One thing I have learned recently is that I am still very much a women’s historian at heart, and no amount of studying cultural theory will change the way in which I come at a problem/question/idea with the full force of historical analysis and the full awareness of Millenia of oppression. Once history is in your head, it is inescapable knowledge that will both haunt and enlighten. So – fuck identity politics, fuck gender-roles, fuck patriarchy, and fuck an academy ruled by political correctness rather than sense.
Today I depressed a class full of aspirational youth who want to make the world a better place by explaining to them that you can’t use advertising to fight sexism.
I went on to explain that you make an industry whose very existence relies on the creation of desire and the fetishisation of commodities be nicer to women through the use of awareness campaigns. If you want less sexism in adds, the only answer is the death of capitalism. #inspiration
We are fighting against a belief – gender identity – which is part of a larger ideology – neoliberalism/individualism.
It is important that we focus on the social, on critiquing the ideological belief rather than individual believers. Good thinking is looking at systems of oppression. It is that kind of thinking that has allowed us to understand that “gender identity” is a belief rather than a reality. That gender is a system of oppression rather than an internal essence.
When it comes to activism, we need to critique the belief, not the believer. Critique the system, critique the ideology it produces. Focus on the base as well as the superstructure. Telling individuals that their actions/beliefs are misogynistic isn’t helpful.
This is something I have to learn as well, I focus too much on telling individuals they are wrong. I intent to try harder to focus on the belief, not the believer.