This is a response to the conversation taking place here, here, and here. I was going to just respond in a comment, but as you see, it got far too long for that.
To begin with, one could ask, “did we ever need feminism?” And the answer to that, I believe, is yes. Women did not have the right to vote. They could not hold jobs. They did not even own their own bodies, their husbands could legally rape and beat them. Saying that we should not have focused on these atrocities–that they should have instead talked about how men and women should not be forced to conform to gender norms–is ignoring the historical reality that created the feminist movement.
It’s like saying that we don’t need a gay rights movement, we need a human rights movement. It’s like saying that we don’t need to discuss systemic forms of child abuse, we need to discuss the abuse of all people. Where do such conversations leave us?
Ultimately, they leave us with nothing to say.
Amber asked me if I still had this memorial for Katy. I thought that I would post it in case anyone else wanted to bookmark it or, I don’t know, something. I hadn’t read through it in years, maybe six or so. Most of the entries are riddled with grammatical errors (worse than usual; that’s saying something).
I want to keep them.
Changing them would change the substance. That voice that is speaking to you in my writing, it’s me, but it’s not-me. It’s little Jolene, or Jolene when she was littler. I don’t have the same beliefs anymore. It’s me; it’s not-me. Strange.
I was thinking about the grammar one moment, the words, the voice, about how it’s me-not-me. And then I was thinking about Katy and all the words she never… If it’s not-me writing, is it a not-Katy too? Am I remembering a not-Katy? I bet I am. I bet that she is different than the Katy that you remember. Memory is funny like that. I know that now, or I think I know that. That’s what 9 years of school tells me about memory, anyways.