“When I enter a room of suits (like the conference last week, which was called Supernova and was concerned with the business of the internet and which I was covering for Valleywag),
it’s never the women who put me at instant ease. It’s the the other
freaks: the femmey guys, the queers, the girl with the lip ring, the
boy with the crazy boots. The women in tech I once looked to for
support, though they may have once thought I was a cute enough anomaly
to tolerate when I could be their Token Whore Speaker, are not the
instant allies the web sisterhood wants you to believe they are. It’s
not okay to say this, but I’m scared that for most women, period,
feminism is no longer about breaking the rules men have set, but
learning men’s rules well enough to seem like they’re playing along.
But that’s probably exactly what some women think I’m doing when I take
(or took) my clothes off for money. I’m out of reasons to explain why
it wasn’t. I can point to my home, my city, my lovers, my friends, my
community, my work as reasons, as proof — that I made it in my own
fucking Sinatra way, and that my voice is worthy.”
–Melissa Grant Gira, writing about both the much commented on paucity of women at SuperNova, and the fact that identifying as a feminist and a subversive, political queer does not align, much of the time, with being a Web 2.0 digital elitist, whether you are pro women in tech or not.
Susan sez: In other words, there’s more than one status quo. As you can see through Meilissa’s questioning, feminist identity politics and alt gender politics are not exactly the same thing. Here’s some of my thoughts on this–
One could argue that the right to be sexual (and have Zivity take your picture), the right to be a woman and not feel like–or be–a minority–at a major conference are tied to identity and people’s rights and abilities to own and control their own identities.
However, one could also say that there’s a second set of issue here that are as much a part of gender politics as personal identity.-I’d name them as the right to be openly alt or queer, to be frank about sexuality and sexual values, to be open and accepting of those with other sexual orientations and values–that are as much a part of gender politics as personal identity and that are just as threatening to the status quo as feminism.
Melissa, I don’t think the women I know wish you ill, or fear you.
I think they, like me, want all of us to find a way to do the right thing, for it to not take so much effort and, as you say, for everyone to have joy.
I think that what feels like rejection is plain old repression, the need for so many of us to take a deep breath, face what is different and then ask the honest question “Can we find this truth in ourselves?”
What creates change is the will to change. What creates knowledge–and insight–is listening.
I hope people hear your words, Melissa–this is a beautiful and disturbing post.