Tag Archives: feminism

#BowDown

If you know me, you know I love Beyonce.

I have a hard time thinking she can do any wrong. I mean, because she never does.

So when the internet went haywire over the feminist question in regards to Beyonce after her super-secret album drop last month, I was in shock. How DARE anyone question Queen Bey without my permission.

I obviously think Beyonce is good for the feminist cause. I think she is pushing us further, asking important questions (whether or not she means to), and challenging the status quo that many of us white feminists seem content to accept.

But I’m getting “old” in terms of activism (sigh), so I had to ask the next gen of feminists.

I asked the Rising Voices Fellows, a group of six young women who I am working with this year on the intersections of Judaism, feminism, and writing, what they thought about the “Flawless” video. In particular, I asked them what they thought of the line:

“Bow down, bitches”

The particulars of the conversation aren’t really important. What WAS amazing was that it was a half an hour or so dedicated to discussing the word “bitch.” Eight women in the room, eight opinions, eight million sets of questions and what ifs. The power of language, and how it impacts historically disenfranchised groups, was the name of the game. And the whole thing was fascinating.

We didn’t come to any conclusions–if you’ve figured out the “bitch” problem, please let the rest of us know so we can get on the solution–but the conversation was rich. It exposed our fears about ourselves, the strengths we want to enhance, and how we want to interact with the world around us.

It was beautiful. And to the haters of feminism or Beyonce….

#BowDown.

 

AFTER THE FACT ADDITION:

My very wise mother commented that I copped out, and she’s right.

My take on the “b” word: I like it. I’ve liked it, as a reference to myself, since middle school (I am pretty sure I had a keychain with the word BITCH and an acrostic from Spencer’s back in the day). I think a bitch is a tough, smart, no-nonsense lady. I think it has come to be used as a put down, but honestly? I embrace it. Call it re-appropriating language if you want, but I just think its a good word. However, I will not use it to describe someone else until I know they feel the same way. I try not to use it disparagingly towards other women when I can remember/am being thoughtful and kind. I think the trick with words like “bitch” are that its in the eye of the beholder, so its hard to place identities on others.

So, #bowdownbitches

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Feminist-Fandom

As the Red Sox went along, up and up the ladder to win the World Series, I noticed some posts from my leftist friends living in Boston. They were commenting on the perceived chauvinism of sports fans, mostly drunk men on the Green Line, who had rubbed them the wrong way.

It got me to thinking about my firm feminism ideals and my Sox fandom—are the two things directly contradictory? Is there something about being a sports fan that makes me less of an activist for justice?

In short, the answer is no. My love of sports and my desire to dismantle systems of oppression do not have to be dichotomous.

As I do for many things, I asked my good friend Jennie to share her thoughts. Jennie is one of my feminist role models, and a huge Chicago Bulls fan. She brought up a few points that have resonated with me strongly:

As a girl, I was encouraged to PLAY sports, but not watch sports… why is that? Something about playing sports as something you work hard at, but watching sports as being about really understanding the game? Also, as a girl, sports were something I did to “better myself” i.e. put on a college application, but not something that was just supposed to be fun, the way it is for boys.

Now, I was not necessarily encouraged to play sports as a kid, or encouraged to watch them either. Sports have always been part of the fabric of my hometown, but it was never emphasized in my home. It also didn’t seem like something I had to do in order to be accepted by my peers, let alone society.

I started to watch baseball in high school, and then when I moved to New York with more regularity. It was among Yankees fans that I learned to be a loud, obnoxious Sox fan. I gave no thought to my gender as I did this, because it was something that I saw in Boston. But what I did start to notice was I would be out at bars, hooting and hollering, and people (often women on their phones sitting at tables with men who were watching the game) would look at me with disdain or judgment. Jennie had some illuminating insights on that as well:

The act of showing sports fandom = inherently unfeminine – yelling, being angry, taking up a lot of space with your yelling. It’s been really difficult for me to navigate that as a woman, to feel like my “emoting” over sports doesn’t come as naturally as it does to men who feel comfortable shouting at TVs in private homes and also in public bars. How many times have I been in sports bars and been the ONLY woman in the room? It’s a really difficult space to be part of.

It’s not quite as challenging being a feminist-fan in the post-season, because goodness knows there are bandwagon jumpers everywhere. But there is something very counterintuitive about being “ladylike” and being a vocal sports fan. 

I like baseball…and sports in general. I like feminism. And the two don’t have to be so directly in conflict, unless we keep making them so. Being a loud sports fan isn’t unladylike, it’s fandom. And who cares about ladylike anyway?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized