Reblogging: “The Terrible Bargain We Have Regretfully Struck”

I just posted this wrap-up on my (other) blog…

Internet Stuff I was Reading This Week 

…and I’m reposting part of it here, because I found an awesome article on feminism, debate, and trust. I’ll excerpt that bit here:

This is about two years old, but I’d never read it before. I had been feeling mad about…well, basically this, all day on Tuesday. Over the previous couple of days, I’d had kind, well-meaning new acquaintances tell me in casual conversation that, among other things, a) it was biologically preordained that Asians can’t rap, and b) that they don’t mind feminists, as long as “they don’t get militant about it, and know what they’re really talking about.” You know how sometimes the world outside your head is so cray-cray that you need to something to convince you that you aren’t the one who’s gone around the bend? To remind you that misogyny and racism and queer-phobia are real, and you aren’t just an oversensitive liberal bra-burner who can’t take a joke? Well, this article helped with that.

There are the occasions that men—intellectual men, clever men, engaged men—insist on playing devil’s advocate, desirous of a debate on some aspect of feminist theory or reproductive rights or some other subject generally filed under the heading: Women’s Issues. These intellectual, clever, engaged men want to endlessly probe my argument for weaknesses, want to wrestle over details, want to argue just for fun—and they wonder, these intellectual, clever, engaged men, why my voice keeps raising and why my face is flushed and why, after an hour of fighting my corner, hot tears burn the corners of my eyes. Why do you have to take this stuff so personally? ask the intellectual, clever, and engaged men, who have never considered that the content of the abstract exercise that’s so much fun for them is the stuff of my life…

There are men who will read this post and think, huffily, dismissively, that a person of color could write a post very much like this one about white people, about me. That’s absolutely right. So could a lesbian, a gay man, a bisexual, an asexual. So could a trans or intersex person (which hardly makes a comprehensive list). I’m okay with that. I don’t feel hated. I feel mistrusted—and I understand it; I respect it. It means, for me, I must be vigilant, must make myself trustworthy. Every day.

I say: yes, and yes, and yes.

That bit from the article somewhat simplifies the author’s argument…she’s not saying that there isn’t a value in debating feminism’s tenets and allegiances (or, at least, not the way I read it), but realizing that society dictates different rules for people based on gender, even within the constructs of these “engaged” interactions.

Direct link to the article is here!

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One thought on “Reblogging: “The Terrible Bargain We Have Regretfully Struck”

  1. A cool post Meg. The thing I was struck by, as someone who thinks way too much about teaching for how little of it I actually do, is how to explain away those things that appear so common-sensical. I think it’s a point she makes in the larger post on her site where she points out how people don’t get the difference between men and women getting sexually “harassed” or assaulted, etc. etc.–you know, those seems-so-easy to make a parallel here type issues. As Shakesville puts it: “that handsome men are objectified by women, too! that women pinch men’s butts sometimes, too! that men are expected to look a certain way at work, too!” (Love the tone by the way.)

    I’ve found sometimes those things that seem the most obvious to people who have studied it a bit or who think about it a bit are the hardest to explain to others, if that makes sense. In some ways these points can seem so obvious, but to others they are clearly more subtle and complex.

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