I talked about this at length in the piece I wrote about her Pour It Up video, and the way in which the sexual double standard doesn’t just play out across genders, but across races. We really need to get past the idea that all issues affect all women equally. THEY DON’T. They never did. And whether you not you want to acknowledge it, WW have always had it better off than WoC. This is simply fact. It is no one’s fault (well…. nope. Not touching it…) but it is the way the world works. To ignore that it so condense the conversation down into unrecognizable territory and to do a complete disservice to the millions of women who have a dog in this race too.
That is why Hood Feminism’s discussion of #FastTailedGirls was a noticeably and intentionally all black space (that very quickly shut down cries of “me too” from WW). That label is used almost exclusively to police BW’s sexuality from childhood. Its why the Onion calling Quevanzhané Wallis was not satire or a joke, it was misogynoir. We really need people to listen when we say that a specific act affects us differently because of your current place in the social landscape.
Say it with me: THE EXPECTATIONS OF YOUR SEXUALITY ARE DIFFERENT WHEN YOU ARE BLACK AND FEMALE. YOU CANNOT APPLY THE RULES OF WHITE FEMININITY TO BLACK FEMALE BODIES.Just a morning PSA.
The following episode of Encounter (hosted by David Rutlege) features interviews with Jadaliyya Co-Editor Maya Mikdashi, as well as Leila Ahmed, Ellen Armour, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Lisa Isherwood, and Ratna Osman—all of whom are feminist professors and/or activists. In “Beyond the Boundaries,” they critically discuss the relationships between feminism(s) and Islam and feminism(s) and Christianity, in addition to discussing events such as the Egyptian and US presidential elections, their potential impact on women’s rights in those countries, and the continuing sexual assaults at and around Tahrir Square. The impetus behind this program is to critically discuss the discourse on women’s rights in the Islamic and Arab worlds and the ways that secularism and religion are often distinguished through discourses on gender.
Ok so I read this article the other day and I was curious about results I would get in Arabic, so I looked it up
Here’s the result
basically what these screenshots say:
Women don’t like men
A woman cannot live without a husband
Women are infidels
Women hit men
Women torture men
Women don’t go to heaven
material to be analyzed (1): upper-caste/class feminists have claimed that only the victims/survivors of sexual assault at an upper-caste “workplace” — the uc middle- to upper-class being implicit here — have the right to “feel confident that they themselves will have the right to control the pace of the follow-up, and also to decide how far to take it.” unlike those (in the vast majority) who suffer from “caste violence, communal violence, or [are] in “other” conflict zones”!!!
test case pertinent to caste and class: if the domestic helper of an upper-caste/class feminist has been sexually assaulted by a neighbour or their own brother or father, will they also really advise the assaulted person to sit on it for as long as they want as a rational way to assert their “right to control the pace of the follow-up, and also to decide how far to take it”?! why, or why not?
=> lesson #1 in uc feminism: different rules apply to you depending upon your caste, class, religion, and membership in an occupied people struggling for freedom — the latter btw they’ll never spell out ‘cuz it would entail speaking out against all occupations. “conflict zones” is so much safer. so benign. it has a feel good je ne sais quoi “progressive” tone, while assiduously avoiding the political. moreover, it will make those in INCACBI, who don’t vocally support Azadi, feel cognitive dissonance when they can so charmingly pretend ignorance of Kashmir or Assam or Manipur etc. at best, or point to the Islamist bogey at worst.
material to be analyzed (2): the managing editor of Tehelka was bound by law to report to the police the prima facie crime — not “an untoward incident,” but something, as she herself conceded in an interview to ndtv, which fits the new legal definition of rape, thus taking her immediately out of the sisterhood-of-agential-victimhood.
