Observations on women
exiting the radfem community; reasons why (pt.1).
1. [Them] Getting upset or
disappointed when romanticized myths about women become shattered due to the sometimes
unideal messy reality of female humanity. It’s not ideologically healthy to
romanticize or idealize any population of people, including underprivileged or
They’re women and teen girls who newly enter into the
radical feminist community with an unrealistic romanticizing and idealizing of
women and radical feminist women specifically, thinking that because radfems
should “know better” and be “above it all” that they’ll always have civil and
moral conduct. This is not the case and shouldn’t be assumed about anyone or
any group. Having an unrealistic fantasy about radfem women’s better moral conduct
lends more easily to feelings of shock and disillusionment when radfem women
fall short of these romanticized or idealized expectations.
By being realistic about complex sociopolitical community
dynamics and human character plus behavior, accepting that not everything or
everyone is going to be good or right at all times, it’s a bit more difficult
to become disillusioned since you already expect that problems and ‘problematic’
people are going to exist within the community.
I disagree with this
following statement when it is applied as an
overall explanation for feminism because it’s overly simplistic, but I think as
one point in feminism it is valid: “Feminism is the radical notion that women
are people”, which means not always
being right and not always being good.
Lower perfectionist expectations of feminists (including
radical feminists) having constant ideal moral conduct on the basis of them
being female or feminists and increase expectations that they’ll be some
complications and messes on the basis of them being human.
I will also say that I find women who exit radfem
communities because of mean-spirited individuals to be exhibiting a sort of
I think it’s ironically
individualistic for certain women to abandon a collectivist sociopolitical movement and ideology like radical
feminism (which has a structural-material “Big Picture ™” approach to feminism) because
of their own individual negative experiences with specific persons or cliques within
the radfem community.
A whole ideological sociopolitical movement that’s about
changing the entire world for female
liberation is tossed aside and abandoned because of rude comments made that
aren’t even significant in the full scope of things and negative comments made
history probably won’t even remember in the grand scheme of the radical
People have a knack of really over simplifying feminism like “feminism: the radical notion that women are people” or “feminism is literally just believing in equality” like… no its not its so much more complex than that ask any dingus if they think women and men should be equal they’ll probably say yeah but their actions and thoughts probably majorly contradict that so quit acting like anyones a feminist if they vaguely believe women are ok humans
Do you think the Sand Snakes are good feminist characters?
In the show? Hell no. From the portrayal of Ellaria’s bisexuality, to Obara’s demonstration of “badassness” by murdering a man in cold blood for no reason, to the paper-thin excuse to show Tyene’s breasts, to attempting to “fix” their mistakes characterising these women by misgendering one and telling them to shut up…it’s a trainwreck. An intersectional trainwreck too, given how many of these character traits are put down to their being Dornish, i.e. not white.
In the books, I think they have their place. It’s not enough to have one or two well-rounded female characters; there must be a well-rounded female cast (ideally about 50% of characters, save in settings where worldbuilding establishes no women allowed, and even then, that’s no excuse for forgetting entirely about half of humanity). And that means that along with female characters who are brave and clever and selfless to varying degrees, I expect female characters who are vicious and shortsighted and selfish to varying degrees. The elder Sand Snakes are definitely the latter.
If all (or even most) of GRRM’s female characters were Cerseis or Sand Snakes, well, I wouldn’t have made it to book five. But the radical notion that women are people means that some of those people are going to be awful.
I guess feminism is the radical notion that women are people, but men are inanimate objects/animals.
Oh, and in case any of you need to have it explained why comparing men to M&Ms or puppies is not only dehumanizing, but also also completely unhelpful, here’s the thing. And that thing is called individuality. It means that individual humans are distinct and completely separate from one another, with their own consciousness, experiences, identity, reputation, and discernible personal characteristics. This is unlike M&Ms, which are anonymous, indistinguishable, and have absolutely no cognitive capacity whatsoever. And unlike dogs and other animals that can be conditioned for desired behavior, people are afforded the right to live within a system of rules & laws that inform their actions, with specific individual punishments reserved for specific transgressions.
i'm wondering about your opinions on enjolras and cosette as siblings
cosette was adopted first, but she’s younger, and so when enjolras joined the valjean/fauchelevent family, he was met by a hulking giant of a man who was covered in tattoos and wearing a leather jacket and this little nine year old girl with pigtails and a hot pink tutu who tugged him down so that she could whisper “papa may look tough, but he’s really just a teeny little bunny rabbit inside and you shouldn’t be afraid” into his ear
enjolras would Heck You Up if you ever dared to harass cosette in high school— not physically, but he’d give you such a tongue-lashing that you’d wish he had just punched you in the face and gotten it over with
they were dubbed “The Scary Hot Blonde Siblings Of Doom” by the entire school
cosette is just as fiercely protective of her older brother as he is of her
sometimes cosette will just go and stay in enjolras’s dorm for the night and at first everyone thinks that she’s his girlfriend and they’re like “good going, dude!” and enjolras just starts carrying a sign around that says “she’s my sister” like in this gif and then lectures them on how even if he wasn’t gay and he was dating a girl, it wasn’t like he had scored some kind of goal or something, she was a person and not an object
cosette is scarily good about getting him to admit his feelings to her about the guys that he likes
enjolras has a bunch of photos of the two of them just being dorky siblings hanging above his bed at uni because she is the most important person in his life and like there are photobooth strips and awkward family vacation photos and a picture of them on a rollercoaster at disneyland paris and a shot of cosette sitting on his stomach on the couch and calmly watching tv while he glared up at her (that one’s his favorite because it’s just so cosette)
FWIW, I wasn't trying to excoriate you. I think I read the post you were referring to very differently than you did, and also I think that now I'm losing track of what's being talked about in all the back and forth. As best as I can tell, I thought that post was saying that feminist critique can be shallow and tumblr-y and assholish but doesn't have to be, and some of it is basically just trying to examine what's in a work and look at cultural assumptions etc. (cont'd)
(cont’d) And I thought it seemed like you might be saying that feminist criticism was worthless because it didn’t have specific social changes like enacting a law as a goal (it seemed to dovetail with other stuff you’ve said about criticism in general, feminist or not, being worthless), but wasn’t sure? (cont’d)
(cont’d) And I think you read the post as defending stuff that gets into nasty personal attacks in a gaslighty way as “it’s not personal, it’s just literary critique”?
