no, Obama!

UPDATE  04.21.09   Clearly President Obama read my blog.  Hopefully after I edited out all of the incorrect possessive apostrophes.

not my hero today, President Obama.

not my hero today, President Obama.

During the primaries, I was a sworn Hillary Clinton fan.  She remains a loyal yet appropriately dissenting patriot who often speaks strongly about the responsibilities of the USA in foreign affairs.  (Though in this particular instance, I think USA drug policies suck in a very different way than she does). However, I feel honoured to be politically aware during the first American presidency of a black man; Obama certainly moves me when he speaks, I feel he could be a catalyst for progressive change, and no, I don’t hope he fails.

But today I must lament “No, Obama!” because of this.  

As the first line of my newly started overdue paper for Philosophy of War and Peace says, President Obama’s decision to forgo the prosecution of CIA agents who committed acts of torture because they were acting on the counsel of the Department of Justice and following orders poses a distinct ideology of utility, identity, and action as pertains to sanctioned, violent representatives of the government of the United States.  And this ideology is not one I am a fan of (note: this sentence  is not from my paper). 

This paper is about rules of engagement and a soldier’s responsibility  to peace and pacifism.  This is a very different approach to that of the philosophers who I am responding to that mostly discuss a soldier’s responsibility to their government. And while dogmatic obedience is certainly ingrained into trained forces, the reality is that their actions are the actions of an individual and moreover, these actions are acts of violence and therefore carry a certain responsibility.  And in the case of the CIA agents, these acts, sanctioned or otherwise, are particularly heinous and the lack of responsibility particularly egregious. 

Acts of war are essentially individual acts of violence enacted by individuals,or groups of individuals, sometimes under orders and some times not.  But in either case, we can’t suggest that the actors are completely blameless.  For one, Obama’s plans to not prosecute violates obviously weak, though present, international law.  Second, let’s apply the good ol’ ethical litmus test: Nazis.  Nazis unsuccessfully argued the ‘I was only following orders’ at Nuremberg. Well I, for one, am really glad they were unsuccessful; if you’re a Nazi, you’re pretty much guilty of BEING A FUCKING NAZI. The whole only-following-orders thing is not a particularly good ethical argument, especially when it comes to horrific acts of violence, like genocide, or torture.

Obama should be taking a cue from Clinton and start owning up to the actions of Americans, even past actions, instead of shuffling the docket back an administration. Releasing the memos of the Bush administration that sanctioned the torture and not prosecuting the agents who actually committed the torture is scape-goating the dead horse.  We get it, Bush was bad.  And yes, I believe he was a war criminal too.  But a war cannot be fought without willing soldiers, and torture cannot be performed without willing torturers.  

 I am absolutely sympathetic to the soldier complex.  I do support the women and men who are risking their lives to help others.  That is helping others.  Not torturing them.  The international laws are pretty clear and the ethical question, as far as I am concerned, is even clearer and one would hope CIA agents are intelligent enough to know the difference between an ‘order’ and a ‘crime against humanity’ and those that can’t should be held to account.  

No, Obama!

peace,

-a.b.

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living room, where i live.

My main man and I are in the middle of redoing our  living room.  It was always OK, but a little dark and had weird doors in the archway between it and our front room.  Also, we bought this with stale wedding money to go with this, our fav wedding gift, which we do in fact refer to as “The Nagouchi” , and needed to make room for ‘The Eames’.  So we took down the doors and put them in the front hall closet, which gave us about 4 cubic feet more floor space and about 8 more cubic feet of visual space, and started the rearranging yesterday.

We have a lot of furniture and a lot of art because we are design junkies and pack rats.  It has been a real adventure fitting everything into our three bedroom apartment.  But in redoing the space we’ve gotten rid of a lot of stuff and realized that we needed more art than we already had.  But we are broke.

