Saturday, April 9, 2011

Plain(s) Feminist R.I.P.

I have tried several times over the past couple of days, to write a decent obit for my friend, Plain(s) Feminist. Her blog is listed below, not updated since February. I had not known that her breast cancer returned, or I would have called, written, anything. Our modern life rushes on, and it stuns us when someone is here today, gone tomorrow, in a scant six or seven weeks. Say what? But, but... she was so vital, so funny, so real, so aware, so present.

And now, she is not.

When I heard, cried my heart out. Got to work, sobbed there too. Good lord, Daisy, get a grip.

I have realized that my various existential crises are all bound up with death, my fear of death and my anger at death for taking the wrong people. I just wrote about awful individuals like Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich... they are still in this world and beautiful, kind, selfless Plain(s) Feminist (herein referred to as PF) is gone. This is not justice; this just makes me so upset. I ask God, as I often do: Excuse me, but WHAT IS THAT SHIT?!? I never get an answer, just the reminder that sooner or later, you, me, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich and everyone else in the world, will hear from the Grim Reaper as well. But why so soon... why interrupt her work, her social activism, her writing, her teaching, her motherhood, her PLANS?

Rage, rage, against the dying of the light.


Once upon a time, I was devastated and confused beyond telling, and there are times I unwillingly return to this state when I cruise around Feminist Blogdonia. I once had many friends there, and happily, proudly populated my blog-roll with them. Most are still there, even as they have exiled me. A major fallout on a fairly-large email list, left me persona non grata among many of these people... all (but one) much younger than me. Most had college degrees (even advanced degrees) and there was no question that I was waaaay out of my league. Blundering in with my uncouth redneck sensibility and using the wrong language was bound to happen. When it did, and I was tarred and feathered in short order (leaving me dazed and confused, even now), PF was one of the people who comforted me and explained things (see link above). This is part of being a woman, this is also a struggle of feminism... that women should learn to work together. It is not surprising that we don't know how; that instead, we savage each other. We have been raised to do that, after all. She wrote to me, "When a friend of mine tells me I've misunderstood her, I listen to that." And she did.

How precious to find the person who listens. Her students were so lucky.

I can't add much to what others have written... please read Kittywampus, since she knew PF better than I did and has also collected obituary-links. Some have used her given name and some have not, and I am confused about whether that is acceptable, so when in doubt, I don't. But other people have, and if you are in the Women's Studies field, you may have known her. Please go check out the links and pay your respects.

I once told PF that I believed the advent of Women's Studies was the death of activist feminism, an (honest) opinion I lob every now and then, to see what the professors will say. (It's a dead horse, so I no longer beat it, but I did for years.) Most of them have just sneered back, huh UH! and shook their heads forcefully, nary missing a beat. But none took the charge seriously. When I said it rather offhandedly to PF, she emailed me specifically and asked me to elaborate, and kindly asked for evidence. Wow, really?! Nobody ever did that before, so I chronicled some of my decades-long observations. She emailed me and said yes, those are great points (!) and we need to CONNECT women's studies to activism, always, or it is just an academic thing, no different or any more enlightening or important than other academic pursuits. And in her life, she did this... she belonged to all kinds of activist groups and also supported many activist women. She walked the walk and talked the talk. And how RARE is that? (Unfortunately, this brings me back to my anger that the rare jewels are taken from us, while the baddies are here in full force--gahhh!!!) PF asked me to have patience with the Women's Studies grads and see them as having been "prepped" by her and others, for the activism that I might teach them... a hand-off, if you will. The idea that we were working together was such a radical one, such a great concept. We would all, gladly, work for PF, and make sure her newly-radicalized students fulfilled her dreams.

PF leaves a life-partner and son.

Goodbye, my friend. We should all have your zeal, your energy, your drive, your love, your essential decency and morality as applied to women... well, your feminism. Just plain feminism.


sheila said...

I don't think you can look at it as the right people and the wrong people so much as it was just their time, their journey here was somehow completed. Whatever lessons they still need to learn will be in the next life to learn even more. You'll probably meet up with her again there. Different people, different times, different class, different or the same... souls have a way of finding those that they have journeyed with before.

Don't be sad. Just be.

JoJo said...

I'm so sorry for your loss Daisy. It is jarring whenever someone you've come to know on line suddenly passes away. It's happened to me w/ Facebook friends and it's always so sad. Esp. when you see the outpouring of love and messages on the person's FB wall. I always wish that the deceased person could see how much they were loved and will be missed.