The Feminist Yawn-A More Heartfelt Response

I wrote The Feminist Yawn and received enough responses to realize I’d offended some of the feminist community, but what I didn’t expect was my broad generalizations would hurt someone I’d grown close with while collaborating for months on feminist projects. And for that, I’m sorry.

The response I wrote to feminism was mainly over two issues: UniteWomen.org and Daniel Tosh. When I blogged, “I’d been a moderator on one of the larger groups on Facebook for women’s rights (and enjoyed it) and had been involved in a growing women’s group, which I later found to be full of growing scandal/greed,” the latter part of that statement is directed at UniteWomen.org. I’d read a really powerful response by a woman of color who attended the UniteWomen rally and left disappointed. Although her post had to do explicitly with race, I felt utterly disappointed by UniteWomen, as well. For months, I felt women had so much momentum politically and UW came in and dismantled it all with their desire to be the lead group for the moment. They wanted to build a grass-roots movement and be the front-runner, and they did. However, they immediately proved to be utterly disorganized, to make excuses for not uniting women, and they treated individual state groups with disrespect. I became infuriated with UniteWomen and how they had selfishly redirected all of the energy some of us had worked so hard in gaining within the movement toward their personal agendas.

I know this because I was collaborating for months with women doing our own grass-roots movement online. I’d gotten a lot of friends politically charged and we were all moving forward. I’m not quite sure what happened to me, but I felt I needed to take a back seat, despite enjoying the work. There were too many other groups who needed help and wanted me to join in a leadership position and to be honest, I was getting pulled by a few of them very strongly. I’d enjoyed working with my friend J. and we’d become very close, but I had a difficult time saying no to other groups and requests for my leadership skills. I became overwhelmed.

I joined a UniteWomen group in Southern California before UW started pissing me off. The stateside leadership was wonderful but were not directly related to UW. I loved working with them and they transitioned away from UW and into their own group–a group I like very much. They are hard-working women who put their money where their mouth is, so to speak.

And then another group came along around the same time to ask me to be on leadership, which I don’t want to get into personally before speaking with the leader of the group; however, I was a bit taken aback by the personal agenda that steamrolled this group into the mainstream. I was also kind of offended, because I take pride in not using my platform for instances like that, although I could. I don’t believe in exploiting the masses and with UniteWomen’s ability to do that, I was wary of any new group. I was also protective, like an angry mother protecting her brood. I felt like some of us had worked so hard at uniting women and a few opportunists, who hadn’t lifted a finger the whole time, wanted to come scoop them up for their own agendas. That’s NOT why we worked so hard and I felt very frustrated.

My second issue with the feminist community was how quickly we attacked Daniel Tosh. Women writers I respect immediately took to their platform. I was confused over the fact that I personally didn’t agree with Roxanne, because I usually really like her writing. However, I’d been feeling a bit of a disconnect from some of the academic community, and her response seemed very high-tower academic instead of human. The human in me was upset at Roxanne’s response because I felt that she was taking a stance for all of us and leading the feminist community into an army of Tosh.0 haters-as if he were a rapist. Years before this incident, Daniel Tosh had been one of the many comedians I would watch weekly, in my attempt to re-enter the world of pop culture after being isolated from it when I lived in a cult. However base my taste is, I felt personally insulted at everyone’s attacks. Objectivity and rational thinking seemed to go out the window after Roxanne’s article went up and feminists I knew started personally attacking me over my taste in Daniel Tosh’s comedy.

All of a sudden, the community I’d been part of for so many months turned their back on me and attacked me. It wasn’t a good feeling. I suppose that’s when I realized how fickle mobs can be. One minute they love you. The next minute they’re stoning you.

For what it’s worth, I’m still feminist. I’m not feminist in the way my friend Marty is feminist, though. When we were discussing his post, he shared why he was a feminist: “I consider myself a feminist, but that’s just part of being a humanist. It’s okay to be seen as a feminist in my eyes. Just not hysterical, or ranty or attention seeking…”

I’m not a feminist because I’m atheist or humanist nor do I feel it’s fair or accurate to call the feminist community “hysterical” or ranty or attention seeking.

