Thursday, July 26, 2007


Apparently, bell hooks is no longer considered a radical feminist. When did THAT happen?

And NOW what am I gonna do?

The following is from OUTLAW CULTURE: Resisting Representations, by bell hooks:

When we people ask, "How do we deal with difference?" I always refer them back to what it means to fall in love, because most of us have had an experience of desire and loving. I often say to people, "What do you do when you meet somebody and are attracted to them? How do you go about making that communication? Why do you think that wanting to know someone who's 'racially' different doesn't have a similar procedure?" It's like if I saw you on the street and thought you were cute, and I happened to know someone who knew you, I might say to that person, "Oh wow, I think so-and-so's cute! What do you know about them?" I think that often the empowerment strategies we use in the arena of love and friendship are immediately dropped when we come into the arena of politicized difference--when in fact some of those strategies are useful and necessary.

I mean how many of us run up to someone we are attracted to and say, breathlessly, "Tell me all about yourself right away!" We usually try to feel out the situation, we don't want to alienate the person: we want to approach them in a manner that allows them to be open to us, giving to us. I think it's interesting that often when difference is there (like a racial difference or something), people panic and do crazy, bizarre things... or say crazy, stupid things.

Crazy, stupid things... like announcing someone who has written countless radical feminist books is not a radical feminist?

I'd say so.


Renegade Evolution said...

you missed the "you're not a feminist if" battle of last summer, didncha?

Daisy said...

Yeah, I did! You gotta link?

Obviously, I need remedial work!

Renegade Evolution said...

Well, I am not going to link to rad fem blogs, but look around in some of them long about july/august of last year, and you will probably find some interesting reading...

I will link my reactionary blow up to it lol (from back when I was naive enough to think gee, I rather like using the word feminist!)

Daisy said...

Hey, that is actually pretty helpful, so thank you.

Ren, I consider you a feminist, and in my head, categorize various feminists in various ways: NASCAR feminists, Deadhead feminists, rock and roll feminists, Democrat feminists, get slotted into "sex workers rights feminist." The first one I ever knew was Priscilla Alexander, who was just incredibly right on and ARGUMENTATIVE like you! But if you said dumb shit, she was on you, LIKE THAT. I enjoyed her immensely, and when she was a featured speaker at the 1981 Gay pride rally in SF (nobody said "GLBT" back then), I was right there yelling and clapping for her! (Of course, I was also somewhat drunk and under the influence of various other substances, but let's not go there. :P )

It was so much fun! One of the most amazing days of my life, actually. Ah, nostalgia!

But my point: Priscilla wrote a column for PLEXUS, a radical feminist newspaper. Sex workers rights were considered feminist issues way back then. They had meetings in the SF Women's Building, too. Things have CHANGED, and I am trying to figure out why and how---?

Renegade Evolution said...


You know, I have no idea. I think maybe because back then, the whole thing was so NEW, so, wow, everything, all these issues are new but the first things first, Think of THe Women...their needs, their situations, their power of choice....

And once that initial WOW, LOOK period wore off, feminists had more time to look deeper, analyze, judge, simmer...things went from "a woman has a right", "she has a voice", she "deserves to have", to..."why do you do this?", "Don't you know what you're selling/promoting", "What about how that makes ------- look?"

People can afford to pick sides now and refuse to work on big things together, there is time for critique and strife, and yeah, bullshit....back then, the feminist movement was really, really involved in a "hot war"'s a bit colder now, and like anything, if the battle isn't running hot, the soldiers have time to fight amongst themselves and establish a pecking order...

Thats my take anyway.

Daisy said...

I think that's pretty accurate.

But you know, we could ask "why do you do this?" of any woman, one who has a lot of kids, one who serves in the military, one who runs for office. They/we are all "selling out" in some respect. You could say we all "add" to some patriarchal situation/problem, and technically you'd be right.

The fact that SEX (sex work, sex representation, type of sex one has) has turned into the scarymonster, well, it's just so PREDICTABLE and I thought we'd be transcending that. Sex, like childbirth/children, is one way women have been oppressed. We have finally gotten a cease-fire over the kids, probably because many lesbian-feminists themselves started having children. I'd like to get a sex worker/trans cease-fire started, too.

Perhaps if certain feminists themselves were trans, that would bridge the gap? Maybe if some famous radfem came out as FTM, that might do it?

I can't think of any other tactic right now.

Renegade Evolution said...

Yes, but see right now, that MTF would be torn down as a traitor and a liar by some people, and who would want to endure that?

I mean, I've never wondered WHY, at all, there are feminists who have SERIOUS issue with my line of work and defense of it...hell, I'd probably wonder about them if they didn't...the majority of porn is not at all pro woman or woman friendly (but I will go to my grave defending that my CHOICE to do it is important), but the non-porn related Sex Stuff? Certain acts being Patriarchal, or inheirently degrading, or whatever else? That I will NEVER get...

