Why Being a Feminist Does Not Mean Backing All Women

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Maysie Maysie's picture

For the record, I don't like Glo because of her analysis, past and present. It's stuck and mired in a feminism that, if it did exist, existed only for a short time and amongst few others who call themselves feminist.

In the interest of full disclosure, I own "Revolution From Within" from when she "mellowed" out a bit in the early 90s. It was a gift, I swear!

And I'm not going [i]near[/i] the "Who one dates/fucks is an indication of one's commitment to progressive politics" discussion. [img]redface.gif" border="0[/img]

remind remind's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Michelle:
[b]Well, but let's just say she DID have a long term relationship with him. Let's just say it's true. So what? I mean, seriously, so what?!)[/b]

Have been thinking about your saying "so what", and cueball's assertations that "it sounds like research to me". BS it sounds like research, and as to "so what", as far as I am concerned her relationship with such a dispicable man taints her words, actions and her motives and it suggests that her commitment and approach to feminism or even human rights is highly suspect.

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[b]Do we believe in women's autonomy or not? [/b]

Truly, what has believing in a woman's autonomy got to with her long term affair with Kissinger? Nothing! I would feel the same about anyone who had a relationship with that man, male or female.

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[b]Do we believe that when a woman is sleeping with someone, she automatically takes on his worldview and his politics?[/b]

Her actions in having a relationship with him, atually do validate his actions, it does not matter if she takes on his view or not. Close constant proximity over extended periods of time more than suggest, acceptance, if not approval of Kissingers actions. From this perspective I simply cannot understand how a feminist, who professes to believe in human rights and the fight for equality could actually enter into a relationship, sexual or not, with someone who is a mass murderer and has done the things he has done. It would be equivalent to looking to Eva Braun as being one's mentor.

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[b]Do we assume that people only get together with mirrors of themselves?[/b]

That is a strawman Michelle, there is a world of difference in getting together with someone who differs from oneself, and having a lengthy decades long relationship with a murdering war criminal who supports the erosion of human rights.

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[b]mportantly, do we believe that when women get together with men who are very different from them, that they become mirrors of those men?[/b]

Again not pertinent, her relationship with him validates his actions.

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[b]sexist assumption. [/b]

Strawman, no one stated that you brought it up and kicked it down.

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[b] Most of us have at least one friend or family member that we love but who is not on the same page as us politically.[/b]

Uh, no, when it comes to racist acts and oppression and mass murdering of others, I personally draw the line at associating with family friends or other.

How would you feel if she had a relationship with Saddam or Pinochet?

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[b] I know I certainly have dated (and even lived with!) people with some extremely repugnant views - classist, racist, anti-semitic, sexist views.[/b]

And how did those relationships work out for you?

No one made an issue of who you fucked but you.

quote:

[b]You know, the more I think about this, the more it annoys me. I was annoyed before but didn't see it this clearly until Cueball pointed out exactly what the problem is with this sort of attack. (And I'm usually on top of this sort of thing, too!)[/b]

Yes, I kinda feel the same way but from an opposite view. And what exactly did cueball point out? That no one lightens Kissinger's actions because he was with Steinem? That was an empty commentary, as he does not know that, or a least did not prove that, and I would say in fact that he is wrong.

Personally, I would ask; do you feel you are defending Steinem's actions, because you are on record as supporting her?

And NO it is NOT gossip. It is credibility of words matching actions in order to see if one should put any store into positions taken. Again, I would NOT look to Eva Braun for mentorship, why in hell would I look to Steinem? Why would anyone?

IMV anyone can fuck who they want. But that does not mean I can't judge who they fuck as being representative of what they represent, or are stating they represent.Putting credence towards someone who chooses to fuck a war criminal that has caused untold, and told horrors, against peoples around the world, for decades, all the while saying they are a feminist and progressive, is impossible IMV. It at best means her positions are of the shallowist sort.

[ 24 January 2007: Message edited by: remind ]

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

quote:


Originally posted by remind:
[b]Putting credence towards someone who chooses to fuck a war criminal that has caused untold, and told horrors, against peoples around the world, for decades, all the while saying they are a feminist and progressive, is impossible IMV.[/b]

This is one of many reasons I don't like Hillary Clinton.

Makwa Makwa's picture

quote:


Originally posted by remind:
[b]Again, I would NOT look to Eva Braun for mentorship, why in hell would I look to Steinem? Why would anyone?[/b]

Gee, I wondered how long it would take for someone to pull out Eva Braun. Now we nazi-bait classic feminists - tres progressive methinks.

