Next: President W. Bush who has 417 days left in the White House.
Feminism is more than a philosophy that can so easily be reduced by a stereoptype comparing it to methods men use. Instead, feminism is a series of research methods used by all sorts of scientists throughout every discipline. There are several key differences between the traditional ways supremacists used to do research and the ways feminists (both men and women) ushered in. Feminism:
First, is being person rather than institution centered. If I had to describe feminism in one part of a sentence this would be it.
Second, is doing research that empowers particpants as collaborators rather than subjects under a microscope by someone doing the God-trick of believing they can look from above anyone else. Sorry, no power trips.
Third, is understanding that there is no such thing as value-free research or writing. NO such thing as "OBJECTIVITY." Each and every document is filtered through at least one mind, body, and soul. Everything that human has been exposed to bears relevance to how they view their world. Every text is filled with personal, human, biases. The feminist ideal is to strive to reveal them, self-critiquingly.
Fourth, language and naming are key instruments of oppression and reconciliation with those who believe in untruths that are adversarial to the full and equal humanity and enjoyment of liberty of another. The importance of thinking critically about language and the power of naming is stressed by feminists. For instance, if you are not gayed, then I am not transgendered. Feminists say it is important to use language critically to rise above forces that strive to keep any minority group, minority-statused. So one must become a noun rather than a verb. Example: Colored people vs. People of Color. Get rid of the -ed and put People first. Words like blind, though used metaphorically are insulting to people who are blind. What we are really striving to say when writing the word blind, unless we actually mean literally a person who is blind, is blindered. Someone is blindered like a horse, tunnel visioned. Unable to see the forest for the trees. No minority-statused group has ever gained non-minority statused empowerment while still ascribing to and answering to a word that names them as a verb. If I don't know WHAT someone wants to be called, I say WHO they are instead; in other words, their name. For instance, in some circumstances, I am refered to as Dr. Michael Gray. I reject gendered prefixes entirely so it is inappropriate and I will not answer to Ms. Mr. Miss. or any other gendered prefix. Until there is a gendered prefix for all seven sexes and all 149 genders, I won't cooperate with the polarization of gendered prefixes because I view them as verbal violence. However, if YOU wish to be called Ms., I say as you wish. In some circumstances I am michael~deborah. Always in my published works now I am m~d. I hate the name Mike for myself and won't even acknowledge anyone who calls me that. It's not my name. If someone calls me "faggot," I politely say, "That's Dr. Faggot to you, however, I am not gay or a man. Either one." Most of the time I am Michael. But those who love me call me michael~deborah, both of my given first names. Minnie Bruce Pratt and I laugh with each other saying that my double first name is the Northwesterner's version of her Southerner's Minnie Bruce. It's important to recognize the symbol of the tilde ~ that links my names together forever. It tells a very important truth that I want known for too many reasons to delineate.
Fifth, in feminism, sexes, sexualities, and genders are distinguished and yet inextricably braided together in such ways that in order to deconstruct them (isolate them apart from one another) we have to go from cell all the way wide through to culture in order to gather our understandings as comprehensively as possible. For example, in feminist sexology, someone with XO sex chromosomes is not a "Turner's Girl," i.e. having a disease, deformity, deficiency, or deviancy called, "Turner's Syndrome." Instead, they are simply Intersex (no -ed). One of seven frequently recurring world wide human sexes. Another, girls are not women. A girl has to become a woman (or a boy or intersex does).
Sixth, the physical and social body are one and cannot be separated.
Go right ahead and try it!
Seventh, the diversity WITHIN a minority-statused group, such as women, is acknowledged and respected. In Websters dictionary the word nigger is said to mean "dumb person." Anyone who calls a woman of color a nigger to me is a dumb person. I'd never be so verbally violent as to tell them that! But I'd certainly stop long as it takes to persuade them that the word is a white supremacist word. I'd ask them if they meant it that way, and if they did, I'd tell them there are no special people in the gentlest way possible. Harsh news for a white supremacist to take.
Eighth, the connection between psychological knowledge, metaphysical and physical experiences, and social change to benefit minority-statused groups of people is extraordinarily emphasized. Why should I spend my time, education, and energies on doing anything but using my wits and wisdom to
unravel supremacism of every kind? To be the very cog in it's wheel?