Solution: inventing art with stuff we have in the house.  I spearheaded the project and decided that high art was the way to go.  A few years ago I won an essay contest and in addition to cold-hard cash I got an art textbook.  But we already had one art textbook and I spilled coffee on the prize one.  We also had a bunch of small old frames that we bought at an auction sale and have been keeping around in a box ‘just in case’ (pack rats).  I now feel totally justified in purchasing these frames, keeping them around for two years, and moving them at least once as I have turned them into beautiful art! artblog

As per my plan to become as much like Martha Stewart as possible, here are the instructions for the project:

1. Prepare old frames of many sizes and styles by cleaning the glass and cutting off stand flaps.

2. Cut out pictures of famous pieces of art to fit the frames from a superfluous textbook, or print some favourites off the internet, mixing portrait and landscape, styles, and don’t be afraid to crop.

3. Put pictures in frames and glue on hanging devices with hot glue gun and glue or tape description of art to the back. 

4. Trace outline of all of the pictures-in-frames onto paper, marking whether the picture is landscape or portrait and making a description of the art so you know which one is which, also marking the precise location of the hanging device.  Cut out.

5. Arrange cut-outs on wall by taping them on.  Make sure to vary colours and styles in layout.

6. Hammer in a nail on the hanging mark you’ve made on the cut-outs, ensuring to leave the nail far enough out of the wall to accommodate for any stand flap leftovers.  

7. Place art over appropriate cut-out and rip traced cut-out away from the wall. 

Voila!

This one is my fav  because the frame and image work so well together <3.

The Treason Of Images by Magritte

The Treason Of Images by Magritte

And this is one my cats on my newly laid-out bar/plant stand.  Aww<3

georgia 'georgie'

georgia 'georgie' peach, in the jungle

peace,  

-a.b.

p.s. I’m going to start adding suggested listening for my blog entries:

Living Room, Track 8 on Tegan and Sara‘s 2002 album If It Was You

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too cool for school.

Public education as a concept is a mark of socialism.  In some forms, it represents an understanding that not everything can be based on profit derivation.  Not in the form that we have in Canada though.

No, our system is based on the Prussian model of education which exists to create obedient citizens.  Its values include ensuring that pupils become wrote machines of consumption and that those who struggle with this are kept at arms length of social participation.  Not to sound too Marxian or conspiracy theoristy, but the system of education in Canada exists to sustain capitalism.  Booo!

I feel as though I have a lot of ground to stand on when I complain about the public education system in Canada – particularly Ontario – as I am product of its system, sort of:  I have attended 7 schools, dropped out 3 times, and did not graduate from high school.  And yet I am an honours student in University.  I could come up with many excuses as to why I couldn’t get those last 4 credits, but the plain truth is I just really didn’t like school, and now,thanks to my Politics of Education course, I can tell why.

In the class I learned that our mandatory, public education system exists, fundamentally, not to educate children and allow them to fulfill their potential, but rather to indoctrinate them into being good little consumers and capitalists.  Schools reward obedience, routine attendance, and not thinking outside the curriculum with high grades and the sense that ‘good’ students are special snowflakes whose opinions always matter; I was, and still am, contrary to the core and appreciate self directed learning, I don’t show up to do things I don’t like to do, and I really don’t feel as though I am a unique and special individual with constant profoundness and importance.  

I also hated the curriculum, which I continue to deride to this day.  Among many things I find lacking about it, a friend of mine remarked quite profoundly the other day on a serious problem with curriculum in Canada’s school pertaining to the education of Aboriginal students.  She was reacting to Mr.Ignatieff who politically name-dropped  free post-secondary education for Native Canadians when he did a town hall meeting at our school the other day, without making any mention of the fact that very few actually make it to post-secondary education – or a program or policy that would help rectify this.  Her claim, which I would say is correct, is that our curriculum teaches history, language, and social studies written by white people about white people for white people.  Her directive was to rethink education to create curriculum that would include Aboriginal perspectives so that Aboriginal students may be engaged, empowered, and therefore be more likely to graduate.  Imagine!

