We can all be Feminists

(Photo from Billy Liar)

The strength of Biting Beaver manifested in the way she strove to create a space that invited others to speak. I would venture this as the heart-mind of a feminine rhetorical style (although not its sum and total). It is a style that empowers the audience, the natural extension of the Hariman’s classic republican style. As opposed to simply speaking as though one is part of a unity with one’s audience, the speaker crafts her oratory in a way that actively moves that audience into a more vital and participatory role. This style is a natural fit for a democracy rather than a republic. In a republic, the ultimate goal of the orator is to represent the populace. In a democracy, the people themselves are self-represented. Thus a style of speech that helps accomplish this individual empowerment is uniquely suited to the task of of offering a compelling and effective challenge to the more authoritarian politics threatening our country. Feminism provides much of the theory and practice that makes democracy such a powerful alternative to other forms of social organization.

Back to Biting Beaver. I first came across her wonderful blog through a post by Lindsay of Majikthise. Her words were, esquisite. BB is an extremely talented writer, and this shows through in everything she creates. But more than that, and even beyond her personal stories, were the insights she offers. Reading her blog helped me discuss and understand issues of violence in new and deeper ways. I’m certain I am far from alone in this. At the start of May, BB posted a farewell to her blog. The enormity of this loss to the community cannot be understated. We are losing a lion. As I read the post, I began to boil. Increasingly violent and personal threats are what lead BB to leave her blog. The idea of women having a safe place to discuss violence and feminist theory was too much for some to bear.

There are so many reasons to be a feminist. In fact, as Jessica Valenti would point out, most of you already are. But one of the central reasons to embrace feminism is to fight back against oppression. Feminism at its root is about making people stronger and violence weaker. This is something BB worked hard to accomplish with every post.

This can be done by inviting people to speak out, online or in person, and by a thousand small acts of encouragement. Rhetoric is more than verbal speech, it is an art that encompasses all modes of communication. And more than any other style of discourse, a Democratic style involves listening. What do you have to say?

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2 Responses

  1. It’s too bad the feminist movement couldn’t line-item-veto some of the aspects that came as unforseen consequences. What has now happened in the “liberation” of women is the economy has adjusted to the mean household income of both parents working. Now, we have single people trying to keep a household together and its nearly impossible. Now we have women that want to stay home and focus on the raising of their families forced into the workplace or to suffer even more difficult economic conditions than single people do. And, most of all, who loses? The children do. Now they are shipped off to day care centers where the staff there are paid minimum wage and they have the maximum number of children in a group to take care of which creates a very difficult and stressful environment and high job turn-over rate. This will have a profound impact upon our society. People used to say that it is the women that shape the future generation of leaders and indeed it was a mother’s privilage to see the investment of her heart and soul in her children out in the world to bring to her that serene sence of accomplishment and fulfillment, of course if she did her job that is. But, what we have now are women who have stepped aside from the most powerful and long enduring positive influence they stood in a unique position to offer our society, and many who would like to have but are forced to do otherwise, into positions of transient accomplishments that quickly fade into shallow and empty memories as they move from job to job or meeting to meeting. It used to be that men held women as something very precious and sublime, something to be cherished and exalted, but as this movement gains momentum it is changing women more and more into objects to be treated with the same cold and calculated logic and reason that men normally face when functioning in their role as provider and protector thus leaving women bereft of what used to draw the best spirit out of men to nurture and nourish women to use and exploit them for personal gratification.

    Who won by way of the feminist movement? It sure as hell wasn’t women who value having the most powerful and important job in the world of raising children. Rather, it was lustful men who enjoy the frenzy of non-commital use of living female carcases for their own lustful purposes.

  2. […] What also appears to be effective is the tactic of engaging in personal attacks and intimidation to silence social critics. […]

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