Michelle

Yeah, I was kind of laughing over that too. Somehow claiming that Steinem is the new Eva Braun is just a little too far over the edge into ridiculousness for me to answer seriously.

remind remind's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Makwa:
[b]Gee, I wondered how long it would take for someone to pull out Eva Braun. Now we nazi-bait classic feminists - tres progressive methinks.[/b]

gee, I wondered how long it would take for someone to make such a comment regarding my Eva Braun comment. [img]rolleyes.gif" border="0[/img]

It's not Nazi baiting at all, which is why I thought long and hard about what parallel I would use. Have you read up on poor Eva? Furthermore, IMV just because some think she is a "classic feminist" does mean she gets a pass, or her less than feminist actions get excused.

Apparently, historians say she was not a Nazi, and she was "just" Hitler's lover. Her diaries seem to bear that out also. Though she knew of his actions, she was against them, but she loved "her man" and stayed with him anyway.

Moreover, she, if one thinks about it, rejected Nazi philosophy regarding females. One could liken her to a type of "feminist" as she did not stop wearing make up, she smoked and she drank. All of which were taboo for women in Nazi Germany. And that is why in the end I decided to choose her to get my point across.

And IMV putting "Glo's" actions in an actual contextual value perspective, is more honest and progressive than those who would either shut their mouths, or cast aspertions upon others for daring to speak truths.

Being under the auspices of standing up for her, and her actions with Kissinger, because she is prominent supposed "feminist" and an alleged public voice of women is wrong and perhaps does feminism a dis-service IMV.

[ 24 January 2007: Message edited by: remind ]

Cueball Cueball's picture

quote:


Originally posted by M. Spector:
[b]I missed the memo where you got appointed as spokesperson for what is commonly understood in the left.

You seem to be operating under the delusion that the bourgeoisie is incapable of a class analysis. So you would not recognize such a thing as a class-conscious bourgeois.

That's really unfortunate, because such delusions lead to serious errors in judgment.[/b]


You seem to be operating under a number of delusions. Chiefmost, is the one that you are actually on point. This no doubt derived from the idea that you understood what I said.

You are the one who is having an issue with such distinctions. I was speaking entirely within the framework of the ideology that someone represents, her class background was of no relevance.

quote:

Originally posted by M. Spector:
[b]It's just as well, since she is clearly a bourgeois feminist and always has been. Frankly, I'm not interested in her class analysis. [/b]

Essentially you have said because she has no "class analysis," (represent a bourgeois-feminist line which precludes -- in fact rejects -- a class analysis) I am not interested in her class analysis."

If she has no "class analysis" she has no class analysis. Period. If she had one however, then it would be different, because she could not be arguing from bourgeois ideological perspective, because bourgeois ideological perspectives ignore, in the best case, reject, in the worst case "class analysis," of any kind.

Cueball Cueball's picture

quote:


Originally posted by remind:
[b]

Yes, I kinda feel the same way but from an opposite view. And what exactly did cueball point out? That no one lightens Kissinger's actions because he was with Steinem? That was an empty commentary, as he does not know that, or a least did not prove that, and I would say in fact that he is wrong.

Personally, I would ask; do you feel you are defending Steinem's actions, because you are on record as supporting her?

And NO it is NOT gossip. It is credibility of words matching actions in order to see if one should put any store into positions taken. Again, I would NOT look to Eva Braun for mentorship, why in hell would I look to Steinem? Why would anyone?

IMV anyone can fuck who they want. But that does not mean I can't judge who they fuck as being representative of what they represent, or are stating they represent.Putting credence towards someone who chooses to fuck a war criminal that has caused untold, and told horrors, against peoples around the world, for decades, all the while saying they are a feminist and progressive, is impossible IMV. It at best means her positions are of the shallowist sort.

[ 24 January 2007: Message edited by: remind ][/b]


My hypothesizing about what may or may not have have led to Steinem, possibly or possibly not, having some kind of fling with Kissenger is entirely conjecture. My point more than anything is that people do "dance with the devil," and just because Mick Jagger screwed Maggie Trudeau does not mean that I don't think "Sympathy for the Devil," is not a good song.

That said there is a difference between someone having a long term relationship with direputable people, as that clearly affirms more consideration and thought on the part of the actors, so, I think Hitler's and Eva Braun's relationship is far mor indicative of Eva Brauns true nature, because it transpired over a period of time, than any possible liason between Kissinger and Steinem. Braun, it seems, at the very least a bit of an opportunist in love with the limelight, and power.

As well, it should be considered that in the mid-sixties there was a sea change within the American intelligencia in the way people understood the operations of the US government, and even now, the idea that Henry Kissinger is a war criminal, is not a comon conception of who he is. It is hardly damning, even in the event that Steinem did have an affair with him, since she, like most Americans were largely immunized against the idea that US government did anything worse that get bad resultd from good intentions.

So, at worst I think we can say Steinem might have shared the general naivete of the American intelligencia.

