Saturday, March 24, 2012

Dare to Come Closer to Feminism....


SPRING BREAK – NO CLASS but there is reading!
• During the break read Moore and Prain’s yarn bombing book
• Check out the book website:
• Look at Moore’s blog at:
• Check out Prain’s tweets as: LeannePrain  
• You’ll also be reading hook’s very small book, Intro & Ch 1-8

Tuesday, 27 March – Working Out Visions
• Note hooks' description on the Wikipedia: 
• You can see her on video with this search:  

What do you notice when we read about yarn bombing and hooks’ book together? How do each of these work out visions of social justice? How do they think about how to include “everybody”? Which social groups are interconnected through these projects? How do they help us understand identities and power and action?

"That's silly!" some people might say. "silly [from Online Etymology Dictionary:] O.E. gesælig "happy" (related to sæl "happiness"), from W.Gmc. *sæligas (cf. O.N. sæll "happy," Goth. sels "good, kindhearted," O.S. salig, M.Du. salich, O.H.G. salig, Ger. selig "blessed, happy, blissful"), from PIE root *sel- "happy" (cf. L. solari "to comfort"). • The word's considerable sense development moved from "blessed" to "pious," to "innocent" (c.1200), to "harmless," to "pitiable" (late 13c.), to "weak" (c.1300), to "feeble in mind, lacking in reason, foolish" (1570s). Further tendency toward "stunned, dazed as by a blow" (1886) in knocked silly, etc. Silly season in journalism slang is from 1861 (August and September, when newspapers compensate for a lack of hard news by filling up with trivial stories). Silly Putty trademark claims use from July 1949." 

click pic to go to Santos' website

• Male lawmakers to receive knit uteruses in the mail: 

"Susan Santos is a 55-year-old Colorado blogger and housewife, but these days, she’s doubling as a uterus-knitting machine. Yes, you read that right. The mom and knitting fanatic is an organizer of a campaign called the “Government Free VJJ Project.” The goal of the initiative: to knit or crochet a vagina or uterus and send it to every male lawmaker in Congress." [pattern here


YouTube: Uploaded by jbadalament on Mar 6, 2011:
"This is a clip taken from my film Gender Traps. I filmed bell hooks in conversation with Terry Real, in front of a studio audience at PS 122 performance space in NY."

complexities of identity: the part that makes us cringe and say "I don't want to be labeled!" is what Patricia Hill Collins calls a • "controlling image." But the part that names our communities of nurture, those groups of people that truly care for us and make our lives possible, those are pieces of what in feminism we sometimes call • identity politics. hooks makes us think carefully and caringly about how just talking a lot can be perceived as a stereotype, can be a strategy of empowerment or a half-understood thing one does that is not actually empowering. What is its liberatory version? How do we get from a controlling LABEL to an IDENTITY of power and meaning? Where are we coming from and how does that involve recognizing others?

hooks 2000, viii: "...if they dare to come closer to feminism they will see it is not how they have imagined it."

Remember all that stuff on "process" at the heart of Ass. #2? And how difficult it was somehow to take it seriously, to actually talk about it and analyze it in your groups, how in fact you needed to return to it, to redo it and think more about it all? It seems more important to put the product at the center of your attention, that thing you connect to your grade most, even when the directions say something quite different. Wonder why? Wonder what that is all about? When does it seem smart to make a very important END point justify a means to get there? Who has got the time to do all that process stuff anyway?  (and isn't it smarter to get the biggest grade you can for the least amount of work? or does that sort of being smart just outsmart the whole process of learning itself?)

What's the big deal? Well, let's use thinking and rethinking about process to wonder about this: how we work together in groups matters, how power figures in all that matters too. How can we tell what effects political process has on our visions and understandings of feminism, or, maybe better, feminisms in the plural? 

It's all about THE ACTUAL WORK IT TAKES to make feminism. And to make what hooks calls "political solidarity." To make that vision of including everyone REAL. Can it be done? What does it take? What do we have to know to even begin the processes involved? If justice is urgent, do we have the time and resources to take care of the process too?

hooks 2000: 17: "When contemporary feminist movement first began we had a vision of sisterhood with no concrete understanding of the actual work we would need to do to make political solidarity a reality. Through experience and hard work, and yes, by learning from our failures and mistakes, we now have in place a body of theory and shared practice that can teach new converts to feminist politics what must be done to create, sustain, and protect our solidarity." 

Theories and Practices to create, sustain, and protect our solidarity. Some of these are standpoint theory, intersectionality, differential consciousness. Each has important insights and tools to offer; each can be used a bit differently by feminists, sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally. Sometimes the term "intersectionality" is used to include ALL the possibilities of understanding how to practice solidarity and coalition politics and understand simultaneous oppressions.

Your values and perhaps goals and visions. They might be, "inner peace," "independence," "connection with family," "academic achievement," "connection with others," "work life stability." What are yours? Write down six that matter to you most at this moment. 

==================> if each of these were a path, where are you now on that path? mark where you are now, where you would like to be. 

Name some controlling images that affect your life, those "labels" you are always trying to get out from under. And/or name some kinds of groups or communities that support you. Or maybe it is a mixture, sometimes they support you, sometimes you are not sure, but you know you are included in these. Sometimes you like that, perhaps others times you are not sure. 

INTERSECTIONALITY names "the complex mix of identities that influence the way an individual participates at all, or any, level of society. They include [at least] the following: age, ability, economic status, culture, race, family, social status, religion" -- gender, sexuality, language, nationality. Can you name others that matter to you, or that somehow don't seem quite included in this list from your perspective and life experiences? Why might it be hard to name every such identity? How do we feel out which ones are salient, that is to say, matter most at any time, for a particular person, in a certain situation, for a particular historical moment?


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