Monday, November 9, 2015

On Feminism, Activism and Isms

But sometimes those same activist cultures can be unnecessarily exclusive – and worse, inaccessible and elitist. I even feel myself doing it sometimes:

 Or why I abandoned the "Feminist movement" in the'70s in spite of being a milk feminist. My first mistake was suggesting that an attack on "man/men" as generic was a mistake. That they should have promoted a gender specific noun for males corresponding to women, something like heman or heeman. Nope. We got to get rid of man in chairman, workman, "All Men are created equal." etc. Look how well that worked several decades later.  Well, it is a fact that all the chairs are no longer chairman of this or that and that all of the significant chairs still have men's butts glued to them.  It is also a fact that "All people are created equal" unless they are female, or non-Caucasian.  (At least they changed the box from Caucasian to white and then fucked that up by including "Hispanic" for all non-Caucasian whites.)

Over the years I have discovered that anything that appears to be a meeting of anything resembling believers is almost certainly not user friendly for anyone but the organizers and true believers.  I find it much more useful to let others attend and read the blogs and reports of the attendees, which are either ignorable dogma or tales of exclusion, prejudice and harassment. Even "freethinkers" like skeptics and atheists are surprisingly dogmatic.  In discussing paranormal phenomenon I have lost count of the times I have heard that "Randi's million dollar prize proves that the paranormal cannot exit." Atheists are not content to ignore God and gods in their daily lives, they must prove that gods necessarily cannot exist for anybody and that all religions are horrible abusers of believers.   .  

The excuse for all the sins of the activists is that they are raising awareness, and that in order to do so the message must be focused and consistent, that is reflect the narrow and exclusionary views of the promoters.   

But it taught me a valuable lesson: the best way to support any -ism or activist is to walk their talk. It is not surprising as we see in the article, how many of the -ists don't.  I wonder how many people or corporations who wear pink ribbons on their persons or products have ever done anything at all to help with treatment or research into breast cancer except to throw some chump change into some charity without even running a Navigator on the charity?  Have the GLBTQ activists done anything but create reaction and hate for their GLBTQ neighbors walking their talk by living working, raising children, and proving to their neighbors and churches that they are simply human?  Does posting your Black Lives Matter vid of police brutality on the web do anything but insure the Police, their captive prosecutors, and the media will insure justice denied? See: what to do with your arrest video.

Activism works, but it does not involve going to meetings and talking tactics.  Get a bunch of your friends together go to the city council meeting, the planning commission meeting, or if you have a lot of friends to Washington DC (Social media helps coordinate things but use email and secret groups on Facebook.  It won't stay secret but it is hard to disrupt.) While you are there making sure all of your friends are registered to vote, and will do so if only to vote the incumbents out. 

The other form of activism is using any position of privilege you might have to affirmatively support any challenge to injustice you know about.  If your significant others are challenging the system make sure that you use your LinkedIn network to help even at the cost of burning some of your own bridges. If you have that video of brutality or bullying on your thumb drive, don't just tell the victim it is there, tell them you will appear on their behalf.     

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