Feminist In-Fighting

March 19, 2006 at 4:55 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

“i do it for the joy it brings
because i’m a joyful girl
because the world owes me nothing
and we owe each other the world
i do it because it’s the least i can do
i do it because i learned it from you
and i do it just because i want to
because i want to”

– Ani Difranco, Joyful Girl

Women fighting women.

I’m tired of it. In this fight called feminism, we should be banding together, fighting for eachother and with eachother. Not against one another.

Tearing eachother down. Breaking eachother apart. Criticizing. Arguing. What good does it do?

Tekjani has a good little rant about this on Shrub.com:

“Stop it. Stop invalidating me because of my reproductive choices. Stop telling me what is and is not worthy of discussion. Stop calling me names because I have a different sexual expression than you. Stop discriminating against our sisters just because they don’t have the same naughty bits as you. Stop telling women that they should not be allowed to choose their life’s path. And, for the love of little green apples, stop trying to make the only valid path in life the one you want to take.


That’s what the patriarchy does, not us. Get it?”

She’s so right. And I’m sick of it. Sick of women tearing me down. Get it together sisters.


Academics seems to be a great place for tearing women down. Even in women’s studies, a place where we should be educating eachother about feminism and supporting our sisters. No ladies, women’s studies is one of the most rampant places for sisterly abuse.Perhaps its because its caught up in the patriarchal academic rigors still. Perhaps its because it has yet to find a home of its own. The world of academia as a whole is conducive to tearing down activism – seeing activism as unnecessary, unwarranted, and generally unproductive. What we ought to be doing, it might be argued, is publishing papers and articles and researching and going to conferences. Educating one another.

That’s all fine and dandy, but I’m sick of educating and being educated and researching and writing and interviewing. At the end of the day, I’m not seeing any results. That world is fine for some people, and I have no doubt that it has its place. After all, we need academia to produce lawyers and activists and politicians and teachers and doctors and nurses. But academia, stop dissing those of us who choose not to be academists.

In my own world of women’s studies, I find over and over again activism being devalued. Professors who once considered themselves feminists, now burned out, citing ‘the feminist movement is dead’. If that’s the case, what am I doing here? They reward those who stay locked in their homes, attached to a computer all day long and writing papers; while devaluing those of us who take a few extra years to complete a degree, working in the feminist movement, in women’s centres, in labour unions – as activists.

I am helping people. I work every day. I am exhausted. I have no time for myself. But every call I take, every women that enters a women’s centre, every time I design a protest poster or pamphlet or visit Confederation Building to argue with those in power – I am doing something good.

And I shouldn’t be devalued or have to explain myself to my fellow colleagues in women’s studies.

I shouldn’t have to explain myself to any of my sisters.

Just as I support them and what they choose, they should support me.


everything i do is judged
and they mostly get it wrong
but oh well'
cuz the bathroom mirror has not budged
and the woman who lives there can tellt
he truth from the stuff that they say
and she looks me in the eye
and says would you prefer the easy way
no, well o.k. thendon't cry"- Ani Difranco, Joyful Girl
What are we doing here women?What's the biggest adversity to the feminist movement todayI'd say it ourselves.

Stop fighting.
Stop arguing.
Or the feminist movement really will be dead one of these days very soon.

– Artemis


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  1. Good job, great points. Thanks artemis.

  2. You’re right. From now on, feminist bloggers should post angry rants at other feminists and refuse to engage them in conversation, and those feminist bloggers who have been ranted against can in turn post their own rants on their own blogs while refusing to actually converse with other feminists, and so on and so forth. You’re off to a great start here, Artemis.

    Oops, I broke rule #1 by telling you directly that I disagree instead of slinking off to a corner of the internet and seething about it out of your view. Ah well, I’m not very good at this feminist ignorance of opposing viewpoints of other feminists yet but I’ll work on it.

  3. Hi Vineeta,

    I’m not entirely sure I understand you, or if you misunderstood me. I just re-read my post to see if I wasn’t clear. Maybe I did appear to be doing the same criticism of academic feminists that I see them doing to activists at times. rather, I was trying to get conversation going and I won’t apologize for it. I’m upfront with these views and they’re discussions I’ve had with many other feminists around me – those in academia, those in activist work, those in other cities, etc. I feel that lately, the more I travel the more I see this in-fighting happening – the academics was just one example. And it frustrates me. I don’t want this in-fighting. I want us to work together.

    Of course, perhaps to do that we need to look first to see what problems there might be in the feminist movement.

    Thanks for engaging – and no, you didn’t break rule #1.

    – Artemis

  4. Great post. I agree that we women are often our own worst enemies. I’m not all that active in the feminist blogger community but I know that the women in my family are the ones who criticize me the most for the non-stereotypical things I do (not taking my fiance’s name when we marry, for example). How can we expect men to treat women with respect when we don’t treat each other with respect?

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