=> lemma #1 of uc feminism: there is no explanation given why contradictory “feminist” ethics should’ve applied to ms. s. chaudhury — she of the “adamantine feminist-principle(s)” claim and acclaim. why was her deployment of the argument of agential victimhood hypocritical, if that argument is indeed logically consistent and irrefutable for everyone else? does it in fact make “feminist sense” for the employer or manager, to whom a horrible crime is reported, to be required by law to report the same to the police? if so, that “feminist sense” should not be in contradiction with the other uc feminist principle of victim’s agency. how can one ensure that one’s alleged feminist stance, is least amenable to being used as an alibi of duress by the perpetrator to recant his earlier confession, although perhaps such a possibility cannot be fully ruled out in the hands of venal lecherous perpetrators? (it seems to be chaudhury’s self-serving citation of “feminist principles” which is allowing tejpal to put forth that horrid excuse…)
=> lesson #2 in uc feminism: ethics are slippery, and will shift and move according to the caste, class, religion, “progressive” credentials, membership in Indian military, etc. of the alleged perpetrator versus that of the victim/survivor. upper-caste upper-class powerful perpetrators might be amenable to genteel bourgeois farcical apologies; lower-caste/class, slum-dwellers, migrant perpetrators, not protected by AFSPA, must be taken to court and bear the full brunt of the law. and then some. sometimes just to satisfy the Indian “nation’s conscience.”
material to be analyzed (3): the police is bound to file an FIR for this cognizable offence. in fact, anyone who’d witnessed the crime or knew of the crime can report to the police. yet the dubious sisterhood of caste and class privileges can mislead a woman victim/survivor with the spiel about being able “to control the pace of the follow-up, and … how far to take it”!!!
fact #1: it can take one who is assaulted/tortured sexually a while to regain one’s self-confidence and a sense of control over one’s life and body. period. and even then there will remain triggers for the rest of one’s life. period. (related philosophical question: is any human being ever in control of her/his life?). [it behooves all human beings, leave alone feminists of whatever stripe, to remain empathetic and listening to, and in due solidarity with, the person, at each moment, if they believe in her/his account, until and unless the complainant is proven to be lying. otherwise, the condemnations generously and flippantly thrown in the direction of the alleged perpetrator remain meaningless.]
fact #2: there is no empirical data so far showing that long-term healing will be faster if the case is not pursued legally and competently, especially where the chances of success are immense given the perpetrator’s own voluntary confession (and that too not under duress, nor under police torture as shaheed afzal guru’s).
fact #3: sexually assaulted Kashmiri and Dalit women walk miles at end to report rape at police stations, which more often than not refuse to file an FIR for them. in 1991, the women of Kunan Poshpora in Kashmir had to wait 26 days before the investigation allowed them to be medically examined.
fact #4: also in 1991, the verghese report claimed that the torn hymens of the unmarried women of Kunan Poshpora were typical of Kashmiri Muslim village women and caused by “natural accidents, premarital sex, and rape” (by the villagers themselves, and NOT the occupying Indian army). the infamous verghese report also asserted that the scratches, wounds, and bite marks on the assaulted women’s breasts and elsewhere were consistent with carrying their kangears (willow baskets with smouldering charcoals used as personal heaters). he accused the plaintiff women of acting in collusion with the “militants” (read: freedom fighters).fact #5: upper-caste/class Indian feminists and their flourishing organizations remained silent about the facts above and the execrable misogynist casteist classist nationalist verghese report. for months, and years, and years, and years afterwards.
fact #6: even now, the very few who speak or write about Kashmiri women and sexual violence, with the exception of a mere handful, diligently ensure that the words “occupation” and “Azadi” are conspicuously absent
=> lemma #2 of uc feminism: from facts #3-6 above, it can be concluded that uc feminists commit the epistemological violence of yet again smothering us, Kashmiris, within the narrative of the occupying Indian nation that wants to swallow us tooth and nail, denying the immediate and most important context of our longstanding freedom movement. this context becomes even more glaring and irrefutable when one observes the overlap between the districts of Kashmir considered the “hotbeds of militancy” (read: centres of the freedom struggle) and the districts with the greatest number of rapes committed by the Indian army.
fact #7: today, 22 years and 9 months later, the heroic women of Kunan Poshpora still seek justice. the case has yet to begin its first formal day in court. they await justice, and justice for them entails Azadi from the military occupation. (and there are at least 9000 such Kashmiri women who have reported sexual assaults by the Indian military just in the last 24 years. i am not counting the men here, as according to even the updated Indian law, men remain pristinely unrapeable.) the dire slow pace of the legal proceedings has NOT done the women of Kunan Poshpora any good. such cases abound for Dalit, Adivasi, Bahujan, Pasmanda Muslim, Sikh, Assamese, Manipuri, Naga etc. women. in millions.=> lesson #3 in uc feminism: the discourse around sexual violence highlights the gaping faultlines and inconsistencies around caste and class, religion and empire that haunt the theoretical underpinnings of upper-caste/class feminism.