How about school as a place to receive care and nurturing toward selfhood?  Well, guidance counselors in London can help you if you need to make that super-tough decision of which school to go to: the one with all the parties, or the one where you got a scholarship to in recognition of all of your attendance, punctuality, and obedience as opposed to actual ability to function in academia.  But if you’re ,say, in a gang or, god-forbid, GAY, then no:

When I was in high school, I was part of a group of queer and queer-friendly youth who were reacting to recent violence against young gays in the city and attempting to make safe spaces and provide literature for queer youth in schools.  At the school board meeting I went to, one trustee claimed that support literature for queer youth should not be put in the library or counselor’s offices as there were already enough of ‘them’ in the school and they didn’t need to create more of a problem. 

I reflect on this because I was recently shown my yearbook from one of the times I didn’t graduate , the caption that appeared below my misprinted graduation photo read ‘too cool for school’.

How true! 

peace,

-a.b.

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progressive stances pt.2.

smashThere is a gigantic disconnect between social taboos and the actions of our citizenry/government.  For instance, I think we can all agree that excluding women  from participating in society and making sexist remarks are pretty much prima facie no-nos.  Not that it doesn’t happen, but there are laws, Bills of Rights, and etiquette norms against it.  And yet…

Despite it being not OK to hate on women, it’s totally fine to hate on feminists.  I believe this is the case for many reasons, but one important one being that the majority of people feel that the work of feminism is done: we can vote, serve on government, take maternity leave, control our reproductive destiny, and have an all-access pass to the public world.   Great.  Except that women by and large don’t serve on government, feel immense pressure to choose between career-baby-career/baby/double-day of labour, suffer depression and hormone-related disease from the pill, and make .67 to a man’s loonie.  Oh! and 1/3 of us are sexually assaulted in our life time.  

Yet the people who are working towards solutions to these systemic problems are constantly belittled and forced to explain themselves via one monolithic answer for ‘what does feminism even mean’?   I wonder if judges and lawyers are constantly asked ‘what does justice even mean?’ only to be told that their clearly relative, personal, and complicated answer demands that they should give up their struggle for it.   

And while punidts and politicians alike scratch their heads over the lack of gender-representation in Parliament, our public school system still has yet to teach a history which includes a meaningful discussion about women or the proper emotional curriculum  necessary to influence gender interaction towards health and mutual respect and  away from violence and oppression giving young women no empowering role models and no empowerment. 

Not even Canadian post-secondary institutions and supposedly learned people **can stop themselves from undercutting progression towards a society wherein women gain parity of  participation and freedom from rigid gender construction and violence.  

And who can forget this stunning move on behalf of the Harper government?

What do we want?  “A fair and just society!”  When do we  want it?  “Once it stops requiring us to do something about it or change our attitudes!” 

peace,

-a.b.

** Interesting that this person claimed progressive education is ‘brainwashing’…more on this in next the post.

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progressive stances p.1.

if that were my house, i'd stay home too.  

 

if that were my house, i'd stay home too.

 

 

A few weeks ago in one of my classes – a class particularly ripe with argumentative neo-cons – a classmate of mine suggested that no one discriminates against homemakers any more and that any one who did would be chastised for doing so.  My professor calmly pointed out that people still say that women returning to the paid labour force from parental leave are said to be “returning to work”.

 I, on the other hand, had spent the entire class to that point listening to people argue that poor people deserve to be poor and that uncomdifiable work is worthless.  I had run out of patience and couldn’t respond so levelly to such a grossly incorrect statement.  I veritably exploded with concerns that “Homemaker” is not viewed as a legitimate line  on a resumé and that there are no policies supporting income for the stay-at-home spouse paid by the out-of-home spouse or homemaking unions and as such it is not the case that our society reflects the opinion that a homemaker is a valued worker.  

