Guest post: How dare we?

Originally a comment by cluecat on Pretty wild indeed.

This kind of thing was raised against the Suffragettes right from the beginning: a “class problem” of wealthy white women doing things – any things, it doesn’t matter what – and being a “problem” somehow because of Who They Were. Not sticking to approved “Charidee!” work, my dears? Oh no! Women running wild!

This ignores the very reason that wealthy white women were doing most of that work; because working class women were busy working. A 12-hour shift at the factory, plus all the work when they got home, does not leave much time for organising. Nor does the life of a maid-of-all-work. Some of those women did it anyway; many lost jobs and families. They were dismissed as “not knowing their place”. Sound familiar?

Those “Ladies of Leisure” were the only ones who had the time, and often the connections, to make a real difference; a difference which then began to benefit all women, over time, no matter what work they were doing. They also worked together with working class women, helping them with things they couldn’t access due to class background and circumstances – legal issues, things that required a high level of literacy. etc., while the working class lassies told them how the world works for women like them. It wasn’t perfect, there was a fair bit of racism alongside, but it was a path to a better world.

These women were working together to benefit every woman; yes, even the ones they didn’t understand or like. Even those who were actively working against them.

[Yes, this is a massive simplification, and in a British, as opposed to American, context, but the argument remains valid]

All those old insults, slights, and belittlements are being recycled yet again. How dare any white woman thing she can do things?! How dare she think she can make any kind of difference?! She should be working on literally anything else! What if all women, of whatever background, really get hold of the idea that they aren’t just accessories for doodz?!

There are still issues of clueless middle-class women not understanding issues which primarily affect those of other heritages and backgrounds – each community has issues and solutions which are hard for outsiders to understand – but how much of this attack on the dreaded “Karen” is simply a rehash of all the old bitterness and cruelty towards women focusing on anything other than men?

How much of this demand to be the Eternal Mother and Nursey for the whole world is the same old bullshit? It just seems that this time, there are even more things to beat women with; why haven’t you solved Climate Change by yourself?! Why haven’t you coddled every single Failed Male to prevent his violence? That’s all womens’ fault! How dare you think you matter?!

Sure, there are still issues with racism in places – although I might note that the doodz aren’t doing too well on that front really – but the main problem seems to be the same old bullshit that our Great-Grandmothers were fighting; the very idea that women matter at all.

How dare we notice that women share experiences across backgrounds?

How dare we say that even a gilded cage is still a cage?

How dare we refuse to be the mirrors reflecting back the image of men at twice their natural size?

How dare we clearly note that males are not female?

How dare we draw boundaries, to say “NO!” to men?

How dare we recognise that women are fully human, not just an idea rattling around in some dood’s otherwise-empty head? Not a costume for a fetish, not a porn accessory, not smiling angels or dancing devils to coddle men or lead them astray, not an “Identitay” to be claimed.

Just people.

That cannot be allowed. Women cannot be permitted to be fully human. We are not permitted to reject the roles that men have forced upon us over the centuries, that designation of less-then-man because of our biology – that thing we cannot identify out of, however much we might like to do so.

And so we keep fighting, over and over again, for the recognition of our basic humanity

For the basic humanity of ALL WOMEN to be recognised – even the women we don’t like, even the women actively working against us.

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