Friday, April 12, 2013

My Weekend Crush

The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. Now, I’m not much one for the heaven and hell crowd (see, it worked), but I am one for metaphors. So the devil’s grand trick can be played in numerous, really incalculable ways. And one of those is convincing us the struggle (all of our struggles no matter what –ism or –phobia or combination of –isms or –phobias we fight against) is over. Civil Rights Act passes in 1964, so naturally racism is over. Title IX passes in 1972, so naturally sexism is over. DOMA seems poised to be struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013, so naturally homophobia must be almost over. Etc. etc. So on and so on.

But here’s the thing about progress, we fight and fight for so that by law or by conventional wisdom we may be deemed “equal.” But even afterward, by practice the struggle continues every single day in every single way. Which is why the infuriatingly brilliant essay by author/photographer/producer Deborah Copaken Kogan posted on The Nation (and reposted on Jezebel) this week hit so hard. It’s a brutally honest look at the realities of “post-feminist” culture. Do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to read it here.

The thing about this piece, besides confirming what so many of us feel in so many ways, is that it while her points are specific to women – the sentiment can apply to almost any group that has not truly reached the parity which society superficially perceives them to have reached. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, the disabled, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender people. Any and all people who face the death by 1,000 paper cuts of everyday injustices we are expected to just brush off because, hey, we’re all equal now.

But the thing is, we aren’t. We just aren’t. And we won’t be until we all realize this. Now, as a woman, a gay woman and a minority gay woman, these things naturally weigh heavily on my mind. Yet I in no way want to launch into an Otherness Olympics. It’s why I find it frustrating when people say things like, “Gay is the new black.” Because it isn’t. Black is still black. Gay is still gay. We both have a way to go and shouldn’t make a contest of equality. We should all just realize the dream lives on, and so does the struggle. So let’s work together and fix this shit.

The real enemy, or devil if we’re carrying forward the metaphor, is the assumption that we’re post anything. Post-feminist. Post-gay. Post-race. Post-gender. This is not to say that you cannot aspire for a world where we are post those things or live your life in a way that negates the need for them. It just means as a society – whoooo doggy are we not there yet. We’re so not there that there are ridiculous songs like “Accidental Racist” released for real by mainstream artists who should know way the fuck better. And the Out 50 Power List features only 11 queer women, four people of color and zero trans people. It’s why there were 73 shows on TV last season that employed either no women and/or no people of color as writers. Why a National Medal of Technology and Innovation winning female rocket scientist can have her New York Times obituary lead with talk about her beef stroganoff and being a good wife.

So when people say, “oh, get over it” or, “oh, that’s unnecessary” or, “oh, stop making excuses,’ my blood boils. Because these complaints are nothing of the sort. It’s us demanding our right. Some things just make sense. When you’re hungry, you think about food. When you’re tired, you think about sleep. When you’re underrepresented, you think a lot about representation. You think about it because it matters to you. And you want to be represented fairly. Conversely, it is the inherent privilege of the majority to not have to think about the experience of the minority. But just because it’s your privilege doesn’t make it right.

In a world where everyone expects us to be post everything, it takes (non-gender specific) balls to stand up and call bullshit. One of the best lines of the piece is this, and it can be applied to any and all –isms and –phobias and still hold sadly true:

“This is what sexism does best: it makes you feel crazy for desiring parity and hopeless about ever achieving it.”
We are not crazy. We are not unworthy. We are not equal. But we sure as fuck will keep fighting until we are. Thanks for the pep talk, Deborah. Happy weekend, all.

9 comments:

Tori Collinsworth said...

Love your commentary every bit as much as the fabulous article!

Anonymous said...

Thanks. You do manage to cover it all (both in this piece and in your blog). That's cool and somehow pretty wonderfully brave.

Anonymous said...

Poignant article. Crazy good post Ms. Snarker.

rsanbal9 said...

One of your better ones, Snarker. Thanks.

Carmen SanDiego said...

Damn, Dorothy, you write so beautifully

Anonymous said...

this is a wonderful article.no matter how many times people try to shut me up...I keep on talking...and ; finally worked on collages to make my point as in my fine art photography is too elegant and subtle.
I don't take to comments of ..." whatever" and, " who really cares" ...because a lot of people like us do care of what happens and why it will never happen to obtain equality. But, that does not mean we stop fighting for our rights. thank you again for caring enough to write an excellent article..it shows me that someone does care.....

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love your essay. Huckabee was incensed today because a College Professor in of course California said the Republican party was nothing but a bunch of angry old white guys. How dare they have a double standard where they could attack white men but couldn't get attacked back. The professor was also an old white guy but of course a degenerate hippie who couldn't get a real job thus he was a professor. That was according to Huckabee who then said real jobs only included making jobs for the economy. It is an idiotic world right now.

Anonymous said...

Probably one of my favorite things you've written. Thank you for sharing.

kellyvaldez0010 said...

I read this blog all the time. I follow it daily and this is the first time I've commented...You have an amazing voice Ms. Snarker. You are funny, articulate, cutting yet sweet, and super intelligent. You have the ability to articulate in words what I think in my head and feel in my heart.
Thanks so much for this post!!!!!