There’s a lot to be concerned about of late. First and foremost, of course, is the ongoing fallout from the earthquake in Japan. Please consider donating. Then there’s the whole supposed ceasefire in Libya as we wait to see just how far Moammar Gadhafi and forces are willing to go to to put down the long-suffering rebels. And let’s not forget the Republicans’ attack on labour rights down in Wisconsin or, closer to home, the federal Conservatives’ determination to perpetuate state violence against people who are already at risk of extreme violence in so many other forums.
With all of this major stuff going on, the conclusion of a beloved style blog and a little misguided feminist gate-keeping are relatively minor issues. And yet, as many of us agonize, analyse, and strategize around the above-noted major events in numerous other forums, I cannot help but feel these relatively minor occurrences also need some attention paid.
First, then, here’s an outfit I’m calling Bruised Toughitude: A Sartorial Ode to Style Underdog, one of my absolute favourite bloggers. SU quietly concluded her fantastic blog earlier this week. Goddess, I’m going to miss her.
I’ve got one more ensemble to post, but before we get there, my two cents on feminist gate-keeping. Here goes:
Feminists have a long and important tradition of gate-keeping. In fact, you could even say that gate-keeping is an important element of self-reflexivity (i.e. critiquing ourselves & each other so we can learn from our mistakes), another central tenet of feminism. After all, if we don’t watch the gate, then anti-feminist people like Sarah Palin sneak in and start messing with our things, undoing our good work (see the part in the 2nd paragraph on page 108, where bell hooks argues conservatism and feminism are diametrically opposed), and waving our flags around.
But the best forms of feminist gate-keeping offer informed and respectful critique. Thus, for example, if one were going to critique a fashion blog’s virtual feminist conference, an informed and respectful feminist commenter would ensure s/he has read and understood all of the material in question. Moreover, an informed and respectful feminist commenter would acknowledge the strengths as well as the weaknesses of the piece s/he is critiquing.
S/he would also be very careful not to repeat old mistakes by smugly underestimating the people who have produced the cultural text in question. S/he would take care not to perpetuate politically damaging elitism by name-dropping for the sake of name-dropping, or gesturing vaguely toward the writings of well-known and widely-read critics in order to imply that s/he somehow knows and can apply the theories put forward in these other works more thoroughly and astutely than the cultural producers in question.
Finally, the writer of such a critique should be willing to sign her/his name to her/his work in order to facilitate further respectful, productive dialogue. Such owning of one’s work also eliminates the temptation to believe that one can launch such a critique on behalf of feminism as a whole instead of from one particular space in a vast and varied political terrain.
As feminists, we don’t have to be nice, or even friendly; we certainly know by now that we’re not all going to get along. But we need to value ourselves and others. We don’t always succeed – but we need to keep trying. If we don’t, how the hell are we going to form the personal, professional, and politically strategic alliances we need to make change happen?
That’s all on that front (for now). Here’s that other outfit, worn to deliver a research talk at a campus institute earlier this week. In my head, it was MUCH more interesting than it is in real life. ‘Must get back into the habit of taking morning photos. Also, I think I’m finally convinced this skirt needs shortening.
Cardigan: Kische (via Winners, remixed)
Top: Kenneth Cole (remixed)
Belt: Buffalo (via Winners, remixed)
Bracelet: The Bay
Mystery booties: (via Winners, remixed)
Wine: a kiwi Marlborough
And here, just because I have it, is a close-up of the bracelet, etc:
In other less overtly political or sartorial news, the Fuzzy Roommate has a new girlfriend. I could not be more excited that he has finally – after three years in this new city – made a friend. I really thought I’d broken him with this last move, but he’s having fun once again. Here he is with Abbie, his new favourite dog: