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“From an early age I knew my ambition was to be in a plot. Or several plots–I thought of it as a career. But no plots came my way. You have to apply for them, a friend of mine had told me. He’d been around, though he hadn’t been in any plots himself, so I took his advice and went down to the plot factory. As for everything else, there was an interview. So, said the youngish bored man behind the desk, you think you’ve got what it takes to be in a plot. What sort of character did you have in mind? He was fiddling with a list, running his felt-tip pen down it. Character? I said. Yes, that’s what we do here. Plots and characters. Well, I said, I might as well try out for the main character. Or one of them–I suppose every plot needs more than one. You can’t be a main character, he said bluntly. Why not? I said. Look in the mirror, he said. You’re an exotic. What do you mean, an exotic? I’m a respectable person. I don’t do kinky dancing. Exotic, he said in his bored voice. Consult the dictionary, Alien, foreign, coming in from the outside.”
“Plots for Exotics,” Margaret Atwood
Maybe you’re curious like me. How do people get from place to place, idea to idea? What’s their story? I’ve fascinated with the details of people’s personal journeys ever since discovering online feminism. The idea for interviews this time around is nothing more than my curiosity given a voice. I’ve not set out to prove any major trends between radical feminist stories–rather the opposite. You will find some similarities, perhaps every 2 interviews, but nothing notably more conclusive than the words themselves.
This has been such an enjoyable process–I will say it again and again: thank you wimmin, of the time and mind, for coming forward and sharing these personal journeys. I did not expect a great response at the outset–I anticipated an introverted bunch, not used to talking about themselves, shying away from the idea their life story was of any value (doesn’t that sound mean?). There are probably still a lot of those out there (note for future hosts: I am happy to pass along the interview website admin info should you wish to reel these wonderful wimmin in for future carnivals).
However, I am happy to say 9 wimmin eventually tip-toed their way into my inbox! Their stories are linked here, laced in with the rest of the wonderful submissions. Enjoy!
I felt like being smart was all I had as a little fat girl who didn’t conform to femininity particularly well, who wasn’t attractive or charming or athletic. My attachment to book knowing is apparent on the website, although hopefully I’ve been able to transform loyalty to patriarchal knowledge into loyalty to feminist knowledge.
Radical feminism was a deep, long lasting kind of intellectual stimulation. Reading a couple points had my brain buzzing for days
Suzie at Echidne of the Snakes explains further why interpretations of drag (re: huge learning curve) under a patriarchy are not as subversive as some may like to believe.
Some people think drag subverts gender by bringing its performativity into the open. But parody works only if people get it. A straight man at a drag show does not necessarily think: “If that man can look and act like a woman, then that means my girlfriend and I are just performing gender.”
I’ve always been a radical feminist. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t see that there was serious dominance/submission issues in male/female relations.
Nine Deuce at Rage Against the Manchine takes an ice pick to the issues and concepts differentiating “rights” and “privileges” for porn use. She even later goes onto assert men in relationships who deceitfully use porn are being emotionally abusive. Daring!
Deciding what falls under the rubric of “rights” is a difficult task, and gaining any kind of universal consensus (even on the most basic of human rights) is nearly impossible because the discussion is landmined with the participants’ conflicting cultural and religious values. Fuck, we haven’t even reached the point where we can agree that we all have the right to not be murdered.
Well, that day I was feeling bad. I discovered that there was a dimension of this world that i hadn’t known about. It seemed ‘mechanical’ and ‘inhuman’ to me; these are the 2 words i remember thinking.
Amananta at Screaming into the Void shows off her songwriting chops in a political parody of South Park’s “Blame Canada.”
White guy 4: My son could’ve been a doctor or a lawyer rich as me,
But he flunked out when he saw Hillary’s ugly face on tv
Everyone: Should we blame his study habits?
Should we blame his ADD?
Or the teachers who didn’t do their jobs?
White guy 1: heck no!
Everyone: Blame Hillary!
When you’re in your anti-porn star shirt seriously discussing plans to humanure while ripping up old political placards into the compost pile for your organic garden, American affluenza seems more like slow suicide than a normal lifestyle.
They are black women and girls, they are indigenous women and girls, they are women and girls who have be fucked as children, they poor women and girls, they are homeless women and girls, they are addicted women and girls – mainly they are women and girls who have forgotten that they can hope.
Each time a man chooses to rape a prostitute, each time a man uses a prostitute as real-life porn, each a man batters a prostitute, each a man kills and throws away a prostitute – it is a slow destruction of all women rights to be fully human.
I am stubborn, strong-willed, and as my mother and father can attest to, if you tell me to drop it, I’m going to continue talking about it.
Dr. Violet Socks at Reclusive Leftist scarily but beautifully recalls the day her once carefree hiking trips became a reminder of the inevitable: no woman lives free.
I turned back to the trail, deliberate-like, not running, trying not to be scared. Nothing very bad is happening here. I’m just going to continue on my hike. I will continue on my hike and I will drive home and I will make dinner. When I reached the trail I turned around. He was following me.