And the whole "well this MtF came in and threw around male priv"...well some people are just ASSHOLES, you know?

Daisy said...

Oh yes, I certainly DO know.

Just got a comment deleted, and there wasn't a single cuss word in it. ;)

Cassandra Says said...

The thing about all the "why do you do this" is, at a certain point, if we do enough of that, we end up spending all our energy fighting each other instead of, oh, trying to dismantle patriarchy? That's been my frustration with all the blow-ups over the past year or so, and continues to be my gripe with Heart, Pony et al. If we go around declaring that more and more people don't count as feminists, who does that serve? Who benefits? It may make the core that remain feel better about themselves, but on a macro level what are the results? I don't think those end results are good for women at all.

Perfect example for Daisy if you weren't around at the time is WitchyWoo's statement a few months back that she wouldn't allow someone like Ren (ie a sex worker) to volunteer at the battered women's shelter she runs. That blew my mind because, hello, how does that help women? Are shelters so overrun with volunteers that they can afford to turn help away? And given how many women in that situation end up in the sex trade, don't you think having someone like Ren around might actually be useful to them if she was willing to listen and not judge? Not to mention that if I was frightened and on the run I really don't think I'd much care who made my bed or cooked my dinner.

Also, what's happened to the Women's Building in SF is a travesty. At some point the focus shifted from it being a resource for women as a whole to something else, something politicised, and I really don't think that shift was a good thing.

And I'm curious about who Heart thinks you are, since she seems to be convinced that you're some kind of old enemy.

Octogalore said...

Daisy, I like your idea of categorizing feminists in interesting and undivisive ways. I wish the categorizing I see happening could be either nonexistent (ha!) or termed in non-inflammatory ways. I'm going to have to think about what kind I am using your kind of metrics, that will be a more inspiring exercise than having to continually defend my belonging to the group.

Also, I am impressed with your resilience on the thread you linked. I would not have been so steadfast.

Renegade Evolution said...

yeah, well, I just got back from over there and had the joy of reading about women who, oh, look like me being called "a porny, patriarchal, half starved ideal; malnourished but gigantic false tits and asses is best." and "girls who are about size 2 and have to stay that way, slightly older women with plastic breasts leaking carcinogenic chemicals, and race/sex slaves" once again while making fat Amp jokes, and in an entry above something saying "heterosexual women carving their bodies into porno Barbie dolls"...

And I JUST HAVE TO SAY it FUCKING PISSES ME OFF. Hell, it's WORSE than porn copy. It's being SAID by feminists, and it UTTERLY infantilizes EVERY woman in porn, and I bet JUST EVERY woman who happens to be thin, or a size two, or with a fake rack or a "porny" ass (in porn or not) just LOVES being described like that.

Fuck that. Fuck feminism if that's what I have to deal with.

Check please-

Renegade Evolution said...


some more fine you're not a feminist if blasts from the past...

(the womanspace in that thread is NOT heart)

kactus said...

Cassandra, I like what you said about if we go around saying who isn't or who is a feminist, who benefits?

In all the activism work I've done we've had to build coalitions. We recognized that coalitions were necessary, even if it was just to strengthen and make workable one particular thing we were focusing on. So we wanted to do a protest at the welfare building because of their anti-mother policies, we would coalition with a few other groups in town who agreed with us that welfare is anti-mother.

Now, we didn't go around fact-checking their voting history and their position paper history or whether they were 100% on the same page with us. We just knew that for this to work we needed to work together and that there is strength in numbers.

If we had consistently gone about worrying about our coalition members' purity, we would have been a very insignificant movement indeed. And let's face it, welfare rights is already outnumbered--kind of like radical feminism.

bint alshamsa said...

Hey Daisy,

since Heart decided to bring me into this, I figured you might be interesting in seeing the facts for yourself. Heart said:

It’s interesting, on the blog of a self-identified feminist a while back, I came across something HORRIBLE commented about me, yours truly. I was called vile, woman-hating names and this person, a man, said I looked like Angelina Jolie, but “uglier”, no, “much uglier,” and with fewer plastic surgeries. On the one hand, HA! On so many levels!! On the other hand, wow, that’s freaking scary.

What was more interesting was, nobody spoke up to say anything about that. Nobody challenged the sexism or misogyny in attacking my appearance, though the blog owner challenged other things the guy said, including calling me a “c***.”

and then

Wait, here’s the real clincher: the thread in question was one in which the blogger was defending — GUESS WHO –three guesses AMPERSAND
Against me because I was too hard on Amp for selling women down the river.

The thread she's mentioning is this one. As you can see, this post wasn't about Ampersand. It was about Heart's racism and lies, which evidently form a pattern that she's continuing to this day.

