manifesta: (Marauders)
manifesta ([personal profile] manifesta) wrote2010-08-10 09:22 pm

The one with the unwritten paper (that should have been done last month)

So I realized today that for my presentation for SirensCon, I have to effectively create two different write-ups: an academically pristine version for the paper, and still very shiny but imperfect version for the actual presentation. This means swapping between my academic voice and my natural voice, which is full of "y'all"s that make my friends look at me askance because a) I don't have an accent and b) I'm not from the south but in fact both coasts (but half of my family is deeply southern, okay?) and plenty of sinful contractions. I'm also wrestling with the fact that I won't have any props--no poster, no PowerPoint, nada. Just me. Talking. With nothing to gesture frantically at.

The paper/presentation is currently just bits and bats, but I wanted to share a quote I read today and will be including. It's from Ellen Neuborn's essay “Imagine My Surprise” in Listen Up: Voices From the Next Generation.
“I don’t understand where the programming began. I had been taught that girls do could anything boys could do. Equality of the sexes was a unimpeachable truth. […] I’m a good feminist. I would never apologize for having a different opinion.
“But I did.
“Programming. It is the subtle work of an unequal world that even the best of feminist parenting couldn’t overcome. It is the force that sneaks up on us even as we think that we are getting ahead with the best of the guys. I would never have believed in its existence. But having heard it, amazingly, escape from my own mouth, I am starting to recognize its pattern.” (pg. 183)
Later, she asks:
"Do you think you would do better? Do you think you would recognize sexism at work immediately?
“Are you sure?” (pg. 184)
Sometimes it can be excruciating, trying to find the language to explain how something we see, do, or hear reflects societal norms and thus can be potentially very damaging. It becomes even harder when there's a chorus of voices shouting that you're wrong, you're imagining things, it's not as bad as it seems, you're just looking for a fight.

I feel like this quote eloquently describes just how difficult it can be to recognize, and put into words, not just the systemic, implicit norms that perpetuate inequality but how those same systemic, implicit norms can silence any discussion about inequality--thus perpetuating it even more so. The system is self-serving in its design to preserve the status quo. This quote also demonstrates that picking up on sexism, or even (especially?) internalized sexism, can be incredibly difficult, even for people who are educated or aware of the issues.

To echo Neuborn, do you think could recognize rape culture automatically? Do you think you could always identify victim-blaming, or make the distinction between a forced seduction and a rape? 

Are you sure?
miss_haitch: the bennet sisters smiling (bennets)

[personal profile] miss_haitch 2010-08-11 07:50 am (UTC)(link)
That quote gives me the shivers. Thank you very much for posting about it and giving me something to think about. And this part:

Sometimes it can be excruciating, trying to find the language to explain how something we see, do, or hear reflects societal norms and thus can be potentially very damaging. It becomes even harder when there's a chorus of voices shouting that you're wrong, you're imagining things, it's not as bad as it seems, you're just looking for a fight.

Just yes. <3

Sirens and your presentation both sound really cool!
green_knight: (Inner Feminist)

[personal profile] green_knight 2010-08-14 06:12 pm (UTC)(link)
It took me a very long time to recognise discrimination because I had not internalised it. I've always identified with the people portrayed as capable and skilled-with-technology etc, and for a long time I failed to recognise that they were mostly portrayed as male while the screaming, squeamish, wimpy ones were female.

The main problem - and the bit where I recgonised the 'internalisation' was that *in my own writing* the capable, go-getting, decent people.... seem to be male more often than not. And while there are excuses for some of the settings I've written in, it is, alas, a pattern. Even in a non-equal society, I need not choose to write about men.

Work in progress.

(Anonymous) 2010-09-12 06:14 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm 55, and in the last few months I've realized I'm only beginning to learn to identify victim-blaming and rape culture. That's scary for a lifetime feminist like me. And shaming.

I can make the distinction between forced seduction and rape, though. There is none. Once force enters the equation, it's rape. Why isn't that a no-brainer?

Of course, I have room to talk, as per my first paragraph.

Tamora Pierce