Jessica Valenti on Why Feminists Are So ‘Angry’: “It’s not that I’m angry, it’s that I’m exhausted.”
Transcript here (h/t).
Forget Hallmark and Big Flora — Mother’s Day is (and always has been) for radicals:
Mother’s Day began in America in 1870 when Julia Ward Howe wrote the Mother’s Day Proclamation. Written in response to the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War, her proclamation called on women to use their position as mothers to influence society in fighting for an end to all wars. She called for women to stand up against the unjust violence of war through their roles as wife and mother, to protest the futility of their sons killing other mothers’ sons.
Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts, Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience. We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
[Read the remainder of Howe's quote here]
The holiday caught on years later when a West Virginia women’s group led by Anna Reeves Jarvis began promoting it as a way to reunite families after the Civil War. After Jarvis’ death, her daughter began a campaign for the creation of an official Mother’s Day in honor of peace. Devoting much of her life to the cause, it wasn’t until 1914 when Woodrow Wilson signed it into national observance in 1914.
The holiday flourished, along with the flower industry. The business journal, the Florists Review, actually admitted to its desire to exploit the holiday. Jarvis was strongly opposed to every aspect of the holiday’s commercialization, arrested for protesting the sale of flowers, and petitioning to stop the creation of a Mother’s Day postage stamp.
If we put aside our attachment to the sex positive construction of sex work, we will certainly hear things that will be hard to sit with. But for sex positivity to be a useful framework, one that encourages the pursuit of social justice, it must also engage with the ugly pieces of sexuality, and not in a simplistically reactive way. Otherwise, the concept of being a sex positive sex worker is a self-serving marketing practice, in which the enjoyment of sexuality is being sold as a product to both workers and our clients.
Apparently Ann Romney forgot to mention to Willard that moms who don’t work outside the home do THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB IN THE WORLD!!!1 and already have ample dignity, thankyouverymuchyousupersexistsoand…
oh, wait — Mittens meant those moms — y’know, the ones who can’t afford dignity.
Related: Pay no attention to the ongoing war on women voting.
So, um, Happy New Year, kids. We at bastard.logic are proud to kick off 2011 with the debut of our newest co-blogger, Amy Lauren, whom you’ll no doubt be seeing quite a bit of as the year progresses. – mb
Being a girl has become undesirable somehow, something to mock. Women are expected to behave like men on emotional level in order to gain their acceptance. I admit I’ve experienced feeling compelled to go against the “girly-girl” stereotype on a base level from the time I was old enough to perceive the reaction it evoked from the opposite gender. Always ready to roll my eyes at the behaviour of my female peers for the benefit of a guy. At the time I thought it made me cool, individualistic, set me apart from the flock. Now I wonder if I have always been naturally inclined to sell out my gender to please men? As an ardent feminist this notion is vaguely disturbing, while at the same time admitting that I haven’t entirely broken myself of this tendency.
For the twenty-thirty-something this seems to play out significantly in sexual relationships. Somehow if you’re not to be considered this negative girly-girl type you must treat sex in a casual sense. Seriously, if I had a nickel for every time I heard “I’m not looking for anything serious…” well, you know. The marriage and babies obsessed set was never my bag, but I internalized the notion to the point that it seemed okay to deny myself anything meaningful and long term as long as my physical needs were kinda-sorta met. As it turns out, meaningless sex is not my bag either.
So what’s a girl to do?
Sometimes it takes well over a thousand words to highlight the absurdity of the viral xenophobia that periodically sweeps over the more Islamophobic denziens of Outer Wingnuttia.
This time it would (at first) appear that a mere picture will suffice:
Of course, as Echidne points out, the rush to silently refute the ridiculously simplistic racism expressed by Pipes, Schlussel, et al with a li’l bit o’ SEO-friendly T&A and some progressive leering pretty much ignores the broader issues surrounding beauty pageants, their continued place in Western culture, and what all that means for women as women, not as SHARIA-SHILLING ISLAMOFASCISTS OUT TO STEAL TEH PATRIARCHY FROM ITS RIGHTFUL WHITE CHRISTIAN INHERITORS!!11one
Quoth everyone’s fav snake goddess:
I have no idea what Ms. Fakih’s religion is and it’s not really relevant, because I’m writing of those guy reactions:
Daniel Pipes manages to mash together his support of the objectification of women (yes! sometimes I have to sound feminazi) with his hatred of affirmative action and his fear of the Muslims to get–what? The idea that the judges in those pageants let Muslim women win for political reasons or multiculturalist appeasement or something like that.
And the liberal guys pick up that ball and fly with it! Nooooh! Muslim women really are dishier and prettier than Christian women, and here are the examples!
If you don’t believe me, check out this comments thread to a related post.
Note how it all became something about ethnicity or religion and how the gender angle was completely and totally lost? Yet I’m quite sure that this was not on purpose. Women’s issues are simply not as visible or as important as all those other issues.
Of course, one could (and should) argue that ethnicity and religion are bound together (or intersect, if you will) with gender. Still, the lack of specific gender-based analysis among the majority of left-liberal commentators during this latest orgy of manufactured outrage (and a preponderance of progressive responses that tend to reinforce rather than challenge the basic sexist assumptions behind the arguments presented by many on the right) is rather telling.
New York State Senator Hiram Monserrate, one of the Democrats who helped “defend traditional marriage” in the New York Senate last week by voting against a bill that would have made same-sex marriage legal in the Empire State, was sentenced to 250 hours of community service. 52 weeks of domestic abuse counseling and three years of probation, on an assault conviction stemming from a December 2008 incident where he “accidentally” slashed his girlfriends face while beating the crap out of her after he dragged her through the lobby of his Queens apartment building.
Prosecutors had said that Monserrate, an ex-Marine, lashed out at his domestic partner, Karla Giraldo, with a glass in a fit of rage after he found another man’s business card in her purse. The glass broke against her face, cutting her near her left eye down to her skull and leaving a lasting scar.
Monserrate had been originally charged with two felony counts and two misdemeanor counts of assault after cutting Giraldo’s face during a bitter argument in his apartment on Dec. 19, 2008. However, in October, New York William M. Erlbaum, who presided over his trial, acquitted him on the two felony assault charges, which carried a mandatory sentence of seven years in prison and would have forced him to forfeit his Senate seat.
Has anything really changed since the now-disbanded Canadian Airborne Regiment held a mess dinner to honour Marc Lepine?* I would like to believe so. I would like to think that these annual memorials and the respectful newspaper editorials and the gentle men who wear white ribbons are making a difference.
But the fact that so many still appear to have trouble with woman-hatred–trying to wish it away, reduce its significance, confine its existence to a “lone madman,” blame it on a nonexistent Muslim bringing-up, or even, on the fringes, excuse it, tells me that we have much, much further to go. Violence against women continues to flourish, including mass murder. Still think Marc Lepine was alone?
Indeed, we still have miles to go in this struggle. April Reign charts the course we need to take:
This year as you remember and mourn the loss of 14 of our sisters remember also the words of Joe Hill; Don’t Mourn, Organize!
Help Equal Voice to get more women elected, fight for strong gun control, support women’s reproductive choice, donate to a local shelter, help a woman or a young girl learn tech skills or use those skills to help others.
In the words of Emma Goldman;
“No real social change has ever been brought about without a revolution… revolution is but thought carried into action.”
Let’s get active.