I’m don’t intend to delve into the types of feminism, the history or the politics, surges and repressions. I’m going to the heart, speaking from the heart without wanting to use cultural extras or the need for validation. I can’t do that without giving observations and experience but I’m going to try not to give specific data on this one and tangent into sub-topics that would need posts all of their own. I’ll likely start and finish with two cultural premises but other than that I really just want to talk about the feeling of feminism here.
To me feminism is innate, a powerful protective wide-sweeping feeling but acknowledging that in time as we know it being born female in many places/times has and is a social disadvantage whether human or non-human, like a group punishment. Some say we’re born into lives we deserve but when I look at societies that says to me ‘if you’ve been bad, then you’re more likely to reborn into this group, that’s where those ones ended up’ – it’s organized which I karma on principle is, but I don’t like it and I think that’s unfair when we’re born without memory and not formed enough i.e. unable to do basic things like walk, run, feed ourselves – things many other animals can very quickly do, not all, but many. Of course animals are included in karma and not all of them are below us in that hierarchy but most are so it’s not fair on any of us in my opinion. I always found karma confusing – if we sinned (and for the sake of argument I’ve used the word sin as if it were something we all or mostly agreed on such as treating others the way we’d like to be treated and actually meaning it rather than ‘one rule for me and mine and it doesn’t matter about you’) in one group why be punished in another group? How can one group be kept as superior to another if its own members are sinning and then are taken to another group to be punished, that looks like fiddling the stats to me and distracting from the causes and ideas behind what would make them superior/inferior. Who/whatever’s in charge of that one could easily say ‘that so and so pissed me off so I’ll make them into one of those to punish them and make it look like the group they came from is clean.’ Ok ok so I know that the response to that is if they hurt somebody in another group they should be a member of that group to find out how it feels, I get that and I can understand the feeling that needs to make them know what they’ve done to others but what it results in is a punishment group, a principle some religions/systems don’t deny although seek to enforce with tales from supposed common ancestor(s) and negates the question ‘what if they weren’t from that common ancestor but ended up in that punishment group?’ That makes it look like they’re at fault because of the common ancestor rather than their own past behaviour – again glossing over the non-punishment group(s). Another thing it doesn’t account for are all the sins people commit to those within their own group/ings. Somehow I don’t think that a universal or Earth bound system of punishment and reward would be so hugely remiss, that sounds more like person thinking to me, not the amazingly intricate yet works style of nature that somehow doesn’t include humans to many people – a sort of disconnection.
I am a feminist and the other ‘ists’/anti-prejudices when it comes to social inequality. The term has always been taboo, even I feel awkward saying it sometimes which I think is a shame, and unlike the other anti-prejudice titles has up until recently carried an expectation that only females can really be called feminists even though everyone can subscribe to other titles whether they apply to them or not. There are of course exceptions but I’m talking generally. Another recent change seems to be a backlash to that decrease in expectation; usually the women against it just say they’re against feminism but now there’s a collective called ‘womenagainstfeminism’ and dismissing all feminism/feminists as ‘feminazis’ which I think is a totally ungrateful term, a slap in the face of all that’s been done for us when push comes to shove, reminding me of the use of a certain racial terms that later generations use comfortably but deeply upsets those who remember what it was like and those who still suffer.
Being a feminist doesn’t mean I have an ‘us vs them’ agenda. There’s always a ton of that going around in society as it is. It means I care whether I want to or not, whether it’s personal or not, I care and I care a lot.
It is my composition, my nature. It’s not just a philosophical issue that can be debated back and forth on its uses, merits, place in society like a tool. Others use and see it that way, I don’t. To me it’s a real, raw, for lack of a better word ‘thing’. The battles and wars we face are still going.
Like many people I’ve come across open enough to admit it or where it’s obvious, I don’t like most people, men or women. I care for them fiercely but I don’t like most that I’ve met or learned about. Heck the same applies to non-human animals as I’ve said before who I marginally prefer to people in that they’re more vulnerable as a group even though they include so many more species with so many differences but are compared in a lump against humans, but I’m still vegan. Many people see veganism as a humungous lifestyle change (though it’s not hard once we accept its mostly about mental barriers) so why would I do it when I didn’t know it would be so easy for me if I didn’t care. I didn’t do it for personal gain, other than personal health there’s little direct personal benefit from it other than knowing the Earth/animals have suffered a little less and that counts but it’s not directly personal. It’s something that needs masses to participate in for communal benefit to make a noticeable impact that we in general as beings on Earth can see and directly feel better for. I’m enough of a realist to say that won’t happen but it doesn’t stop me.
