Posts tagged feminism
“Escape from New York,” Ellen Willis in No More Nice Girls: Countercultural Essays (via birthdaygrl)
buy No More Nice Girls here
Are We Sisters Under the Skin Yet?
Recently I stumbled across a photo of Ryan Gosling. You know the one. “Hey girl. My perfect Saturday is a hot cup of tea, a trip to the Farmer’s market and curling up on the couch to figure out bell hooks’ theory that feminism is a struggle to eradicate the ideology of domination that permeates Western culture with you.” Soon after, I read “Sisters Under the Skin?” by Ellen Willis. In this 1982 essay, Willis analyzes two then-recent books by feminist authors that address the question of why the contemporary feminist movement is so white. One of those authors is bell hooks. Feminist Ryan and I had our Saturday cut out for us.
“All this stuff about the Ellen Willis book is so vague,” a friend of mine wrote to me last night. “Because I’m not a chick I’ve only read her rock criticism, which I love. Could you have someone post a summary of some kind of the book and perhaps a piece going negative on it. Right now all I’m getting is rah rah rah.”
I found this obnoxious but fair, to some extent, so I decided to address it here.
Not The Border But The Space
by Zan Romanoff
For many years I did not consider myself a feminist. If you had asked me I would have denied that I was one; I would have equivocated about “not being sure what that meant,” about equal rights vs. exceptionalism, about the various particular feminists I’d met or read and disagreed with. The quibbles themselves were more and less legitimate, but it would be a long time before I learned that picking holes in the argument and finding a nuanced little isle of opinion for myself wasn’t the point: if I couldn’t admit to being part of that messy, difficult, and yes, sometimes humorless tribe in the first place, all of my equivocating added up to very little: I was refining myself right out of the conversation by pretending that my voice didn’t belong there in the first place. I still wouldn’t want a place in Feminism as I imagined it (somehow both monolithic and incoherent), but that was an edifice I constructed out of whole cloth because I found feminism compelling but embarrassing and I wanted a smart way out of it, thanks.
Well, news fucking flash: that’s not what I’m doing. I said that I would write about what I saw no matter what it was, and the three sentences of that email tell more truth about what went on in this bizarro adventure than anything I saw in that factory or those offices.
I had a couple of websites offer to run this blog, or run the email, but I figured I’d do it here, on my own. I wanted to be able to write what I felt and exactly how I felt it, and let the repercussions of that fall squarely on my shoulders, just in case there are any.
If there’s anything else I could possibly have to say (for I’ve certainly said a lot), it’s that I started this journey on what was a big (ha) joke about perception. The way we see other people defines them for us, more than any other form you can know or interact with a person.
My perception about this company was basically “they know not what they do.” Then I met a lot of them, and it changed to, “they know not what they do, but boy are they trying to fix that.” Now, it’s somewhere along the lines of “how can you possibly not understand what you do?” I hope they figure it out.
Please read this whole thing if you haven’t already. And then get your next pair of leggings somewhere other than American Apparel.