Archive for the ‘internet feminism’ Category

Endless blooming and wilting of new identities based on this circus of images constitutes the psychological-affective dimension of liberal feminism’s lack of organising power. The horizontal seepage of capitalist imperatives through feminism since the early 1990s explains why identity-based politics now responds and reshapes itself constantly as a series of trends and conflicts, all mediated by chains of response emanating from mass cultural images: as Tolentino intimates, it is a consumer marketplace in search of new target demographics, not a social justice movement.

The conversations sparked by these images frequently concern issues of diversity in media, business and entertainment. Profit-seeking products and enterprises such as movies, television and corporate boards are invested with crucial significance that they clearly do not possess; being able to recognise an image of oneself in these domains is reconstrued as liberation itself. Disadvantage functions as a cleansing ritual bath, with the power to wash away the sliminess of equating pleasure-seeking consumer practice with political action.

From Eleanor Robertson’s excellent “Get mad and get even” in the Meanjin.

As someone who also writes critically about liberal feminism I agree with pretty much everything in here.. but the only thing I would say in defence of liberal feminism is that its end goals of equal opportunity are not incompatible with those of more collectivist approaches to feminism. We have some middle ground here.
And, we are not born with multiple integrated perspectives. We develop this over time. Identifying one’s own experiences in psychological, physical and environmental interactions and how that all plays out on a backdrop of sexism is a crucial step on the way to developing a wider appreciation of systematic oppression and collective solutions. In other words, if you haven’t yet developed that perspective you won’t see the next perspective.

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Intuitively, the selfie still feels valuable, but the compounded male, white, and colonialist gazes that work so hard to blur Black women and femmes into oblivion have too much force behind them to leave me with enough agency both to politicize a topless mirror selfie and to believe in that politicization one-hundred percent. Since it has been made abundantly clear, of late, that photo or video documentation proves very little and changes even less, simply documenting the Black female body falls short. Maybe a selfie comes close to proving that you exist – that you are at least firmly situated in time and space — but it proves nothing else conclusive about you: this is to say that, self-documentation of Black life still seems unable to contend with the “mass of images” produced by anti-blackness’s aggressive and distributed media campaign.

From Aria Dean’s “Closing the loop” in The New Statesman.

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This, “What the essayist spills” by Maria Tumarkin in the Sydney Review of Books is a truly wonderful essay.. and gave me much peace with the time a top publisher pursued me with fascination and then started “wrapping up the meeting the minute” I pitched “a single-authored, adult length essay collection – they reckon it will tank”.

What are essays for? They are for thinking about things that need to be thought about yet don’t get thought about much, or at all, or interestingly, or for long enough. They are for picking up ideas, feelings, forces in the air, still unnamed and amorphous, and giving them a foothold in language. Whatever is in the air and whatever is disappearing – unnoticed, unmourned. They are for resisting choices offered to us that are not true, yet made to seem inescapable. Are you for this or for that? Do you treasure this or that? Identify with this or that? Will be undone by that or this? And they are for picking sides of barricades when it is morally imperative to do so. In an essay, you can take something that happened to you, or to the girl / cat / tree over there, and make a larger space for this experience, so that it may connect up with the experiences of others, but also with the flows of history, politics, culture, science. Essays of this kind are usually not written backwards from a generally agreed-on conclusion (poverty is debilitating, refugees are 100% human), or from some unassailable personal truth (my head hurts from smashing it on an invisible glass ceiling). They are written forwards, into the dusky, marshy lands, into outer space.


Which reminds me…

The longer I live the more I mistrust
theatricality, the false glamour cast
by performance, the more I know its poverty beside
the truths we are salvaging from
the splitting-open of our lives.

From ‘Transcendental Etude’ by Adrienne Rich.

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This is probably the most interesting thing I saw written on Internet feminism all year and it was on Jezebel. You likely won’t agree with all of it, I don’t and that’s kind of the point, but it will make you think…

Let’s say a feminist site fucks up occasionally; so do feminists. Let’s say even that the site is frequently unpalatable; that seems reasonable in a world where every human is a nightmare to someone else. To me, the obvious conclusion from everything that is annoying on the internet is that the stakes of representation should be much, much lower. But we are trudging through these wild storms of approval and disapprobation on a failing hunt for consensus; we are worshiping and trying to locate a mirage.