Anyway, sorry for any distress I caused, I honestly didn’t mean to. At this point I don’t feel I have enough context to know whether your interpretation of the post or mine is closer to what the person means to defend. FWIW, I actually do think “I worry for anyone who liked 50 Shades” is pretty useless as criticism, but also think “Some of the implications in 50 Shades strike me as troubling and here’s why” may have something insightful to say.
I’m honestly getting tired of saying this over and over and over again, and getting the impression that most people are just not getting it no matter how I try to explain it, but I’m gonna try one last time (and then stop because this is fucking exhausting and I have actual shit to do, like write, that saying the same shit over and over is eating into my time to do):
Very frequently, people talk about “feminist critique” (and other feminist projects) and really minimize everything they are actually saying. They say things like “people think there oughta be a law,” eyerolling and totally dismissing any concerns that their critics have. They describe in great detail how their detractors are being silly and blowing things out of proportion.
To this end, they present a version of what they are doing that sounds totally innocuous: “Hey! You can enjoy something and also take issue with some of it! That’s all we ever said!”
Meanwhile, minority writers are terrified to write because they might get something wrong – sometimes including writing about their own group in ways that “feminist critiquers” have labeled “a bad trope.”
Meanwhile, fans are harassed and even get death threats, because the things they enjoy “promote or condone” serious sounding stuff like “pedophilia” or “misogyny.”
Meanwhile, people say things like “don’t donate to ao3, and through that means pressure them to change their policy” (and then turn around and say they are “not for censorship,” even though the exact thing they are trying to make happen involves making certain unacceptable works disappear.)
Whatever the screenshotter means personally, she(?) is minimizing the way the rhetorical device she defends is actually used, and the upshot of defending it.
Because of this, I tried in my original post, in a very intellectual, wonky, and not-emotionally-driven sort of way/voice, to point out that that rhetorical device doesn’t actually accomplish much (and is therefore a bad thing to choose to do, if your goal is something “feminist,” where “feminism” implies some sort of goal related to changing the world in some way.) I chose those words to avoid sounding yelly and condemning… and apparently it made what I meant to say incomprehensible.
Think about it this way: There are plenty of pro-LGBT Christians and churches in the world. These people are not homophobic. Some of these people are even LGBT!
But someone who points out a homophobic legacy, and says “I wish I could share your optimism, but I can’t” is not being paranoid or evil. They are expressing a concern that a particular pattern hasn’t yet been stamped out, and may be impossible to stamp out.
Let me tell you a bit of a story. When I was in grad school, several of the professors I admired were “feminist philosophers.” This was interesting and a little scary to me, because as a kinky person, when I googled feminism and BDSM I found a lot of creepy shit that said things like we shouldn’t even be welcome in NOW meetings, we were fans of and therefore somehow endorsed Nazis, etc. I wanted to find something positive in the social change, but I didn’t know how I could if a large part of the point was that I was some kind of kryptonite to other women.
So I decided to take one of these professors’ classes. And what I found was really interesting and weird… everyone in the room seemed to already be a feminist, and assent right away to things I was questioning and wanted to understand why people believed.
But, more than that:
Everyone else in the room, on that first day, talked about how “feminism has a PR problem.” They lamented that young women seemed to find the idea distasteful or toxic, and repeated over and over things like the famed slogan “feminism is the radical notion that women are people.” How could aaaaaaaaaaaanyone take issue with that? Especially young women, who reaped the rewards of The Movement?
And I just sat there squirming in my seat, unsure if it was wise or even safe to take on a whole room of say, nine other people, all of whom just couldn’t imagine that their beloved way of thinking could actually have hurt anyone. Because it’s totally innocuous! It just says “women are people!” Nothing else!
If the problem is really that and nothing else, then the analysis that says “we have a PR problem” makes sense. We’re doing nothing wrong, but somehow people think we are!
But the other way to get “a PR problem” is to do things that people find distasteful or threatening, and to not acknowledge or fix them, and have weird faith that if you just find the right communications directors, everyone will be cool with you. And then be baffled when it doesn’t work.
And that’s how I felt in that room (and what I wanted to say.)
And… that is the way I feel, and more than that, that is the thing I see, when people say “but feminist critique is just about getting you to look at things you love a teensy weensy bit differently! Nothing we are doing is threatening at all!”
I am deeply, deeply leery of rhetoric like this. I am skeptical that it comes from nice people, but even when it does come from nice people, I worry that those nice people are compartmentalizing on purpose, so they don’t have to look people in the eye who are saying “that project has some dangers. Please acknowledge this.”