Thursday, January 10, 2008

Dear Gloria Steinem: The Sequel

I listened to Gloria Steinem's interview today on NPR's Tell Me More and I'm now more angry than before. She now says that it is ridiculous to rank sexism vs. racism.

But, she DID rank it. She wrote: "Gender is probably the most restricting force in American life." MOST--using that word is RANKING. She wrote that black men were able to vote before white women to illustrate that black men are better off than white women. SHE WROTE THAT!

Rather than apologizing or simply saying, "Yeah, sexism is worse. Bite me!" Gloria Steinem is doing what privileged people often do...interestingly, she is doing what men in power often do to women...pretend that the oppressed person is crazy, too sensitive and unhinged. Clarence to Anita: "I never sexually harassed you. You're crazy." Isaiah to Anuche: "I never called you a bitch. You're crazy." Gloria Steinem to feminists of color: "I never said sexism was worse than racism. You're crazy."

You know what...bump the feminist label. So many women of color are right; I was wrong. Mainstream feminists won't or can't understand me. As of today, I'm officially a womanist.

(Okay...I know I said I had no fight in me today, but I listened to that interview and got my angry back. I'm scrolling down to the post below to listen to "How Soon is Now?" about 500 times.)

I wanna get lost in your rock-n-roll and drift away...

You shut your mouth.
How can you say
I go about things the wrong way.
I am human and I need to be loved
just like everybody else does.

- The Smiths, "How Soon is Now?"

I had to step away from the Internet this morning. I was a little depressed by the Gloria Steinem debacle; less by the op-ed than the arrogant reaction in the comments section at Feministing. It all just made me feel a little less hopeful that one day we might all understand one another.

So this morning, I was rather happy that I wasn't commuting to work with my husband. That meant I wouldn't have to listen to his dreary jazz station (yawn), or compromise on something we both like. I could lose myself in my favorite songs and lift my spirits. This morning, I wanted to ROCK! So, I got in the car, hooked up the iPod, cranked the speakers, and let my newest playlist roll:

La Breeze by Simian
Johnny Appleseed by Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros
How Soon is Now? by The Smiths
Champagne Supernova by Oasis
Kashmir by Led Zeppelin
Are You Gonna Be My Girl? by Jet
Get Free by The Vines
Hate to Say I Told You So by The Hives
Radio Free Europe by REM
Debaser by The Pixies
Add it Up by Violent Femmes
Love Song by Tesla
Icky Thump by The White Stripes

Now, whenever I listen to this playlist, I get stuck on one song in particular. I have to play it over and over and over before moving on. The song is "How Soon is Now?" by The Smiths. It has that kick-ass clanging guitar that makes me wish I could play that black electric gathering dust in my bedroom closet. (But my problem is I don't so much want to learn how to play guitar as I want to know how to play guitar. I don't want to practice chords. I want to practice windmills and scissor kicks and cool rock poses, so...)

"How Soon is Now?" also has some of the greatest Morrissey lyrics ever. The bit above, plus:

You say it's going to happen now,
but what exactly do you mean?
See I've already waited too long
and all my hope is gone.
I know of late Morrissey has been making assinine statements about immigration in England, but back in the day the man could write a hell of a song.

So, because I just don't have any fight in me today. Here is the song that helped me get my groove back this morning:


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