Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I don't give a flying fuck what you call yourself, AKA know them by their deeds

So Violet thinks us younger feminists are too elitist in who we allow to call themselves feminists. And Renee gets whinged at constantly for proudly proclaiming she's not a feminist (for damn good reasons, I might add).

And the whole thing pisses me off.

See I haven't been a feminist as long as Violet, since I wasn't born until 1975. But I have been a feminist since I first noticed how different girls are treated from boys, so since my brother was born in 1977. I've never cringed from the label, not even as a teenager. But the truth of the matter is, feminism leaves a whole fuckload of us out in the cold. Not feminism the philosophy, but feminism in practice. Breaking a glass ceiling doesn't mean a damn thing to a pink collar secretary trapped in a dead end career because the hours make daycare possible. Abortion access is great but for poor women and brown women we need to stop being treated like thieves and lepers because we had the audacity to breed. And w00t w00t, it's way easier to get a divorce, but now we get custody of the kids and no real child support collection. Progress people, at least now we don't have to be lawfully wedded to the deadbeats forever.

Perhaps us younger feminist are peeved about people like Sarah Palin calling themselves feminists because Oh shiny let's go contort our principles even further to bring these ladies into the feminism fold while continuing to leave out those of us who've agreed with the philosophy all along.

But again, I don't give a flying fuck what label you use. Do you believe in bodily autonomy (in all forms), social justice, economic justice and all those fundamental feminismy things. YAY! Call yourself Late to Dinner, we still agree on what's important. If, however, you think that abortion is wrongity wrong or that Welfare should be abolished then you can call yourself Gloria Steinem Jr. and I'm still going to think you're a giant tool(of the patriarchy).

It ain't what you call yourself. It's what you do that counts.*

*This exact same argument can be applied to progressives/fauxgressives, btw. You can't be progressive while giving big corporations/banksters/insurance companies hand jobs for campaign dough.

(I actually adore Violet, but this whole "who is a feminist" shit has been going on way too long. Violet's post just gave me a ranting off point.)

I still hate volunteerism

Look, I get the need to feel like you're doing something, anything to help in the face of an overwhelming tragedy. That is good and fine and should be supported and encouraged.

But it should not be what we rely on to fix massive problems, especially those caused by humans to begin with. While it may make us feel individually better, it makes society as a whole weaker and less responsible.

We have a 10% (counted) unemployment rate. We have thousands of people on the gulf coast whose jobs in fishing and tourism are going to or already have disappeared. We can fix both those things, at least a little bit, but not by volunteering or donating money to cleaning up the gulf.

We have thousands or more unemployed construction workers. Pay their airfare. Pay for hazmat training. Pay for hotel rooms and meals at local restaurants while we pay them to clean up the gulf. And while we're doing that we pay the unemployed admins to process the time cards and A/P and make the travel arrangements. And bill it all to BP. No need to find it in the budget. No need to wait for BP to do something. Train people to give Pelicans baths. Pay people to make protective gear and masks. Put them all on federal health insurance plans. Pay people who haven't gotten oiled yet to boom the coastline from Panama City to Maine. And charge it to BP.

This is not a natural disaster. This could have been avoided. This is not a hurricane or an earthquake. It's a toxic waste dump. There is a clear villain with deep pockets. Every donation you make, every hour you volunteer, is less responsibility that company has to take for creating this horrible mess.

If you still need to do something, then someone should establish a legal fund for all the victims of this disaster. Give your money to them, so they can hire just as many lawyers as BP.