=> lesson #4 in uc feminism: it not only doesn’t justly represent or advocate for Kashmiri, Dalit women etcetera, it also doesn’t serve well the upper-caste/class women if and when pitted against upper-caste/class powerful “progressive” men. imbricated within contradictory logic, generated by the blind-spots of brahminical masculinist imperial nationhood and elitist/casteist/communal arrogance, it ultimately will collapse into itself, unless the practitioners reflect on the points above.
note: thank you to Anu Ramdas, Paola Bacchetta, and Rabab Abdulhadi for extremely helpful conversations around many of these issues, for teaching, mentoring, and befriending me.
Huma Dar is a lecturer in the Asian American & Asian Diasporas Studies Program of the Ethnic Studies Department at University of California, Berkeley. Dar’s work is focused on the intersections and co-formations of religion, caste, class, race, gender, sexuality, and national and transnational politics of South Asia and South Asian diasporas, centered on intellectual and political activism for social justice.
Images Courtesy: The Internet
I’m writing an essay about how A Midsummer Night’s Dream fails to critique patriarchy in any way, and I desperately want to title it:
A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Shakespearean Feminism: A Story of False Hope
but I’m preeeeetty sure that’s too sassy for academia
…Many a white person sporting dreadlocks or a bindi online has taken cultural appropriation to mean the policing of what white people can or can’t wear and enjoy…
…One of the reasons that cultural appropriation is a hard concept to grasp for so many is that Westerners are used to pressing their own culture onto others and taking what they want in return…
it uses a Facebook-style social network (“Spacebook”) as the main vehicle for a life sim— well, said social network is so realistic that it includes sexual harassment.
I made a female character who was only interested in women, and she received multiple sexually explicit messages from men (crass things like, “i’d like to park my spaceship in your hanger, if you know what i mean”).
there is no way to get rid of these messages. you can post insults on their walls, but then they come back the next day and continue harassing you anyway. there is no block feature. it is actually worse than Facebook in this sense. there is no recourse.
more so, when you insult these men, you actually lose points with other people. yes, you are punished for defending yourself from sexual harassment.
you are basically paying money to be sexually harassed. i wanted to like this game, and the concept of the game, but wow. it’s supremely fucked up and i still feel kind of triggered and tense after trying it out last night.
This month, Rise Africa is exploring the theme of Afro-Feminism. Instead of me telling you what feminism is, I’m reaching out to the community and asking men and women to tell me what feminism means to them.
I realize that feminism does not come dressed in the same color for everyone. Your response can be through a poem, video, artwork or any other medium you choose. What does your feminism look like? Email all responses to email@example.com and you may see your response on the Rise Africa website!
“Womanism is counterproductive to the feminist movement.”
“Why must black women separate themselves and have their own movement?”
“It doesn’t matter if you are black or white. Aren’t we all women?”
Imagine a high school cafeteria. The “nerds” have their own table, the emo/gothic kids have their own table, the artsy kids have their own table, the cheerleaders and athletes have their own table and so on. You may even see some students separated by race, ethnic backgrounds, sexuality and religions. The Black American table, the African table, the white table, the Latino table, the Muslim students table and the students who are in the LGBTQIA community. If you were to ask a student from each group to explain their high school experience, you will most likely get contrasting answers. Of course there are similar struggles they face because they are all students around the same age, but due to their identity(ies) their types of struggles will greatly differ. You cannot use the anecdote of a white heterosexual student to determine the experience of a minority LGBTQIA student.
It’s the same with Feminism and Womanism.
The feminist movement does not encompass the perspectives of black women and all women of color. It does not recognize the social realities of slavery, segregation, sexism, and economic exploitation on black women. There is no place for black women at the feminist table. We are not represented there. Instead of trying to force our way in, we created our own table. Womanism. We had to realize that “We are not white women and this truth has been ground into use for centuries, often in brutal ways.” You cannot ask a white woman about her experience with sexism/patriarchy and apply it to all women, especially women of color. While white women have the luxury to simply focus on women’s issues, we cannot. We must take into considerations race, racism, and economic injustices and how they are intertwined with issues of patriarchy and sexism.
The article mentions the National Diaper Bank Network. Check it out to find out how to make a donation and/or volunteer at a local diaper bank.
Jesus weeps. So does Undercover Nun.