Gender-justice

Earlier this week, I received an email from a reader who wondered what my work might look like if I “included the feminist perspective.” Since black feminism infuses and shapes all of my politics, I laughed. Then I read the excellent debate between Rebecca Traister and Judith Shulevitz about the future of feminism in the pages of the New Republic. I always find Traister’s work to be insightful, compelling and committed to challenging the continued whiteness of feminism.

But here’s the thing: The future of feminism is not up to white women. Not by themselves anyway.

Traister acknowledged this forthrightly, writing: “the two people embarking on this exchange are white, educated, middle-class women who live in New York City.”

Three weekends ago I sat in a church basement in Ferguson, Missouri, dialoguing with local young people about how to build a gender-inclusive racial justice movement to combat police brutality. My refrain to them was that “our generation must learn the lessons of the ’60s.” And even though this political moment – the war on black communities, the police repression of black men, the war on women’s reproductive rights  — feels like the ’60s, this is the remix. And we have the advantage and hindsight of history to guide us to the world we are fighting for. As I listened to young women tell me how they had been sexually harassed and treated with derision by young men in Ferguson, I kindly offered insights that I gleaned from reading black women like Barbara Smith, Toni Cade Bambara, and Pauli Murray – black feminist pioneers — talking about organizing in the ’60s. Several of the young women came to me and said, “these things were happening to us, and we didn’t have the language for it.”

Feminism gives us language to name experience.  Having language that helped me to understand that sexism matters as much as racism was critically important. In a political moment in which we are expending our political energy fighting for justice for Michael Brown and John Crawford, while black men fail to muster sustained cultural outrage against Ray Rice for brutalizing his wife, that language feels incredibly important. When Daniele Watts is harassed by the LAPD, and the local leader of the NAACP calls on her to apologize, or two black teen girls are slain in Florida and almost no one is talking about it, having a politic that melds the two feels like an unequivocal necessity.

Read the rest of this piece on, Salon.com where it was first published.
By Brittney Cooper who is a contributing writer at Salon, and teaches Women’s and Gender Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers. Follow her on Twitter at @professorcrunk.

Feminism’s ugly internal clash: Why its future is not up to white women was originally published on feimineach.com

“If more girls wanted to be scientists, there would be more female scientists”

*takes a deep breath* WE LIVE IN A SOCIETY THAT ACTIVELY DISCOURAGES FEMALE INTELLIGENCE BY PAINTING IT AS A NON FEMININE TRAIT AND SETS UP MALES TO BE IN POSITIONS OF ACADEMIC SUPERIORITY DESPITE THERE BEING NO RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GENDER AND ACADEMIC ABILITY thank you for your time

Stop mistaking harmless ignorance as downright disrespect, not everyone in the goddamn world is educated of the 500000+ different gender identities. You spend 99% of your time sitting on your ass browsing a website built from the ground up on social justice concepts; don’t expect others to be aware of the deep abyss of the gender universe when some people aren’t even aware that gender and sex are two different things.

ATTENTION

THE WHITEHOUSE.GOV PETITION TO LEGALLY RECOGNISE NON-BINARY GENDERS IS ENDING ON MARCH 21ST, 2014 THIS SATURDAY.  I DONT CARE IF YOURE NOT NON-BINARY, I DONT CARE IF YOU DONT HAVE AN ACCOUNT, IT IS UNBELIEVIBLY EASY TO MAKE ONE.

MAKE AN ACCOUNT.

SIGN THE PETITION.

WE HAVE TWO DAYS.

TWO DAYS TO GET 58,000 SIGNATURES.

PLEASE REBLOG THIS POST, EVEN IF YOU HAVE ALREADY SIGNED IT.  WE NEED TO GET THE WORD OUT.

8

I don’t think you guys realize how important Codename: Kids Next Door was.

The majority of our (basically) canonical couples were interracial, the greatest Supreme Leader the KND ever had was a female, and so many actually strong female characters like Numbuh’s 3, 5, 86, 362, and I even count Lizzie because of how chill she was about getting trapped in a mirror reality.

The undertones of respect Numbuh 86 had for Numbuh 362 even when, as far as the rules went, Numbuh 362 wasn’t in power and Numbuh 86 still obeyed her.

