allchildren: emily and naomi (⎚ through the eyes of a girl)
Taking a page out of[personal profile] wordsatourbacks's book and parsing out a few quotes (all formatting tags are [sic], not mine) from an ongoing conversation regarding feminism and genderqueer femmes that I personally find easier to document, and can process better, in this context than on tumblr.

Stackedstars: "An open letter to the feminist movement"

I am not a woman, and yet feminism speaks for issues that I have battled my entire life. I do not benefit from male privilege, but I am not a woman either. I want what feminism has to offer. I want the strength, the empowerment, the support. Feminism stands up for me in so many ways that the LGBT movement does not, and I want to feel like I actually am a part of it. I want to be recognized. I want feminists to acknowledge that patriarchy, misogyny, and rape culture affect other people the exact same way they affect women.

Glitterfemme: response

I’m not a feminist but uh anyways. Hi, femme genderfluid person here. I do not want to be pushed into that category in order for my existence to be acknowledged. Patriarchy, sure. Rape culture, sure. Misogyny? Not so much. It annoys me when I see posts about cat calling and what not tagged with things such as “women’s rights” and “misogyny” because it’s erasing. Um. Yeah.
 
Underlined sentence links to a previous post by Glitterfemme, "Fitting into feminism"
 
You shouldn’t try to convince me to care about an issue because it might affect me since I’m seen as a woman; you should just acknowledge that it isn’t only women that sexism fucks over. It does also affect men with problems such as gender roles however feminists often forget that other genders (or lack thereof) exist.

Basically it would be pretty great if y’all could acknowledge my existence instead of trying to get me on board by attempting to convince me that I sort of fit in the ~female category~ or whatever. It doesn’t endear me to feminism and it just shows that feminism still isn’t trying to be less problematic.

Stackedstars responds:
 
That’s actually what my entire post is about; calling out feminism for being erasing to non-binary people. I use “misogyny” because, even though the dictionary definition is “hatred of women,” most misogynists don’t hate women. They fear femininity. So that’s why I use the word. I want feminists to understand that their rhetoric - that these things only affect women - is currently problematic and erasing. I don’t find “misogyny” erasing but that’s just me.

Elsewhere, Stackedstars writes:

Personally, I think we should begin shifting the focus of feminism from “empowering women” to “empowering femininity.” I’ve been hesitant to suggest this because I think a lot of people see feminism as a women-only space [or at least a women-centered space] and they may be hesitant to lose that. Feminism has always been about women primarily, but while the focus of feminism continues to be “empowering women,” non-binary people will continue to be excluded. But if we speak of feminism as being in defense of femininity, that includes men, women, and non-binary people.
 

I don't quite have a response formulated to all this. But I think it's important to consider, and add to my cogitation on the many flaws and limitations of feminism and discourse (in addition to/despite my frustration with the tendency of the SJ community to focus on language as tantamount to message). How can feminism better include trans* peeps, in addition to all the other Othered peeps it regularly pisses on? I don't know. But awareness is a first step.

Given how much of feminism's mission has been to fight societally dictated gender roles and free women of all gender expressions from the constraints of what is considered feminine, centering feminism as explicitly femininity-based seems like a complete miss to me. There are butch and ambivalent women and trans*/FAAB people too and that's kind of the point: we all get to play. But certainly given how many professed feminists seem to abhor femininity as being intrinsically a product of the patriarchy, and/or engage in internalized misogyny/androcentrism/various prescriptive bullshit, I would not disagree that feminism needs to do a better job defending femininity, among other things.

EDITED TO ADD 


Stackedstars has written a response to my concern and reasonably concluded:

in the interest of keeping feminism inclusive, I amend my previous statement to “feminism should be focused on empowering femininity equally as much as empowering women.” 

/ETA

[And this is something of a tangent, but it's hard for me to even talk about this without returning to my constant bafflement and irritation with the way the words feminine and femme are deployed as though these are self-explanatory terms describing something inherent to human behavior as opposed to dictated by culture and capitalism. And I'm not talking about gender itself as a societal or performative construct, but about the very idea of makeup or nail polish or whatever the hell else as the definining markers of something inside you. There is a materialistic essence to the way femininity is spoken of and I find it so incredibly superficial -- clarification: I don't find femininity superficial, I find the discussion around it to be that way -- and maddening in its tendency to conflate objects with gender. But then you go too far in the other direction and end up in essentialismville which is even worse. So I'm just putting out there my desire to see a deeper discussion/definition of fem(me)inity and would TOTALLY WELCOME YOUR THOUGHTS even though I will probably be crap at replying. ]

WOMEN AND PEOPLE WHO AREN'T WOMEN BUT ARE FREQUENTLY PERCEIVED TO BE AND TREATED SHITTILY AS A RESULT, AMIRITE?

December 2015

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