Quote of the Week: Oliemoon

If feminist[s] need the voices of the women like tekanji who are becoming increasingly disillusioned by the bigotry that they frequently find within mainstream feminist movements, then it is the responsibility of the feminists to bring them back into the fold, and not the duty of the abused parties to stay and continue to [p]ut up with said abuse for the sake of bettering their “sisters.”

– Oliemoon

My question for readers: What are some of the tools you bring to the table or can suggest should be used to tranform all of the parts of feminism into places in which accountability and inclusivity are core values? (accountability implies that the women who are being oppressive are responsible for changing their behavior, not that the women who are being oppressed are responsible for making them feel bad about being oppressive or required to sublimate their needs to a mainstream identity/ies or leave.)

 

One thought on “Quote of the Week: Oliemoon

  1. This is a fantastic question. I’ll write more after I have had a chance to think on it (though this means you get my babbly answer first), but the first thing that came to mind is how important, on an individual level, a really good therapist is cuz folks need others’ help in order to get though that really difficult internal work that must be done to even begin to own the privilege that one has, as well as the responsibility to utilize that privilege in a way that is as most beneficial/least harmful as possible. One also needs someone to help navigate what you are and are not responsible for, even. (This is related to the accountability that you’re talking about.) Because I think that sometimes activist-y types (arrogant as we are in thinking that we matter so much to the process of making change) take so much responsibility into themselves for things that they are just not responsible for in the world and that makes it harder to take responsibility for the things that we are responsible for. And guilt is no joke. So if we already feel mad guilty for X and Y, when someone tells us we need to feel guilty for Z too… well that is where the line gets drawn and the guilt/denial throw down begins. And guilt will eat you up, destroying everything in its path. We activist-y types also tend to be so determined that we are ‘right’, while also possessing a constant need for reassurance of our righteousness because we have self-worth issues too, so it is devastating when someone tells us that we might be a part of the problem. So, yeah. Therapy is a necessity for people who want to deal with that kind of complex shit.Transparency is also invaluable, as is the willingness to be uncomfortable. In the feminist classroom, people say things about how important it is to have a "safe space" and every time I hear that I think, "safe for whom?" Cuz my safe ain’t necessarily gonna be your safe, and I think that, many times, "safe" is conflated with "never uncomfortable" in these kinds of situations. And I want to be uncomfortable sometimes because, to me, growth isn’t comfortable. That’s why we call them "growing pains." But to get back on track, my idea of "safe" is a place where people are transparent with one another about what they’re feeling and where they’re at and what they can and can’t handle at a given time. There’s no shame in saying something like, ‘what you’ve said makes me feel angry and hurt, so I’m gonna take a minute to marinate on why that is before I agree to move forward on this.’ There’s a whole lot of holding in and talking smack, and while that has its place for the person who needs to vent or needs support for how she has been hurt, it isn’t going to build bridges to leave it at that. A space must be created for openness across the borderlines, a space where fear and anger and making mistakes are respected and okay (though all of this requires taking responsibility and corrective action), a space where sometimes people just listen without responding immediately or at all (more of that marinating). In my experience, my first response isn’t always the right one, but it is always the one that will tell me the most about where I’m at. So I try to be less impulsive in this way, and more thoughtful about what I’m bringing to the table and where that baggage is coming from (and how much of it there is) and how it might help or hurt. I try to be more forgiving of people, in general, and understanding of the place where they stand. A woman who I deeply admire leads theater-based workshops for mixed race groups that explore racial oppression and in every workshop she gives a shot talk about how racism effects people of all races in ways that are terrible, pausing when she says, "We are all devastated." Thinking about that statement always brings tears to my eyes because of its simplistic truth.You see how so much of this is internal? I wonder what that says about me. I wonder what that says about this so-called movement. And Ima stop babbling now and start putting some of this self-proclaimed thoughtfulness to work before I jump in to this question again.

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