Sunday, February 10, 2008

Radical Feminism

As you, dear readers, may or may not have noticed, I have changed my About Me info.

I had many labels in my old one. And while labels are good short hand, they are also sometimes insufficient. I have come to a place where I thought it would be more interesting and a better introduction to me to simply put up the things I believe. I'm sure that I will be adding and editing this for a while.

Despite this, I still wanted to continue my planned series on explaining why I ascribe to myself the labels that I do. I started with why I am sex positive and out of that I had many interesting conversations, sometimes around whether that meant I could be a feminist at all (!) but more often, and more interestingly, if I could be a radical feminist.

I do consider myself a radical feminist.

I do as such because from what I have learned so far, I think the radical branch of feminism is correct in it's base theory. That society has to be destroyed as it is currently, and rebuilt from the ground up. This intersects with why I also consider myself a socialist feminist, because money and it's influence cannot be separated from our society as it currently stands.

Do I also hold some liberal views? Do I put individualism first? Yes. However liberals hold that we can work from within the system, and hold individuals accountable basically for where they end up. I don't hold with that. Individualism is important, and working within the system is important, but if we don't have sisters on the outside working to tear the house down as well as on the inside, it will never work.

This is the essence of strength in diversity as it applies to feminism. We need people doing work in all facets of society, and without, to achieve our goals. And make no mistake, by and large, we all have the same goals. The labels, "liberal" "radical" "socialist" these identify what we believe to be the best means to achieving those ends. Most likely we identify with one over the others because our life experience tells us it is the most pertinent.

It's been an interesting journey for me to realize that what I ascribed to myself as a pretty simple label is in fact for many a very loaded term. And yet it is still an important label to me as it displays my base belief system. Abridged from the Carnival of Radical Feminists;
We define radical feminism as follows:

* We believe that women are oppressed worldwide by patriarchy;
* We seek to abolish patriarchy;
* We understand patriarchy to be a system of structures and institutions created by men in order to sustain and recreate male power and female subordination. The structures of patriarchy include, but are not limited to, the law, medicine, religion and the traditional family;
* Women’s oppression is rooted in both the structures of our society and in capitalism and white supremacy. Patriarchy includes not only male rule but also heterosexual imperialism and sexism (Charlotte Bunch);
* In order to abolish patriarchy, we must challenge its root components and causes which we locate in oppression of females by males;
* We believe that the uprooting of sexism simultaneously inaugurates the uprooting of racism, class hatred, homophobia, lesbophobia, transphobia, ageism, ableism, competition, hierarchy, ecological disaster, and economic exploitation of all kinds

Now, Heart goes on to list quite a few other things, which is where her (and most radfem's) definition and mine diverge a bit. But this is my base, and it is a base unique to radical feminism, therefore I am rooted in radical feminism.

Is that all I am? No.

I refuse to be bound in by anyone's imposed definitions. I am who I am. I will not let society define me. Nor will I let other radical feminists define me.

But this is the foundation my feminism is based on. This is the Earth my roots are anchored in. And it is a label that is therefore important and meaningful to me.

1 comment:

  1. hear hear!

    i refuse to be pigeonholed into one specific label of feminism. i believe what i believe, and that is all i can offer. if it isn't good enough, i am sure i will find some other feminists who agree...

    love this post...and your new "about"


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