Not liking a lot or most people isn’t uncommon (except the caring deeply part) for most people I’ve met who just want to get along with ‘business of life’. Most of their person-to-person connections don’t make their personal bubble and they either dislike many around them greatly or ignore/try not to make opinions with weight about them because they don’t really matter to their personal circle, they can publicly tolerate them and that’s what matters. That or be ‘frenemies’. I’ve said for a long time that I think many women are just men dressed as women/in women’s skin. That’s phraseology and not necessarily literal, it doesn’t mean that men/women are different in terms of personality. It does have a number of reasons e.g. having to conform to character types to succeed in types of occupation and of course that implies an acceptance of cultural constructs on gender based on sex, which I don’t. It’s hard to explain as it also involves a sort of difference in feminism, physical and metaphysical where physically on the outside if you’re female there’s likelihood of disadvantage in society or at the very least social perceptions/bias whether they manifest into prejudice or not they still hold underlying influence. As a collective that hasn’t changed much over time as we acknowledge it, and change hasn’t happened fast or easily. Metaphysically there’s a sort or division between being female and being feminine, something more to do with how I consider original/natural being rather than but including the cultural constructs of gender based on sex. Put it this way even though I can see groups are treated according to likenesses and differences I wouldn’t say I trust a woman over a man because she’s a woman. I would call that just as dismissive and distracting as calling feminism ‘man bashing’. Just like because I’m never been racist doesn’t mean I support Obama or the use of a Black police figurehead in the tactical change over at Ferguson Missouri recently which distracts from what the protestors (not including the vandals/looters whose origin and motivations are ambiguous) are protesting about, how they’ve been treated and the ‘weirdness’ of choosing who gets arrested and why. Anyway going off topic and specific, trying to write about the feeling of feminism or anything without examples and sidetracking whilst trying to stay on track/remember the point is difficult.
I get on better with women and older men but find I get used for my strength/energy/vitality and when I feel fatigued they scorn/get bored. When in groups rather than one-on-one I find we can get along very well once they get comfortable they then ‘tolerate’ me and start concocting caricatures of themselves based on what I had/gave to the group. Each time it turns out that they whilst I was very interested in their stories/life experience they never really shared my ideals or wanted to be the best people we could be (which is pretty much what has motivated my life so my interests revolve around that quite a bit) which involves consistent evaluation/improvement until as original/ideal as possible or at least anywhere near in the circumstances. They do however see and like my drive and work standards and for that purpose can be nice. Each time they wanted me for my know-how to change a system so they could be successful and once successful they didn’t need me any more (let alone think about sharing the success). Most actually wanted to be on a level which whilst not on it would criticize it but were really admiring and inspired by the glamour/wealth/prosperity and would sound nice or make token gestures but it’s mainly PR. Whereas I would be earning the least, still paying out everything necessary, looking after those close to me and giving ¼ to charity (an old Hindu way of thinking that I took to heart though I’m not Hindu). I have nothing of value to those except when they need me to get them out of/through a situation they’ve made or exacerbated. Yet before mixing with others and I say ‘others’ rather than ‘them’ because it happens to me so often. When more of a reserved person I flourish and when mixing it’s like they do magic and reduce me or just end up better off perhaps saying ‘Sorry Dolly’ if I’m lucky and then they continue with the ‘business of living’. I don’t usually talk about about negative personal experience, listeners/readers tend to find it offputting, self-focused and pretentious but I thought it necessary to show that I could easily look at experience and stop being feminist. But it’s about more than my experience, it’s about everybody/’thing’s’ experience and ultimate Earth, even beyond.
Unfortunately I don’t tend to get on as well with people closer to my age because we don’t often share the same/similar interests, even if we do it’s usually limited and I find myself being accessible to their schedules and ideas but if I want to try something/go somewhere I always have to schedule long in advance if they’re interested at all. I become ‘good old Dolly’ who they know they can depend on and will contact if other more interesting things/people are lacking or they want a change from routine. (I’m sure a lot of people have reasons to blame me for that but chivalrous and polite in general even to people I dislike much of the time – a characteristic I don’t like. I figure it’s best to be good to people not necessarily nice but good though as soon as I see others I smile at them and as soon as my mouth opens I’m being self-deprecating and courteous. It takes time and reminding myself to push certain people away.) I know many people say ‘fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me’ but at least I’m not the one who orchestrates relationships. All of us, no matter how intellectual or intelligent or both can be fooled even to chain like and massive degrees. I’m a feminist but that doesn’t mean I’m oblivious to the point that in so bloody long the ongoing oppression and degradation of such a massive and inclusive group (i.e. women and men are two very groupings made up of members of all the other groups including other species) who hence as a whole know what inequality feels from many group prejudices, can’t happen without sell-outs, enough internal/external support and a degree of acceptance/complacency (many reasons for but not all sympathetic).