In my post, I expressed my disgust at how Heart didn't even take the time to read what I wrote before decided to claim that I must have had help from her arch-nemesis on the web when, in fact, I made it quite clear that it was my daughter who helped me with the particular project that Heart didn't like (probably because it had to do with her ridiculous claim that black people are the ones oppressing white people and not the other way around).

Furthermore, regarding the anonymous comment that she referred to in comment #75:

So. In a thread created to defend Amp against me, I am horrifically lied about and trashed for 70 some posts by many of the people who have jumped up and down because Sis says things about Amp’s appearance. These same people made this HUGE to do about that. And yet not a one of them — including Amp — said *one word*, not one, about what this person said in that thread about me. This person was some random guy, not a regular commenter. It wasn’t like they didn’t want to confront their best bud.

This comment came in long after the discussion had taken place. The idea that people read it and then just went on to comment about other stuff is just delusional thinking.

The irony is that I posted the guy's comment because he wrote that there was a conversation on another board where people were claiming that Cheryl's kids were in incestuous marriages. I approved his post in order to address that claim and denounce it as false. In other words, I DEFENDED her when someone came to my blog and said things that were not true about her. I also condemned the language he used in reference to her.

And what is the thanks I get for trying to defend Cheryl even after all of her lies? Even more lies! I had decided that talking about Cheryl was pretty much old news, especially since nearly everyone in the woman of color blogosphere refuses to have anything to do with her, so I haven't even bothered to write about her on-going, racist foolishness since then. Evidently though, she is still pretty obsessed with me. Maybe she's just looking for attention. Who knows? As far as I'm concerned, she's not even interesting enough for me to care any more.

Daisy said...

Well, I gotta sell herbs to golfers this afternoon, but I'll be back.

Cassandra, I know what you mean...I was thinking: PC can KILL you or at least drive you crazy. I almost took the Woody Allen thing down, thinking OHHH--BUT HE'S A BAD MAN, and then I thought I should add "Mia Farrow forever!" or something. But why do we continually have to justify every little thing we do? That is a fantastic "gender-piece"--and just like any literature or song or whatever, it stands by itself. I shouldn't have to put a "patriarch disclaimer" on everything.

Daisy said...

Bint, more when I return, but I am sorry you got dragged into this! :(

HI KACTUS! I misspelled "cactus" the other day, because of you! :P

And yeah, I dunno who Heart thinks I am. I offered to stop posting there, if she prefers that I do so. That was the deleted post. (?) Not sure why.

kactus said...

I personally think this would be a better world if everybody spelled "cactus" with a "k". But that's just me ;)

belledame222 said...

Yeah, I just now saw that comment at the very end of that thread (the thread itself I knew very well) for the first time. The reason most of us didn't say anything, well, the reason -I- didn't say anything is because it came at the end of a thread which by then most of us had stopped reading; Bint only saw it presumably because she's the host and she got the comment in the mail. i certainly would have told him what an asshole he was, and what an embarrassment that he's (apparently) a Friend of Dorothy, please go back to the Andrew Sullivan McManlypants board, thankee.

for fuck's sake.

Yes, shame -no one- called the anonymous conservative Republican mantroll on his shit, clearly that must mean we were all cheering him on, because we're all normally so reticent about going "right on" when we agree with someone. :eyeroll: And yes, Bint, you should've made sure to call out the ugly part specifically, because it really rates among all the other fucked up shit he's saying there...

and yes, that TOTALLY EXCUSES some other fuckwit in a completely other context making hateful fatphobic comments that -no one-, including fat women who happen by and see the OP, is buying is about some sort of righteous commentary about the prawn thing, as opposed to just plain y'know hateful fatphobic shit that gets thrown out there because well, it's a weapon isn't it, hey, all's fair, we have no power anyway...

"It's all falling into place. Of course, that place is nowhere near this place."

belledame222 said...

the womanspace in the above- referenced thread at PF, btw, is the same Lynne/Renee/Rainsong etc. she claimed she had run boards many years ago under that name and therefore had the right to it. no one thought to check.

but is NOT, apparently, RainSINGER, just so we're all clear. and i'm sure someone went and asked her for the creds of those long-forgotten boards she ran in the southern hemisphere or wherever it was.

*nods smiles backs away slowly*

Daisy said...

Bint, that is some pretty amazing stuff, in those threads. I had no idea she was talking about you.

FWIW, Heart has deleted two of my posts, including the trackback here. I don't know why she has to act that way. I don't expect everyone to agree with ME, and don't know why she expects everyone to agree with HER.

When Heart concentrates only on feminist news, such as the story about the Lesbian 7 (which I probably would not know about otherwise), and other stuff like that, she does a good job. When she abuses her power and uses her news-audience as a sounding-board for her personal grudges, that isn't cool.

