy for sandstorms and besides, a lot of women’s shoes aren’t very comfortable either!
It takes away the agency of the woman, her right to make up her own damn mind about how she expresses her faith, or what her faith is. Whether she wants to show her boobs or cover them up – that’s her choice.
There’s also a disturbing anti-theistic “haha see religious people don’t know science” view streaming through. A lot of militant atheists and anti-theists claim that the mere existence of religion is the cause of human suffering, and that without religion or superstitious beliefs we’d all be better off. However, they’re coming from a very limited, Western-centric view of religion that assumes all religious people fervently pray to a Bearded Man in the Sky in exchange for points, completely ignoring that for many “religious” people there isn’t even a single deity. Stuff they dismiss as superstition (alternative medicine is a good example) is stuff that people from a lot of different cultures know (not just believe) to be true, based on their own history and experience. I’d like to see someone like Richard Dawkins try to tell Aboriginal elders that their stories and cultures were based on falsehoods (if only so they could respond with “you ignorant white boy” and maybe give him a whack on the head). There’s no consideration as to context; everything’s dissected from a white Western privileged viewpoint.”
And to folks on Tumblr who’ve quoted this post:
- Think on This (abbyjean)
- One Bad Cripple (annaham)
- The Unscientific Method
- She Thinks
- Random Findings
- Robot Heart: Sex, Religion, Politics
- Baubles of My Mind’s Eye
- Starting Over
- Jane Doe #225
- Wear Sunscreen (edibleshoes)
“It doesn’t help Iranian women get longer maternal leave,” she says. “It doesn’t provide better health care. It doesn’t help them get jobs. It doesn’t achieve anything, other than to create entertainment.”
. . .
Moreover, Bashi says Iran already boasts a vibrant feminist community that fiercely responded to Sedighi’s incendiary claims.
“People think that women in Iran are just sitting back and accepting these words from the cleric,” she says, heatedly. “It’s just not true. Women in Iran respond to every single, stupid thing that is said by its leaders.”
. . .
“Obviously, Jen McCreight is an intelligent woman,” Bashi says. “She’s probably among the brightest young women in the country. But the joke is on Iranian women—the joke she started.”
As a counterpoint, Bashi questions why Western media would focus on a Muslim cleric’s comment when so many non-Muslim religious leaders make equally backward remarks.
“Is it a fascination with the Eastern, the supposedly more primitive Muslim nation?” she asks.
As an alternative to participating in Boobquake, Bashi suggests women would do Iranian women more good by donating to causes that advocate their rights, such as Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch.
“Now the intersection — what are feminists saying about this issue?
To me this is an obvious feminist issue through and through, and it goes way beyond a human rights injustice. I’m checking myself as an ally to Muslim women, and supporting their right to bodily autonomy and self-determination.
However I’ll tell you this much — the amount of mainstream feminist response I’ve read regarding the lack of inclusion of contraception and abortion in maternal child health from Canada’s Conservative government in the G8 summit far exceeds the coverage I’ve seen regarding the niqab ban. In fact, I’ve barely seen any feminist press at all on the niqab ban. And I’m not surprised — reproductive rights gets lots of feminist attention, even if not mainstream media coverage. Intersecting race and culture? Not so much.”