Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Housekeeping, and further review.

Posting this week is going to be sparse. I am about to be temporarily without a steady paycheck, so I am picking up hours at my job while I can and working about twice what I’d usually work. On top of that, I’m due to post at Ms. Modern and I’m preparing for vacation this weekend. I can’t write analytically carefully or sensitively enough right this second, so content will be heavy on “hey, look at this” and light on Important Analysis.

The lack of incoming cashstream is very short term and not a total stoppage– my day jobs are in education, so there’s a natural lull in the summer. I’m thinking of it as an opportunity to get some work done on some stuff, specifically my site re-launch and 50 Books for Problematic Times (which is still accepting submissions!), both of which begin on August 1. Once this week is over, I plan on discussing some issues that I have not really explored here yet, and which are clearly in need of analysis.

I want to address Sunday’s post on Ms. Magazine’s cover, which generated some conversations here, on Twitter, and in the Womanist Musings cross post. I want to thank everyone who stopped by and shared their ideas. I hope you’ll stick around!

In further consideration of that post, I’d like to say a couple of problematic things about the post and my blog as a whole:
  • It was problematic for a white woman to criticize a WOC’s handling of an issue of race.
I did not need to go after Ms. Arreola’s comments so directly. That post began (as many do) in the comments section of that post (I missed the first one and should have read the discussion there), which is why it focused on responding to Ms. Arreola’s words specifically. Questioning and focusing on the words of a mother of color rather than offering an independent analysis was a problematic and at times racist way to address the issue.While I stand by my assertion that the cover constitutes harmful appropriation and shouldn’t have been published, the way that I framed the issue and conducted myself in the comments was not good and evidence of my privilege. I apologize.
  • It was problematic for a childless woman to police the voices of mothers on an issue of motherhood.
I have a complicated relationship with my reproductive system and the idea of motherhood. I am young and currently enjoy a great deal of freedom from responsibility to anyone but myself and my partner, and I’m focused on my work and enjoying our youth with my partner. Pregnancy, infants, children, and motherhood are a threat to those privileges (and to a certain extent my mental health). It seems that my fear of pregnancy has grown into an anti-breeder (if there’s more appropriate terminology, let me know) attitude in my blog, and that was definitely evident in my posts yesterday and Sunday.

The idea that I could have these attitudes was a jolt for me, because my mother is a major part of my feminism and I plan on having children in the not-super-distant future. I think a great deal about my future methods of parenting, my fertility, and the future of my life with my partner. Not wanting to acknowledge my privilege or missteps to myself, I became defensive when I was called on that in the comments, and I apologize.

Pregnancy and fertility and reproductive rights are a major part of my feminism, but I haven’t done any reciprocal thinking about other side of choice: motherhood. I don’t really have a lot more to say on this issue right this second. But I wanted to let you know that I’m owning my privilege and thinking about stuff carefully and critically.

Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

  1. You know, RMJ, I don't think that calling out Arreola as an example the way that you did was problematic like you think. Arreola, as a Mexican, does not get to be the last word on issues of Hindu appropriation. She is not Hindu either. Also, I think it's good to be careful when saying something a POC does is racist, but we know that internalized racism/sexism/homophobia/etc are prevalent. I think maybe you're erring too much on the side of caution, which here seems to be "Any WOC is automatically correct and I cannot criticize her in any way."

    Also, calling her thinking lazy was not racist. It's absurd that to think that you can't use the word "lazy" to ever refer to anything a Mexican does, because it's associate with a negative stereotype.

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