…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.