Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

21 January 2008

Open Letter from American Feminists

This is why assuming that the women's movement or feminism in general is a monolith.

In response to on-going criticism by the right wing that feminists don't care about international women issues, Nation columnist Katha Pollitt wrote an open letter to the media & naysayers. I know what pushed her because I feel it too. Despite being an active member of NOW, I would never say that NOW speaks for all women and never for all feminists. I've met some really awesome feminists who say that NOW is too conservative for them. Again, I see their point. Yet, I stay working on some issues with them. For others, I go to other orgs as I feel that they just do a better job or need an infusion of feminism into their work. As a Latina, I am concerned about the zillion things wrong in this country that matter to me and fellow Latinas, the insanity that happens in Mexico and our motherlands, as well as with other women in far more oppressed nations than the USA. Thus to hear or read anyone claiming that American Feminists don't care about women in Afghanistan really pisses me off. As it does Katha.

That's why when she wrote me and asked me to sign on to her letter, I didn't hesitate. I could have picked it apart like La Chola did (and did quite well, BTW), but I was too pissed to honestly care that some of things are hypocritical. I am pissed that the media and conservatives want to paint all feminists with a broad stroke that we don't care what happens outside our borders.

And I come back to my original point. Feminists are not the same. Some of us are more conservative. Some of us are far more radical. Some of us really don't care about much of anything other than masking our terrible choices as just that - our choice.

Despite the fact that my name isn't shiny enough for the small list that the Nation lists, it's there. And it will stay there. I want naysayers to know that we do care about more than stupid Target ads or 'our choice' to be strippers.

With that, I will push my fellow feminists to rethink the way we, Western feminists, head out into the other part of the world to help our sisters in need. Do we offer then a hand or do we tell them what to do? Do we provide safety as they attend school or do we make deals with their oppressors to ensure a "larger peace?" And I hope that La Chola and others will continue to push other feminists and myself to think far outside any box. Because darling, feminism cannot be contained.

Technorati tags: feminist, Katha Pollitt, women of color, feminists of color

2 comments:

great post, veronica!!! :-)

seriously, at first (cuz I was all tense about even posting my critique, cuz it always goes *so* well when you critique white women, you know?), I thought somebody on that post was implying that I was critiquing anybody who signed the letter. I wasn't! People all sign the thing or choose not to sign the thing for their own reasons--and many times, those reasons may actually be the same reason!! the point was not the people who signed, but the actual content of the letter, you know?

anyway--yeah, great response, i loved reading it!