I am in my twenties, white, male, upper middle-class. It is hard for me to say that I have sincerely wanted for anything in my life, either economically or emotionally. In many ways I am the least qualified to talk about discrimination and prejudice. Things that I have to say about pretty much any ‘-ism’ must be qualified with the disclaimer that I have no first hand experience with them, except as an observer. However these writings are not intended to be an apology for privileges that the accident of birth has bestowed upon me. For me to feel guilty about things which are profoundly outside of my control is a quirk of personality that I am glad has escaped me. I have a hard enough time feeling guilty about things which are inside my control.
My motivations for writing are simple. I think I have something of value to say and the Internet allows me to say it. But one thing that I am very aware of is that nothing I say, no matter how well observed and reasoned, carries any weight when compared with the actual experiences of those who suffer under the Patriarchy. I can lay no legitimate claim to speaking from a truly informed position. I am not here to tell anyone how to think, only to tell people how I think. One of simplest yet most important concepts (and one I’ll come back to a lot) is that the feeling of oppression is always a personal judgment. I have no right to tell a woman that she ought not to be offended by something, just like I have no right to tell a black man how he should feel about the slow death of Civil Rights movement.
I have always gone through life with at least the theoretical idea that women were as much human beings as men (it is often hard to maintain that view when dealing with a world dominated by Patriarchal tropes). That viewpoint I owe to a remarkable woman, my mother. I have on at least one regrettable occasion, my little sister recently reminded me, referred to my mother as ‘an ankle-biting feminist.’ I am not sure what that comment meant precisely, but I think it is fair to say that at least the latter part of the description is accurate. My mother is, and has been as long as I have known her, a highly articulate ‘blamer’ who understood (and continues to understand) the subservient roles forced on women far better than I will ever be able to. It is a sad commentary on me that it has taken me this long to realize that she is far more right than I have ever given her credit for and that it took outside influences to make me realize this.
I, essentially, had a ‘come-to-Jesus’ moment about feminism recently which has lead me to where I am now. It started innocently enough with a link from somewhere (I thought Jessa Crispin’s BookSlut blog but I can’t find the post there) to a review of “It’s A Jungle Out There” on the G Spot blog. That review happened to mention Twisty’s essential feminist reading list something I, as both an avid reader and someone deeply interested in gender studies, decided I needed to find. I never did find the book list, but I did find Twisty’s blog. From her blog I found a link to Hell on Hairy Legs, the feminist blog of a high school student in Australia who had linked to Nine Deuce’s blog series on pornography. It was from there that I found a link back to Twisty’s blog, to her seminal (and hotly discussed) post on rape. I read her post, all of the comments on it, and then all of the comments on the second post she put up to continue the discussion. It took the better part of two days to go through everything. I read, I thought, I got angry. I felt challenged and unfairly blamed. I got over that. Somewhere during all of this, a light bulb went off.
So all this is about me trying to figure out exactly what that light-bulb was telling me and maybe helping other people realize the same things I’ve realized. Women aren’t free, society isn’t equal, we’re all gonna die. Well, at least the first two. I’m still holding out hope on the living forever thing.