Sunday, May 6, 2012

Yes we all bleed red, what's your point

That's why a focus on humans, rather than feminism would be better. Because we're all humans, we're all the same, we all bleed red”.

This is a paraphrase, said by someone at a talk about “freedom of speech”, “the cost of speaking out” etc etc, within presentation content of the usual negative statistics, of marginalisation and violence against women in all realms and arenas.

And yes, I understood her intention, and it is a noble one. A verbal affirmation that all humans have worth. And that is a great feeling. It might be a good place to start, possibly even a foundational cornerstone, but it's not a strategy for world peace.

Changing a name, doesn't change where and how power sits and operates. Sometimes it just hides it.

Like government departments and NGOs who change names in time of crisis, the problem just relocates itself within a different title.

The reason I step away from the replacement term “gender equality” over feminism is because it is at best, a naïve declaration of a future goal. And at worse, a shying away from personal and collective responsibility, and a dismissing of structural inequalities and inequities.

Gender equality, when volunteered to replace “feminism”, is not a framework. We might head toward gender equality using a framework and strategy of feminism.

Usually when I hear the term gender equality suggested over feminism, it smells of misogyny, (internal and external) evasion of male and masculine privilege, and a fear to confront and meaningfully address the overwhemling inequities that female and women identified people face daily, personally, culturally and structurally.

In the same way, using “multiculturalism” to replace racism, or white privilege, doesn't work. Well it works if you don't want to acknowledge structural racism, white privilege and the large colonial project. It works if you just want nice warm hand-holding fuzzies, and back-patting congratulations, rather than addressing the mechanisms that privilege some groups over others.

It's a semantic shirking from confronting power in operation, and control in action. It doesn't pose deep substantial changes and frameworks, just lip-service rose tints. It's easier that way. No one has to feel bad or take responsibility, we can pretend that we're all in it together.

We're not all in it together. That's the whole point. We're all interconnected in some ways, but interconnection can also mean that the fish is connected to the fisherman by his hook. 

And yes, the fish and the fisherman, they both bleed red.