The Modern Feminist
As Defined with Retrospective Sources
By David Mosqueda
In Defense of my Queerdom.
“As a [Queer] I have no race, my own people disown me; but I am all races because there is the queer of me in all races. I am cultureless because, as a feminist I challenge the collective cultural/religious male-derived beliefs of indo- hispanics and anglos; yet I am cultured because I am participating in the creation of yet another culture… a new value system with images and symbols that connect us to each other and to the planet.”
Hillary Clinton has now used her sex and gender as a means to target Bernie Sanders’s Campaign. As if she holds a monopoly on what it is to be a resolution to the political discourse. She fails to acknowledge that she brings with her no revolution and relies heavily on her sex to carry her to where she feels she is deserving. In this same pattern Gloria Steinem and Madeline Albright, have shown that the style of feminism in which the Clinton campaign is coat tailing on is no longer relevant to the millennial groups. Steinem made the statement on Bill Maher February 5th, “Women get more radical as we get older… When you’re young you’re thinking where are the boys, well the boys are with Bernie.” In an even further self-destructive endorsement, Madeline Albright stated at a Clinton rally, “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”
What we see here are two Feminist activists that are very prominent in our community, using the forms of feminism that have gone. We are looking at a future of feminism that takes into account not a destruction of power, but one that says we have the means to garner the same power that the oppressors have. At this time, the oppressor is no longer just the male. At a time in our lives where we are now quoting corporations as being people too, we are being hit with sexism and racism from new power spheres. There is more to Feminism, not just sex and age, as the feminist activists have pointed in their endorsements, there is the problem with which Feminism has always had since its inception, intersectionality. With respect to Hillary Clinton as an adored female that is truly making great strides for the Feminist movement, she has failed to acknowledge the intersectionality required of Feminism.
Hillary Clinton’s biggest talking point when it comes to Feminism has been equal pay for equal work, which is something that benefits what arose in the 1990s and early 2000s, Corporate Feminism, which is detrimental to all things that feminism stands for. In a recent article for Slate, Amanda Marcotte paints a vivid picture of the pitfalls of Corporate Feminism, on the truth that Feminism sought to bring to light in its early years. Corporate Feminism can be described as a capitalistic form of activism. We move away from grass root organizational Feminism towards sponsored Feminism. Corporations all across the country sponsor star-studded events and mar the true workings Feminism strive for. Marcotte writes on these events, “…corporate sponsors have a way of quietly refocusing these kinds of conferences away from the nitty-gritty issues that face ordinary American women and toward elite women congratulating one another for getting increasingly richer.”
Corporate Feminism is the antithesis of what Intersectional Feminism wishes to accomplish. These corporate-sponsored award shows and conferences are nothing but parades of rich women idolizing rich women. The groups that do not benefit from this as in all cases of money are the minority groups. There is a representation of the groups at these events, surely, but they do not represent the true needs of the community. Corporate Feminism is exactly what authors Audre Lorde, and Gloria Anzaldua wrote about in their essays and speeches as being the cause for the divide of Feminism. It is only appropriate that we see these same ideals dividing Feminism in the 2016 election circuit. Looking at Feminism today it is simple to see why so many Millenial women are turning away from Clinton and looking at Bernie Sanders. Much like Clinton Corporate Feminism is backed by private interests, and like Marcotte mentioned it strays from the very roots of womanhood struggles.
By refocusing the efforts of Feminism we see candidates like Clinton who to the process of Corporate Feminism believes that as a woman she needs this leadership role. Corporate Feminism only credits women in power roles and strives to essentially remind corporate America that women have large spending powers, like men. Younger Feminists have an understanding that their Feminism does not destroy men, it creates an egalitarian field, something Clinton fails to see with her talking point. Her equal pay for equal work does not resonate down in a low-income area, and minority areas as most in low-income areas work multiple part-time jobs that all have base rates, mostly minimum wage. Her equal pay for equal work is a white-splanation of the struggles of women, and disproportionately leaves behind, women of color.
Audre Lorde a very prominent African American Feminist argues, “It is a particular academic arrogance to assume any discussion of feminist theory without examining our many differences… poor women, Black, and Third World women, and lesbians.” By idolizing the purchasing power of successful women who attend conferences as speakers simply to pat each other on the back is a gross display of what Feminism is meant to be. Audre Lorde criticized her Speech at New York University Institute for the Humanities for having her be the only black voice on a panel for Feminism and its failure to truly sample struggles of women. As in any talk where minority groups are marginalized it is up to the minority to stand and educate the majority of the struggles of the entire minority. This exhausts energy, especially in the movements of the minority groups, as for every stride they attempt forward, they are met by the need of an education to those that claim to be on their side. In that respect, this article will serve that purpose as the education to the Corporate Feminists that have failed to remember their sisters left in poverty, and their children 1 of 5 left hungry in our country.
