First, I will share a link to an awesome blog post by Kathy Miriam:
I share it because I spent my early afternoon today at the occupation in down town Minneapolis, a 10 minute bike ride from Augsburg. The Wall Street protests have been occupying a significant amount of my time and energy lately, since I am writing my big, final women's studies paper on the movement through a feminist lens.
There are so many great things about it, and coming off of years of dreaming of being alive in the sixties to take part in those social changes, to be part of this is exhilarating. I've been browsing blogs and news articles, and reading books on post-modern feminism and justice movements and getting really, really excited.
And then I actually go to the protests (I've been a couple of times), and consistently leave feeling down trodden, hopeless, and peeved at being called cute by old men. The General Assemblies are disorganized and inefficiently run by the loudest voices of those who don't even believe in consensus. Cocky, twenty something, white boys with personal missions.
Ok. Just one cocky, twenty something, white boy in particular, that while he does a lot for the movement, and gets his name in all the papers, he still calls old ladies "F*cks" behind their backs and wins NO points in my book. So there's him.
Then there are the old men who seem to think that because I make eye contact with them, we're best friends. NOT that I don't like old men. I love old men! I can spend hours talking to them about history, politics and our current situation just fine. I get aggravated when they start calling me cute and dominating my conversations.
This rant should be going in a word document to be used in my paper...
Today, when I interviewed women, they listened to my questions, and answered accordingly. They did not linger, or call attention to my intelligence or glimmering eyes.
The men listen to one question and then talk at me for thirty minutes about how they feel about the money system, or where they were when the moon landing happened.
Why is it important that my eyes sparkle with intelligence, that I probably have a man in my life, or that I am cute enough to be mayor?*
Why can't I skirt the crowds and do my work without being gendered? SEXUALIZED!?
It's not fair, and in a movement that strives for fairness and an equality of voice, it's discouraging to see patriarchy dominate on the street level.
That's where my heart and mind is this evening, I'll keep you posted with hopefully more positive reports.
*Yes, this happens.