Daisy said...

Belle, I doubt the newbie is Lynne, who had this awful leaden prose and absolutely NO knowledge of pop culture. Further, she was PROUD of having no knowledge of pop culture, haughtily insulting anyone who did, as in "I don't concern myself with patriarchal culture" {superior sniff, nose in the air}. I very much doubt she would reincarnate as someone who likes sci-fi, but you know, stranger things have happened.

I did find the "southern hemisphere" thing a little odd, too. Since Lynne was FROM THE SOUTH, I caught that in a nanosecond. I guess we'll find out?

Lynne was obsessed with Heart, I think for the simple reason that Heart has birthed 11 children. Lynne repeated that over and over and over, like a mantra: Since you've had so many children...

I never had a clue Lynne was trans, as I said on Heart's blog. I thought they were just insulting her. I finally saw that she was trans when she insulted another transwomen named Renate, explaining why Lynne qualified as "WBW" and Renate did not. It was possibly the most bizarre piece of self-justification I ever read.

I think Heart's attitude towards transpeople *was certainly not helped* by Lynne's obsession, and I wonder if her negative feelings started then?

Renegade Evolution said...

oh, she is notorious for printing select statements or comments and then monitoring commentary...hell, she drove up my hit counter like mad after that ill fated really not nice thing I said awhile back...the woman seems to thrive on drama, UNTIL it comes to her front door.

And yes, there seem to be a few transwomen she two of them.

belledame222 said...

Well--sort of. More like one, once, nexyjo, who nearly ruptured herself trying to be polite and patient in the hope of "bridge building." she took some rather shocking abuse...from Rich, no less, at the Margins. i think she may have finally given up.

and yes, I do think that the experience with Lynne/whosis, along with a couple of other odd characters (someone called TallJulie, I think? and a Brenda?) who hung around the MichFest community. I'm sure it -didn't- help matters, no. But I mean.

1) Is that a legitimate excuse for -any- prejudice? "Oh, I met this one _____ once, (s)he was just awful, I guess it's true what they say about Those People."

2) People who are desperate to belong to a club that really, really doesn't want them as a member might have some Issues? Who'da thunk it?

Anonymous said...

What does the passage you quote demonstrate? Is this really about bell hooks?

bint alshamsa said...

Well anonymous, the passage demonstrates what's problematic about the way some people attempt to interact with those who hold political views that are different from theirs. There's the "my way or the highway" folks and they will often get their way, especially when what they are trying to control really isn't all that serious to everyone else. However, when it's something that both parties feel strongly about, the bully tactics are less effective.

There are also those who understand how to use finesse when they are trying to negotiate for what they want. I think that if the people your talking to are thoughtful (i.e. thinking, intelligent, rational) then using this skill is probably the best way of getting them to consider your point of view.

I think that Hooks tried to make this point as delicately as possible for the benefit of those folks who seem to think that bullying is the best way of getting what they want. It's ironic that the commenter on Cheryl's blog made such an ignorant statement about Hooks not being a radical feminist because she'd have to be very familiar with Bell's work in order to give an informed* opinion about this. However, if she was familiar with her works, then she'd be aware of this advice that Hook's was giving her fellow radical feminists about why the bully approach won't get them what they want from those who don't share their political views. So, either that commenter was completely unfamiliar with Bell Hook's writing (in which case, she was basically talking out of her ass when she made her assertion) or she really wasn't bright enough to understand the point that Hooks (and many others throughout time) made.

bint alshamsa said...

"Ren, I consider you a feminist, and in my head, categorize various feminists in various ways"

Ooh! Ooh! Can I claim "woman-of-color -and-people-with-disabilities-rights-feminist" before wheelchair dancer shows up and snags it first?

bint alshamsa said...


"Bint, that is some pretty amazing stuff, in those threads. I had no idea she was talking about you."

Yeah well, if she had actually said my name, then anybody who wanted to could easily go and see what actually occurred and we certainly can't have that, I suppose. It might interfere with her "poor, old, persecuted me" routine that she pulls whenever some one calls her on her bull.

Daisy said...

Ooh! Ooh! Can I claim "woman-of-color -and-people-with-disabilities-rights-feminist" before wheelchair dancer shows up and snags it first?

Bint, be my guest! ;) BTW, I have read Wheelchair Dancer's blog once before, and thanks for reminding me of her.

What does the passage you quote demonstrate? Is this really about bell hooks?

Anonymous, bell hooks is a Buddhist, so she'd probably say: it demonstrates whatever you require it to demonstrate, or it doesn't. And everything is about everything else.

Namaste! :)

Daisy said...

And Bint, brilliant understanding of why I chose that particular quote of bell's! It's a favorite of mine, and I typed it right out of the book!