Friday, September 6, 2013

Dear radical feminist bitch who "tried it",

Audre Lorde said:
"Every woman has a well-stocked arsenal of anger potentially useful against those oppressions, personal and institutional, which brought that anger into being. Focused with precision it can be become a powerful source of energy serving progress and change. And when I speak of change, I do not mean a simple switch of positions or a temporary lessening of tensions, nor the ability to smile and feel good. I am speaking of a basic and radical alteration of those assumptions underlying our lives."

With that being said, let us hope that this post is useful in checking the assumptions of this bitch about me and my feminism. This anger has been with me for 8 months now. The back story is simple. I wrote this. And said radical feminist was so appalled that she responded with this. It took me a while but I finally found the words.

Unlike you, I know exactly where to start. At the beginning. You wrote:
"We’ve all been 25-year-old revolutionary badasses on our personal journey of self-discovery. So exciting! I too was a rapscallion, renegade erotic vagrant, and I’m thankful the Internet was too rickety back then to record my 'Self-definition is a feminist priority!' rants for time and eternity."
First thing's first, I'm not mischievous. I'm a grown ass woman who pays bills and goes to work. And while I do fuck who I want, when I want, I'm no kind of vagrant so that weak attempt at establishing I-was-just-like-you-way-back-when authority was a fail. And I only wish the internet was currently "too rickety" to record your "I get feminism and you don't" rant for time and eternity.

You said...
"Listen. Self-definition isn’t a feminist priority, it’s a personal priority. The well-being and fate of women, as a class, all over the world, is a feminist priority. Feminism is not a fun, personal tool. It is not a vibrator, it is a political movement. And any woman who can dismiss the entire second wave for its “sheer irrelevancy…to any of my life,” has skipped the required fucking reading."
... and it was spoken like a true white woman who hasn't thought enough about her own racial privilege to recognize her own ignorance. You infuriate me. Self-definition is absolutely a feminist priority for female-identified, queer, fat, black girls like me who are consistently denied representation as women in the first place. I'll bet if someone told you that "dyke" wasn't an appropriate way to self identify you'd jump on the self-definition real quick. Self-definition is the reason you call yourself a "radical feminist" - which, for me, is becoming synonymous with "white feminism with no critical race analysis." And yes, I realize that as a white dyke, it might be hard for you to gauge why MOST (not "all", as you have misquoted) of second wave feminism was irrelevant to my life as a black, hip hop feminist. But the reason is clear as day. Most of that shit was written by other white dykes and do not reflect the lived experiences of young women of color.

You ask...
"Is legal contraception and abortion irrelevant to any woman’s life? Domestic violence and sexual harassment laws; are these quaint artifacts from a bygone era? How about protection from workplace discrimination and the death of job ads reading “Help Wanted: Male”? None of the above has anything to do with second wave feminism? None of it involves the “autonomy and liberation” you’re so into? No hat tip to the foremothers? No “Hey, thanks for your hard work” before you shimmy away with jazz hands? Just arrogant, ignorant smuggery, with a reassurance that you “can’t police other feminists”? Because everything is everything and we all choose our choices?"
To these questions I must ask more questions: Does organizing against crisis pregnancy centers in my state count as feminist work? Does organizing to ensure that all state universities have allow their students birth control count? Does creating black girl collectives and literacy programs in Chicago war zones count? Does working with and maintaing a relationship with the leading reproductive justice organization for young people mean anything to you? Does creating a pamphlet about feminism in accessible language for young women of color count? Because I've done all of that shit, and then some.

But I shouldn't have to read my resume off to you for you to respect me and my relation to feminism.  In fact, bitches like you are the reason "self-definition" IS a feminist priority. You talk about abortion and contraceptive access like women of color are not still targeted the most with racist anti-abortion propaganda (which I've also worked against). Those "male wanted" ads were published in papers while women of color were working for next to nothing, and had been since way before white women decided to "come out". And they didn't particularly give a fuck what the gender of their new boss was (although I respect that white women were hurt they were denied access to those positions). I have enough lived experience with sexual assault and domestic violence to last us both a lifetime, and it always intersects with the complicated relationship people of color have with law enforcement and non-nuclear family structures. So please spare me with the finger wagging bullshit as if I don't live at the intersections every fucking day.

You don't have to understand my feminism, but you will not police and disrespect me. And you will not tell me how to be a feminist (especially when your shitty blog has made it glaringly clear that you don't know). So perhaps you should pick up some books published after 1995 and do some more "required reading" but until then, FUCK YOU!

Not here for it,

I've been caught lacking

Hey boos,

I know it's been a long time. I actually feel really shitty about neglecting the blog that has been so instrumental in helping me develop an identity and a voice as writer. But I won't apologize for living outside the parameters of a laptop for a change; and pursuing opportunities that are going to help me on this life journey jump off. You'd be surprised at how many times I've sat down to write this post but didn't because life was like: "we aint on that right now."

Nevertheless, here it is now.

So what have I been doing? You might remember this post where I shared a link to a piece I wrote for That piece was an entry into their "So You Think You Can Blog Contest." Well as it turns out, I CAN blog because I won and am a new contributor to the site! I can't be more honored to be bringing the voice of hoochies and hoodrats to the online mainstream feminist crowd. It's been an amazing opportunity and I love my Feministing crew. (We had our retreat in New York this past weekend and it was great.)

But some of you might already know that I can't say all the shit I want to say to the online mainstream feminist crowd. And that is why I have to start coming back home. Here to the Bad Bitch Society. I am looking forward to sharing my writing from Feministing and other sources, but also returning to the practice of talking real shit about the shit that matters to me and the other bad bitches I know.

Thanks for your patience. I'm back like cooked crack.*

Sesali B.

*Ok. I never actually understood this phrase because I'm not sure if I ever experienced cooked crack leaving in the first place. But whatever, the shit rhymes.