Saturday, June 9, 2012

Post #1 - Why on earth start an Aboriginal Feminist blog?

Here's the deal folks: I made an off-the-cuff comment a couple of weeks ago about how I might start a feminist blog when I finished Uni. So I have done exactly that. There were a number of reasons why I initially thought this might be a fun idea to explore, and in no particular order these reasons are:

1. I was worried that my brain would turn to mashed potato when I finished uni and wanted to keep engaged

2. In my final semester, I undertook a sexual politics course, and one of those lectures was on Indigenous women. I was rather stunned when the lecturer mentioned that Aboriginal women didn't tend to identify as feminists and this was due to us sharing the issue of racial discrimination with Aboriginal men and thus we felt solidarity with our brothers. Whilst elements of this are true, I have had the privilege of meeting a great many Aboriginal women who identify as feminists in my time, as I have done since my teen years, and if anything, I have noticed that Aboriginal women combine race politics with the more liberationist viewpoints of the feminist movement because of a commitment to overthrowing discriminatory systems (this is a sweeping generalisation, but...). Thus I wanted a space to explore this further and encourage others to do so as well

3. On the issue of liberationist viewpoints, I also feel out of sync with a heap of the contemporary feminist movements, which seem dedicated to rights of individuals and "empowerment" of women by adhering to the very societal things that are indicative of women's underclass status and referring to them as "choice". Frankly I find that boring and unchallenging, and wish to create a space apart from that. I was born in the late 1970s and because of that I straddle second and third wave feminism, but the additional layer of race politics makes me identify more with the liberationist ideas contained within second wave as feminism back then, as well as Aboriginal politics, was NEVER about merely assimilating into dominant groups

4. I am looking at doing my Masters or PhD on Indigenous feminist politics, so there is every chance that when I finally get around to submitting the paperwork for that (after a well-earned break first) this site may become a source of sanity for me. Or it may not as I may forget to write in it. Anyway...

5. I spend an awful lot of time posting articles on Facebook and commenting on them. This was a way of me expanding on those issues of interest without further clogging up the newsfeeds of others

6. As an Aboriginal feminist, I find myself teetering on the brink occasionally, and have been known to get into arguments with my brotherboys on a few things. For example, as an urban-dwelling, 30-something Aboriginal feminist and sworn spinster, I don't expect polygamous marriage (or indeed, marriage) to sit comfortably with me any time soon. The argument that "that's the way things were and you would have just accepted it" doesn't sit right with me because even if the traditions exist, I can't see my foremothers (I use that term in the broadest sense) not challenging them from time to time over the course of 60,000-odd years. I just find that idea too simplistic and am interested in hearing more. Additionally, through discussing this with other black women, I have had the privilege of hearing a few different perspectives from knowledges they have gathered and I have an interest in sharing those. I am also conscious that through colonisation, external patriarchal understandings have been superimposed over black understandings of our history, and there is a need to engage more with our "herstory" to better understand truths. So essentially, this is a space where knowledge can be expanded and shared and things like this can be broached for discussion.


I don't expect, or even want, this to be a space that only deals with "black women's issues". Rather, these are black women's perspectives on women's issues and it was interesting recently reading a heap of black women's writings from the 70s and 80s to see what they were challenging. Most were arguing that to separate race from sex was erroneous and that all women have a particular interest in engaging with both issues simultaneously to effect great change. Yep, I did tend to find a lot of the readings rather inspiring and I nearly forgot to write my essay because I got caught up reading Audre Lorde! But I digress...

I am hoping this will be an interactive space and it will grow into something. Not too sure if that's the case but I have written one post and feel that's something. I would also like to encourage others who may be interested in posting something to please let me know.

Cheers!

3 comments:

  1. Yaama Sister. I'm looking forward to reading your stuff :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. OK, I've read them all, then gone to thekooriwoman, read her blog as well as the transcript from Insight. Talk about divide and conquer, lateral violence.

    I wouldn't know where to start with all of this. It's very confronting for me BUT I want to know more! I would truly like to sit down with someone and just talk. Actually, more than sit down, take a course. Is there somewhere I can go to do this?

    (1915FB)

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  3. Hi Celeste,

    I would like to email you about a project I'm doing. I would love to get your opinion on it.

    Please email me on 21293171@student.uwa.edu.au.

    Regards,
    Jade Dolman

    ReplyDelete