Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Should I be angry?

Sometimes I wonder if I'm not a real feminist.

I hop around the feminist blogosphere all the time, and I agree with much of what people are writing, but I'm afraid I don't share their anger. Their righteous indignation, yes. Anger, no.

Yesterday I dropped the wonderful Ms. Cliz a line about this phenomenon of angry feminist bloggers. Since her profile says she's suffering from "anger fatigue," I figured she would have something to say on the topic. She does--go read it.

Her post was a major comfort to me, not only because she gives me a nice shout-out, but because it was great to get some validation that one can indeed be a real feminist without constantly ranting about injustice. Don't get me wrong--I'm glad there are women out there who are willing and able to keep up The Good Rant, but it's just not my way of doing things, either off- or online.

Surely there are those who would criticize me for my failure to attempt to use this little blog as a tiny platform for rallying for social justice. Maybe I don't do so because I've read too much feminist theory. I suspect everything that could be said on these subjects has been said far more eloquently or intelligently elsewhere.

Honestly, I prefer reading feminist blogs from people I would normally make the mistake of assuming aren't feminists, or whose views don't jibe 100%, or even 50%, with the radical (or even liberal) feminist doctrine I've heard preached in women's studies departments.

To give but one example: This evening I stumbled across the blog Bad Feminist. In "What Exactly is a Bad Feminist?," she writes,
I have unfortunately been in environments, in which so-called feminists have not been tolerant and even 10% divergence from doctrine has been viewed as a mark of "bad" feminism. I do have some beliefs-- such as my embrace of free markets, conservative judicial philosophies, and free trade-- that don't endear me to certain feminists. I myself have always identified as a feminist and am glad to be embraced by the community (or even a small corner of it).
She writes about other "bad feminists" here. (Of these, as someone who studies women in science, I found especially noteworthy this post. I disagree with this blogger on some points, but it's worth reading.)

At unexpected moments in my life I've sought out people who are unlike myself. For example, in fall 2004, when I was living in DC, I attended a weekly Bible study at a very conservative Baptist church on Capitol Hill. (To be fair, I also sought out others who are more spiritual than I am, but whose politics are more in line with my own: namely the Quakers.) I don't seek out such people because I like to argue. Rather, I want to walk a mile in their shoes, to try to understand whence they speak and act.

What's interesting to me is that many of these women with whom I disagree on many issues don't blog in a way that's overtly angry. I like these blogs a lot. Maybe it's the lack of anger, maybe it's the way they don't cite feminist theory chapter and verse, repeating the same true but tired arguments. I suspect it's both.

When I meet someone (male or female) offline who's ranting about something I've heard hashed and rehashed a zillion times--especially if I agree with them--I'm disinclined to join the conversation. I feel the same way online.

My research has turned up some self-identifying feminist bloggers who seem genuinely happy with their lives while still acknowledging that as women, they and others suffer from injustice on many levels.

And that makes me happy. I want such balance, and I think I'm coming close to it.


P.S. Just wanted to share a few women's blogs I've run across for the first time in my browsing over the past week. Instead of commenting on them, I'll let them speak for themselves:

P.P.S.: OK, so some things still do make me angry. Must. . .not. . .rant. (Must also resist attempt to parody. . .)

2 comments:

Fang Bastardson said...

Your last citation had me at "Wherever we find feminism we find mental illness and in particular anorexia."

I didn't know Pat Robertson was blogging as "Richard's Midlife Crisis."

ClizBiz said...

Yes, yes! So heartening to see a light bulb go off over so many heads. I ADORE Redneck Feminist - she's the bomb.

I'm so glad to see the bad kids get let in on the party. Of course, we had to climb the fence but whatever . . .