…Corporate Feminists that have failed to remember their sisters left in poverty, and their children 1 of 5 left hungry in our country.
We can look individually at the damages of Corporate Feminism unto minority groups like Latin@s and African Americans, but the staggering amount of injustices are far too many for any essay. The importance of intersectionality is simple, as it requires the sphere in which we are addressing to understand there are more struggles than those of the majority. Has Clinton truly done anything to benefit the advancement of women? Or has she advanced white women, and women with money?
If we look at her campaign platform she has not, and to the latter she has. With equal pay for equal work, she avoids the discussion of race in the struggles of women. Which is a failure to a feminist as now the subject matter is focused purely on sex, whereas we know sex does not define the struggles, as Latin women are more likely to be affected by attacks on reproductive rights; African American women are more likely to be affected by attacks on housing market opportunities. The drastic differences created by those that refuse intersectionality are summed up by Lorde, “You fear your children will grow up to join the patriarchy and testify against you, we fear our children will be dragged from a car and shot down in the street, and you will turn your backs upon the reasons they are dying.”
“You fear your children will grow up to join the patriarchy and testify against you, we fear our children will be dragged from a car and shot down in the street, and you will turn your backs upon the reasons they are dying.”
The idea sex is the main opponent of the feminist movement disregards latin ideas that do not fit with the message Clinton feminism is reinforcing. Anzaldua presents a critique of the ideas of sex in terms of people of color, focusing on Latin@s versus anglo culture, as she explains the differences in the definition of Machismo. “For men like my father, being ‘macho’ meant being strong enough to protect and support my mother and us, yet being able to show love.” In contrast, an Anglo machismo is brought to the surface by aggression and shaming of others. Sex is not the only opponent, the housing market, education institutions, policing, and even the drug war, affect women of all races, and most importantly women of color.
When we look at environmental issues that disregard public health, like the one currently being seeing Flint, Michigan, it is low-income communities that see the most destruction. Something we can see with fracking in the future, something Clinton refuses to demonize, even though there are many scientific studies against the practice. We can look at the militarized police forces in Ferguson, a community of predominantly African Americans, and how that has an effect on the psyche of young African American children; yet, Clinton continues to have the highest amount of gun manufacturer contributions. The deportation of Latino Soldiers after they spend time in Afghanistan and Iraq in search of promised citizenship, still Clinton remains on the side that has created this false hope among Latin@s. Her vote in favor of the war has led to that decline of trust from he Latin@ community to the Clinton camp. She also fought in favor of NAFTA which took jobs out of America, factory jobs, this destroyed the middle class and minorities that worked in factories for their livelihood. We must look at every decision she has made. She has time and time again asked us to look at her record, and here it is, her record, and it is a strange situation. It is not on the side of all the American people’s interests.
Lorde writes, “For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” Which is true, which is why Sanders has made it his mission to dismantle the master’s house with his own tools. How do you stop the government from going against the interests of the American people? You take out the money. Sanders takes the money from the top 1% and moves it to the middle class with jobs. Creating jobs in our crumbling infrastructure, benefitting low-income groups that could not afford a higher education, and on that not making public education free, minority groups now need not worry about having saved up from before conception to send their daughter to medical school. The platforms of Senator Sanders for which he is ultimately ridiculed by Clinton for, we can see that they benefit women of all races, and of all social standings.
“For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”
This is the feminism that needs to exist, not the Corporate Feminism that is obstructing us from the true meaning of Feminism. It is not demeaning one sex over another it is about a power struggle. Modern feminism has reverted to this idea, that we need to be equally powerful. All genders, all sexes, neither is superior, neither is inferior. It is in this power struggle that we regain the attitude needed to propel democracy. Socialism is for the betterment of the people, it enables us to lose hierarchal standings in the most mundane of tasks. Power comes in this day and age from money, and Corporate Feminism does nothing but reinforces the power we find in money. We now must have an internal feminist movement that says we here at the bottom in our low-income communities, and our militarized zones are just as important as those at the top, and your equal pay is nothing compared to me giving up my dinner to afford my child’s dinner. There is more to this social movement than the requisition of CEO positions, and political prowess; there is the moving up of those below to a par location with the oppressors locations. Bringing up the minimum wage, returning factory jobs, these all establish our community to a very comfortable standard, then lowers the divide there is amongst the intersectionalities of our cause.
“Without community, there is no liberation.”