Saturday, May 13, 2006

this week in prebyterianism

so i'm a deacon. we have an all day retreat next weekend and i am going to need loads of patience and caffeine to get through it.

and i'm about to step into a com'tee chair position that i can just tell is going to make me lose my temper and snap in the middle of a meeting. why i agreed to this, i don't know. yes i do! as a favor to my roommate who was vacating the position! argh. i knew i should've said no. i hate meetings. and i hate meetings that last more than one hour. and all we presbyterians do is meet. about everything.

has NO ONE heard of email?
or at least meeting at a bar so i can smoke?
...
this morning (and let's not even think about why i was up at 6.45 am on a Saturday) i found an email from a guy wanting to ask me questions about feminism and blogging for some article he's writing. he's probably some undergrad who has to write a paper.

but i thought his questions were useful so i'm posting them and my answers here:

# When did you start your blog?
I started ChurchGal about 3 years ago; I’d already had another blog up and running but I really wanted a separate space to talk about religion, faith and feminism in a more specific way.

# How many visits the site every month (if you don't know, then your estimate)?
I really can’t say. I don’t have a site meter (I really should get one of those) but I’ve noticed that I am getting more unique visitors since I joined a Progressive/Moderate Christian web-ring.
Sometimes the only way I have of measuring visits is through comments – some topics get big hits (anything having to do with sex or reproductive rights) and some get nothing (feminist theory and cultural semiotics, let’s say.)

# Do you know how many feminists blogs are out there - how many do you know?
There are many of us. Many, many, many. There is a huge list of women, feminist bloggers over at What She Said! I read Bitch, Ph.D regularly; I Blame the Patriarchy is another must-read and Angry Black Bitch is simply phenomenal. From there, of course, I read other writers and it’s astounding how many really good, smart, intellectually fierce women are writing!

# Why do you blog?
I first began blogging to get out of writer’s block; but then, when Bush became President the first time, it became a place for me to vent my anger and frustration at the direction my country had taken. I wanted to be public in my anger, my vitriol, my contempt for this administration.

But now I blog because it’s good intellectual practice. Based on some comments, I’m realizing that there is a lot of intellectual/educational work yet to be done to raise people’s consciousness. For instance, I plan on writing soon about Oprah Winfrey’s talk-show as a skillful cover for her contempt for the suburban housewife; I can guarantee someone will ask me why I hate housewives and what I have against Oprah? Or, when I talk about ‘patriarchy’ people ask me why I have an issue with ‘men’, not realizing patriarchy is a system, not a collection of guys – though men benefit primarily from patriarchy. Blogging makes me realize that not everyone went to college or university the way I did.

Being in dialogue with people (even with people who don’t agree) forces me to really assume a strong stance on some issues and really defend that stance. It’s like being back in school with a really demanding professor.

# Why do you think these blogs have become so popular?
They’re free. Well, not all of them, but generally they’re flattening access to authorship. Instead of discourse being generated by a few culturally elite, now everyone’s creating it. It’s truly populist – from the teenage girls with their Hello, Kitty templates to the serious academics like Juan Cole or Michael Berube – and then women like me, too. My father, a Baptist minister, has a blog!

# Does "equal status" between the sexes exist?
It depends on how you define ‘equality’ and ‘status’.

# If no, is that why you blog?
I don’t blog to even a score between men and women. I blog primarily because I love writing and I write to live. If I didn’t write, I’d go insane. But there is also a part of me that blogs to give voice to the more political or academic Me. It was something that had disappeared for a while and now it’s back and it never would have reappeared if it hadn’t been for blogging.

However, there is a secret part of me that likes to think that when people ask that idiotically sexist question, ‘Where are the women bloggers?’ I can raise my hand and say ‘Over here, you idiotic sexist!’

# Is this in your opinion the revival of the third wave? (Or is it really the fourth wave?)
I don’t even know what this ‘wave’ stuff is. For me, feminist bloggers are returning to our most basic, fundamental beginnings because we have to. I love how people talk as if feminism has made huge strides forward – it hasn’t. It’s alarming how much farther we have to go. Women are still extremely vulnerable to economic upset, our decision whether to conceive or bear children are under serious attack, and the last time I checked women in the U.S. only made up 14% of our political infrastructure despite being over 50% of the population. That’s huge. In some ways, blogging by feminists is a step to galvanize women to look at those conditions and do something about it – change something. Change anything.

I was in a meeting yesterday (and I work for a feminist organization) and a coworker said this about the use of the word Feminism: “It’s about as relevant today as abolition.” I laughed my ass off, but that’s a serious statement.

