Well, I'll go to the foot of my stairs...

Often startled, frequently amused, sometimes scared; rarely speechless. Can be found at witchywoo22@yahoo.co.uk

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Witchy-woo is re-defining herself...

...in the wake of recent experiences in the 'blogosphere'.

Seems to me that 'feminism' as a grassroots political concept that had the wellbeing of all women in mind has been corrupted by the patriarchy. Seems to me that, these days, if you have a vulva that kinda must make you a feminist, somehow. Seems to me that having a vulva kinda means you have to make it perform for the guys, somehow - and that, somehow, makes you a feminist, yunno?

Whether you're selling it, parading it, sliding down a pole with it, having it abused, shat on, spat on, beaten or abused, made 'less than', stripped, dressed in lace and 'fineries', wanked over, lied about, drooled over or stalked - there are elements of 'feminism' that try to make all/any of that kind of 'ok'.

Well, not this 'feminist'.

If this is what feminism has become - some kind of huge 'yay! it doesn't matter what happens to other women as long as the world/my man/any men/dig me and I can big up my own, individual sexual predelictions/means of survival/act out of my own abuse/bollocks to any other woman who doesn't hold the same patriarchally capitalist defined values as me' you can count me out. I'm not playing.

So much hard work has been done by so many women to make women, globally, not 'less than' and yet the patrirarchy seems to have succeeded in imprinting it's own values on so many. I wonder why.......seriously, I so wonder why.

But that's neither here nor there. The fact is that feminism, as a political movement, has been hijacked by the dominant ideolgy. We have 'raunch culture' - women supposedly expressing their 'sexual' selves - after all, what are women if not 'sex' as defined by the patriarchy?. Funny how women's innate desires about faux lesbianism absolutely and accurately reflect the supposed fantasies of men, isn't it? [/sarcasm] At the same time we have 90% of prostitutes wanting NOT to be prostitutes (well, would you? Think about it for 10 seconds...), we have women tortured and abused in the making of pornography aimed to get people (men) 'off', and we have women defending the 'rights' of other women to accept their lot as some kind of sex slave to the sweaty, stinking cock of the patriarchy. Other women's lives, seemingly, are expendable to some 'feminists'.

And that's 'feminism'?

Bolleaux.

This feminist, this woman who is deeply concerned about the lives of women and girls - globally - does not agree that all this is undertaken in the humanitarian interests of women. This is NOT feminism, from where I sit. This has nothing to do with female emancipation or equality. This is just more of the same old, same old and I, for one, am not buying it. I will not depend on the patriarchy for my survival, nor that of my daughter nor any other person with a vulva.

Feminism is now led by the nose by patriartchy?

From now on, I'm to be described as a Womanist.

I realise I may be (mis?)appropriating a woman of colour term - that hasn't escaped my notice. It was introduced to me as 'an ancient term for a woman who cared about women'.

But that's what I am! A womanist - I am a woman who cares about women. The patriarchy (and all it's sychophants) can go fuck itself - I am a womanist and I'm proud of it. I care about the survival and progression of women and I'm proud of it. I'm proud of women. I'm proud to be a woman.I am proud of my re-definition.

26 Comments:

  • At 4:48 AM, Blogger Y. Carrington said…

    Hey WW,

    I hear you. For me, it's not hard to understand why women make patriarchal compromises in the name of "feminism"...that how systems of domination work. Oppressors need to keep the oppressed tied to them by any material/ideological means necessary. Even the most radical lesbian feminists are forced to interact with male authority, through the coercive power of the state. Coverture (the civil termination of a woman's identity upon marriage) may have been outlawed in "advanced" countries like the US and the UK, but it's never died.

    You know, people of color (who I like to call "global" people, since we number over 80% of humankind) have a very similar problem, yet there are few names for it. Some call it "global apartheid," but apartheid is just one aspect of it. We are FORCED to interact with white folks, whether that's through employment, public relief, private charity, marriage, or neo-colonialism. No matter where you are---US, UK, Asia, Africa, Latin America, or the Pacific Islands---you must deal with white folks in some fashion or another, no matter how much they hurt you, if you want to stay alive.

    Food, basic health, water, and shelter are the bait that keeps us on the chain. If we throw off the chain, out comes the guns. We all know who's got the guns.

    Yolanda

     
  • At 5:08 AM, Blogger witchy-woo said…

    Thank you Yolanda - you're so steadying for me.

    Yes, we know who's got the guns.... that's how come they can pitch us - one 'against' another - that's how come they can make us all fearful.

    I hate them.

    I understand how some need to 'identfy' with them, conform...but it makes me so angry at the same time.

