alexconall: the Pleiades (Default)
Alex Conall, social justice bard ([personal profile] alexconall) wrote2013-04-26 05:57 pm

third-wave feminism 101, a crash course [contains gendered slurs]

Little sister, you asked me the other day if
I could help you learn about feminism and
gender and sexuality, the whole shebang.
And I handed you bell hooks, though I'm not finished
reading the book I lent you. That should be a hint
that it's not a 101 book. I should help you
find introductory material. I should—
Let me explain. No, it's too much. Let me sum up.

Privilege. Noun. Unfair advantages some enjoy.
You, sister, have the privilege of being white.
No one will ever say of you that it was just
affirmative action that got you in college.
You will always see people of your skin tone shown
positively in television, books, movies.
You, sister, lack the privilege of being male.
Have sex? Slut. Don't? Prude. Want a baby? Don't expect
any help raising them—as a mother, you must be
Superwoman, unassisted. Don't want baby,
have sex anyway? Whore. Or worse, a lesbian.

Kyriarchy. Noun. The system in which people
oppress and are oppressed, depending on just which
privileges they have and don't. It's complicated.
Who has a worse life, abled gay men or straight men
with disabilities? It depends on context.
Are we talking bathroom access? Marriage access?
People in developing countries scorn both men.
Both, as US folk, have clean water, enough food.
Privileges intersect, as well. The stories you
hear about murdered transgender people? Mostly
the black folk. Women who can't get contraceptives?
Mostly the poor folk or those who live where Christians
(the anti-woman sort) dominate. Black women
and Asian women experience sexism
differently from each other and from white women.

I haven't even mentioned 'bisexual' or
'genderqueer' or 'ninety-nine percent' or why the
Occupy movement, however necessary,
offends those who recall that this land is Native
American territory we occupy.
This is the fortieth line of this poem and I
have barely scratched the surface. I haven't even
defined 'cisgender'! (Adjective. Assigned-at-birth
gender matches actual gender.) Or told you
that prejudice is privilege-neutral but it is not
possible to be racist against white people,
because white people have privilege on that axis.

You have so much to learn, sister. I'm glad you asked.

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third-wave feminism 101, a crash course by Elizabeth Conall is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.