Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Response to a question.

This morning I couldn't help digging through boxes of unpacked books so I could respond to a question on a bulletin board discussion. This was the question:

Webster's New World Pocket Dictionary Second Edition 1991
defines FEMINISM as: Movement to win equal rights for women

From your understanding please give me your definition of the word "Feminism"

Is it wrong to be a "feminist?"

By definition, since the word is for human (women's) rights, is it possible for a man to be a "feminist?"

Why do some men/women make the word sound so negative as if being a "feminist" is like being against MEN?

What do you think guys?

Here is my response, thanks to bell hooks.

People don't read.

Please get a copy of bell hooks, Feminism is for Everybody : passionate politics. Her introduction begins:

Everywhere I go I proudly tell folks who want to know who I am and what I do that I am a writer, feminist theorist, a cultural critic. I tell them I write about movies and popular culture, analyzing the message in the medium. Most people find this exciting and want to know more. Everyone goes to the movies, watches television, glances through magazines and everyone has thoughts about the messages they receive, about the images they look at. It is easy for the diverse public I encounter to understand what I do as a cultural critic, to understand my passion for writing (lots of folks want to write, and do). But
feminist theory- that's the place where the questions stop. Instead I tend to hear all about the evil of feminism and the bad feminist: how "they" hate men; how "they" want to go against nature- and god; how "they" are all lesbians; how they are taking all the jobs and making the world hard for white men, who do not stand a chance.

When I ask these same folks about the feminist books or magazines they have read, when I ask them about the feminist talks they have heard, about the feminist activities they know, they respond by letting me know that everything they know about feminism has come into their lives thirdhand, that they really have not come close to enough feminist movement to know what really happens, what it's really about. Mostly they think feminism is a bunch of angry women who want to be like men. They do not even think about feminism as being about rights- about women gaining equal rights. When I talk about the feminism I know- up close and personal-they willingly listen, although when our conversations end . . ."

And I'll stop there. Get the book. Get many books, go to lectures, go to meetings- there are lots of groups around.

How can feminism be wrong? How can feminism not be for everybody? When women have equal rights, equal pay for equal work, housing and equal opportunities to purchase property, equal opportunities for health care and education everybody benefits. It is the woman who cares for the family and the earth. We have to continue to fight to take care of ourselves, and our communities. Our communities include everyone.

Suggested readiing:

Women, Race and Class- Angela Y. Davis
When and Where I Enter-Paula Giddings
Ain't I a woman-bell hooks
We Real Cool: Black Man and Masculinity-bell hooks
Feminism and the Women's Movement-Barbara Ryan
Women and the Politics of Empowerment-edited by Ann Bookman and Sandra Morgen
In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens-Alice Walker

Happy Reading, Happy growing!

I end my response there. If you think I have lots of time on my hands, I don't. I'm reading tonight at Poets House. I should be practicing. I should be cleaning my house so that during the reading I'm not thinking about my sitter looking at my son's underwear on the floor in our bathroom. I am just very passionate about feminism.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Can You Say Busy?

Five Reasons I Have Not Posted:

We moved from Harlem to the People's Republic of Brooklyn. We didn't just move, we bought property. It’s a three family brick in Bedford-Stuyvesant. I can sing all the songs from Rent and no one will hear me. I am a homeowner.

I have been writing poetry. I have been learning poetic forms. I know what a villanelle is. I have written a sonnet. I have read and met Quincy Troupe. I belong to a community of writers. We will be reading at Poets House this Wednesday. I am a Poet.

I have a new job. I will start in July. I will work for the city. I am a poet who owns a home and must meet mortgage.

We'll I actually don't have five reasons; it just sounded good as a working title. I have to get back to the poetry.

Life is good. I have other reasons life is good that are just too personal for this blog.