I hope that I represent one feminist well, but I also hope to be seen as an individual. As a former cult member it’s very important for me to have freedom to have my own opinions and taste, even if that means I’m not “part of the group.” I do also hope we can all work together on being objective when we need to be and to think critically instead of jumping onto a bandwagon because it’s popular. Despite our differences of opinion (of which I’m sure there are many), there are a great number of people within the feminist community I admire and enjoy working with. Thanks to one in particular who helped me see that.

Meditation

I spent five minutes before work in my car meditating today. Nothing to it, although for years I’d been thinking you had to do certain things to get it right (and you probably do), but for now this works.

I was at the doctor’s office the other day and some actress (of course, it’s LA…we are the hub for all-things “zen”. I kid.) said she pulls over in her car for 10 minutes and just tunes things out. I think she used the Twitter app all the kids are using to meditate now, but that’s irrelevant.

After years of praying an hour in the morning, before meals and essentially allowing my mind to be a wind turbine full of prayers, guilt-ridden assessements of myself and my performance and how those didn’t measure up to “God”, I was of course completely opposed to anything resembling prayer or “quiet time” as we used to call it. However, meditation has many benefits and I’ve found that I’ve been able to work through some of my issues surrounding the similarities.

Either way, it’s time to reinvent the “quiet time” portion of my life. The zen. The peace. The sitting outside by the beach WITHOUT smoking a bowl, perhaps.

I have some FUCKING ANXIETY, ya’ll. Which has actually gone away rather rapidly in the past month, but I do deal with it and many people suggest meditation as a therapy for anxiety, so home cures it is!

The Feminist Yawn

For the past few years I’ve been a self-proclaimed radical feminist. I’ve read Bitch magazine, Ms. magazine, Jessica Valenti books and I’ve drawn pictures of pussies eating pussies.

It all started with the introduction to Mary Daly’s book “Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women’s Liberation” where I first heard this: “If God is male, then male is God” and it blew my mind. I’d just left a fundamentalist Christian cult where I’d been a reverend for seven years, but my entire role there was based on when and who I was going to marry and how quickly. So, of course, realizing that the male God was the centralized issue wrong with the world sort of blew my mind. She essentially summed up what I’d been thinking was wrong with the church for years.

After blogging about the loss of my faith and my feminist views, some women I knew looked up to me as a leader in the feminist community. I have written articles about reproductive health and religion and been asked to take leadership roles in state and nationwide feminist groups. Some of these groups, honestly, seemed to be driving one woman’s agenda or attempting to enlarge one or two people’s reputation not an overall goal of liberating oppressed people or increasing diversity within the movement, so I wasn’t interested in feeding that. The feminist circle just wasn’t doing it for me lately. I’d been a moderator on one of the larger groups on Facebook for women’s rights (and enjoyed it) and had been involved in a growing women’s group, which I later found to be full of growing scandal/greed. Some women had already written some powerful critiques of the movement, and as I read threads online, I realized this group and feminist leadership/followers were far from enlightened and wouldn’t change. In fact, most of the movement seemed to be ran by materially privileged white women and none of them listened to the women from other cultures. It seemed like the same old disunity of race, class and privileged that feminism had been fighting over for years…and still, no one was listening.

This is the feminism I see today.

It was time for me to start moving away because as I saw it, the amplified voices were only pushing their personal and political agendas.

I’ve recently identified myself as post-human, which I would explain quite simply as a theory based on sci-fi/futurology in which a person admits they are in disunity within him or herself (thus why humans act hypocritical, and why even my writing this is “disunified” or hypocritical) but continues to pursue intellectual knowledge and maintains objectivity as much as possible.
Our feminist dialogue isn’t objective and it’s not intellectually rigorous. (More on this later by a friend of mine who is doing fantastic research on the bias within feminist journalism.)