# How can this "wave" reach those not fortunate enough to own or have the chance to use a computer?
That’s an excellent question. My simple and completely ill-educated answer is to make sure we get those people computers. Information and education is power and if we want to empower the disempowered we need to make sure they have the means to free themselves.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

But now I blog because it’s good intellectual practice. Based on some comments, I’m realizing that there is a lot of intellectual/educational work yet to be done to raise people’s consciousness. For instance, I plan on writing soon about Oprah Winfrey’s talk-show as a skillful cover for her contempt for the suburban housewife; I can guarantee someone will ask me why I hate housewives and what I have against Oprah? Or, when I talk about ‘patriarchy’ people ask me why I have an issue with ‘men’, not realizing patriarchy is a system, not a collection of guys – though men benefit primarily from patriarchy.
Blogging makes me realize that not everyone went to college or university the way I"


I'm just wondering what point you are trying to make here? I find this comment rather snobby and opinionated. Very asumming. Don't get me wrong here, college is VERY important, but, then there is the REAL world, where reality meets the books, don't you think, so?

Sometimes you aren't quite in the real world. Bookish, yes, but real world?
Have you been poor? So what makes you think you can tell someone about being poor or poor people? Have you ever been a man? What makes you think you can tell a MAN about how he SHOULD be? Have you ever been a stay at home mom? How do you know what is true are not.

That's right, my college education has taught me about the facts of life. I'm now an expert for everyone,bull!!!! Don't you think you're sounding like Oprah?

You see, college is where I learned to look at numbers as a tools to what I should know about what's going on around me, (statistics). Your world is safe Ding, and comfortable and bookish. Go over to AngryblackBitch's blog. MS. Ding needs a education on the FACTS Of LIFE! I'll send you some more blogs to help with that education.

Anonymous said...

Lesson #1

http://angryblackbitch.blogspot.com/2005/09/wake-up-call-for-us-all.html

ding said...

what i was trying to say was that i look at the world from a particular place and see things differently - and use language differently to express that lens.

and do you really want to play identity politics with me? i grew up in south central los angeles, in a working class family. i wore other people's clothes for my entire childhood and every two weeks my father's church would give us food. my family is full of ex-hookers, heroin addicts and gangsters. there are even a couple baby mamas in there, too. i watched my entire neighborhood go up in flames during the riots and watched every girl friend i had end up pregnant, hooked on drugs and every young boy on my block end up shot and dead in the street or in jail.

'real' enough for you? are those the 'facts of life' you wanna hear? i think i'm quite comfortable in my snobbishness, thanks.

and i read ABB already. i admire her and agree with her; but we are all the product of our subject positions and hers is not mine.

neither is yours.

Anonymous said...

Just remember those things, when you think about putting others down so you can seem so superior in thought. People who know those things about poverty, class and way things work in this country do not need to put others down. Our actions show that we know what we're talking about.


Remember how Jesus Christ judge the pharisees?

ding said...

i once had a supervisor who told me that she was offended at my arrogant tone when i wrote her emails; i mentally shrugged. not that i didn't think she had a perfect right to be offended, but that i couldn't help it if she was. i certainly had no thought about being 'arrogant' or condescending in tone. not my issue or my problem - and a supervisor who's 'offended' at her employer's email tone is a little weak.

but you have a point: i wasn't clear in my original statement. so now i'll be clearer.

when i write about culture or bring up things to discuss i'm looking at them from a particular ideological viewpoint - usually from a feminist one. and from this stance, i see the world very differently - like in The Matrix. in the matrix, there's reality; but for the people who've been pulled out of it, all they see are the codes behind 'reality.'

similarly, when i look at the culture around me all i see are codes. and when i try to explain these codes, i forget that not everyone is on the same codebook page, has even heard of the codebook or even understand that there is a 'code.' or they could be operating from a code of their own.

therefore, writing here forces me to start from the very beginning, rather than from the middle. it forces me to assume than not everyone knows what i'm talking about.

that said, i don't think that leveling a certain kind of cultural criticism is akin to being a pharisee - what i'm criticizing isn't people but the systems and discourses that create those people.

totally different.

Anonymous said...

"I see the world differently, from idealogical point" Feminist point"?
Correct. That means that others are seeing the points differently then you are and can argue differently.

The codes in the matrix. he,he and he, he. Sorry that wasn't for you, I am laughing for other reasons.

I gotcha !

ding said...

i'm not saying no one can argue differently. you can argue anything you like (unless it's racist, homophobic or sexist - to me, those positions are fundamentally flawed from the get-go.)