Monthly Archives: November 2013

We Rise Together: Resisting White Institutional Culture In Publishing

By Daniel José Older; originally published at his eponymous blog

Journal and Coffee

Had coffee with Saeed [Jones] today and we were talking about how, as people of color, we are socialized to feel gratitude to even have a seat at the table in the publishing industry, and how silencing that discomfort can be, the challenges of knowing how and when to push, how to gain and maintain a strong footing and sense of self while navigating the swamps of the literary world.

Then I went home and looked over a contract, noticing how every part of me just wanted to say, “It’s fine! It’s fine! Whatever you got for me is fine!” because I’m still just so happy to be paid for writing something, aghast at what that is and, even though I know I’ve earned it and I know it’s my path, there’s always that voice trying to barge its way in saying, Stay in line, be careful how you come across, don’t ask for too much, because it’s fragile, the weird world of publishing, the undefined, over-defined, never full, outlined beast called success.

And so WTF is success, right? I prefer the term “victory” because that’s what it feels like when shit comes together, but “success” is the word we hear most after the word “literary,” and what we believe to be “success” and “not success” matters. It matters a whole lot and what we’re never taught to do, not in MFA programs, not in [ridiculous] online how-to-be-a-writer-troll-ass blog posts, not damn anywhere–except maybe if you go to VONA–is that we have to, have to–as in it’s-a-matter-of-survival have to–deconstruct the fucked-up narrow version of success that we’re spoon-fed and create for ourselves a new understanding of what that means. Each of us has to do this, and we have to do this as a community.

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SBF Shout-out: The Feminist New Crew

This Is What A Feminist Looks Like buttonAs brilliant friend of SBF, Sofia Quintero, said recently, “The face of feminism is far more diverse than the same names and faces that keep getting traction.”

True dat.

We are constantly amazed at the smart and creative feminist thinking, writing, and activism happening–online and offline, in classrooms and nonprofits, on blogs and in self-published books–all around us. And we are disheartened that many of the most insightful people we know are neither name-checked nor used as sources for analysis often enough. There are so many perspectives beyond those of the lions of second-wave feminism and the handful of third-wave feminists whose voices are amplified.

So, we decided to compile a list of feminists we love–voices that you really should know.

Now we tried to stick to brilliant folk who don’t get lots of shine for their work, so you won’t see names like Melissa Harris-Perry, because, come on, everybody already knows she’s great! But we did list a few people we are sure are on the cusp of the kind of mainstream recognition they deserve. (Janet Mock, we are looking at you!) Also, included in this list are some folks who emphatically do not embrace the label “feminist” for valid and understandable reasons, but who are still fighting the good fight on behalf of gender equality and against an oppression that is intersectional.

Also, we are fully prepared to wake up tonight in a panic, remembering someone we left off the list. We apologize in advance. Feel free to suggest more names in the comments. And look for this list to evolve.

Now, here it is, in no particular order, Squeezed Between Feminisms list of the Feminist New School:

Tressie McMillan Cottom

TF Charlton

Janet Mock

Dr. Yaba Blay

Carolyn Edgar

Maegan La Mala Ortiz

Lindsey Yoo

Aiesha Turman

Aishah Shahidah Simmons

The Feminist Wire crew

The Crunk Feminist Collective

Sikivu Hutchinson

David J. Leonard

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Geographic Scapegoating: It’s Not The Place That’s The Problem

Courtesy of Miakosamuio on Flickr

Courtesy of Miakosamuio on Flickr

When I told one friend of mine that my family and I would be moving from Chicago to the Indianapolis area, she asked worriedly, “Will you be safe there?” She, a liberal, white woman, was certain that a black family moving to the heart of a red state would be greeted by open hostility or worse. Her comment betrayed a flaw in the way society often thinks about issues of inequality, relying on geographic scapegoats to avoid addressing widespread, systemic “isms”.

In the United States, the so-called “flyover states” serve as regional boogeymen for a host of social justice issues. The South and the Midwest are the places that denizens of the coasts can smugly identify as the source of all the country’s racism, homophobia, sexism and transphobia. And while it is true that some places have unique histories of injustice and hostility toward marginalized peoples. It is also true that America as a whole has a unique history of injustice and hostility toward marginalized people–no city or burgh within our borders is immune.