This has been illustrated by the internet gang bang that occurred recently with the Daniel Tosh he said/she said fiasco which erupted into a full scale tirade against men everywhere. bell hooks criticized “rape culture” and ample information can be found online that the rape culture is over exaggerated by misused or wrong statistics. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Rape culture may be exaggerated…

Although I do not condone rape, no one was raped by Daniel Tosh…’s joke. End of argument for me. I like Tosh.0.

Some people, though, are very unhappy with my post-feminist rants. They think I should feel their disappointment. To which I say, fuck off.

The Internet is Angry Spice

Look, it’s been a very rough few months for me, although if you’re my friend on Facebook, you’d probably never know it. I’m not what you’d call vulnerable, not in detail anyway. I like to make a few jokes in the morning on FB and get through my day at the office by chatting with Frogtown or doing some “whatnot” online. The fact is–I’d been in some extremely serious negotiations for my life story and I’m rather exhausted. [Yes, you read that right. Yes, that means things have been super, mega important in my life lately.]

And I’ve been VERY political the past several months. My politics have also gone hand in hand with my anger, which has been a separate issue, but they’ve joined together nicely. To be quite honest, I’ve become the raging lunatics my parents are, except on the opposite side of the fence. They’re FOX news junkies. I was the Femininst Agenda girl. Both lunatics. Both biased. Both Angry Spice.

 So, I’ll admit it, Angry wasn’t my best look. But, there it was in all it’s glory, like Britney’s vagina spread open for ALL the world to see.

But I’ll break it down to you, before the Facebook drama (which 5 of you saw happen)…I had a terrible, shitty, downright sucky attack on my “great” family vacation in Alaska. I was sitting in Nome, in the parents house, and you know…FOX news was getting to me after several days in a row. My dad knows I HATE that shit (and literally have hated politics ALL my fucking life, Thanks Dad!) and he still has to narrate a play by play to me about the “liberal agendas” every move like it’s the fucking NFL playoffs.

It’s not the NFL playoffs. Those make me sleepy. At least I can nap during those.

FOX news doesn’t do much for me, typically, but there was one off handed remark that was made and you know I’m not going to repeat it online because I’m afraid the FBI will track my father down and do the hunt for red october over what he said. However, it was both racist and a terrible thing to say about any president. I’ll leave it at that.

What happened in the next few minutes, after I called him on his racist bullshit is that this launched a full on family fued.

In 2.5 seconds, my mom came running out to my dads defense and so did my brother. My brother even through in the choice words “fat whale” AND “fat cunt” in the same 5 minutes. It was getting classier by the minute and it was all directed at me, the enemy, the liberal, the atheist. [I’m glad they don’t know I’m bisexual. I might have been strung up outside and hanged.]

My family was insulted that I’d called my dad racist, yet he says racist things about President Obama constantly, and about immigrants (although, the family as a whole is getting better about that last one). It makes me cringe to be in the room with them for more than five minutes anymore because they can’t shut the fuck about their “views”.

And then I realized this is probably how I’ve become on Facebook, and although I think I’m “right” I’m pretty sure I’ve become more of an extremist than I originally intended on being. The ability to move from one extreme (Christian fundamentalism) to another (radical feminist, liberal atheist) is quite simple, and to be honest, I don’t have any theories or any books for you to read to back that up. It’s just an observation I’ve made.

My brother compared me to someone he and I both know–a brainless twat–who’s a liberal. He probably did it to piss me off, but he did it to illustrate a point. I’m just as bad as they are about politics, just on the other side of the fence, which doesn’t make me any less poisonous about it. It just makes my point of view different.

The fight escalated into various other issues like Why are you an atheist? Why do you hate ALL pastors? Why can’t you be exactly like us?   and other things my family is well-known for saying when they’re upset. But the bottom line is, I think I had a wakeup call that I’d been needing for awhile.

