Sunday, April 14, 2013

Feminism, a critque

1. Justice and Theory

When asked this week in class if I were a feminist I replied no.  No, is strange considering my current major (Gender studies).  Honestly, I can't say there's much in feminist theory I can't at least sympathize and admit to some right, even if my answers and solutions vary. Still, I can't quite bring myself to take on the label 'feminist.'

When I think of feminism, I can't shake the receivable tie it has to justice.  Justice in and of it's self is something I admire.  Admittedly it is also a frustrating facet that seems hell bent on my own intellectual approach to feminism.  Feminism seems to see justice and theory as one and the same, but it's not, GOSH DARN IT! IT'S NOT!  That is to say the the two concepts seem to have frustrating results when mixed.  I credit them.  Justice is no doubt a great fuel to fire the newest delving into gender theory that we see today.  A human, compassionate look at all the facets of our gender in regards to humanity is a welcome change.  Embarrassingly I find once again a place that our Christian cultural norms dropped the ball. Dehumanizing anyone that did not fit into a very narrow box of "God ordered" creation.  While justice makes great fuel it makes fitful theology.  The smallest of questions in segregated to an invented system of understanding is taken as a question of relevance or existence.  For heavens sake I'm a theorist, I'm not questioning your humanity or existence, I just wonder if the limited understanding our language provides and limiting social binaries have given you and I the words to thoroughly express your experience  To which it is suggested that I fuck myself. Oh the joy's of Postmodern dialogue.

And really that is all this is.  Gender Theory is really just theory.  Social science and empirical study only has the facts we knit into our thoughts and arguments.  We must interpret  creating a mainframe for understanding.  In that, I have just as much right as any person to question it.  Perhaps if I were a dolphin I wouldn't, but even then a case could be made...

Justice on the other hand has also warmed my heart.  To hear the truly heartbreaking existence our broken system of gender and culture over and over again I am, changed.  Surely this is the cry of our people and yet while God may have heard their cries, have we?  Over and over, the testimony replays of feelings of brokenness, of a constant strain in feeling wrong and worthless.
 Our silence surely agrees with these fears.
 Our silence agrees with the spirit of this condemnation.  
We revoke the resurrection in our blind eyes as Peter denying the Christ.
I am ashamed to have found my heart stirred with compassion outside the church walls.

2. Post-Modern indulgence of understanding

In feminism I find I am newly tempted to feel injustice with pride.  To become a taster of sorrows like bitter wine. To not stand with the sinner but visit him for a thrilling experience   As our sense and experience spiral up with the worth and sensationalist world I find the pain of humanity also sensationalized.  To seek out the pleasure of knowing, the indulgence of understanding is vile and subtle.  The gross adoration of witnessing a thousand heartbreaks under banners like awareness and empathy we become tourists in pain that is the lifetime of another.   What should never grace a soul we hope to sip like coffee.  The shame of my generation is in how much we know and the pride that we respond with in other's sorrow.  We do not weep with those who weep, we buy two week vacations to sorrow and rejoice.

3. The Causality of Redefinition

A blogger once said that feminism once gave her the language to say what she felt.  In latter conversations I have found more two word ways to end a conversation that I ever thought imaginable.  Don't like how a debate is going, insert Ctrl-bigot.  Not willing to hear both sides of a conversation about sexism INSERT-"what about the menz," don't want to hear from 78% of the population? "White privilege."  Don't want to talk to anyone else? "________ privilege."  Because the age old truth never changes, language or no, the decision to hear the other side point never changes.

Perhaps you might want to make the case of trauma making it difficult to hear what some people have to say but to that I argue at what cost will an entire movement be crippled by this?  Are these the philosophers (admittedly bias with their inability to even attempt objectivity) to lead a generation?   Is this all that can be done?  I find myself sinking into a pool of illogical screaming matches, furious at the claims of "emotionalism" and "irrationality" but unwilling to approach topics with decorum, much less logical discussion.

4. The table.

This is the table we prepare to take from.  Advocate, yes, to the minority and the over looked.  But as a discussion to the whole, the sum of the human experience is lacking in its more common stories.  The ones that breath through the bulk of the human experience, lacking.  It is no honor to be collected like a minority playing card game.  Only sorrow for the lack of true unity for the sake of false diversity. It is no wonder that the movement credited for the emerging theories of gender and sex could crumble into the mumbled miss classification and miss representation we have now.  All the thought and study evolved seems to have done little but find new words to toss like stones, new labels to divide people, and new rhetoric furiously misunderstood.

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