Ninth, changing laws (and singing Bob Dylan songs, unfortunately) is not enough to create social change: example--Lawrence v Texas June 26th, 2003. Creating and empowering leaders with ENOUGH power and influence to enforce social changing laws, enforcing them, and living by them ourselves is the method by which women have gained freedom and empowerment. Example: Rosa Parks. Some say the feminist movement started with the first laws of Prohibition and (God forgive me) the Women's Temperance Union (who happen to rail and rant against the GLBTA in proclamations and edicts). But, it is true, that their predessing women's union enforced the laws themselves, nonviolently, insisting relentlessly that men pour out all liquor in their businesses, and insisting that the males in their families stop being drunkards who violently abused women and girls.
These are not the same methods that straight white rich men used to gain and maintain freedom and power. And they all didn't use the same masculinist methods either. Because, even straight white rich men are not all the same. Thankfully.
Women, for example, like people of color, learned to sacrifice their unique individual differences to come together peacefully long enough to strike up the direct actions needed to raze consciences to their common oppression and unwillng suffering--in certain parts of the US. They generated the tensions and public moments to be noticed enough to make changes in society. That is a power dominator's greatest nightmare. Don't think for a skinny nanosecond that President Bush wasn't mortified that his 2001inauguration is the only US President who couldn't get out of his limosine and walk because of the strength of opposition to his method of taking the Presidency. Nightmare. The whole electronic world watching. Thus, the key goal of political domination is factionalism. The key goal of social action change groups is creating effective public scenes together. It's very important to realize that feminism is a very Western construct that would be absolutely foreign in a hunting and gathering culture, where survival by physical thrivance through daily rituals is everyone's task for the days and nights. Hope you enjoy my interpretation of femininst methods. I'm certain I have left out many that others can add in. (Also, French [or francophone] feminism is much more radical than is US feminism). To know us is to read us. We write. We read critiquingly.
Here's a cute little insider's technique of 'doing feminism' in the classroom: there are no standardized tests, no multiple choice guessing questions, no opportunities to cheat, no such thing as a feminist professor's answer sheet. No grades in graduate school. It is anti-thetical to feminism to grade and rank human beings. Degrading. We write long essays in university classrooms that expose if we learned the concepts we were taught, contextualized them into our own lives, and could put them into our own words--in near, if not, publishable writing. It is a political feminist strategy to teach students to read and write critquingly.
I recall our classroom of six (almost private lessons) being gently told by my second Masters degree infamous tenured out and well published lesbian literary and cultural criticism professor: "You do not know how to read. Since you don't, you do not know how to write." She was 100% correct. But when she said it, we looked at each other like she was nuts. After all, we all were inh academe for the long haul. She taught us how to read and write feminist style. Nothing could be more dangerous. Because she imparted her own acumen in reading and writing to us quite personally well, I knew when I consumed and analyzed Lawrence v Texas that the GLBTA had our Brown v the Board of Education. Each of these no gay marriage state laws is, by US law, unconstitutional, according to Lawrence under two basic reviews: Due Process and Equal Protection. It's just a matter of time, money, lawyers, lawsuits et al and it's over. We've already got our US Supreme Court freedom papers. And the Supremes lead by Kennedy composed our freedom papers, as did O'Connor in a separate scathing opinion against Texas, in the tightest cases possible. If you haven't really read it, take it a sentence at a go and slow. Gender is already protected under the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Is it interpreted for transsexuals that way by heterosexual supremacist judges? Of course not. Is Lawrence v Texas enforced by the National Guard all over the nation like Pres. Johnson did with Brown v the Board of Ed.? Of course not. Look who's President.
It's so simple a gift the Supremes gave us. All we need now is the Enforcer. The one who says, hey, the Supremes selected the US President in 2000. We can't pick and choose which opinions of theirs we live by together. As a nation all of us are bound by them all. Even Lawrence 2003. I had to live with their 2000 Presidential selection and all the human carnage and suffering that became of that opinion. One fine day everyone is going to have to live by Lawrence 2003. As soon as we get the Enforcer, like Pres. Johnson, who sent in the National Guard to insure that the "mighty campus whities" let the students of color into academe, as the US Supreme Court so ordered. A Republican dominated US Supreme Court authored both opinions in Lawrence. The other thing is we, the GLBTA, have to begin to act like we have been freed by Lawrence 2003. Take our freedom in the morning.
(Since I prefer to complete my thoughts on a topic, I am notorious for posting long missives like this one. Hence, you won't find me here taking up any more time and space than you do since I won't be here any more often than you, space wise, to peak my head in and respond when I feel I must). I'll be reading and silent for a very long time now. If you'd like to respond to this post, lovely. Deleting it won't bother me none! Kindly, m~d