In the case of my worried friend, her cartoonish idea of conservative Midwesterners, chasing black families with sticks and torches to the soundtrack of a cackling Rush Limbaugh, allowed her personal racism to go unchecked. More broadly, a national focus on the imagined rampant and open bigotry of geographic scapegoats allows real inequality, especially the less overt kind, to fester both in the flyover states and everywhere else.

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A Shift In The SBF Schedule

Hey, SBF community–

typewriter

First of all, thank you so very much for supporting our blog so far, even when our posts are late!

When we started this blog, we wanted to make sure that we gave you thoughtful–sometimes silly, sometimes saucy, but always going for thoughtful–posts about race, gender, sex and sexuality, class, dis/ability, and age, among other issues, as seen from our particulars views as Generation X feminists.

And we also know that those posts take time to write. Lots of time. And, between all of our life happenings–major life moves, day jobs and paying gigs, and families, among other things–we think it best to pare down our writing schedule in order to maintain the quality of posts you expect from Squeezed Between Feminisms. So, we’re going to post a regular writing on Fridays. If we have more posts during the week, we’ll definitely let you know on Facebook and Twitter.

See you next Friday, SBFers!

–Best,

Tami and Andrea

Community Comment: Cussing Out And Forgetting Feminist Foremothers

Editor’s Note: This quote came as a response from Friday’s post about Jezebel and ageism online. Reposted with permission and edits.

Second Wave feminist Flo Kennedy. Image credit: Jo Freeman.

Second Wave feminist Flo Kennedy. Image credit: Jo Freeman.

“Well, the worst sign of ageism I noticed was a Jezebel writer forgetting a groundbreaking feminist author in her list of feminist scholars. There was a lively comment [thread] about it. To add insult to injury a young feminist came on and attacked the author herself for complaining about it (and hijacked the [thread] and promoted herself)! I see it also in commentaries that talk about the racist founding of Second Wave feminism, all the while completely ignoring the older women of color who were there. (I forget the waves maybe because I’m squeezed between them.) I think that upsets me the most. I welcome the discussion about race and feminism , but please let’s not add to the problem by ignoring the older women of color. I”ll start by naming Flo Kennedy. Or Faye Wattleton who is still here. Of course, we all know Loretta Ross, but I have yet to see her on The Rachel Maddow Show.

“We all felt the ageism too in the performance we did two weeks ago: “Between the Door and the Street.” Ironically, it was started by an older feminist but staffed by young interns, [sic] who, by the way, were paid.

“I’m glad we are bringing up younger women, but we need to take care of ourselves first, I think.

“P.S. I hate the Cialis adds but that has nothing to do with age. Why can’t birth control advertise? I think we all know the answer to that.”

~~Reynolds N. Art, artist

MILFs, Perimenopause, And Silence: Jezebel Shows Its Ageism—And Ableism And Sexism–By Mocking The Cialis Ads

By Andrea Plaid

Cialis Is Here

Can I say that the more I deal with the rest of the ‘net, the happier I am that Tami and I started Squeezed Between Feminisms?

Two of the latest ageist microaggressions:

An online friend posted a great photo of actor Bill Murray dressed up as Jimi Hendrix sans blackface, which seems to be the new way to express how post-racial we are in the US. (/sarcasm). My online friend, a Black woman wrote: “Bill Murray slayed without a lick of blackface. [T]ake note, [W]hite people.”

A Black guy of indeterminate age posts: “lol, Bill Murray looks 138 years old.”

I replied: “Maybe his age gave him some wisdom to not do blackface, unlike the relative many 20-something and 30-something white kids who are?”

His response: “Co-sign with the above statement.”

Of course he does.

The second? From Jezebel–of course.

While founder Anna Holmes is on tour promoting The Book of Jezebel and some broadcast-media types are trumpeting the tome as, in so many words, online feminism writ in ink—even as some folks question whether the site itself is relevant as a feminist site anymore—some writer on the site had the mind to show how Jezebel stays losing that cache by going for cheap ageist, ableist, and sexist laughs over the Cialis ads.

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