Me vale madre tu porquería “Feminism.” ¿Y que?

April 13, 2008

In the final days of Bfp’s blogging-life, she renounced “feminist” as an identity—as a political affiliation—as a movement– for reasons that have since become clear. Someone (I wish I could remember who because the post is now gone and I cannot credit her) suggested the alternative “Mujerista.”

I like it.

In the past 4 years on this campus I have learned that “Feminist” with a capital F means whining that you can’t recruit WOC faculty or graduate students while simultaneously denying them tenure and critiquing their work as “lacking in theoretical rigor.” It means using WOC faculty/graduate students to advertise and promote your departmental diversity (Ha!) while failing to support those same WOC with funding. It means wearing Frida Kahlo earrings and writing about poverty in Latin America (See? I care about “them”! I DO!) without ever interacting with an ACTUAL person of color outside of the university setting. Feminism is claiming to be working class when your parents were/are university professors. It’s claiming an ethnic-Other as a grandparent or great-grandparent so that—despite your apparent whiteness—you can claim to be marginalized (See? I’m oppressed too!). It means taking knowledge from us and from our communities for self-promotion without ever giving anything back in return. Andrea Smith has something to say about this type of knowledge gathering. She compares it to sexual assault. Feminism is a privilege that I just don’t have… or want.

Don’t even get me started on what Feminism means in the blogosphere. I want no part of that either.

I’ve just read one of my student’s papers—and in my comments asked her to explain what she meant when she wrote “I am no feminist.” She’s a smart Chicana who has been denied information about her own people’s political and cultural struggles in the U.S. (via her erasure from every syllabus she’s ever had in her hand, I’m sure). She tells me that my course is overwhelming sometimes. This is the first time she’s read academic work produced by POC and she doesn’t know how to process the anger. She knows about Transnationalism but has never heard of Gloria Anzaldúa (!!). I get it. I’ve been where she is now. I remember.

I am thinking of crossing out my question and asking her is she would like to join me in the Mujerista movement instead.

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4 Responses to “Me vale madre tu porquería “Feminism.” ¿Y que?”

  1. profacero said

    I’m assuming the term mujerista is a spinoff from Aice Walker’s womanism
    http://science.jrank.org/pages/8159/Womanism.html

    …but maybe whoever it was came up with it independently, but in the same spirit.

    I quit academic Women’s Studies back in the 90’s because of the phenomena you describe – intolerable. It’s too bad because I liked WS back when it was an insurgent thing, and I still identify as feminist – although I really ought to switch to mujerista/womanist, systematically.

  2. Noemi M said

    hi, came here via this post on profbw’s blog: http://profbw.wordpress.com/2008/04/13/words-we-cannot-forget/
    I was the one who brought up mujerista at bfp’s blog. I have been trying to rack my mind, trying to remember where I first heard it and can’t place it. It has to be something easy, (ha), since I’m no theorist, have taken no “feminist” classes or anything like that. I think it was something by Ana Castillo, maybe Massacre of the Dreamers? I don’t think it’s in any of Gloria’s writing.

  3. […] Brownfemipower, DeviousDiva, Elle, Holly@Feministe, Karynthia, Magniloquence, Naamen, Nubian, Sin Vergüenza, SlantTruth, Sokari, Sudy, Sylvia/M, Vanessa, WOC […]

  4. mirandajay said

    Noemi, I don’t remember Anna Castillo using Mujerista in her book! But I could definitely be wrong… she does however use the term Xicanisma – is that what you were thinking of?

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