Buuut, I read Ragnell's entry on both the "Touching random hot chicks boobs makes me feminist" and "It's okay to be a plagiarizing racist if I'm a feminist" debates and so I can't say much more.

Although, I will say that if anyone is totally turned off by cons because of the first issue, please don't be. I've been to a few comic and anime conventions. I've been to Wizard World East (twice), Wizard World Texas, the Small Press Expo, Anime Expo and Otakon. I'm not going to make out like they were all like utopian societies (Well, the Small Press Expo came pretty close, but I know that's not everyone's thing). Wizard World's booth babes don't exactly make my stomach feel good, but I have to say I haven't really had anything bad happen to me anywhere. I've met a lot of nice people, eaten a lot of nice food and gotten some good stuff at every convention. The only outright bad experience I've ever had was my second time at Wizard World East, and that was because I went alone, not even meeting anyone there, and the overall experience just felt like a letdown. But anyway, I've never been groped or insulted or anything. I have gotten a couple of compliments (from creators!) but both of them weren't skeevy or crude or anything. Just nice things.

So, if you are comfortable, go to cons and bring a friend/lover/sibling. It doesn't matter which one. I've done all three and it has worked great. And you get the triple package of strength in numbers, starting the Open Source Women Back Each Other Up Project at home, and somebody to elbow in the ribs when a teenager does something stupid. Which, if you go to an anime convention, will be all the time.

As for the second, it would be easy for me, as a single white feminist, to beg the WoCs to come back but ... I couldn't make a convincing argument. The truth is *I* don't always like the feminist community very much. But I will try, and I think we white feminists should ALL try, to be better about this.

I don't quite know how to do that yet. Complaining about the imagery in the It's a Jungle Out There book is a good start. (And leads me into something I want to mention about camp, which I find pertinent since my boyfriend and I were just the other day watching some cartoons which we enjoyed but had racial caricatures. I think we white people can enjoy a work with racist/sexist/etc elements if it has other good qualities. I don't feel comfortable censoring the past. But let's not, y'know ... make NEW stuff that just takes the racist/sexist/etc. elements en masse and then be like, "BUT IT'S CAMP!" No, it's not. And it's not cool. (Unless you're like, doing it to be ironic or making some greater statement. But in this case it really, really wasn't.)) (Um, nevermind. I read she used an excuse like that somewhere. My idiot self just wants to give some leeway to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and the Venture Bros. Ignore me.) But we need to do more. I don't know how. I'm bad at this leader thing. Maybe by shutting up and listening. That might be cool.

----

Something I'd like to share with you. Remember those cartoons I talked about? Well, I found one I had been looking for for a long time. No racism in this one, BTW. Just a white boy who changes into a chicken.
quietprofanity: (Sabra - Pissed (or Jewish))
( Mar. 26th, 2008 10:02 am)
You know, I used to be kind of a feminist asshole.

Once, I thought the only true living feminists were Christina Hoff Summers and Camille Paglia. Once I belonged to a LJ community called "female misogyny," which professed to be just a place for those against mainstream feminism to meet but eventually ... wasn't. Or probably wasn't all along. I tended to latch onto the stuff I agreed with ("Who cares if Paglia says men can't help rape women because they're so sexy? Women being sexually dominant is cool!"), accepted without question dismissal of theorists I'd never read ("They say Dworkin is bad so she MUST be"), and ignored when they were lumped in with Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh.

And then I ... actually took a feminism class.

Sometimes I look back on my old opinions with a sad sigh. A sigh which has grown even louder when I've seen how outright awful some of the misogyny and bigotry in the world can be. "Why?" I told myself. "Why did I ever think that way? Why did I accept those women's masculine worship disguised as feminism? WHY?"

And then yesterday I read this:

Zoe, of course, is meant to be our empowered, ass-kicking sidechick. Like all sidechicks she is objectified from the get go. Her husband, Wash, talking about how he likes to watch her bathe. Let me just say now that I have never personally known of a healthy relationship between a white man and a woman of colour. I have known a black woman whose white husband would strangle and bash her while her young children watched. My white grandfather liked black women because they were ‘exotic’, and he did not, could not treat women, especially women of colour, like human beings. I grew up watching my great aunts, my aunty and my mother all treated like shit by their white husbands, the men they loved. So you will forgive me for believing that the character, Wash, is a rapist and an abuser, particularly considering that he treats Zoe like an object and possession.

Because he likes to wash her bathe. His wife. Bathing. Doesn't even seem like it's in a voyeuristic manner. Still rape. Bathing.

Here's more.

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Joss uses his own wife in this way. Expects her to clean up his emotional messes. Expects her to be there, eternally supportive, eternally subservient and grateful to him in all his manly glory. I hope the money is worth it, Mrs. Whedon. But somehow I doubt that it is. No amount of money can buy back wasted emotional resources.

And more.

I feel awful for Joss Whedon's wife. From what I've read about him and the interviews I've watched, I'm fairly certain that he rapes his wife and abuses her in various other ways. I honestly can't think of anything worse than living with a man like Joss who thinks of women like the way he portrays in his tv shows. How awful. The comment about the money was meant to be about how I personally could see no benefit from being with a man like Joss OTHER than money. Joss uses and abuses her. Probably rapes her and thinks of women as whores etc, etc. Obviously, Ms Whedon has her own reasons for staying. Fear, patriarchal concepts of love, etc. But I would argue that she gives everything and gets nothing. Money is the only concrete thing that she could possibly gain. But as I said money is worth nothing compared with self-integrity, self-esteem, love (sister/lesbian/gynaffectionate love) etc. So she still loses out. Poor woman.

And more.

I believe in the radical feminist definition of rape. That is that men who pressure women into sex are rapists. That women who are pressured are not freely consenting and are therefore being raped. There have been a few discussions recently in the rad fem blogosphere debating whether all male initiated sex is rape, given that women are politically, socially and economically subordinate to men. So, in my understanding of Joss Whedon as a rapist is hinges on my definition of rape. I would argue that most 'sex' between men and women, in the contemporary 'sex-positive', pornographic, male-supremacist culture, is rape.

So, I think Joss Whedon is a rapist because it is impossible for me to believe that a man who produces a show like Firefly, a man who openly objectifies women in his interviews, a man who based the character of Xander Harris (a pro-porn, sex-obsessed teenage male in Buffy) it is imposible for me to believe that this man does not pressure his wife for sex. If he has pressured his wife for sex even if she eventually consented [emphasis in the original] he is still a rapist. I know far too many women who have been, and are being, forced, coerced, manipulated, pressured into sex that they do not want with their male partners. I'd bet anything that Joss is one of these men. And if he is then he is a rapist in my books.


Male-initiated sex is rape, huh?

How very interesting. Do you know what I think rape is?

RAPE



And now why I fell into the Paglia/Summers bullshit suddenly becomes clear ... offensive garbage masquerading as social justice like this was staring me in the face.

I feel sorry for the problems in her family, for certain. But I still think views like these are absolutely abominable. I doubt she'll see this, but in case she does, I'll offer up my own story.

There have been two people I've had sexual contact with. One was a black girl. One has been a white male. Without getting into details, the black girl pressured me into "pretending to have sex" with her. She told me she sought me out of our classmates because she knew I wouldn't say anything and said she would be really disappointed in me if I didn't. I said "yes" but I don't feel I really consented.

The white male pursued me through flirting and other means. Eventually (after I realized he meant the things he said) I started returning them. I actually initiated the first sexual contact. After that it's been, and continues to be, a trade-off.

I wouldn't call either situation rape, but I know which one comes a hell of a lot closer.
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