Friday, February 29, 2008

Are the politics over yet?

I'm exhausted by the coverage of this primary. And as the primary drags on, I'm getting de-inspired by both candidates. I know as a liberal I will never be satisfied. But I feel more abandoned than I should lately, especially since the Dem primary is full of liberal voters. I just want it to be over so that I can focus on the real opposition and get so angry that I don't care if the Dem has de-inspired me lately.

So in the mean time (and because my vote was cast long ago), I am going to renew my focus on pondering equality and wondering if real equality is possible in my lifetime. In that spirit, here's an interesting article pondering gender equality and the Academy Awards, which I found depressingly thoughtful. (Although I would have liked a "So now what?" moment at the end.) The age-old question about separate but equal, but with the gender twist that seems to make it more complicated.

I also have been loving Melissa McEwan's (who, again I have to say, is the best liberal blogger out there) Feminism 101 series at Shakesville, in which she debunks myths about feminism. Her latest piece is Feminism 101: "Feminists Look for Stuff to Get Mad About." It resonated with me particularly because I am constantly plagued by the dilemma "to speak up or not to speak up" when it comes to sexism. Speak up too much, no matter how correct you are, and people will stop listening. Speak up too little and you're allowing sexism to thrive. I don't speak up every time I see/hear sexism. And I feel terribly guilty every time I don't. So then I get frustrated when I get a reaction like "You need to learn let some things go." That's what I'm always doing!

Melissa closed her piece with this wisdom, which I couldn't appreciate more. Emphasis mine, as it's exactly how I feel:

"Irrespective of intent, the recommendation to "ignore the little stuff," so often intertwined with accusations of looking for things about which to get offended, is not just ill-advised, but counter to the ultimate goal of full equality. It's like a knife in my gut when I see feminists accusing other feminists of "hurting the cause" by focusing on "the little stuff," because that's It—that's the stuff, that's the fertile soil in which everything else takes root and from whence everything else springs, that's the way that the fundamental idea that women are not equal to men is conveyed over and over and over again.
Which, quite frankly, means that if even we had to look for it, we'd be right to do so."

Amen sister. Amen.


Anonymous said...

I think this is a long-running debate in pretty much every cause. People need to choose what to focus on, and arguing about it can shatter movements.

Kat said...

Absolutely. After all, feminism should abhor "my choice is better than your choice" arguments.