I see this interaction as a symptom of a society that merely pays lip-service to progressive stances.  Stances that I actually have difficulty calling ‘progressive’ since they appear to me to be natural progressions from the truths brought to the forefront in the civil rights movement.  

Of course, the laws of a nation and accepted norms don’t equate to every citizen embodying them.  But it seems as though we would move toward a society built on love and mutual respect were we to actually govern the governable in such a way as to promote standards of equity and acceptance.

First on the list: stop teaching ‘tolerance’ and start teaching ‘acceptance’.  For ‘tolerance’ means that Amazon will carry Queer literature and ‘acceptance’ means they will stop censoring it

…to be continued.

peace,

-a.b.

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all’s fair in film and comedy?

Recently, this happened.

And who can forget this

Now, there’s also this.

Questionable depictions of rape are nothing new.  Of particular interest to me are depictions of rape on film. One, because I love film, and two, because rape is rape and I’m a proud feminist.

 I shall never forget the time I watched High Plains Drifter  expecting only the usual ways in which women are depicted in Westerns  – dumb and hapless but beautiful OR industrious yet smelly and unattractive, and always under-represented.   But alas, in this one, Clint Eastwood rolls into town, grabs the first woman he sees, forces her into a barn where she struggles against his attack until part way through the rape when her exclamations of resistance turn to sexual moans and she ends up enjoying it.  OMG. And of course, all the people  of the shanty town who see this happen in broad daylight do nothing about it. 

This is just one example of so many possible examples of the ways in which the media reinforces all those nasty stereotypes about rape.  But the new flick starring Seth Rogen, Observe and Report, hits a fascinating note in the normalization of sexual assault.  And by fascinating, I mean disgusting.

Essentially, the scene in question involves a woman who has ingested so many drugs and so much alcohol that she has vomited on herself and she is passed out.  Rogen’s character is having sex with her anyway.  If you read the third link of this post (commentary and trailer which includes the scene) you will see that Rogen himself suggests that the rape is made OK and funny by the woman waking up part way through and asking why he has stopped.  Defenders are saying this is consent. 

In Canada, sexual assault law precludes consent under circumstances of extreme intoxication of either the victim or the perpetrator and whether the intoxication is self-induced or otherwise.  Therefore, at least Canadians will have to conclude that there is no consent given.  Also…WTF.  He just starts having sex with a passed out chick?!?! Not cool, man, not cool.

As many on the internet have noted, the really troubling part is that the target audience of this film are those same 18-26 -year-old mooks who are most likely to commit date rape.  So now they’ll think its funny.  And OK.  

To this point I’ve had conflicted feelings toward Rogen; while I find Superbad to be hilarious, I also feel  making-light of porn-addiction in young men is detestful.  And the pseudo-porn included in the extra features of the DVD is a bit much.  But I really don’t think I can respect a man who participates in making a joke about date rape. 

Sure, the film is billed as a black comedy.  And yes, date rape is pretty effing black.  But comedy?  I just feel as though some things are off limits.

Rape isn’t comedy and it isn’t art.  It is a sorrowful expression of men’s incessant need to empower themselves by stealing power from women in an horrific act of terrifying, degrading, and scarring violence.  

Shame, Seth Rogen and Jody Hill.  Shame.

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baby daddies; baby porn stars?

 

i especially like the gender-obvious colours.

i especially like the gender-obvious colours.

So I like, totally, watch Maury Povich.  Like all the time. (The only thing more ridiculous than his show is the show’s website)  It’s my most embarrassing viewing habit behind America’s Next Top Model.   I end up growing emotionally attached  to the women who are 160% sure that dude # 15 is their baby daddy.  Is it exploitation?  Absolutely.  However, DNA tests do cost money and not knowing who the father of your child is is problematic for several obvious reasons.  So…public service? Maybe.  

I’ve also learned things watching Maury.  For instance, the fact that frightening 13- year-old girls can “do what they want”, and that some young women are allowing half-naked-to-naked photos to be taken of themselves on cell phones and then sent through…whatever it is that cell phones send things through to other cell phones.  It’s called sexting. And it’s causing a stir in the  American  legal world.

