kate and pansy
think about taking over the world
but instead decide to take another drink
Friday, March 04, 2005

I am feeling guilty. Which isn't that unusual. I am sure I could actually rename this blog as things I feel guilty about and each day we could examine a different guilt. But I do try and keep my neuroses in check. But I despite my reservations, I think I am going to expose my current guilty moment. I have been hanging out at Emily's blog
And well I have been commenting. Which isn't that horrible of a thing in and of itself. But I have been doing a bit of lecturing on feminism. And I don't feel happy about that. No, really. (and don't shake your head at me, Vegas).

I know I shouldn't a) lecture and/or be pedantic and b) shouldn't rise to the bait (for lack of a more eloquent way of expressing myself) of people defining feminism in a way I am at odds with. I mean even feminists manage to define the word in ways I don't recognise (alright I try to be able to see the point of view of just about everybody with the possible exception of Carol Gilligan who quite honestly drives beyond the twist). So I don't know why I thought I should wade in and offer my about $3.57 on feminism, debates in feminism and even today the 30 second version of a history of feminism (yes and I feel fine using that word and don't even need the validation of my paper of choice). But I know deep down inside that nobody cares that much that what they mean by a term isn't an actual reflection of reality. And speaking post-structurally, shouldn't words mean exactly what we want them to mean and thus, in a very alice-way, people who think that feminists are feminazis or something like that are right. That is what the word means. And when I use it my way. I am right and well, this is why there is no truth. But I also decided post-structuralism reached the end of its usefulness when we started to talk about female genital mutilation.

I'm meandering all over the place and not really going any of the places I wanted to go to (Hmm, common narrative problem for me). I have a couple of thoughts that help comfort my guilt. I called myself a combat-boot-wearing feminist over at Emily's and I meant it. It also always reminds me of an argument I had in the back of my college roommate's car in my oh-so-wise second year of university. We were discussing the draft registration. My lefty boyfriend at the time had not registered (he had gone to counselling at Berkeley before making this decision. And just so we show how important his principals were. He did register when he started grad school and had to to qualify for student loans). I was explaining that I opposed the draft because it only required the registration of males. And I wasn't even arguing that I should go into combat. No, I just expressed the idea that in times of emergency, my country should be able to call upon my talents and abilities as quickly as any boy I had gone to school with. My roommate and her boyfriend thought I was nuts and so I believe the term combat-boot-wearing feminist was born. Before I read De Beauvoir(I did that the summer after I got my b.a.). Before I started all those post-grad research degrees.

Which brings me to my meandering second point or rather observation. I didn't do women's studies as an undergrad. I didn't do it even at Master's level. I didn't major in it. I didn't minor in it. I never took a course that could be defined as women's studies (unlike my younger brother who with his roommate took one at university in an effort to meet girls. Andrew is still single). I come to feminism only through my own reading and research and interest. That college roommate gave me The Second Sex because she liked the chapter on women in love (the only bit she had read). It changed my life.* But Vegas, my dear beloved friend, who went to an all women's school and graduate with honours has never read it. This the seminal text of second wave feminism! If feminists and feminist academics can't engage with some of the central arguments how can I expect anyone else? And would I have got to where I am today if I hadn't read de Beauvoir, stumbled across Pateman, sought out Heidensohn (who examined my thesis). Maybe women's studies would have strangled me at birth. But that ignores all the great feminists who inspire me all the time.

*I have to now tell my story of the nices thing every said to me. I was living with the boy who wouldn't register for the draft (he had by then) for the summer with his fellow english (in both senses) grad student. We had drinking lots (quelle surprise!) and the boy had been being pedantic when Stuart looked at him and slurred in a very aggressive way, "Living with you two is like living with Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul-Fucking-Sartre." I still have a warm spot for Stuart who used to dance with Howard my bear whenever Howard was in Boston.

posted at 10:40 AM

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Just like the state of nature, nasty, brutish and short...I was always fond of the nickname 'Craxi'...Sometimes I cook, sometimes I tend bar, sometimes I even knit. Mostly I try not to read the plethora of government publications that cross my desk and write one page summaries.
favorite food: lobster. ben and jerry's ice cream
favorite show: CSI
favorite drink: grey goose vodka (with ice, it doesn't need anything else)
age: far older than I like to admit/contemplate

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