As I’ve said on my ‘About little ol’ me?’ page the arguments are similar for the major socially disadvantaged groups just the faces/names change but to have managed to degrade half the planet is insane. Then to keep it so and have so little and such painfully slow progress if any (there is much more the world than the ‘modern’ parts) is almost inconceivable if it weren’t true. Even in the so-called modern parts women are still paid less for the same jobs, a scary percentage of people in national surveys (even in more ‘open’ and sexually inhibited places) blame the victim (made up of mainly women and children) in sex abuse. I heard about one judge recently claiming a young girl was to blame, making the man rape her and then people think we’re so advanced yet there’s MPs and other professionals in authoritative positions such as psychiatrists wanting the age of consent lowered to 12. Although if they go further to claim the onset of puberty it could be approx 9 years old with menstruation. Not so far off from what many think of as barbarians a bit more in the East eh? (Heck a can of worms opened with the Jimmy Saville case and so-called pillars and beloved faces of society on a rampant, institutionalised scale and that is just looking at a tiny timeframe in the not so distant past!)
So no I’m not likely to be an anti-feminist, sit on the fence or not be concerned, feminism was the first ‘ism’ I ever felt/got into and yet at the same time I was arguing about why donating, trying to help individual people (children and adults) in impoverished, warn torn, disease ridden places was not a question of ‘why bother? Why save only 1? They’ll likely die anyway’. (Obviously now I’m older I realize that if donating you have to look into the financial/political actions of charities.) I was 8-9, my counter/opposition was 30-something. If I’d had that conversation today I’d add things I hadn’t realized or been able to fully comprehend and they are obvious feminist points:
“When you see the masses and masses of impoverished people in ‘developing/third world countries’ do you think all those girls and young women want to be like the older women they see making children they can’t feed, seeing and suffering with them listening to the cries or their quiet hunger and sickness? Let alone continually risking their lives/health and watching many children and peers die?”
“Endless amounts of street children trying to survive and/or waiting to ‘til they die? Thinking ‘this is life’ or ‘this is all there is.’ They think they have to have sex, to go along with many males think is their right. All are suffering, children are both male and female but ‘shit travels downhill’ and frustration of one group is put upon/done the same to the next group down the ladder. E.g. the middle to the lower classes, working to not working, getting angry at work and taking on those at home or vice versa if one is the boss, men to women, hetero to other orientations, adults to children, child bullies to weaker or quieter kids, humans to animals/the environment. Pretty soon it turns into or reduces to predator/prey/victimiser/victim/master/slave and that is not right or healthy.”
“Females have always had a harder time achieving the respect of NO whether it’s said or not, obviously thought or not. When they think it’s duty, even if they’re not sure or enthusiastic they mainly go along and try their best. The onus and responsibility for sex and ‘getting pregnant’ as if they did it asexually is mostly on them. It is they who have to take action one way or another because once at that stage they have no choice to ignore it. If/when they can as an individual or group communicate that they should have a choice or ‘no’, it’s a long hard struggle to take affect; so many give up and others fall further to/into religion telling them it’s part of life/expected. Where can they turn for support when they can’t depend on each other or the superimposed God(s) over their local deities which included strong, wild, freer female spirits and Goddess(es) as well as the nurturing, gentle and playful characteristics.”
“The modern interpretation of ‘emancipation’ has made or pushes women into being ‘goddesses’ when they’re not but are confronted with superwomen in the media and even more pressure to be everything and not just to cope but excel in every sphere of modern life; education, family, work, social, personal time, relationships and look great, be fit, youthful and sexy at the same time. All whilst keeping such women accessible to the male audience of whom nowhere near as many are metrosexual or have any desire to be and as such are trained to have higher/more expectations. There are of course superficial women but how often do you notice ‘nice personality’, ‘funny’ or ‘listens’ on guy’s ‘want/babe lists’ of women.”