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I am going to try to blog again this year.

Most of the reasons for starting a blog back in 2007 remain relevant to me today. I want a place to process my thoughts, feelings and experiences, I want a record for the children of parts of their childhood, I want more ways of connecting with feminists, particularly the feminist parenting community and also… writing more means I write more. And I really need to go back to writing more.

Plus, now I am far enough ahead of the grief and unraveling that was the ending of my relationship with my ex, and I think probably the children are too, that I believe I can write about myself again here without it feeling too vulnerable. In truth, I could never find blogging all that satisfying when it did not also involve a bit of the every day minutiae of my life, a bit of the raw and scavenged. When it didn’t feel safe to write about those pieces of my life in public I saw much of the joy of blogging and subsequently its motivation lost. Now I feel somewhat rebuilt. And feeling that way means I am more comfortable writing more fully about my life and that seems a good time to revisit blogging.

So, I am plunging back in, hoping I remember how to swim or at least float.




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Fascinating thoughts on the rise of the term ‘Mama’ and what it represents. From Elissa Strauss in Long Reads:

Like most cultural shifts in language, the rise of white, upper-middle class women who call themselves “mama” seemed to happen slowly, and then all at once. And like most cultural shifts in language, the rise of “mama” is about power and discontent. “In the interstices of language lie powerful secrets of the culture,” writes Adrienne Rich in Of Woman Born, Rich’s influential book examining the institution of motherhood.

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Pointing out stupidity is seductive. In a rigged war economy that breaks bodies, poisons the only planet we have, and isolates us from one another in our dwellings and consumer demographics, stupidity is obvious and seemingly everywhere.

Solidarity, on the other hand, is particular. It’s a recognition that others struggle in their own specific ways. Solidarity requires listening: to stories of the structural deformation of individual lives; to the ways that popular culture makes people feel like they are living against the grain; to analyses that have not yet and may never become wholly coherent, or even depart from common sense.

Listening demands that we approach anyone fighting these battles with a presumptive generosity, even if we go on to disagree with them. Unfortunately, Crikey contrarians Bernard Keane and Helen Razer, in their new book A Short History of Stupid, take the easy path.

Oh my god, yes. This whole piece from Jason Wilson in The Guardian is great reading, “On Keane and Razer and why pointing out the stupidity of others is seductive”.

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This is a very thought-provoking article from Elias Isquith in Salon on the return of the “view from nowhere” in political journalism.

Probably no one has devised a better definition of the phenomenon than Rosen, who describes it as “a bid for trust that advertises the viewlessness of the news producer.” According to Rosen, the view from nowhere “places the journalist between polarized extremes, and calls that neither-nor position ‘impartial.’” As Rosen himself will grant, this inclination to be “objective” is not always bad. Indeed, journalism is impossible if its practitioners don’t acknowledge the existence of at least some kind of baseline objective reality. But the view from nowhere is more often a self-flattering and ass-covering gimmick, one that is intended to protect the journalist from receiving criticism for partiality but often leaves the reader less informed as a result. Paul Krugman has a famous joke headline about the view from nowhere, one that’s only a slight exaggeration of the practice at its worst: “Shape of the Planet: Both Sides Have a Point.”

I see something similar happening in Australian political writing at the moment with some people on the left continually criticising actions and responses by others on the left while staking out the ground of reasonable.

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This from Sarah Joseph in The Conversation is perfectly argued. Says everything I think on the issue and more. I really love the way she framed the issue.

I note that criticisms being made about this protest action by artists were remarkably similar in nature to criticisms made about feminist activism, generally, in Australia in recent times. Why the preoccupation by some in the left with constantly tearing down actions by others in the left? The consistency of the targets for attack have begun to reveal some interesting inconsistencies in the framework of the critics. It looks personal.

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I met up with Cristy (two peas no pod, Larvatus Prodeo etc) and her children last weekend at the beach.  We worked out we’ve been following one another’s blogging and writing for over eight years now .. and we’ve finally met in person.

Of course we got along like a house on fire. Our kids did too.

bc beach

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