My present relationship with the feminist movement is akin to one’s begrudging love for their loud old aunt Mildred who has too many cats and a nasty habit of getting drunk and telling offensive jokes at family reunions – she’s often a pain in the ass; but she’s your dear old pain in the ass. So, I’m at once cognizant of the fact that most self-described feminists are middle-class white people with gross, reformist politics and that my own ideological roots are in the feminist community – this is why I’m still willing to defend feminism from attacks by whiny outsiders1, in much the same way that you might feel OK mentioning the fact that Aunt Mildred kinda smells like mothballs & Dr. Scholl’s foot pads; but hearing random strangers who aren’t family members laugh about it sets your blood to boiling. Yes, she’s weird and rude and smells like the bottom of her bedroom closet; but she’s my weird, smelly aunt and I love her despite her flaws, so back off.
Upon meeting large numbers of feminists in meatspace during my mid to late teens and onward, I encountered a likable enough community. Yes, there was no shortage of smug, middle-class white liberals and infighting about irrelevant crap; but generally, even online discourse was what I’ll call ‘outwardly-focused’ – talking about and/or planning on-the-ground activism, heated debates on how certain business practices and government policies impact different women, anecdotes from our daily lives, and so on.
..and then, like a careless chef dropping a head of lettuce behind the fridge and promptly forgetting about it, I was completely uninvolved with the feminist community for a couple of years. Upon my return, I encountered a big old rotting mess. Continue reading