I’m also pretty sure Numbuh 1 was going through chemo, either that or he was just a bald child.

Lets not forget how there was never a moment in this show that made a snide remark or hint about the female operatives not being able to do something or it being too dangerous for them. The few times some jerk adult mentioned something even remotely insinuating they confronted the comment and called them out on how ridiculous it was, and then surpassed whatever stupid line was set.

Also, there was none of that “I won’t hit you because you’re a girl”, or “you can’t hit me I’m a girl”, everybody beat the crap out of each other, fought over the remote, helped each other out, and asked each other for help regardless of anything.

I’d screen cap for you but literally every episode has an example of it.

me doing an interview for an article on gender equality
  • me:so are you a feminist?
  • student teacher guy:no, I wouldn't say so.
  • me:why?
  • student teacher guy:well... actually, what's the definition of feminism?
  • me:*recites dictionary.com definition I wrote on my paper bc I knew I would need it at some point*
  • student teacher guy:oh. well I do believe that women should have equal opportunities. I just thought it was more of a pro-women and almost anti-men thing.
  • me:so you are a feminist?
  • student teacher guy:well, yes.
  • *at the end of the interview*
  • me:what do you think you can do to help women?
  • student teacher guy:tell all my friends the definition of feminism.

But the wage gap varies significantly by race, according to an analysis from the research organization AAUW. While white women experienced that 78 percent figure, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women made 65 percent of what white men made in 2013, African-American women made 64 percent, American Indian and Alaska Native women made 59 percent, and Hispanic women made just 54 percent. Asian-American women are the only group doing better than white women, making 90 percent of white men’s earnings.

Woah, staggering.

A Black Girl’s Natural Hair Criminalized In School

12 year old Vanessa VanDyke is being threatened with expulsion from Faith Christian Academy in Orlando unless she cuts her natural hair. Hair growing the way it does out of her head is considered a “distraction” by administrators. Yet another young Black girl forced to deal with the beauty politics and the politics of respectability that insist that not being White or adhering to those standards are an automatic detriment to education. Worse, she’s attended this school since 3rd grade and doesn’t want to have to leave her friends though she has been bullied by other kids for her hair. The consistent policing of Black women’s bodies starts young and continues right through college and the workplace. It is tiring and without logic beyond White supremacy, of course.

According to Local 10 in Orlando, she wore her hair like this all year. It’s a problem now because she is being bullied, and in a typical abuse culture riddled with victim blaming, the bullies are who needs to be coddled and protected, not her. 

I truly hope that whomever is ignorant on that school’s staff work things out with her parents or she finds a better school, though that will mean making new friends, which is challenging in adolescence at times. My larger hope is that Eurocentric beauty standards continue to unravel and continue to be stomped out of existence.

And nothing is wrong with her wearing her hair loose. Sometimes even Black people who claim to love natural hair only love it when elaborately styled, and those styles are very nice, but not the only way to wear natural hair.

And no Whites, I don’t want to hear about “rules” and “professionalism” until you explore what White supremacy and Whiteness actually mean. And don’t even try to conflate Whites’ mohawks etc. with Black women’s natural hair in an ahistorical way. And no some Black people, I don’t want to hear about perms being more “appropriate” and any respectability politics nonsense, until you explore how you internalize White supremacist thinking. Don’t come here with that.

I wish her and her family the best in this situation.

When men are against feminism, it’s frustrating, if ultimately predictable– groups with power have always been loathe to give it up. But when women come out against gender justice, it feels worse: no matter how fringe, the rise of the anti-feminist woman is not just baffling but a betrayal.

Obviously “women” aren’t a monolith, and neither are the issues that they care about or believe in. But anti-feminist organizing is based on a deep hypocrisy and selfishness - an ideology built to assure conservative women that as long as they are doing just fine, other women will make do.

When we ask men to reject sexism and the abuse of women, we are not taking something away from them. In fact, we are giving them something very valuable - a vision of manhood that does not depend on putting down others in order to lift itself up. When a man stands up for social justice, non-violence, and basic human rights - for women as much as for men- he is acting in the best traditions of our civilization. That makes him not only a better man, but a better human being.
—  Jackson Katz, The Macho Paradox.