Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Vagina Solidarity Is No Way Forward

I must admit to being a lurker at Having Read The Fine PrintI am often so impressed with Black Amazons ability to convey messages of empowerment that I can seldom add to anything that she posts.  While doing my usual lurking I read a post she had written in response to this blogger.  Though her take down is awesome as usual, it got me thinking a great deal about intersectionality.  Regular readers of this blog are aware that this is the approach that I attempt to take on many issues.  It is particularly the reason why posts here deal with as many issues they do.  In my attempt to give voice to those that society has marginalized, (a pretty large group) I have come to the realization that there are several issues at play.

Hedi Schnakenberg first claims ally status to due her relationship with WOC. Don't you love how white people cannot seem to stop using the convenient "but I have black friends excuse" to try and hide their privilege and racist ideas.  Yeah well I have white friends, does this mean I get to re-write history and construct your body as the one that is double stigmatized by having to deal with race and gender? Can I make up theories about your body that create you as other because it makes me feel good about myself? Empowerment for "women" (read:white women) at any cost.

Ms.Schnakenberg uses the most common excuse to deny intersectionality, and that is the dilution of the feminist movement.  If we focus on too many things at once how will we recognize feminism? How about a little fact that women are the ones running it on a daily basis?  I know that it is comforting to sit back and watch WOC in support roles, making coffee and filing papers while you (read:white women) work diligently towards advancing the rights of all women. When you come in from a rough day of protesting and consciousness raising mammy will be there to stroke your brow and give you a breast to nourish your depleted soul...Don't you worry now missus I's sho nuff goin member my place...Which is to tell you to kiss my black ass.

When white able bodied, CIS, middle class/rich feminists fail to acknowledge the value of intersectionality what they are doing is reifying the uneven power distribution in feminism.  When you claim the right to set the agenda of an entire movement you are expressing your unearned privileges in this life. Now I understand that race may not have any significance in your life but when I walk out my front door I am confronted by  both racism and sexism.  When a WOC who is a lesbian walks out her front door she must in turn must deal with race, gender, and lesbophobia. Each one of the negotiations that we must make with oppression comes at a cost.

Finally you can suggest all that you want that we cast aside intersectionality but as long as I own a vagina, and exist in body that society chooses to devalue based on the colour of my skin I will never concede that one aspect of my identity is more important than another.  I am very much aware of exactly who vagina solidarity privileges and why.  Not only is it ignorant and racist for you to even attempt to tell a WOC what part of their identity is relevant, it is completely self-serving. So thanks for the offer of admission to the vagina club, but I think I will hold out for a more inclusive offer. 

 


No comments: