Feminist Philosophy and Privilege

"We live in a society where sexual oppression is commonplace, where men seem only to feel in control through expressions of power, domination and violence. You see, before you can even begin to understand women, you must understand that it is the women of this country who've had their sexuality devalued and exploited, who've had their history ignored, who've had to struggle and fight for every right they've acquired, and whose rights to their own reproductive control, are at this very moment being jeopardized by rich white men with political power..."

I first heard this song in 1992, and the introduction, the woman speaking, has been etched in my mind ever since. Bits of it pop into my head at the strangest times.

This style of punk isn't my favorite, but the indignation is something I've felt, a lot. When I've been pushed too far and I don't have the resources - inside or out - to come up with a measured response or an even-handed philosophy about equality and fairness. When I'm just angry. When my heart is too bruised to champion #notallmen.

My post about feminism and equality, as answers to my niece's questionaire, with its clarity, logic and ideals, left a little something out... reality. In reality, we aren't born blessed with a lifetime of consideration about the best approach to systemic inequality. We're all born into a situation not of our own choosing. Our individual lives are just that, individual, and some of our circumstances leave us wounded, broken, confused, distrustful, afraid or just plain pissed off.

If your life has been mostly a maelstrom of oppression and disempowerment, your initial expression of dissatisfaction may very well not consist of striving toward ideals, working diligently and patiently for equality, and crafting plans to shape public policy. You may not have the restraint to shy away from gross generalizations that aren't fair to everyone. And, not like it's up to me, but I'll go ahead and say that's okay. We can all play a part.

That blistering indictment of male-dominated society played a part in helping me understand my own rage and pain. The song is from somewhere between 1988 - 1993... about 25 years ago, and rich white men with political power are still jeopardizing our lives. I've grown since then, but it is the crisp memory of feeling such perfectly self-righteous rage that fuels my desire to keep working toward equality now.