“What does it matter in the end? What difference will it make? How can you help 1/few if not all you ask? Well I ask: no matter how poor we’ve been or hard we’ve had it, when it never lets up, everytime you’ve had a full bowl or eaten too much because of stress/upset and felt sick, wouldn’t you have preferred or liked to share it with them? With those who need it? A character from the TV show ‘Friends’ called Phoebe once said something about giving/helping being a selfish action, because it makes you feel good. It was popular at the time when I first heard it in a class as an argument. I was blank for a moment, ‘huh?’ ‘What does she mean?’ I thought to myself. “That’s not true” I said, “there’s helping out of duty, obligation or simply because it’s the right thing to do.” The teacher looked at me like he finally figured something out about me. I’ve rarely felt self-satisfaction or pleasure from just being me in that regard, it’s natural to want to and actually try to/help, it’s not an extra producing an extra emotion on top of what’s normal. What is happening to them could easily happen to me, we’re not entirely separate, we are bonded and our thoughts and actions effect each other. Whether someone or myself has needed help I’ve rarely felt a thrill from assistance/assistance. Only really ever quiet meaning and/or profound sadness because the situation happened and what they/we went through. Some people are of the opinion that we shouldn’t feel guilt or shame on behalf of others or our ancestors “we didn’t do what they did”, “we didn’t cause this” – didn’t we. Even if not, they’re all too willing to praise, share in the credit/glory of, live vicariously through and encourage familial bond/feeling with positive culture and achievement of others and ancestors.
However, many including those who need help (an ever growing amount locally and afar) don’t feel personal duty let alone theirs/everyone’s social duty so in that case take the scriptwriter’s words for Phoebe. Wouldn’t you like to feel better about yourself, to help yourself, to know you’ve helped someone even a little bit, to brighten their day? Aren’t you nicer to others around you at least when you feel good about yourself? To me that’s not enough, I can’t stop thinking about one act of helping to/for an individual not stopping or fixing our suffering. But in the meantime, whatever it takes within ethical boundaries to make things better at least. Walking past, not seeing and criminalizing the homeless, mutilated pigeons and those generally thought of as ‘vermin’ doesn’t make things better for example. Just carrying around granola or being aware of local shelters/places to sleep does make a difference. What does it matter? It matters to the person who doesn’t have to be as cold/wet or the bird who was dazed that you moved out of the way of traffic. (Many think no one’s watching, to care about what we think/don’t think, do/don’t do yet we’re all watching/feeling. We have a collective memory that can’t be erased, up to the very last blade of grass every experience is ingrained in us.)”
“Who am I to judge? Someone who takes responsibility. I don’t agree with destiny, karma; there’s plenty of people who feel the same but acting for bad (plutocracy, conquering, personal wealth off the backs of others), in recorded history that we have there’s never been enough acting for good.”
You could say I was already disposed to it but feminism allowed me to voice and act/demonstrate my care for everybody/’thing’. It was my source/well of ability to make my branches strong enough to try and support everybody who needed it and to keep doing it because I’m only one person and there’s so many, me included. That said had I started out vegan I think I would have been a lot stronger and more effective help for those who deserved it much faster. It is the whole in one, for Earth, animals (non-human and human) and the self.
Interestingly enough when I was ‘old enough to choose a god for myself’ lol what an idea, some family members – Hindu – walked me through the major ones mainly via depiction but with quick description. I was already aware of the ‘ultimate’ ones to the extent of name & prominence – of course not the back history. But there was only one I was interested in. (One though given acknowledgement, widely treated as a ‘rare rarity’ to the point of myth. Though a myth those who still pray to usually do so out of a desperate need for help or desire to ‘keep appeased, just in case’.) She – and Lalita and Bala two hardly known – predate Hinduism but were absorbed in probably to keep the natives happy as they were from the maa-root culture of Mother/Child (Maid/Daughter)/Dark Mother (Crone).
“Who is that?”
Oh yes, I am a feminist.
To end on a passing thought; according to a modern translation of a version of the ‘Fall of man’ (initially Fall of the Daughter/Maid), if one woman got so intelligent or wise to scare/upset/shake the foundations of that place/society of such powerful beings and their overlord and be condemned to eternal punishment and all her female descendents and other females regardless of fatherhood would suffer the same fate. And all children in general would thereafter have to be cleaned of the sin of being born of a woman who did ‘such a thing’ and then of women in general, all by getting too clever, who/what the heck was she really? We should be grateful she gave us some smarts at least since the God/s of modern and classical religion are notoriously cruel, fickle, vengeful (different from retribution) and have a taste for raping (including rape through deception/trickery or just telling them that’s the way it is/honour) and impregnating children and women (how old was Mary supposed to be, a young teen.) No wonder having sex with minors and ‘adults’ who were children a few days ago was the ‘in-thing’ and/or normal for so long and still going.
She should have eaten as many as she could. I would have taken the lot or as much as I could and fed them to everybody/all the animals and the tree would probably have dropped them on me to give me the idea in the first place ;-) I like trees with personality.
Today is World Humanitarian Day and Savior of the Apple Feast Day.