SWIP conference this past weekend. Good. Interesting. What/who do I want to be? There were women there – who do good work, I have little doubt of that – whom I do not want to become (laying aside all caveats about how I will only ever be me etc.). A woman was talking to/advising one of the younger women there (younger than she, older than me), telling her to stop writing to/for her critics (where the critics are men and/or heteronormative, and/or patriarchal, and/or confused about the idea), to (it seemed) write instead only to other feminists and/or people who already understand her, and/or people who already (at least fundamentally) agree with her. Screw those other ones.
I have deep reservations about the possibility for or the ethics of conversion
What is terribly interesting about only talking to people who already agree with you?
Where does love come in?
Where should judgment end?
On the one hand, it may be that we can only convince people of different opinions/views whose fundamental, deep assumptions are significantly aligned with ours: so perhaps I can convince you, a devoted strawberrry ice cream lover to try, and to learn to like, mint chocolate chip; but if you don't even like ice cream at all – if you actually hate it – then I may never be able to so convince you.
Difference between conversation and conversion?
Continuum/scale: conversion ----- conversation ----- silence ?
An orientation toward the world:
fuck everyone who doesn't already love/respect/adore/admire/agree with you?
love everyone you see better than you think you are able?
What makes someone a doormat?
loving people who hate you?
acknowledging that you may be wrong?
believing that even 'oppressors' can make good points?
looking inward to find harmful attitudes before locating them externally?
insisting upon transforming anger into action and then into love?
I don't want to be angry. I don't want to be crusty and crotchety and surly and defensive and terribly intimidating. Does this make me a 'stereotypical woman'? Does this belie my 'feminine orientation'? Have I been too well socialized by the 'system', the 'patriarchy', the 'man'?
I am happy. I feel so healthy and so happy being happy. Does this mean I am coopted? Does this mean I have so internalized my oppression that I am now doing the work of the patriarchy myself?
I have no doubt that the world is not well. I don't consider myself completely blind to the deep wrongs that continually occur all over this globe. Pain and suffering and evil and wickedness and injustice are everywhere. I agree. Is it a condition of being part of movements to change or heal that pain that one must see nothing else? Am I selfish to see beauty and love and generosity and kindness and growth and change as well? Should I refuse to see love 'until the patriarchy is over'? Is that reasonable? Does that work?
Who makes the more 'feminine' sacrifice – the one who loves or the the one who refuses love unless it can be 'perfect'?
Is the desire for and the pleasure in feeling healthy a privilege I have not earned and so do not have the right to enjoy? Ought I to shelve my pleasure until everyone else may also desire health and take pleasure in health? Am I taking an 'every woman for herself' attitude when I laugh while my 'sisters' weep? Must I always weep until weeping ceases?