How did I bring feminism to the countries I lived in? By being a woman on her own doing what I wanted. Traveling alone in Brazil was very rare for a woman, so was hiking, running…
Sonia at el parador califas tells of her own experiences with domestic violence and how the silencing effects manifest as an epic erasure of it’s pervasiveness.
my self-esteem was at issue, but that’s a setup. women having low self-esteem doesn’t occur in a vaccuum, and it’s not resultant of pms, or high levels of emotion or just being chicks. low self-esteem in women is a requirement for the social status quo.
Although I guess I was always feminist, inside. I have never met a woman who believed that the world was fair to women. I suppose the difference is in how women handle that.
Marcella Chester at abyss2hope reveals yet another mindless imbecile who sees his self control astonishingly dependent on womens’ actions.
He wants to be seen as no more responsible for his behavior than a TV is when a woman uses a remote control device. Yet I doubt that he sat as still as a TV when women turned him on.
If something really offends me, others may think that my reaction is extreme, but it’s usually the culmination of dozens of slights that just can’t be ignored anymore.
And for a good dose of laughs we end with a little preherstory lesson presented by none other than the great Phemisaurus.
(Bachelorette parties don’t fall far behind.) Thankfully, for those still masochistically drawn to tradition, there are advice columns.
Is your fiancé looking forward to his “last night of freedom”?
Last night of freedom, oh golly…get this womenz:marrying you is akin to getting thrown in the slammer. Though you, in all your well-intentioned unknowing-ness, will be forced through coercion and commercial lies to be his nodding and approving servant, call girl, chef, grocery list, laundromat, toilet bowl cleaner, hershey-highway-underwear-stain remover, financially dependent child bearer/raiser/hated mother who actually believes her husband gave up his”freedom” the night before his wedding and thus would never cheat, who couldn’t divorce even if he did cheat because the money isn’t there or the idea of being alone/poor/manless has been conditioned to be more unappealing than dealing with his daily task of making you feel inferior and oh-so-lucky to iron his shirts and massage his smelly feet/groin …. it is YOU who is taking the freedom.
It’s an important guy ritual to blow off steam pre-wedding and for him to reassure his pals that he’s still “one of the guys” even though he’s making a commitment to marriage.
What’s this steam the author talks of? Anger? Fear? Gas? An insurmountable amount of stress from having to plan the most important Patriarchal Day and Duty of your life? No, it’s the dumbest, most underhanded metaphor for jizz I’ve ever heard. Confusing to boot. Come on–the only thing men are taught to ritualistically blow is their own load. Why must we couch it in bad metaphor like “seed” or “steam.” I mean the author does make this ritual sound pretty serious–the guy is getting married so I’m sure this super necessary seance is chock full of manly men things one can only do in their wife-less days of old. Like, for example, fly-fishing:
Bachelor parties aren’t exactly what they used to be. Rather than the stereotypical evening of strippers and stogies, many men today are opting for other types of parties. Taking a weekend trip with the guys — think outdoorsy activities like white-water rafting and fly-fishing
“Listen honey you’re about to take away all my freedom, I gotta go catch a rainbow trout.” ??? Oh and bull shit on a kabob that’s what he’s doing. I guess the author bought that line too. “Outdoorsy activities.” Hmm, sounds quaint. (note: if men go out in the woods it’s “outdoorsy, if a woman does it she’s “connecting with nature” or something). Anyways! Apparently men have to reassure the pack the new lady won’t be interfering with tubing events or asking too many questions when Hubby says he and the guys are going-code term for local strip joint-“fly fishing.”
Communicate Your Limits
Be open about your feelings. This doesn’t mean nag him endlessly; it means tell him what makes you uncomfortable. Saying, “Thinking about you hiring a stripper makes me feel unhappy” is very different than saying, “You’ll hire a stripper over my dead body.”
I can think of nothing more idiotic than waiting the night before *committing to someone for the rest of your life* to have a talk about boundaries. Not only that, the kind of boundaries that might constitute cheating. Or how the luvayalife views over half the world’s population as potential sex objects. (But I bet they have a wedding song picked out. awww) Anyways–when you do have that talk women don’t “nag” ffs, be considerate. He can only communicate in grade school counselor language: “When you ________ it makes me feel ______.” Really tell him whats up! (Likely, he’ll still hire the stripper but the idea is you didn’t use the right phrasing so his behavior is really ALL YOUR FAULT).
Remember Your Own
Don’t forget — you get to do this too. If your bachelorette party is going to be a spa day, that’s one thing, but if you’re hitting the town looking fabulous with your girlfriends, that’s totally another.
Oh equality! I almost forgot women want that and NOT liberation. Phew! Okay, so I think I got it: women going out “looking fabulous” is like getting to do????what great thing exactly? I’m confused–I thought men just went fishing these days. Or climbed trees. Now all of a sudden we’re back to hints of last-night-of-my-life-to-put-money-in-an-undergarment-omgah- myfreedomtimer-is-running-out! Even assuming bachelorette parties also engage in the super awesome act of objectification, sexualization, pornification–is the message here that two assholes are better than one?
At least there’s good news:
Remember, there might be a lot of girls out there, but you are the only one who has to put up with his shit at home one he wants to marry.