A good argument for why we need radical feminism in 2012:
“The past decades have seen the rise of a nominally apolitical marketing campaign masquerading as feminism, with Komen merely the most visible symbol. Komen aligns perfectly with what Linda Hirshman labeled ‘choice feminism’—a moral-relativist approach to feminism that tries to scrub the movement of politics and value judgments in favor of uncritical affirmation of all women’s choices.
In her statement of apology, Komen CEO Nancy Brinker said, ‘We do not want our mission marred or affected by politics—anyone’s politics.’ That’s exactly the fallacy—that somehow women’s health can be narrowed to an apolitical and innocuous agenda. Women’s bodies are the most politicized sites on earth. When women focus on a hyperfeminine aesthetic at the expense of issues of substance, we end up with a hot pink ghetto of goodwill that forfeits the conversation about rights, access and money to the menfolk.
For the past decade, this has been the feminist’s lament: How do we identify the line where feminism becomes a marketing strategy for the very patriarchy it nominally opposes—selling a non-threatening agenda that doesn’t buck the status quo?”
“When I think of how much benefit my teenage self could have gained from the multitude of zines that have proliferated over the past decade, I weep for all the lost potential. Except for Joan of Arc and Anne Frank, the thoughts of teenage girls have rarely been taken seriously.”—Ann Magnuson’s foreword for A Girl’s Guide to Taking over the World: Writings from the Girl Zine Revolution (via womanhouse)
When I heard the news, the first thing that came to mind was the murder to Mia Zapata from the Gits. The similarities stood out to me—a woman walking home late at night—Esme from a party, Mia from a bar, the way the two women loved music and used it both to inform and to uplift, and the seemingly random nature of the crime. Except neither crime was as random as we’d like to think. In fact, Esme’s killer attacked two other women that same evening. Mia’s killer had a history of violence against women, including battery, assault, and domestic abuse. Violence against women and girls is endemic in this country and if we think we’re safer now in 2012 than we were in 1993, when Mia was killed, then we’re only deluding ourselves. If we want to honor Esme’s memory, we should try our best to stop violence against women in our communities. A woman who gave so much of herself to others, working with special needs kids as well as young musicians, deserves the kind of memory where you do something, instead of just standing by. This year, when I watch the girls learning how to punch and kick in self-defense class at Girls Rock Camp, I will think of Esme, and how empowering young girls is not just a theoretical framework for feminist thought; it’s a survival tactic. We hope that someday, we’ll have the power to save every girl’s life. I didn’t know Esme personally, but from what I’ve read on the internet, “Esme got it. She knew rock and roll was eternal. As long as we’ve got the sound, we’ll never lose her.” -Alyx Vesey. I’d like to add that the kind of supportive, really positive feminism that volunteering at Rock Camp instills in us will continue as well, and that whenever we teach self-defense, or offer to walk a female friend home late at night, or stand by watching just to make sure a drunk guy shouting at his girlfriend on the street doesn’t hit her, or comfort someone who’s been hurt, we are honoring someone’s memory.