I don’t really get plain texting.  Mostly because I’m in an awkward gutter of  a generation.  I’m certainly not Generation X; Kurt Cobain died when  I was 9.  But I’m not really of the digital generation either; I don’t own a cell phone even though my father works for Rogers.  But sexting was truly novel when Maury introduced it to me.

If you’ve tab-browsed the hyperlink above, you will soon read the perspective of one lawyer about a particular case wherein a prosecutor was going to charge  some young women with aiding in the creation of child porn because they allowed partially nude photos to be taken of them and distributed. Drastic and misguided? Yes.  Totally off base? Maybe not.

The type of prosecution the judge attempted makes a whole lot of sense. Charges of child pornography have been brought against perpetrators for filming sexual assaults.  Brilliant, really.  But charging the young women who allow photos to be taken of them with child pornography could put them on a sex offender list for the rest of their lives for what is essentially exploring their sexuality. Bad, really.

But in Thomas Millar’s account (the one linked to “stir”) , he seems to call any negative reaction to the unsettling phenomenon “moral panic”, and opponents “prudes.”  Well call me a panicked prude because I’m kind of horrified. 

I remember being 14 – 15.  I remember how easy it was for boys/young men, who were too old and too rebellious- in- the -wrong -way for me, to get me to do things just by paying a little attention and how important that attention was to me.  I can’t help but think that a lot of this sexting is young women wanting to fit in/ be admired/impress young men. 

Millar argues that we should allow young women to explore their own sexuality without punishment – fine.  But what exactly is their own sexuality anymore?  Could one possibly be expressing it at 13 -17?  And what about the social punishment that comes when those photos/videos make it into the wrong hands?  Which they will.  (In this era of leaked sex tapes shouldn’t we all have learned not to put it on digital celluloid?)

I’m not made nervous by the nudity; there is nothing wrong with nudity.  Except for that little point of our entire society immediately devaluing a woman who will take off her clothes in front of other people/cameras.  Slut-shaming – as Millar called it – ?  Yeah.  The girls wanting to show off their new push-up bra’s fault? No. Reality?  Absolutely.  Solution: better sex education for our children.  

Pre-teens need to know more than mechanics.  They need a healthy understanding of the emotional consequences and changing intricacies of sexuality (like sexting and why not to film yourself having sex).  They require healthy spaces to explore and ask real questions and get real answers.  They need more than abstinence.  They deserve better than purity balls, 18- year- olds in porn legally, and the fetishism of innocence.  They deserve better than sexting.

peace,

 -a.b.

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breakfast vs. capitalism

alfredo-pangeaI hate my grocery store.  But I shop there anyway for three very important reasons:

i)I hate shopping and it allows t. and me to buy pretty much everything we need in one place

ii) It’s the cheapest grocery store in town.

iii)Self check-out.

I hate it for these reasons:

i) Often they have a very poor selection of produce and shelf items,particularly on Sundays, and one time they were out of sugar. This is so unthinkable for a giant grocery store chain in North America that the manager I complained to didn’t believe me. 

ii) The other people that shop there are intolerable, aisle blocking, cart abandoning, slow-walking yocals or students who only by the grace of grocery gods don’t constantly run into one another.

iii)The Real Canadian Superstore only exists so that Loblaw, which I always thought was Loblaws, could open more grocery stores but not support more employee unions.

iv) They constantly introduce delicious new President’s Choice products at low low prices that they don’t tell you are low low prices until you cannot live without them, and then they jack up the price.  Like my new fav breakfast cereal: On Track Protein +

It’s a delicious healthy cereal.  It has whole wheat and rice flakes, bran, and soy protein bits. It has lots of fibre, good quality protein, and a hint of honey. In short, it was my very favourite breakfast, particularly since I’ve started eating healthier (ie. going on a diet to try and reverse the post-election beer-pizza-reese -peanut- butter- cup binge).  And it cost $4.79 for a 700g box.