     
  • At 10:28 AM, Blogger Bea said…

    Witchy,

    Feminism is bigger - much bigger - than the blogging 'community'. The blogosphere is not representative of the women and men that work to liberate women. Check my blog for the Home Office consultation and read it. Look at all the organisations that wrote to the Home Office to fight for the Human Rights of Women.

    Don't let a few people give you the wrong picture of what feminist activism today. Don't let the fact that those few people shout loud non-stop give you the impression that they have numbers - they don't. Don't believe for one minute that governments and policy makers will listen to their absurd arguments - they won't.

     
  • At 10:43 AM, Blogger stormy said…

    If you're looking for a new term, and don't wish to offend the black feminists, try womanitarian (a variation on humanitarian).

    However, don't let it get you down. Historically, the 2nd wave identified that each generation of feminists needs to re-discover and re-define (within their generation) feminism. The recent hijacking of 'feminist' is nothing more than a smoke screen. It is possibly because feminism has 'refused to go away', so they pervert it. Ultimately though, *they* will be the ones suffering confusion, when not all 'feminists' comply with getting their kit off for the boys.

    Renaming and redefining the movement, is a waste of time. It is a diversion, one that shifts our attention from tackling the root causes of the oppression. Spend no more than five minutes on it!

    Whenever I get depressed about the whole situation, I think about it like this: The increase in porn, rape and violence towards women must only mean that the 'normal' methods of oppression are not working. This pandemic of violence, has also made men's violence towards women more obvious, and far easier to bring attention to it. But it is getting very scary out there! Separatism and women-only communes look better by the day. Yolanda has a good point, the interaction with the oppressors is unavoidable, even if one is a separatist.

    Rape is the 'gun' of choice. The amount of rape in war is truly sickening (let alone in 'civilised' society). And now I feel depressed again. *sigh*

     
  • At 5:54 PM, Blogger Sarah said…

    As Walker explained to The New York Times Magazine in 1984, "I don't choose womanism because it is 'better' than feminism...(snipped)I choose it because I prefer the sound, the feel, the fit of it; because I cherish the spirit of the women (like Sojourner) the word calls to mind, and because I share the old ethnic-American habit of offering society a new word when the old word it is using fails to describe behavior and change that only a new word can help it more fully see."

    Re-offer that word Witchy, it suits you. I am proud to call you friend, may you light my way for more days than I care to count.

     
  • At 9:12 PM, Blogger ms. jared said…

    i agree with you, w-w. i find it ridiculous that so many folks want to pretend that maintaining the status quo is some grand, brave feat. yeah. like it's so difficult and courageous to behave in ways that are fully approved of and/or mandated by the patriarchy.

    i keep wondering over and over again, if it's so empowering and fulfilling and wonderful, then why are women the only ones doing it? you know what i mean? if high heels, make-up, sexwork, etc. were so incredibly lucrative and fulfilling men would have co-opted them by now and women would be forced into comfortable clothes and horrible postions of power and leadership.

    fuck the patriarchy! viva la vagina! :-)
    xoxo, jared

     
  • At 10:32 PM, Blogger Z said…

    Way to go Witchy!! :D I am glad you are proud!!

    *hugs*hugs*

    I have been ignoring a lot of the arguements recently.. or probably not going to blogs where there has been 'that kind' of arguing.

    It's frustrating.

    Sorry I am in a rush but just wanted to say 'Good on you!' and I hope you are having a good weekend too :)

    Take good care,

    Z

     
  • At 3:00 AM, Blogger mistermorgan said…

    Huzzahs indeed!

    Something awesome has been happening these last few weeks, with everybody I read coming out strong against the pure bullshit that is raunch culture (and the artificial reconstruction of choice that comes along with it).

    The whole 'what I do is fine - my girlfriend doesn't mind at all!' thing is painful to witness in action and all.

    There's no power whatsoever in cynically enacting what you know to be the wishes of the patriarchy. The very idea that anybody would be so unaware of their oppression that they happily submit to it saddens me, but to support their choice as feminism to co-opt any real criticisms is just disgusting.

    Okay, if I say everything I want to this post will just run itself into the ground. Congratulations on the redefinition! :D

     
  • At 7:20 AM, Blogger hexyhex said…

    To play devil's advocate for a moment...

    So much of the recent angst in the feminist blogosphere has stemmed from various people feeling that various other people have been trying to redefine "feminism" for their own ends. I don't think the solution for that is to redefine "womanism". But nuff said on that.

    I quite like "womanitarian"! Where did that come from?

