Musings of an expat grad student... oy vey.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Just confused.

I guess this isn't quite so much an angry feminist post as a tired and head-whirling one. Thanks, Otto, for giving me the impetus to post it. :)

I've been reading a lot of really fascinating blogs lately. Feministe, Pandagon, nubian's stunning Blac(k)ademic, and others to which I've been linked through them. Since my few weeks of thesis hell ended in the middle of last week, there's been a bit of a lull, and I've been able to sit back at the computer and read what people have to say.

But I stop short of commenting, because I'm so afraid that I'll offend someone. And that's the last thing I want to do.

I guess I'm trying to figure out a) how big the feminist tent is, and b) where I fit in. I'm a woman and therefore do not benefit from male privilege. For me, this is fairly cut-and-dried; I identify and am identified as female, so that space of privilege/lack thereof is clear to me. But there are so many other components, all of which interlock. I benefit from heterosexual privilege, which is not quite as governmentally privileged in the UK as it is in the US with the inception of gay marriage here (YAY!), but is still socially privileged to an enormous degree. I benefit from the privilege associated with not being non-traditionally gendered. I benefit from class privilege, which intersects heavily with feminism, especially in the US where, for instance, health care is not universally guaranteed and women's health care often seems to be the patriarchy's last priority.

I am trying to be an activist for change - in my academic work, in my life, and in my interactions with others. I am doing what I can to bring down the system. But I worry sometimes that I'm not doing a good enough job. I'm constantly worried that I'm going to offend someone, that I'm ignorant about something and don't even know it, and that my ignorance will cause harm to others. I suppose it's an extension of the academic problem: there's always something else to read, there's always another facet of the situation to explore, and it's never good enough. I think that's why I don't really blog about Issues; I don't feel qualified to do so.

Therefore, I think that I'll continue to do what I'm doing: I'll just read, and listen to what people have to say. Maybe eventually, when I figure out where exactly I fit in and how I can best advocate in the online community for change, I'll speak up more outside this little blog. But not yet.


  • I think you are worrying about alot of things that don't matter. Rather than try and "fit in" anywhere I think you should "carve out your own niche." If you offend some people, so what? I long ago ceased to care what most people thought. I have been much happier as a result. You don't need to be part of any movement to effect positive change. You just have to do what is right.

    By Blogger J. Otto Pohl, at 4:59 PM  

  • Hey, LL,

    You're not alone, and I hope you keep using your voice. I like it so far, at any rate.

    found you via antiprincess, btw.

    By Blogger belledame222, at 7:57 AM  

  • Don't let it get to you. I dunno what's up with this year, if everyone has just been pushed bit too far by the news, or what, but the Tent seems to be bucking in the breeze these days. Say what you want, because someone out there will be offended no matter what you say.

    By Anonymous Veronica, at 4:35 PM  

  • The "tent" of feminism is exactly big enough for every unattractive woman on Earth.


    By Anonymous Dick Masterson, at 1:51 AM  

  • Me hate thesis work.

    By Blogger Unsane, at 4:28 PM  

  • like you(r) Dick ;) Although I am absolutely not against women who fight for their rights, I do hate those that fight the whole male community. who do not only want to be equal to men but better and feel like they don't need men. A true feminist recognizes the joys men can provide and that they are better in certain fields, just like women are better in others. The problem is that these fields have been predefined by a century old patriarchal society. Is the solution to a patriarchal dominance, a matriarchal then? I don't think so.

    As to your name 'Lonely Londoner': if anybody actually feels lonely in London and would like to share those feelings, thoughts and experiences in whatever form, come see my blog on

    By Blogger Lilly Jean, at 9:31 AM  

  • ahh, i'm new to blogging. just checked out mister *Dick*s blog... I apologize for sympathizing with him. Hope nobody got offended, but I guess Veronica is right, someone will always be offended.

    By Blogger Lilly Jean, at 9:33 AM  

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