And, on top of all that, this whole thing is based entirely on celebrity gossip.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Cueball:
[b]If she has no "class analysis" she has no class analysis. Period. If she had one however, then it would be different, because she could not be arguing from bourgeois ideological perspective, because bourgeois ideological perspectives ignore, in the best case, reject, in the worst case "class analysis," of any kind.[/b]

And of course, as I must apparently point out yet again, that is precisely where you are wrong.

People with bourgeois ideological perspectives are quite capable of understanding the class nature of capitalist society and of formulating ways to preserve the rule of the bourgeoisie. It is in fact only with a consciousness of the interests of the ruling class that they can hope to do so.

That is precisely why those on the left who lack a class analysis are doomed to fail in any efforts to thwart the agenda of the ruling class (much less throw them out of power).

Cueball Cueball's picture

No. Because "class analysis" is a specifc term from the lexicon of left wing terms, and has a specific meaning related only to those schools of thought. Funnily enough, within a broad sweep, it encompasses all of the root ideas which allow you to say what you just said, and for that to be understood among people who share (or at least understand) the mode of thought.

The term is not simply a composite of the meanings of the two words which make it up. It is right in there with "class consiousness," and "class struggle," they are all three linked concept bound in the framework of Marxist thought.

This is generally understood and accepted, no matter how much you want to argue with me because you don't like me. People like Milton Friedman, and even Gloria Steinem don't talk about having a "class analysis," because they don't have one, and don't want one, and don't think you should have one either.

You seem to be arguing that they express ideologies that latently or overtly express class interests, and come from a world view embedded in class, and their relationship to a class, and their personal interests in that class, and that their analysis reflect class relations conciously or unconsiously but this is not the same as having a "class analysis," which is actually a specific conceptual tool used to analyze "class interests," "class relations" and so on and so forth.

[ 25 January 2007: Message edited by: Cueball ]

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Tommy_Paine wrote:

I think the article presupposes that there was a time of resolute lock step feminism that all women had to march to.

No, the article by Steinem does not presuppose any such thing.

Steinem expressly describes as "false" the idea "that feminists back every woman, regardless of how she behaves." And to prove her point, she lists several women who do not deserve a "free pass" from feminists.

The article was posted January 16, just a few days after the grilling of Condoleezza Rice before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Senator Barbara Boxer said Rice [who is childless] was making no personal sacrifice in the Iraq War escalation - the sacrifices were all being made by the families of the soldiers who were being sent there:

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"Who pays the price?" asked Boxer, a California Democrat. "I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young. You're [referring to Rice] not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families."

Gloria Steinem was incensed when right-wing commentators and Rice herself later attacked Boxer for her remarks. It was the right-wing commentators like Limbaugh and Sommers who were implying that feminists should be marching in lock step and refraining from criticism of women politicians. Said Steinem:

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"It had nothing to do with feminism...It was perfectly reasonable, and it could have come from anyone - a grandfather as well as a grandmother. Sen. Boxer was trying to draw a parallel" between herself and the secretary [Rice].

Unfortunately, the Gloria Steinem article and the initial post in this thread that linked to it did not set the context for her remarks. I tried to correct this by referring people to the article about last week's Boxer/Rice controversy. But I guess nobody cares to read it. They prefer to continue criticizing Steinem's remarks without any reference to the current controversy in which they occurred.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Tommy_Paine wrote:

The straw person Stienem introduces is the false idea she asserts at the begining.

And as I pointed out repeatedly, the idea wasn't introduced by her out of the blue - it was raised by right-wing critics of Sen. Boxer, as reported in the article that I linked to.

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The attack on Harris' appearance is exactly the kind of dumbo right wing approach to argument that an Ann Coulter would be proud of, and something women in leadership have to contend with constantly, which is beyond unfair, and a major issue for anyone who is interested in equality.

Steinem's piece was not about attacking Harris for her appearance; that was just a gratuitous insult she threw in. A more balanced appreciation of what Steinem [would everyone please note the spelling ???] was saying would not focus exclusively on that remark.

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Her views-- when I have come across them-- seem to lack any kind of class analysis.

It's just as well, since she is clearly a bourgeois feminist and always has been. Frankly, I'm not interested in her class analysis.

Quote:
Maybe she has addressed this, but to me, the above article seems rather esoteric compared to the difficulties most women face today.

Only esoteric to someone who ignores the context in which it was written (a very public controversy), as I tried to explain above. *sigh*

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Cueball wrote:
Obviously if Steinem had a "class analysis," as it is commonly understood in the left, she would not be a bourgeois feminist.

I missed the memo where you got appointed as spokesperson for what is commonly understood in the left.

You seem to be operating under the delusion that the bourgeoisie is incapable of a class analysis. So you would not recognize such a thing as a class-conscious bourgeois.

That's really unfortunate, because such delusions lead to serious errors in judgment.

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