Monday, July 7, 2008

You're So Controversial

I have had a few acquaintances check out my blog, and the standard response is, "you're so controversial."  It is their "kind" way of telling me that I am an angry twisted woman, who is daring to question the norms of society.  Some will point to particular posts and say, "that is over the top even for you."

What I write comes from my very gut, I hold nothing back. When I blog, I don't worry about the feelings of others, I just speak my truth. I spend too much time in the real world dancing around issues to contemplate for one moment trashing my free space with even more nonsense.  How many people are truly honest in this world? Most people I know even lie to themselves, as if by evading the truth they can make reality a nicer place to inhabit.

As a woman, speaking my truth comes with a lot of risk, and a lot of pain.  When you put yourself out there in a space as public as the blogosphere, it allows people to see a side of you that you may not present everyday. When a womanist such as myself decides to come clean, it means dealing with all of the little slights that I have let go rather than causing a scene. See when I am upset, I am considered a wild harridan, a fractious woman in need of taming.  Very few will take the time to ponder the legitimacy of my argument, because inhabiting the body that I do, socially I have no real power.

So when I hear words like you're so controversial, I know that it is the equivalent of a verbal spanking...naughty, naughty girl for daring to have a mind of your own.  How does your husband put up with you? Of course he is considered a candidate for sainthood for daring to love a woman that loves herself, while I am constructed as a torturous shrew that must be tolerated.  Everywhere I turn there is discipline. Never has Foucaults concept of power been more real to me than when I think of the reaction of others to my blog. Remind me who is the object and who is the subject again...

Another favourite one if mine, is just "admit that you are an angry feminist".  Why is anger an emotion that I should seek to disown? Is it somehow less legitimate than say sadness, or happiness? Does it somehow diminish me as a person, that I am capable of feeling righteous anger at our unbalanced system of power? No...I think the point of these taunts is to remind me that "good women" are happy women, "good women" accept their fate without comment or resistance. It is meant to unsex me as cruel as the knife of an FGM initiator.  That such a caviller dismissal is hurtful and damaging to the soul seems unimportant. We simply cannot have a world where women are allowed freedom of expression because to do so would mean validating our humanity. Once we are equals, peers even, then there is no justification for our continued social, economic and reproductive marginalization.

I do not wonder why many walk through this life simply breathing, functioning like do anything else is to risk psychic injury.  When we anaesthetize ourselves to the realities of truth, in essence we are covering ourselves in what we think is a protective sheath.  We are pretending that the daily slut shaming, silencing, racist taunts and economic inequality do not have any baring on our world.  This utopia of the mind is just that, a creation, a falsehood, and in the dark silent places that we refuse to admit exist we see it for what it is.  So no, I don't think that I am controversial and even though I don't have a problem with anger, I am not angry.  What I am is truthful, can you claim the same?


Drowsey Monkey said...

Oh dear, I do believe I was the one who said that "it was over the top even for you" in response to you saying we lived in a "rapist society"

Hey, I'm a feminist. And by saying what I said I wasn't telling you to be quiet or be a good girl, I was just stating my opinion as I see it, as a woman of 46 years old ... having lived through some difficult and positive experiences in my life.

Be angry if you want, but I do think a healthy dose of humour helps too. I mean, who are you really angry at? The world? Yourself? Me?

Maybe you don't take criticism very well, and if you can dish it out, you should be able to take it.

And I say that as a daily reader of your blog. I've subscribed to your blog and plan to continue reading. I think you have an important voice. But I may not always agree with you ... but in not agreeing with you ... it doesn't mean I want you to stop, or be quiet, or be anything other than who you are.

allecto said...

I've was called critical, judgemental and negative by another lesbian feminist. The following was my response:

More recently I have had my blog linked to all over the internet, calling me a stupid c*nt, a mad b*tch, bat-shit crazy, etc etc. Because I dared to write a series of posts criticising a famous white, male supremacist. This is pretty much standard practise. It is a warning to all other women, not to become like us, not to resist, because they can make it real hard for you.

For what it's worth, I think that your blog is insightful and hopeful. Your writing is meaningful and nuanced, your anger is direct and justified. I admire your intelligence a great deal.

Rock on, sister. Don't let the timid, colourless people get in your way.

Renee said...

@drowsey monkey...actually I love to laugh, and I am not angry. I am a very tired of saying that. At any rate this post is directed at someone a little closer to home and HE is well aware of who he is. No D it isn't you.

Drowsey Monkey said...

Sorry for jumping to conclusions :) Sometimes over at blogcatalog it's hard to have serious discussions, the input is so vast ... and people often post without a lot of thought, as I'm sure you've noticed! LOL

Keep on doing what you do ... I think you rock :)

Cat Ion said...

I came to your blog after lurking on Feministe and noticing your awesome comments there.

I've only been reading for a week or so, but I've been very moved by your words. You've never come across as "angry" to me -- only dismayed by all the injustice in this world.

Thanks for blogging.

Kat said...

So when I hear words like you're so controversial, I know that it is the equivalent of a verbal spanking...naughty, naughty girl for daring to have a mind of your own.

Keep blogging and who cares what others think, had a rough patch just recently as you know with people who were judgemental, let them think what they want, I find it funny that people are intimidated by strong, opinonated women who are sometimes go girl

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