Monthly Archives: June 2008

do I look like a shopgirl?

Yesterday, I did some shopping. As I was leaving a store, leaving the store, two white women walked in. As I stepped over the threshold of the shop, one turned around and said, “Do you work here?” I turned around, propping the door open with my shoulder. “Nope,” I replied, and left.

Yeah, all the people with a little melanin in their skins must be the employees, or something. Jeez. Isn’t that racist?

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what I need to do in the next two days:

  1. Prepare for my final two final exams (US history and French)
  2. Read Orlando, by Virginia Woolf
  3. Return a fiction book, a French textbook, an English textbook (opened once), and a US history textbook
  4. Finish a painting
  5. Go to work
  6. Pack for a trip to Chicago
  7. Memorize two piano pieces
  8. Sight read a Schubert string quartet; this also means I have to find a recording so I know what it’s supposed to sound like
  9. Clean my room
  10. Check out a biology textbook and a nonfiction book that I’m supposed to read over the summer; I’m assured nobody ever does this assignment and the teacher goes over the notes at the beginning of the next school year
  11. Find my Best Buy gift card (this follows naturally from #9) so I can get Narrow Stairs without spending my own money
  12. There is no #12

The end. (Actually, I should read Lies My Teacher Told Me and then return it to the person I borrowed it from. That’ll be my #12.)

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why I like the label “feminist.”

As I’ve been reading feminist discourse and feminist blogs, I’ve stumbled on a large number of women and men and people who have chosen to reject the label of “feminist” and distance themselves from the “feminism” movement.

But while the different brands differ radically and I certainly don’t like the tactics of certain groups, nor agree with the ideas of other groups (sometimes the two do overlap), I cannot reject [insert type of feminist here] groups for the blatant [insert hypocritical/misogynist/hurtful tactic(s) here] of some high-profile members of that group, because that would be an attack ad hominem, although it is fine to call them out on it.

For instance, rejecting anti-porn/prostitution feminists and feminism because of some blatant slut-shaming. (However, when the method points out a specific disconnect within thinking, I pause a little more. Note: purtek identifies as a feminist.)

Most of all, feminists have successfully lobbied for important changes and improvements, and to disconnect myself from feminism is, for me, a rejection of this fight for equality. And in other people’s eyes, I will not be a part of this fight for equality. I can argue that MRAs and misogynists and “regular folk” think that feminism is really about radical men-hating women putting themselves above The Men, and so distancing myself from feminism is a good thing. That I will find more sympathy from the public. Or that various sections of feminism are really racist and focused on middle-class white women and ignore transpeople and etc. etc. and that I am better forging into the woods on a path of more righteousness. But that would be ignoring the fact that misogynists won’t like any type of “let’s make everyone equal” regardless of the fact that it comes labeled as feminism, humanism, womynism, or with no labels at all. And it would be ignoring the fact that many people are working within the feminist movement to right the disconnect between white hetero middle class and everyone else.

Also, this is a fight not easily won. And the more we are split, the harder it is to fight. It is easy for the oppressors to keep the oppressed down – I’m thinking back to the Chinese/Japanese Americans (Koreans, Indians, the rest of Southeast Asia, and everyone else are never mentioned in history textbooks, so sorry, I have no clue how those groups behaved. Maybe I’m supposed to assume they didn’t exist in American history until the 1990’s, but a little note would be nice) of the 1800s, who did not hesitate to keep African and Mexican Americans down to raise their status. It still happens, you know.

But I won’t force anyone from rejecting. I’m not going to, that’s all.* I’m a feminist.

*This calls into question: Can I say, I don’t approve, but I don’t have a problem with it? Sounds kind of like, I don’t have a problem with gay people, but I wouldn’t want my kids to be gay.** Dear, you have no choice over whether your kids are gay or not.
**This is another interesting argument. Do you not want your kids to be gay because you are a closet homophobe, or because you don’t want them to go through the hurt of being an oppressed class in society? Or is the second option really just benevolent paternalism, and you’re just a closet homophobe anyway? [I have no answers.]

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in which the universe does not care.

A Man Said to the Universe

Stephen Crane

A man said to the universe:
“Sir, I exist!”
“However,” replied the universe,
“The fact has not created in me
“A sense of obligation.”

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