I’ve had a lovely day…

…and I’m in a pretty mellow mood. Which feels nice, actually. Things at Witchy Towers aren’t exactly a bowl of cherries at the moment (hence the dearth of new posts) so nice feelings are more than welcome.

Sisterhood is wonderful. I don’t mean the optimistic sisterhood of politically like-minded women – although that’s fab too. No, I mean the feeling of real, bonded sisterhood between women who aren’t blood related. I love my sisters. You know who you are and I want you to know that. You rock my world.

I have a couple of things that are bugging me a bit but, because of my mellow mood this evening, they’re framing themselves as questions rather than angsty polemics.

Lately, in posts and comments on some of the blogs I read, there seems to be a “will you women just stop whining” attitude developing in response to feminists speaking about the global injustices endured by women. We’re accused of being stuck in a ‘cult of victimhood’ by people who either don’t have the first clue or those who relate their own tale of survival and self percieved success with nary a thought for those with less power/resources/privilege/support/luck than they have. You know, that “you can help yourself, just look at me – I play the system and it works for me!” view.

It’s not that I begrudge any individual’s success or harbour resentment against their ingenuity but individual solutions for collective problems don’t work, do they? All they do is blur the issues, surely? I think that those who would rather avoid acknowledging the global injustices that women face, those who deem themselves successful in the struggle, those who find it easier to accuse us of ‘whining’ rather than critically examining their own role in those injustices when we speak about them, are further enabled in their deliberate ignorance by the “you can help yourself” school of thought. Individual solutions for collective problems don’t work.

Not everyone can help themselves. Should we stop speaking about that because it’s percieved as ‘whining’? Many, many women actually are victims – and many more still are survivors – should we, as feminists, really be saying “shit happens, get over it – I have” when, globally, the making of women as victims (and survivors) is systemic and political? I’m thinking, not.

I’m thinking the “stop whining” response is one that comes from those who’d like to close us down, shut us up, make us be quiet.

The very word “victim” has ‘weak’ tacked onto it in a kind of sub-text way, don’t you think? And no woman wants to think of herself as weak. Most women are far from weak. But the coupling of those two conditions isn’t one made by women. I believe it was made by men in order to define women. And it isn’t true.

Merriam Webster’s (edited) definition of ‘victim’:

one that is subjected to oppression, hardship, or mistreatment, one that is tricked or duped

‘Subjected’ is the operative word there, I think. It clearly denotes the power relationship. And how many women do you know who are either victims or survivors of our political system of oppressive and cruel subjectification. Quite a few, I’d hazard.

‘Cult of victimhood’? No, I don’t think so. Cult of “STFU – you’re onto us” on the other hand….

From now on, I shall take the ‘stop whining’ response as “woohoo I’ve hit a nerve!” – and run with it.

10 responses to “I’ve had a lovely day…

  1. Sisterhood…nothing better. I have also had a lovely day. (Must be going around, huh? Like the flu, but the flip side.) I spent the day in the company of my chosen family (my sisters, brothers, my daughter — and you all know who YOU are too) as well as my legal family (spouse) and children (son and daughter). Chosen families….the best.

    And bringing it back to Witchy’s original point: Let’s work together. We don’t all agree on teh best way to achieve our goal. Our goals are not isomorphic either, beyond we want to end discrimination and abuse. We (many of us) are passionate about our goal. And THAT is why we go after each other. We fear if we don’t agree we’ll not achieve anything.

    I think as long as a certain cohesion exists, this diversity benefits us. We all bring different skills and emphases to the battleground. And that’s important;

  2. Hi Witchy I hope things soon improve there at the towers of witchery – I also find that blaming the victim helps protect the system. Self-blame (“self-hate” and “internalized oppression”) serves the same purpose.

  3. virtual hugs from me ww. is there anything i can do?

    x

  4. This is a v. timely post, for me personally anyway. Just recently, my blood-related sister has made it clear she does not ‘get’ my feminism, and her stance is the one you’ve described here e.g. “these things don’t affect me, I’m fine, so why do you have to keep going on about this stuff, why don’t you leave things be?” etc.

    Sisterhood is wonderful, it’s just disappointing when you try to explain your feminist politics to a biological sister and it’s like talking to a brick wall.

  5. My bio-sister too Michelle. She doesn’t ‘get’ that the gains (the 2nd wave) made, can be (and are) being eroded away.

    She has no idea on domestic violence, and thinks that’s a case of ‘bad choice of partner’. What she doesn’t realise is that her current bf of the last few years has ‘classic’ traits of the jealous abuser. I predict trouble if they ever split.

  6. My sis is a classic 17 year old living out her wild days, but she knows I’m a feminist and does, for the most part, thinks its good. She does get annoyed when she thinks I’m ‘going on’ about things though (if an advert comes on or something on TV doesn’t agree with me).

    Not sure if that means she doesn’t get feminism but I can only continue trying to influence her ;) She came on reclaim the night and seemed to have fun, so I can only hope she’ll come this year!

    Sisterhood is wonderful, yes, and I feel very lucky to have been in contact with such wonderful women such as yourselves. I hope you are okay witchy and we are here when/if you need us.

  7. I don’t have any bio siblings now and never had any bio-sisters.

    Very glad I have you Big Sis!

  8. Great post, Witchy.

    Trackbacked at my new endeavour (seeking co-bloggers) – Finally, a Feminism 101 blog.

    I’d love some feedback.

  9. Pingback: FAQ: Isn't feminism just "victim" politics? « Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog

  10. Pingback: FAQ: Why do you feminists hate men? « Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog

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