So yesterday we went to the grocery store where I found my fav breakfast cereal being sold for $5.99 !! Now, two months ago this wouldn’t have phased me, but now, we’re broke and I don’t have a job lined up.

As t. pointed out quite brilliantly to me the other day, one of the problems with Marx was that he claimed that the only injustice of capitalism comes from  the labour value theory of goods production, when in actuality there are so many more capitalist relations that put all the power in the hands of the owner of production/goods to the detriment of others.  For instance, when a company can sell you something for $4.79, but decides to increase the price by more than a dollar per unit once it’s selling well.

I chose to buy oatmeal instead because it is cheap and quite healthy.  I had always believed that I hated oatmeal.  Mostly because I hate hot cereal for the following reason:

When I was young, I was babysitted by a neighbour whose whole family lived under the tyrannous rule that if you are fed something you don’t like, you have to eat it anyway.  I sat at their dinner table one night in front of a plate of liver until bedtime.  Then one morning, they fed me cream of wheat which I felt was the most disgusting thing I’d ever seen in a bowl.  But fearful that I would have to sit at the basement coffee table all the way through reading buddy day at school until I finished it, I ate it anyway.  Being a stubborn child however, I detested every choking bite to the point that half-way through I barfed what I had eaten back into the bowl, which no one saw.  Then my babysitter came downstairs and believed that I had not eaten any of my cream of wheat, as it looks pretty much the same post-gastral,  and forced me to eat a bowl of barfed up cream of wheat.

So I ate four bites of oatmeal.  Gross.  

My babysitter and capitalists like Galon Weston have ruined breakfast for me, forever.

peace,

-a.b.

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canada geese vs. capitalism.

canada-goose-0002Dear A News,

Your decision to change from “A Channel” to simply “A” was dumb.  What a dumb name.  But until now, I’ve kept my mouth shut.  Canceling the A Morning show was devastating as I found it to be the only news-like program worth watching on your stupidly named broadcast station.  Playing the 11 o’clock news on loop was a boring choice, but I’ve kept quiet and watched it an average of 2.5 times every morning even for the combined 30 minutes of sports, which I have no interest in now that basketball is done, without saying a word.  But on Monday you played a repeat of the Friday night news, which included a story about a canada goose couple who have made a home/nest on a meridian in the parking lot of a big box mall, and I absolutely cannot be silent about the poor journalistic standards present in this story.

The canada goose is a noble creature all too often misjudged and ignored due to abundance and prevalence (and the pushy way they move in on the bread thrown to ducks).  But they are resilient, intelligent, nurturing  animals who have been among the few that have learned to live within the persistent sprawl of Southwestern Ontario.  The particular geese you reported on proved this; when they returned to their wetland homeland so inconsiderately and baselessly converted to the ultimate symbol of capitalist folly – the big box mall- they made themselves a home on the last bit of dirt they could find.  What tenacity!  And what did you do?  You made fun of them.

Sure you cannot help the content of your vox pop – a young woman commenting on how mean the daddy goose is for doing what comes naturally and protecting his nesting wife and their eggs against SUVs and slacked-jawed looky-loos – but your reporter could have concentrated on the real story.  The story about how city planners, zoning granters, money-hungry building developers, and mindless consumers of fair London have all unknowingly conspired to deprive baby geese of a suitable home.  How wetlands have been traded for ill-conceived suburban sprawl and wasteful pedestrian-un-friendly shopping compounds (that do away with resource splitting and intelligent urban design).  And, when you did report on the loss of wetlands you framed the loss only as a cumulative destruction across Ontario over the past century and a half without noting how heightened this loss has become in the last decade in London.  You lamented how this loss has impacted the flooding of the city of London, inconveniencing people, without noting at all the devastation to non-human beings.  

And then, you signed the piece off with “maybe they just want attention.”