Not that I needed to change who I was–I didn’t. And that isn’t the point–actually quite the opposite. I’d been slowly changing to a more moderate viewpoint for months prior to my fight. In fact, I’d backed off from a few roles as moderator on some great political sites I’d been working with and had stepped back to be an observer and nothing more in both the feminist and the atheist worlds. I wanted to be objective and I’d been feeling the need for objectivism for awhile.

I guess my point is that whether I’m constantly evolving because of my radical behavior for years or just because I’m a dynamic sort of person, I’d like to continue to do so. I enjoy changing and growing. It’s exciting in a very dull sort of world. But more than that, for me, it shows an intellectual growth–stepping back and observing rather than fighting over the carcass of some already picked over argument. [Also, meditation is supposed to be good for anxiety, and I don’t think you can be angry and keep meditating. I’ll keep you posted on that one.]

Back to the aforementioned Facebook fight, over Daniel Tosh. Apparently, I became an open “disappointment” to my “feminist” friends. Or at least 4 of them who openly raged at me. One who blocked me and the other who I blocked because she harrassed me all day via message and statuses about me while I was at work, dragging other people into the argument. The others who tried to start fights….the others probably just internalized their rage. To be honest, I didn’t stick around for the drama. I went back to work.

What’s weird about the internet and Facebook, and I hope to get some more time to expand on this a bit more later this week, is that this whole Tosh.O situation became an internet gang bang where rape victims everywhere cried about…comedy. Bottom. Fucking. Line. Call it a difference in perspective, or call it me being insensitive, but I didn’t see the need to go so wild over the circumstances. And because I didn’t want to take it any further than what it was–a joke, and because I wanted to defend a comic I’ve LOVED for years, people talked shit about me to my face and behind my back. I just really don’t see how this is helping make progress in “rape culture” or being dignified human beings. Because nothing says “I’m a dignified feminist” like putting another woman down for having a contrary opinion or wanting to double check rape statistics.

Maybe we don’t have the same taste in a comedian, but if you think that YOU are such a NOBLE representation of women and the values of FREEDOM and honor, then by all means, go for it. Be our leader.

But my recommendation to you, in all sincerity, is to go join a fundamentalist church, where your condescention will be fully welcome:

Bravo, Assholes of the week. You’re Angry Spice.

A Dichotomy: Public and Private Lives

The more public I’ve become (on my blog) and recently with some TV stuff, the more private and isolated I find myself. I set out to tell my story in hopes that others would read it and listen to what I had to say, having wanted to be a writer since I was a child, but now I am somewhere between being a dreamer and the one living her dream and I’ve been somewhat terrified of that success and the loss of privacy that comes with the territory.

In some ways, I think I’d cope rather well, having developed a thick skin and a public persona different than who I am (yet, rather the same). I can let a lot of hateful remarks and stupid arguments go, letting them roll off my back. I rarely think about them too much anymore, whereas a year ago, that stuff crippled me and made me cry just thinking about it.

In other ways, I want my privacy back and I think it’s too late. I don’t want to be obligated to social media updates like publishers insist we writers must be, but I am. I’m also obligated to blog posting, but as you can tell, I rarely do that anymore. At first, blogging was fun, but now my blog is something people DO read and that makes me uncomfortable from time to time. Has my boss read it? Has my landlord read it? Have my parents read it? I’m an extremely private person even to these people who are in my life daily. I only tell everything to one or two friends, and sometimes not even to them. So imagine my horror if those in my office, say, knew my innermost thoughts and personal issues.

Perhaps it’s just a little insecurity or perhaps it’s a true need for privacy. One of the surest ways to be famous in your lifetime (if you are my age or younger) is to put your whole personal life on display, the good, bad and ugly. If you have an interesting story and are unafraid to tell it, you have a good chance at fame. Fame relies very little on talent anymore, except that you must be good (really good) at marketing your personality (and marketing IS a talent). We’re in a personality driven world, which may not have been all too different from “the good ol’ days”, but it’s certainly an interesting phenomenon.