"There is difference and there is power. And who holds the power decides the meaning of the difference." --June Jordan

Saturday, September 13, 2008

On Putting Politics Before Feminism

This commenter on a post at Feminist Philosophers, hopeful about the prospect of the first female vice president, asks rhetorically if refusing to vote for McCain/Palin is "putting your politics before feminism".

I'm going to break the rules of rhetorical questions and give an answer, because the answer is simple: ABSOLUTELY NOT. You can't separate my feminism from my politics. My politics are feminist, and feminism is political.

While I agree that seeing a woman rise to a position historically filled only by men is generally a good thing, it sure isn't the only issue here, nor is it the most important. Any and all benefit of that sort of feel-good feminist tokenism is completely negated when that same woman has politics that are inherently anti-feminist and the power to find ways to enforce those politics on millions of other women.

Electing an anti-choice, anti-gay rights, anti-science, war-mongering woman as our first female vice president will not be a victory for feminism. It won't make me feel warm and fuzzy about how far women have come, and I do not feel torn about my decision to vote against her ticket. Not in the least.


Anonymous said...

I am so VERY much in agreement with you.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Silvia Straka said...

I had to read the question three times because it didn't make any sense. "The personal is political" has always been a key tenet of feminisms.

How interesting (and frightening) to watch the continually changing social construction of feminism. One the one hand, it's the f-word -- man-hating, hairy legs, angry... On the other hand, the Sarah Palin issue is diluting feminism in a way that makes the word meaningless, in defining the "new feminism".

My brand of feminism motivates my anti-oppressive practice and is intellectually grounded in intersectionality feminism. I need to find a user-friendly label to identify myself, because it seems that calling myself a "feminist" does not really say anything meaningful anymore.


Anonymous said...

Sexiest post yet!