     
  • At 12:04 PM, Blogger stormy said…

    Hexy
    It just popped into my head when I was thinking of alternatives.
    I googled it, expecting to find a gazillion hits, but only two surfaced.
    So, whilst I can't claim the absolute invention of it, it seems relatively unused (and also free from co-option/corruption!).
    The sisterhood is free to use it vaggie-nilly!
    Stormy

     
  • At 1:19 PM, Anonymous delphyne said…

    We could always resurrect the tried and tested "women's liberationist" as it even contains a litmus test for whoever wants to take the label - people who support, for example pornography or wearing high heels, are going to be hard pushed to prove that their stances actually lead to the liberation of women. It also keeps the focus on the fact that there is something for us to be liberated from - male oppression, and, as an added bonus, a lot of those men who like to call themselves feminists in order that they can boss women around some more, will feel very uncomfortable with that particular label. I first heard this argument made by Germaine Greer and I think she's right.

    As for those people who think that feminism is anything they say it is and how dare anybody say it is possible to decide what is feminist and what isn't feminist, it's clear that they need some more thinking time.

     
  • At 4:16 PM, Blogger stormy said…

    delphyne:
    The only problem I have with 'women's liberationist' is that it was used in the 70s, and ended up having quite a negative stigma of "damn women's libbers". It didn't worry me personally, but in my mind, has been tainted.
    Yep, I'm old... (but not quite old enough for the 2nd wave).

    But I am starting to see more and more 'abuse' of the term feminist around - what's next, feminists-for-fake-boobs? *shudder*

     
  • At 6:57 PM, Blogger spotted elephant said…

    I hesitated to comment on this post. While I think it's great that you redefine yourself to live as you want, I'm angry that you had to feel that way-that there's so much garbage going on that you felt you had to do this.

    Bah, don't know if I'm making any sense.

     
  • At 10:39 PM, Blogger witchy-woo said…

    Makes perfect sense to me SE :)

    I like the term 'women's liberation' because, as delphyne says, it's a reminder that women still need to be liberated from male oppression. I don't think I'd mind being called a 'damned women's libber' - it's a tad more accurate that 'feminazi'!

    I'm liking 'womanitarian' too - thanks for that Stormy - and I take your point about renaming and redfining being a diversion.

    I dunno... I just want to feel comfortable with how I identify.

     
  • At 12:50 AM, Blogger v said…

    ww - i left two comments today but blogger has been playing up and i dont think you mustve got them.

    so. i just wanted to say that you've been a huge inspiration to me . you've given me a lot of support over the past few years and really shown me what it means to be woman centred and what sisterhood can be.

    so please don't give up, because we will get there.
    x

     
  • At 11:15 AM, Blogger stormy said…

    Witchy:
    I think the comparative weight of the twist-slur (damn women's libber vs feminazi) is a reflection of the backlash. The earlier one was just annoyance that women wanted this stuff, and they weren't taken too seriously. The latter is the result of the 2nd wave actually achieving benefits for women, and is far more venomous because of it.

    At the end of the day, any term we use will (by the other side) try to be corrupted or co-opted/twisted in order to discredit us.

    I might just go around calling myself a femizon (feminist + amazon), as they weren't terribly fond of men...

     
  • At 4:45 PM, Blogger Phemisaurus Terribilis said…

    You too can be a Phemisaurus, you know - just not of the Terribilis variety cos that one's kinda taken.

     
  • At 9:22 PM, Blogger stormy said…

    Really? I like the sound of Femizon Terribilis. Perhaps I'll just be Femizon Stormibilis. Or Grrrlibilis?
    Or even fuck-you-dude-I-am-an-independent-thinking-feeling-humanbeing. But a tad too long for the letterhead.

     
  • At 12:16 AM, Blogger witchy-woo said…

    V - thank you so much for that. It means a lot.

    xxxx


    And as for stormy and phemi - you're just making me smile now :)

     
  • At 12:41 AM, Blogger Sarah said…

    Phemisaurus giganticus? Phemisaurus fuckoffii

    No no no, I've got it!

    Phemisaurus witchii

     
  • At 6:53 AM, Blogger TNTrash said…

    witchy woo rules.

     
  • At 7:08 AM, Blogger alyx said…

    Womanist? Womanitarian? Whatever.

    You'll always be a Mad Sheila in my books. :-)

     
  • At 10:51 AM, Blogger Sarah said…

    Witchy hon, in all seriousness the best "label" I can apply to you is "My Friend" and yes, the capitals there are intentional.

    ((hug))

     
  • At 1:56 AM, Blogger Phemisaurus Terribilis said…

    Phemiwoowoos Tewiwilis?

    Witchysaurus Woops?

    Woopsiesaurus Witchyfificus?

    Woochieschmoopus Weewee..

    OK, OK, I'll go to bed.

     
  • At 11:23 AM, Blogger simply wondered said…

    whichever way you define yourself your shit is good.


    err has ms t lost it entirely??? could be toothache...or inability to digest her last man

     
  • At 12:25 PM, Blogger stormy said…

    "And as for stormy and phemi - you're just making me smile now :)"
    Glad to be of service!

    Stormuscloudious Terribilis
    (see photo)

     

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