Jan. 23rd, 2009

fictional: (palin master)
First, there were the PUMAs. Have you guys heard about these folks? PUMA apparently stands for Party Unity My Ass, (??? Really?) and they seem to be American feminists women of a certain age who feel utterly betrayed by the election, and spend a lot of time totting up grievances about who has suffered more, people of color, or women? (And what about female people of color? They don't seem too bothered. The sisterhood, it seems, doesn't contain them; it doesn't even seem to occur to them that it ought to...?)

In all seriousness, they actually seem certifiably nuts.

I spent a good portion of today rubbernecking the traincrash reading [livejournal.com profile] palinpumawatch and clicking on through to associated links. Whoa. If you don't want it filtered, go straight to Reclusive Leftist and look around. I think the mod, Violet Socks, or whatever is a deranged fruit-bat, but the real gold (or tragedy, depending on how you look at it) is in the comments, and the community being fostered. Here is a pre-election sample. At first I was mesmerized (and enraged!) but then -- I began to see the heartbreak of it. Because, from my reading, these seem to be women who have sad, sad lives. They talk about marital discord. They talk about giving up everything for their families (occasionally in really bad poetry.) They are among the casualties of the system, right? And their lives are ordinary, and seemingly filled with a host of claustrophobic, petty disappointments. And so this neo-con cult of aggressive mediocrity (Exhibit A: Not!Joe the War Correspondent1) is going to be terribly appealing to them. Something that makes a virtue out of victimhood, that places all the blame for everything terrible that has happened to them squarely on the shoulders of someone else -- much like Sarah Palin, and her post-election, 2012 prep interviews that accuse everyone of being so unfair. At least the bizarrely named NiceDeb who actually compared Obama to Hitler (!!!) is the most offensively wingnut of conservatives; these other ladies seem to be left-leaning? Or believe that they are left leaning? But I don't think the word means what they think it means. Much like their beloved Hillary being named "secretary" of state? Because some of them don't seem to like the idea. Why? Not just too little, too late, but ...the idea of being a man's secretary? ...kinda sticks in the craw, doesn't it???

Um. No.

And yet, there's legitimacy in their quarrel with the world, right? Hasn't socialism/communism failed women in a stunning myriad of ways? Of course it has, just like capitalism, and well, basically every system in the world. It's a sexist world, no question.

And then I started thinking about feminism. Third wave? Radical? Sex positive? Post-feminist? What is the place of feminism in my philosophy?

I mean, not the PUMA way, obviously. Voting the other way for McCain and his "women's health" and Palin, who is NOT a feminist, saying that abortion wouldn't be necessary if young girls weren't "sluts" (yeah, these PUMAs are really pretty weird), dissing on Michelle Obama, who is just pretty awesome, even if she's got the most thankless (if prestigious) unpaid job in the world, AND voting against the man who not only supports a woman's right to choose, and you know, equal pay for equal work, and incidentally, say what you will, is closing down Gitmo, and trying to make government transparent, and is shutting down the secret CIA prisons round the world [And that's just the first three days in office!] cannot be considered left or feminist, in my opinion.

But what can? How do we appropriately deal with a climate of institutionalized and internalized sexism?

Unrelatedly -- but to close with a taste of awesome, via [livejournal.com profile] rm, author Cathrynne M. Valente makes this post of sheer poetry about our new world.

1 I don't even like Rick Sanchez, but I must admit to enjoying that clip. But this begs another question. I love participatory culture. I think the ability of the internet to give ordinary people a voice, and an impact on affairs is staggering, and awesome (in the old, non-valley sense of the word). And yet, (oh god, am i agreeing with Sarah Palin?) -- we shouldn't be getting our news from blogs! Because there's a difference between reading people's opinions (the Op-Ed page, the Editorials) and the actual news! Is it wrong to want journalists to be, you know, trained? I don't think I've got any right to go to Gaza and be a war correspondent...! And I'd like my president to be smarter than me. I mean, the problem with majority rule is that the majority of people kinda suck, don't they? But if we agree that the Great Man theory of history is wrong...? ...Although ever seen a movement succeed without some stellar spear-heading? I just go back and forth on it all the time. But this just leads me back to one of my central problems -- how does one unite a desire for excellence with an allegiance to the interests of the common person? And the old problem of communism - what is it that binds the intelligentsia and the workers together? But this is another post, for another day...

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