Monthly Archives: July 2011

Breaking Down the Battle of the Genders: Beyoncé’s “Run The World (Girls)”

Administrative Note:  I am honored to post the first “real content” on AWF.  As art criticism is one of my passions, I hope to use my Wednesday posts to refine my technique as critic, theorist, and fan.  Because I can talk forever about this stuff, I try to break it up into sections below.  I would love feedback, particularly if you think I’m missing a crucial section in my analysis.

 When we were reviewing all the endless papers for college admission four years ago, my father told me that he would know I’d earned my degree when I could successfully explain to him the difference between “sex” and “gender”.  (Our college cannot legally discriminate on the basis of either one; I cannot find a good link, because the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is for disabilities.)  Daddy, I knew the difference then, but I couldn’t figure out how to tell you. 

 Would you mind if I let Beyoncé take over?
LINK TO SOURCE:  YOUTUBE VIDEO

I am not even going to touch on the music video here, although I encourage you to watch it on your own. That fascinating piece of sociological art absolutely merits its own post, which will probably go on my personal feminism blog when I get it up and running.   

 

ONWARD WITH THE ANALYSIS

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Let’s do this thing

My name is Christina, Queen of Sweden. At least, it was. I go by Count Dohna now, because I decided the life of an incredibly capable queen just wasn’t for me and I wanted to rule my own patch of land out in the countryside. As a man. That’s who I am. I like to reinvent myself if the mood strikes, and come at things and ideas from all angles.

I attend the same Midwestern school as my wonderful fellow bloggers, though I’m in the Northeast for the summer. I’d like to take a moment to thank these fantastic women for bringing me into this project, because feminism deserves to be talked about by the thoughtful as well as by the passionate. In fact, its that intersection which fascinates me most. I’ll be writing about academic feminism and political feminism, the trajectories they’ve taken, how they interact with each other and how they’re perceived by the broader culture. We need our crusaders for justice, calling people on their casually sexist bullshit. We also need our intellectuals, bravely rethinking gender and class and race. And we certainly need those who are constantly re-evaluating the movement, making sure it’s going in the right direction and coming across the right way.  Unfortunately, sometimes we’re forced to choose one of these approaches or worst of all, none of them.

I don’t even remember how I ‘got into’ feminism. The basic tenets always seemed kind of obvious, and if asking for respect for myself as a woman (among other things) meant I was part of a movement, then part of a movement I was. Then, of course, there were all those protesters, fighting for suffrage, for abortion rights, for divorce reform, through history and on the news. They were heroes and heroines of mine, who fought for me without seeming to ask anything in return. Finally, I arrived in the world of the internet, where I realized that feminism meant so many things to so many people, that people who were ‘on my side’ so to speak disagreed vehemently with me, and that feminism was really not just about women. I had to, nay, got to rethink all of my positions, enter the world of abstractions and jargon and take on a subculture confidently as my own. Then I got stuck, as a fighter spending time in a thinking world, a thinker hoping to enter the fighting world, and as a feminist in a hostile world. That’s what I’m looking to change.

I hope to be impassioned enough to get academic feminism on the streets, rational enough to get activism in the books, and persuasive enough to get both into people’s heads.

Salutations and Felicitations!

My Internet name is LadyGodiva and I like big words.   Friends and fellow Internet citizens call me Lady G; trolls should please address me by my complete title: Godiva, Countess of Mercia (Emmy excepted).   Normally on the Internet I have a fast-and-loose attitude towards capitalization, but for the sake of your eyes I will adopt standard English conventions here.    I recently graduated from the Midwestern college that my compatriots currently attend, and I continue to reside relatively nearby, albeit in a very, very different neighborhood.   I hope to find a way to blog about the cultural and demographic shift I’ve encountered upon moving without revealing too much about myself.

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Hello hello

Hi – I’m Emmy, though sometimes I go by “Laz” too – depends who’s asking. Call me whatever you want. I’m a college currently student based out of the Midwest, though I am on the East Coast for most of the summer. Feminism saved my life, quite literally, and I do not want to know where I would be without it. Ever since I picked up Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique and Simone de Beauvoir’s book The Second Sex over the summer before I went to college, my relationships with my world, my culture, my family, my friends, and, of course, with myself, have been completely changed. My relationships with these multiple facets of life continue to be challenged and shaped to this day, with every new book, new zine, new blog, new conversation, etc. that I manage to get myself into concerning feminism. It is because of feminism’s indispensable and transformative role in my life that I hope to start blogging with two dear friends, in hopes that our project will encourage other people to engage critically with feminism as a theory and as a set of movements, in a way that is relevant and informative.

I usually study philosophy, although I am very interested in historical research and keeping up with current events, so expect to see a mix of these and more in my posts. In the next few months I hope to include posts dealing with: the history of “Jewish feminism” and anti-Semitism in the women’s movements,  a look at the extent and limits of feminist or feminist-friendly innovation in traditional ritual,  the intersection between race, gender and class, the practice of “consciousness-raising,” the personal as political as it relates to gender and sexuality, and maybe I’ll be able to post some sequential art of my own!

At the moment, I find myself at a strange point in life where the current direction of the feminist movement seems to have missed my stop. I am having difficulty relating to contemporary third-wave feminism’s emphasis on personal happiness and a diluted, consumerist notion of “fulfillment” over political and communal goals, especially since I do not see much evidence that it invokes a coherent and weighty system of ethics, something that I see as highly important to any feminism that I would subscribe to. I also find it hard to identify as second-wave, since I do not share the second-wave’s essentialist understanding of gender, but I also reject any more recent approaches that treat gender as irrelevant. I am not sure where this places me – I’ve thought of myself as a 2.5-waver, and on bad days I hardly consider myself a feminist at all. Hopefully this blog, which aptly asks the question: “Are we feminists?” from the outset, will be a place for me and my two co-bloggers to freely explore our own complicated relationships to this movement from which all three of us have benefitted significantly.

Yours,
E.L.