Well, frankly, attention must be payed!  But not to floods causing mild annoyance to people or the fact that *big surprise* male geese are aggressive when protecting their young.  But to the fact that Canadian geese now have to risk being run over and losing their young under your brand new all-season tires because the only place left to nest in the region where they remember being raised is outside the La Vie En Rose outlet store (which doesn’t even carry underwear for women over a size 12). 

I’d take a thousand geese shitting on my lawn to another WalMart in my backyard/wetlands any day.  

peace,

-a.b.

**i’ve been asked to note that t. brought this my attention first, before i saw it. so…noted**

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no boys allowed.

feminist1I was recently introduced to a super-awesome article written by a super-awesome Prof of mine, Steve D’Arcy. It is called “Politics of Self-Emancipation” and it has inspired a few inciting comments.   I tried to reply to these comments but there was some sort of technical glitch (user error perhaps?) and instead of rewriting them and likely birthing an endless online banter about the nature of feminism, I have decided to utilize my very own blog to tell the internet gods how I feel about men’s participation in the women’s movement.

I have come to hold the concept of self-emancipation as it is described by D’Arcy as something essential to social change.  However, as is noted in the article, this offers a certain affront to the concept of men participating in feminism.  In this vein,  in a comment by a one “Kim” it is suggested that by writing about how women require self-emancipation, my fav Prof has somehow violated his own rule of men taking a ‘step back’ in feminism and is instead prescribing something that women need and is thus somehow co-opting power from women.  I disagree.  Not only as a kneejerk to her sweeping and somewhat inflammatory generalizations about “leftist men” (though I do have issues of my own with my brothers in solidarity), but because I think that the article is about how self-emancipation is needed in all social movements and that the particular use of feminism in describing the practicality of the concept was a presription to men, not women.  Having said this, I do think an important point can be drawn from this tension: the difference between a women’s movement and feminism.

As is so oft pushed by groups wanting to gain mass appeal, feminism is for everyone (!).  I’ve long seen feminism as being just as much about men reconciling the patriarchal power structure as it is about women doing so.  Surely, many will disagree with me.  But I do not believe we can study, inform, or empower women in a gender vacuum.  Men must be engaged and included in order for the feminist project (which I see as overthrowing the patriarchy in favour of egalitarian gender relations) to work.  True, male feminists must respect the guidelines and framework of women-empowered space, but women must also recognize men’s legitimacy and necessity in the process.  And while the feminist movement started out as solely woman-focused, in North America at least, where women have equality under the law, it is high time for us to realize that this is all about GENDER – not women; not men.   Admittedly, ‘feminism’ does pose problems of etymology to a gender-holistic approach, but I still feel it to be the best descriptor I’ve come across; “genderist” sounds like Bowie in the 80s and “post-patriarchist” and its kin are just a disaster.  More important than a name however, I believe that there must be admitted in this ideology/movement/lens that women have been and continue to be disadvantaged in the patriarchal gender equation.  And thus I am now and will remain a feminist.

Women’s movements on the other hand are decidedly about women and for women; about women conjuring and taking power and these are truly best left to women.  Like how only women should march on the street during Take Back the Night.  Or women-only space.  And how is this not sex-discrimination, a one “Michael McGhee” may ask? Well, let me tell you…

While women-only space is technically discrimination against men, it is not discrimination in the social-ill-to-be-extinguished sense.  Unlike the men-only everything of western culture, women-only space is not about intentionally withholding power from men. Rather, it is about women having space wherein they can identify and develop their own power apart from the male gaze, used here in a sexual and non-sexual sense.  So many women have confided to me that around men they can only feel evaluated as an object of desire and/or inferior to what she sees as his societal-given superiority.  As such, for many women, empowerment and movement towards a feminist-identity requires development in women-only space, to be moved to the polygendered reality of her public life when she is ready to own her ability, contributions,and worth in the presence of testosterone.  

So there.

peace,

-a.b.

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